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Skipping rope

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Skipping rope
A Ghanaian boy playing with a skipping rope
Availability16th century–
Boy jumping a long rope in Virginia
A child playing with a skipping rope in Japan

A skipping rope or jump rope is a tool used in the sport of skipping/jump rope where one or more participants jump over a rope swung so that it passes under their feet and over their heads. There are multiple subsets of skipping/jump rope, including single freestyle, single speed, pairs, three-person speed (Double Dutch), and three-person freestyle (Double Dutch freestyle).

Rope skipping is commonly performed as an exercise or recreational activity, and there are also many major organizations that support jump rope as a competitive sport. Often separated by sex and age, events include hundreds of competitive teams all around the world. In the US, schools rarely have jump rope teams, and few states have sanctioned official events at the elementary school level. In freestyle events, jumpers use a variety of basic and advanced techniques in a routine of one minute, which is judged by a head judge, content judges, and performance judges. In speed events, a jumper alternates their feet with the rope going around the jumper every time one of their feet hits the ground for 30 seconds, one minute, or three minutes. The jumper is judged on the number of times the right foot touches the ground in those times.


1800 illustration of a woman with a skipping rope

Explorers reported seeing aborigines jumping with vines in the 16th century [where?]. European boys started skipping in the early 17th century. The activity was considered indecent for girls due to concerns of them showing their ankles. Girls began skipping in the 18th century,[1] adding skipping chants, owning the rope, controlling the game, and deciding who may participate.[2]

In the United States, domination of the activity by girls emerged as their families moved into cities in the late 19th century. There, they found sidewalks and other smooth surfaces conducive to skipping, along with a high density of peers with whom to engage in the sport.[2] Educator Lucy Nulton studied the rhymes that American children chanted or sang while jumping rope in the mid-20th century.[3][4]


There are many techniques that can be used when skipping. These can be used individually or combined in a series to create a routine.

Solo participants[edit]

For solo jumping, the participant jumps and swings the rope under their feet. The timing of the swing is matched to the jump. This allows them to jump the rope and establish a rhythm more successfully. This can be contrasted with swinging the rope at the feet and jumping, which would mean they were matching the jump to the swing. This makes it harder to jump the rope and establish a rhythm.

Basic jump technique
Alternate foot jump technique
Criss-cross technique
Leg over technique

Basic jump or easy jump[edit]

Jump with both feet slightly apart over the rope. Beginners usually master this technique first before moving onto more advanced techniques.[citation needed]

Slow (double bounce)[edit]

Turn the rope slowly and jump once before jumping over the rope as in a basic jump.

Alternate foot jump (speed step)[edit]

Use alternate feet to jump off the ground. This technique can be used to effectively double the number of jumps per minute as compared to the above technique. This step can be used for speed events.[5]


Also known as crossover, cross arms, or simply a cross. Perform the basic jump whilst crossing arms in front of the body.

Side swing[edit]

The rope is passed by the side of the participant's body without jumping it.

EB (front-back cross or sailor)[edit]

Perform the criss-cross whilst crossing one arm behind the back.[citation needed]

Double under[edit]

A high basic jump, turning the rope twice under the feet. Turning the rope three times is called a triple under. In competitions, participants may attempt quadruple (quads) and quintuple under (quins) using the same method.[citation needed] The guinness world record currently belongs to Kirato Hitaka, who has managed to do 8 revolutions in one jump.[6][7]

Boxer jump[edit]

One foot is positioned slightly forward and one foot slightly back. The person positions their bodyweight primarily over their front foot, with the back foot acting as a stabiliser. From this stance, the person jumps up several times (often 2-3 times) before switching their stance, so the front foot becomes the back foot, and the back foot becomes the front foot. And so forth. An advantage of this technique is that it allows the back leg a brief rest. So while both feet are still used in the jump, a person may find they can skip for longer than if they were using the basic two-footed technique.


Perform the criss-cross with one arm crossing under the opposite leg from the inside.

Leg over / Crougar[edit]

A basic jump with one arm hooked under the adjacent leg. Doing Crougar with the non-dominant leg in the air is easier

Awesome Annie[edit]

Also known as Awesome Anna or swish. Alternates between a leg over and a toad without a jump in between.

