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How to Avoid Injury When Jumping Rope: Tips from the CEO

Important: before you read this, please note that I am not a medical professional, nor is the following a substitute for medical advice; please consult your physician immediately if you sustain an injury or experience excessive pain as a result of working out. However, the content of this post is based upon extensive personal experience, as well as feedback from thousands of jumpers. I hope you find it useful!

So you’re finally making major progress toward your fitness goals. You’re in the gym 5 to 6 days a week, and notice an improvement in strength, endurance and fat loss daily.

You’re on top of the world and feeling awesome, and then suddenly...BAM.

You get a sharp, shooting pain in your ankle...and you know it’s not good. All that hard work and all the progress you’ve made, and now you’re down for the count.

Most of us have sustained at least one injury along the way to our fitness goals. And if you haven’t, then congratulations - you are among the lucky few! But if you have experienced an injury, you know how crushing it can be to get sidelined.

In this post, I want to help you minimize your chances of injury by sharing some tips on how to avoid injury when jumping rope. Let's dig in.

More...

The Jump Rope Advantage

Jump rope training is unique because it is a self-limiting exercise.

That means it naturally keeps you from being able to use poor technique over an extended period of time. If your technique is wrong, you will trip up very quickly.

It's also a lower-impact activity. Good technique requires you to jump on the midsoles of your feet (see other important technique tips here) which allows the stress to dissipate evenly through your body. This is unlike the high-impact heel-to-toe strikes experienced through other endurance activities like running.

Tip: read our post on Jumping Rope vs Running for a full comparison.

Even though jumping rope is much safer overall, it doesn't mean that there aren't risks involved. There are always risks involved with any form of training and it's important that you make yourself aware of them so you know what to pay attention to.

Here are some of the more common injuries that can occur with jumping rope:

  • Shin splints
  • Calf strain (excessive soreness)
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Stress fractures
  • Achilles tendon strain
  • General joint pain

The following five tips should give you a good overview of what you can do to minimize the likelihood of injury while jumping rope (and, hopefully, prevent injury altogether).

Before we Begin...

Before you dive into the tips, I just wanted to let you know that we recently published an amazing new guide for jump rope beginners. Check it out here:

Learn How to Jump Rope: The Complete Beginner's Guide to Jump Rope Training

1. Listen to your Body and Recognize the Signs

There is a difference between normal pain and bad pain.

As someone who’s adamant about ‘pushing through the pain’ and finishing that last rep (at any cost), I can personally attest to the fact that I’ve ignored warning signs in the past.

Here are some signs of both normal and bad pain:

​Normal Pain: Muscle soreness (or a mild ‘burning’ sensation in muscles), occasional cramping of muscles, and occasional fatigue.

Bad (Abnormal) Pain: Sharp shooting pain that inhibits mobility, visible swelling, pain that become progressively worse over time, extreme tenderness that does not go away, and chronic fatigue.

In any effective workout regimen, you should encounter some ‘normal pain’ (especially if you’re pushing yourself and making progress). It’s a sign that your muscles are being challenged, which is necessary for growth.

Remember, these are the muscles engaged with jump rope training:

Jump Rope Muscle Engagement

But the "no pain, no gain" saying isn't always the best advice.

It’s very important to be aware of your body and to know what your own limits are. You want to push yourself, but only to a point where you experience normal pain.

Ignoring the early warning signs of bad pain can lead to more severe muscle, tendon, ligament and joint injuries and even irreversible damage requiring surgery in some cases.

Being able to spot pain ahead of time is crucial.

KEY POINT

Normal pain and soreness associated with any effective workout is fine. What you have to be wary of any signs of bad pain - any sharp pains in the joints or muscles. If you do experience any kind of abnormal pain, make sure to stop jumping and have the area of concern checked out by a professional.

2. Always get a Good Warm-up In

It’s very easy to skip the warm-up, especially if you’re in a rush to get your workout done (or don’t think it’s important). But it’s absolutely essential.

Our joints have a natural lubricant called sinovial fluid. During periods of inactivity, this fluid settles (which is perhaps why you might feel stiff when you get out of bed in the morning).

It’s the same going into a workout.

You need to activate your sinovial fluid before your workout and this is most effectively done with a proper warm-up.

Tip: check out the Perfect Warm-up Series for a detailed breakdown of a good warmup.

Think about it this way: would you try to drive your car without any oil in the engine? What would happen if you continued to drive it without oil?

Without lubrication, the metal-on-metal would cause so much friction that the engine would eventually seize. Your joints work much in the same way.

If they’re not warmed-up and completely synchronized with your joints and tendons, their reduced elasticity makes them more susceptible to a strain, or even a tear.

KEY POINT

Always dedicate a few minutes before your workout to warm-up and get your blood flowing, muscles engaged, and your heart rate up.

3. Choose the Right Surface to Jump On

We've built our Crossrope system to be extremely versatile. We've designed it in such a way that it can be used on the roughest of terrains, while maintaining impressive durability.

In fact, all of the ropes in our Infinity Rope Series can be used on any surface. The Plus Set shows our four indoor-outdoor ropes:

Infinity Rope System Plus Set

Infinity Rope System Plus Set

But it's important to understand that different surfaces - or more specifically the hardness of those surfaces - will impact your joints differently.

Harder surfaces - like asphalt or concrete - will impose more stress on your joints than ​a softer surface such as rubber or wooden flooring.

To minimize your chances of injury, we recommend that you jump on softer surfaces more frequently. But we know that’s not always possible. Sometimes it’s just a lot more fun and convenient to jump rope outdoors, where the surfaces could differ.

If you do find yourself consistently jumping on harder surfaces (like concrete or asphalt), then it’s important that you not only keep your weekly volume lower (see next tip).

We also recommend you get yourself a jump rope mat - check out our Crossrope training mat - to turn any surface into a soft surface.

KEY POINT

The surface you jump on matters. Stick to softer surfaces more often, but when you do jump on harder surfaces make sure you keep your volume low.

4. Stretch Well, Stretch Often

Stretching after your workout and on your off days is an effective way to minimize your chances of injury.

When it comes to jump rope training, some of the key muscle groups you want to stretch are your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and lower back.

On top of stretching, it helps to regularly massage your feet and calves. If you have a foam roller, use it often to get deep into the tissue of your muscles.

KEY POINT

Stretching will help you minimize soreness, improve speed of recovery between workouts, and reduce your chances of injury.

5. Be Cautious of Volume

We've talked a lot about training volume in the past. How much and how often you jump rope will have a huge impact on injuries, particularly if you're new to jump rope training.

In our earlier post, we outline five important questions that you need to ask yourself to determine exactly how much you should be jumping rope to achieve your personal goals​.

Even though longer and higher-intensity sessions result in greater impact on the joints, it doesn't mean that all of your jump rope sessions have to be kept short and light.

Instead, always look to mix things up - play around with different intensities and durations to keep your training fresh, but always pat attention to the signals your body is sending you.

If you're experiencing excessive soreness from long sessions, scale it down a bit.​

KEY POINT

Always be aware of how much you're jumping and make sure to adjust your volume depending on the signals your body is sending you.

Your Turn

The tips I've outlined in this post should help you minimize your chances of injury when using the jump rope as part of your training.

But I'm curious - have you experienced any injuries with jumping rope in the past? What was the cause and how did you get through it? ​

I'd love to hear your responses in the comments below.​

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