How to Avoid Injury and Shin Splints When Jumping Rope
Updated on July 5, 2017
Injuries are never fun to deal with.
You put in the hard work, you start making progress toward your fitness goals, and you begin noticing improvements in your strength and endurance.
Then, often out of nowhere, an injury strikes.
You get a sharp, shooting pain in your ankle. Or your shins start hurting while jumping. Or there’s just general pain that holds you back.
And all that hard work and progress you’ve made begins to feel futile.
Most of us have sustained at least one injury along the way to our fitness goals. At times, it seems as if it’s just part of the process. But there are things you can do to avoid injuries and particularly shin splints when jumping rope.
In this post, I want to share some tips that can help you avoid injuries and stay (relatively) healthy while pursuing your fitness goals.
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 on extensive personal experience, as well as feedback from thousands of jumpers. I hope you find it useful!
Before we Begin…
If you’d like to see what other jumpers from all across the globe are doing to avoid injury, join our private (free) jump rope fitness community and engage with thousands of jumpers.
Jump Rope Safety: General Notes
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 very low-impact activity.
Good jumping 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
- Ankle twist or sprain
The following jump rope 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).
How to Avoid Injury (and Shin Splints)
As an update to this article, we’ve put together an in-depth video to show you how you can reduce your chances of injury and shin splints when jumping.
Take a few minutes to watch below or scroll down to the tips.
Note: don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more workouts and tutorials.
Alright, let’s get into the tips.
1. Listen to your Body, 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. These are all examples of abnormal pain.
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 heavy jump rope training:
But the “no pain, no gain” saying is often poor advice. (Just because it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s true)
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 to injury prevention.
Normal pain and soreness associated with any effective workout is fine and expected. But 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. Choose the Right Surface to Jump On
We’ve built our Crossrope system to be extremely versatile so you can use it on practically any surface. This portability is what makes jumping rope so much fun.
In fact, all of the ropes in our Infinity Rope Series can be used on any surface. For example, the Get Fit Bundle shown below has all our four of our indoor-outdoor ropes:
But it’s important to understand how the surface you jump plays a role in injuries.
Hard surfaces – like asphalt or concrete – generally put more stress on your joints than softer surfaces such as rubber or wooden flooring and often are the leading cause of shin splints.
To minimize your chances of injury and shin splints, we recommend that you jump on softer surfaces more frequently. This will place less stress on your joints and your ropes will last much longer as well.
If you do find yourself consistently jumping on harder surfaces (like concrete or asphalt), we encourage you to keep your volume and intensity low (nothing high-impact) and look into getting yourself a good jump rope mat to jump on.
If you need one, check out our Crossrope mat and turn any surface into a jumping surface.
The surface you jump on matters. Stick to softer surfaces more often (like rubber or wood) as these surfaces will protect your joints and keep your ropes intact for longer. If you do jump on harder surfaces, make sure you keep your volume and impact low.
3. Get Good Jump Rope Shoes
Similarly, you want to make sure that you’re jumping in good shoes.
Generally, you want shoes that protect your feet from injury during exercise, act as good shock absorbers when your foot strikes the ground, keep your feet comfortable during exercise, and make you look badass when you’re training
We’ve written a full article on how to choose the best jump rope shoes so if you’re interested to see what our top recommendations are, go here:
Get shoes that offer good stability, good ankle and arch support, and sufficient cushioning in the midsole. Avoid shoes that have deep grooves, an elevated heel, or a platform. For top choices (voted by our community), read here.
4. Pay Attention to Jumping 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.
We find that beginners often face the issue of too much volume. Excitement and eagerness to learn and build new skills gets the best of them and they stop paying attention to volume. This can be troublesome because the body requires some time to get used to the new stress that jumping imposes on the joints. So make sure to start slow and build up as the body adapts.
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 fitness 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 pay attention to the signals your body is sending you (never forget tip #1).
If you’re experiencing excessive soreness from long sessions, scale it down a bit.
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. If you’re completely new to jumping, don’t let your excitement get the best of you. Start slow and build up your volume as your body adjusts to the new style of stress.
5. Get a Good Jump Rope Warm-up In
It’s very easy to skip the warm-up, especially if you’re in a rush to get your workout done.
But the truth is that a good warm-up is absolutely essential if you want to minimize your chances of injury and maximize your performance and results.
A short, effective jump rope warmup routine helps increase your heart rate, blood flow, body temperature, respiration and perspiration rate. It further prepares your joints for action which increases your flexibility so you can do your exercises with better form.
Fortunately, the jump rope is one of the best tools to use for your warm-up.
If you want to learn more about how to structure your jump rope warmup, we’ve got both a beginner and advanced warmup routine to show you here:
Always dedicate a few minutes before your workout to warm-up and get your blood flowing, muscles engaged, and your heart rate up. This is one of the most important things you can do to minimize injury and maximize performance.
6. Stretch Well, Stretch Often
Similar to warming up, a good stretch 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.
Stretching will help you minimize soreness, improve the speed of recovery between workouts, and reduce your chances of injury.
There you have it. 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.