Inverse toad[edit]

Perform the toad whilst one arm crosses the adjacent leg from the outside.[citation needed]


A cross between the inverse toad and the toad, with both arms crossing under one leg.[citation needed]

Frog or Donkey kick[edit]

The participant does a handstand, returns to their feet, and turns the rope under them. A more advanced version turns the rope during the return to the ground.[citation needed]


A triple-under where the first 'jump' is a side swing, the middle jump is a toad and the final jump in the open.

Competition techniques[edit]

Advanced competition technique
Double Dutch competition during a steel beach picnic on the ship USS Saipan (LHA-2)

In competitions, participants are required to demonstrate competence using specific techniques. The selection depends on the judging system and the country in which the tournament is held.[8]

Health effects[edit]

Skipping may be used as a cardiovascular workout, similar to jogging or bicycle riding, and has a high MET or intensity level. This aerobic exercise can achieve a "burn rate" of up to 700 to over 1,200 calories per hour of vigorous activity, with about 0.1 to nearly 1.1 calories consumed per jump, mainly depending upon the speed and intensity of jumps and leg foldings.[citation needed] Ten minutes of skipping are roughly the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile. Skipping for 16–20 minutes is enough to burn off the calories from a candy bar and is equivalent to 45–60 minutes of running, depending upon the intensity of jumps and leg swings. Many professional trainers, fitness experts, and professional fighters greatly recommend skipping for burning fat over any other alternative exercises like running and jogging.[9][10]

Weighted skipping ropes are available for such athletes to increase the difficulty and effectiveness of such exercise. Individuals or groups can participate in the exercise, and learning proper techniques is relatively simple compared to many other athletic activities. The exercise is also appropriate for a wide range of ages and fitness levels.

Skipping grew in popularity in 2020 when gyms closed or people stayed home due to coronavirus restrictions across the world.[11] These workouts can be done at home and do not require specialized equipment.



The world governing body for the sport of jump rope is the International Jump Rope Union (IJRU).[12] It is a merger of two previous rival world organizations: the International Rope Skipping Federation (FISAC-IRSF), and the World Jump Rope Federation (WJRF). There have been 11 World Championships on every alternate year by FISAC-IRSF, with the final competition being held in Shanghai, China.[13] There have been 7 World Jump Rope Championships held every year by (WJRF); the final competition taking place in Oslo, Norway.[14] Previous locations of this championship included Washington DC, Orlando, France, and Portugal. IJRU held its first World Tournament in Colorado City, Colorado in 2023 and plans to hold its second one in Kawasaki, Japan in 2025.[15]

In 2018, FISAC-IRSF and WJRF announced the merger organization IJRU.[16] IJRU has become the 10th International Federation to gain GAISF Observer status. The decision was taken by the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) Council, which met during SportAccord in Bangkok. Observer status is the first step on a clear pathway for new International Federations towards the top of the Olympic Family pyramid. Those who wish to proceed will be assisted by GAISF, leading them into full GAISF membership through the Alliance of Independent Recognised Members of Sport (AIMS), and the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations (ARISF).[16]

In 2019 the International Rope Skipping Organisation (IRSO).[17] re-emerged and reactivated its activities as governing body of Rope Skipping / Jump Rope sport. The organization is headed by Richard Cendali, who is referred to as the grandfather of the sport of jump rope.[18] IRSO had disagreements with both FISAC-IRSF and WJRF for ignoring several long-standing organizations in their merger. Various jump rope organizations that were long-standing for the development of the sport were left out of the merger of IJRU and came under IRSO under the leadership of Richard Cendali. The USA Jump Rope Federation and newly formed Asian Rope Skipping Association also joined IRSO and decided to host their World Championship in conjunction with AAU.

World Inter School[edit]

The first World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championship[19] was held at Dubai, November 2015.[20][21][22][23][24][25][excessive citations] The second World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championship was held at Eger, Hungary. The Championship was organized by World Inter School Rope Skipping Organisation (WIRSO).[26] Second, third and fourth[27] World Inter-School championships held in Hungary 2017, Hong Kong 2018 and Belgium 2019 respectively.


