Why Triathletes should pick up a Skipping Rope to help with running

Karen Parnell May 17, 2022


If you can’t get outside for your regular runs then using a skipping rope or jump rope is a great alternative and does not need much space to do.

I was talking to a friend last week and she said she was struggling to get her run training done due to the heat of Dubai and the treadmill running she was able to do was not reaping the gains that she expected. We discussed a few options and one of them was adding in skipping or jump rope training. She said she loved skipping rope so chose this option as a way forward.

Jumping rope will primarily work your calves, glutes and quads, but as an added benefit your shoulders, chest, back and triceps will assist in constantly turning the rope so these muscles will also be active and engaged. According to the International Sports Conditioning Association, or ISCA, jumping rope will improve your speed, agility, power, endurance, balance and coordination, all of which are relevant while running.

Skipping is a plyometric activity. Plyometrics, or jump training, is a type of exercise training that uses the speed and force of different movements to build muscle power. Plyometric training helps you run faster and develop more power because you are training your anaerobic system, increasing your cardiovascular fitness, and building strength more efficiently than you would with bodyweight exercises.

The fast footwork in jumping rope can improve your running performance and if you are a distance runner you can benefit from the posture work that jumping rope creates. As a runner you should never run while hunched over or with rounded shoulders as this is inefficient. Jumping rope requires a long, straight spine, which can translate to your running motion and improved running technique.

While jumping rope is a weight-bearing activity, it provides far less impact than jogging or sprinting, allowing your muscles and joints to bear less intensity on the days that you don't run on the treadmill, road and trails. If skipping is still too much impact for you are your stage of training you could try water running.

A study by Brigham Young University found that jumping 10 to 20 times a day with 30 seconds of breaks in between jumps significantly improved hip bone mass density (BMD) in women age 25 to 50 after 16 weeks.

 Jumping rope can help with:

 ·       Your general posture by opening up your chest automatically

·        Work the muscles used during running like calves, glutes and quads

·        Improves your speed, agility, power, endurance, balance and coordination

·        Jumping on two feet reduces the impact by half that of running

·        Studies have show that Jumping improves bone density

·        Jumping aids in the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which further enhances spacial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory and makes you more mentally alert

Jumping rope is also not very expensive and you can use washing line or standard rope and even if you buy one it wont  break the bank with a decent rope being under 20€.

Smart Rope with Bluetooth

As I was talking to my friend I remembered that I bought two Tangram Bluetooth Smart skipping ropes on a Kickstarter campaign and never used them. It was quite a while ago so I thought they may not charge up (they have a rechargeable battery) and also there may not be a valid App any more. To my surprise not only did they charge but there was also a supported App!

The photo below shows the Smart Rope and new App on my iPad. They support Android and Apple devices. The App has interval workouts for various levels from beginner to expert level 9. It records jumps, time, calories and shows your jumping history. You can connect with friends and complete challenges and competitions. This can give more structure to your workouts and add motivation. It does not connect to Apps like Strava, Garmin Connect etc but when I contacted their support team they said they would let their development team know this would be good for athletes and coaches.

Smart Rope and App for tracking your rope training

Another new smart rope has been launched by RENPHO. RENPHO's technology has been scientifically proven to accurately measure fitness performance across multiple parameters including calories burned, jump count, pace kept, total exercise time, average time per exercise, number of sets completed, and more. It comes with a comprehensive training App to help you get started and track your progress and also offers follow along training sessions.

Here’s an example workout you can try. Don’t worry if you don’t complete the full workout (5 rounds) first time as jumping rope is tough! Just do as many rounds as you can and work up to 5.

Jump / Skipping Rope Example Workout

Time: 27.5 minutes


Skipping rope / jump rope


5 min dynamic stretches.


·        Standard jumps - 20 seconds

·        Rest - 10 seconds

·        Right foot hops - 20 seconds

·        Rest - 10 seconds

·        Left foot hops - 20 seconds

·        Rest - 10 seconds

·        High knee jumps - 20 seconds

·        Rest - 10 seconds

·        Standard jumps - 20 seconds

·        Rest - 10 seconds

·        Rest one minute.

Repeat the circuit five times


5 min static stretches.

Training Hack

Take a jump / skipping rope with you to work, on holiday or business and even if you can’t get outside you can always do your scheduled “run” workout.

During lockdown I added skipping as an alternative to running in some of my training plans. Here's an example training plan if you wanted skipping as an option.


Get in touch if you would like more information about my training plans and 121 coaching.


#triathlon #running #chilitri #skippingrope #jumprope #triathlontraining #triathloncoach

Karen Parnell is a Level 3 British Triathlon and IRONMAN Certified Coach, NASM Personal Trainer and Sports Technology Writer.