After teaching rope jumping for nearly 15 years we’ve learned a thing or two about what helps folks become more successful jumpers. In fact we learn way more from our students than they do from us! We’re lucky that way.
While it’s difficult—and probably foolish—to point to any one factor as the key to becoming a better jumper, there’s no doubt that learning to turn your rope primarily with your wrist—as opposed to with your shoulders or elbows—is a big deal and is worth practicing….a lot!
The wrist should serve as the axis of rotation for the rope. Turning the rope with your wrist is simply more efficient. It helps reduce fatigue in the shoulders and elbows and generally improves timing because it eliminates precious wasted milliseconds. Turning your rope primarily with your elbows or shoulders takes more time. It also generally causes your rope to hit way too far in front of the body which results in lots of nasty marks on your shins not to mention pain!
But if you struggle to turn your rope with your wrist how do you get better at it? Well you could practice any movement that improves wrist mobility and dexterity such as air guitar, screwing in light bulbs, and using an old fashioned pencil sharpener. But do you really want to spend time doing those things? Okay, maybe it’s an enthusiastic YES for air guitar!
But to get good quickly, consider the wrist trainer, a simple tool we invented years ago and that we’ve been using in our double unders seminars with good results. The wrist trainer is half a jump rope trimmed so that it won’t drag on the ground when you spin it. A silicone cap covers the exposed end of the rope.
The best way to use a wrist trainer is to place a piece of tape on the ground (chalk works too) about a foot away from where you’re standing. The tape should be parallel to your feet. Grip the wrist trainer with your thumb on top and don’t choke up too much. Consider starting your practice with your non-dominant hand. Spin the wrist trainer forward, concentrating on using only your wrist to propel it. If this is difficult for you, take your opposite hand, grab the bicep of the “spinning side” and lock that arm to your side, preventing motion from occurring at the elbow or shoulder. The video below should help. Of course you can also practice with your dominant hand. The main thing is to achieve some balance and symmetry so that both hands contribute equally to a successful turn of the rope.
Wrist trainers are available in 8 colors in the Punk Rope shop for $6.99.