United States[edit]

Historically, there were two competing jump rope organizations in the United States: the International Rope Skipping Organization (IRSO), and the World Rope Skipping Federation (WRSF). IRSO focused on stunt-oriented and gymnastic/athletic type moves, while WRSF appreciated the aesthetics and form of the exercise. In 1995, these two organizations merged to form the United States Amateur Jump Rope Federation which is today now known as USA Jump Rope (USAJR).USAJR has hosted annual national tournaments, as well as camps, workshops, and clinics on instruction since 1995. Jump rope is also part of the Amateur Athletic Union and participates in their annual AAU Junior Olympic Games.[28] More recently, the American Jump Rope Federation was founded in 2016 by previous members of WJRF. It is recognized as the official governing body for the sport of jump rope in the United States by IJRU.[29]

The National Collegiate Jump Rope Association was formed in 2019 by a group of students.[30]

Types of jump ropes[edit]

Speed jump ropes are made from a thin vinyl cord or wire and are primarily used for speed jumping or double unders. They are best for indoor use, because they will wear down fast on concrete or other harsh surfaces. Licorice jump ropes are also made from vinyl cord or PVC and are primarily used for freestyle jumping. The beaded ropes make rhythmic jumping very easy, because the jumper can hear the beads hitting the ground and strive for a rhythmic pattern. Leather jump ropes are thicker and is less likely to tangle or wear down with outdoor use.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert-Shaw, Scott. "The History of Skipping". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b "The Jump Rope Book". HistoricalFolkToys.com. 1996. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Children Create Own Folklore in Jump Rope Rhymes". The News and Observer. 16 May 1948. p. 43. Retrieved 16 March 2024 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Nulton, Lucy (1948). "Jump Rope Rhymes as Folk Literature". The Journal of American Folklore. 61 (239): 53–67. doi:10.2307/536973. ISSN 0021-8715.
  5. ^ "3 Methods for Increasing Your Speed Skipping Scores". Elite SRS. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Most revolutions in a single skip - rope skipping". guinnessworldrecords.com. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Japanese teenager leaps into record books with impressive jump rope feat". NBC Boston. 19 July 2023. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  8. ^ "Rule Books". IJRU. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  9. ^ Gina Shaw. "Jump Rope Workouts". WebMD. Retrieved 16 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Jumping rope has physical and mental benefits. Here's how to do it safely and effectively". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  11. ^ "Why The Jump Rope Workout Is Everyone's New Fitness Obsession This Quarantine".
  12. ^ "IJRU". IJRU. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  13. ^ "WC 2018". FISAC-IRSF. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  14. ^ "2019 World Jump Rope Championship & Camp". IJRU. 3 July 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  15. ^ "IJRU 2023 WC". IJRU. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  16. ^ a b "Media Content". IJRU. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  17. ^ "Home – International Rope Skipping Organisation". ropeskippingsport.org. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Richard Cendali Interview – International Rope Skipping Organisation". 19 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Video of the Week — Chinese Student Displays Insane Skill at World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championships". 16 June 2021.
  20. ^ Goedemé, Source: Promotime/Maarten (12 December 2015). "Schoolboy breaks 30 second skipping world record – video". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  21. ^ "11-year-old student sets two rope skipping world records". ITV News. 13 December 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  22. ^ "On the ropes: Hong Kong skipping champ felled by mainlander, 11, vows revenge". South China Morning Post. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  23. ^ Webster, Nick (28 November 2015). "UAE pupils skip to keep fit and win". The National. Retrieved 17 February 2023.
  24. ^ "World Inter School Rope Skipping Championship 2015 witness Cecilian Prowess". www.cecilia.in. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  25. ^ "UAE pupils skip to keep fit and win". 28 November 2015."Wirso-hk – 2nd World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championship Eger". 28 April 2017.
  26. ^ "Home – WIRSO". interschoolropeskipping.org. 13 January 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  27. ^ "4th World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championships" (PDF).
  28. ^ "AAU Jump Rope Home". Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  29. ^ "Home". American Jump Rope Federation. Retrieved 7 July 2022.
  30. ^ "About". NCJRA. Retrieved 24 April 2024.

Further reading[edit]

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