What is Rope Skipping?
Jump rope (American English) or Skipping rope (British English) is the primary tool used in the game of skipping played by children and many young adults, where one or more participants jump over a rope swung so that it passes under their feet and over their heads. This may consist of one participant turning and jumping the rope, or a minimum of three participants taking turns, two of whom turn the rope while one or more jumps. This is called long rope. Sometimes the latter is played with two turning ropes; this form of the activity is called Double Dutch and is significantly more difficult. Jump-rope rhymes are often chanted beginning when the skipper jumps in and ending when the skipper is tripped up.
In contrast to running, jumping rope is unlikely to lead to knee damage since the impact of each jump or step is absorbed by the balls of both feet rather than the heels. This decreases the ground reaction forces through the patella-femoral joint greatly. Jumping rope also helps strengthen the arms and shoulders. This combination of an aerobic workout and coordination-building footwork has made jumping rope a popular form of exercise for athletes, especially boxers and wrestlers. Individuals or groups can participate in the exercise, and learning proper jump rope technique is simple compared to many other athletic activities. The exercise is also appropriate for a wide range of ages and fitness levels. Jumping rope is particularly effective in an aerobic routine combined with other activities, such as walking, cycling, or running.
The exact origin of jumping rope is unclear; however, jump rope dates back all the way to the Egyptians and aborigines of Australia. The first jump ropes are said to be made of bamboo and vines found in jungles. Jumping along with these items led to what is today referred to as jump roping. Some say it originated in China, while Western versions are said to have originated around 1600 B.C. in Egypt. The first real evidence of jump rope as an activity is seen in medieval paintings. Children rolled hoops and jumped were some of the first to jump rope in America which brought about the variation of jump rope called “Double Dutch.” In the 1940s and 1950’s jump rope became the game of choice for inner city children because any one could play and it only required a rope. The 1970s brought an increased interest to jump rope as a way to achieve physical fitness and health. Since then, jump rope events and programs have emerged and jumping rope has become part of many different exercise training regimens.
Jump rope is an organized competitive sport, though most people who live in an area without a team may not be aware of this. Athletes compete in individual and team events using single ropes or double Dutch. In freestyle routines, jumpers have a set time limit to demonstrate a combination of skills in four categories- footwork, strength, multiple unders and rope manipulations; in many competitions these are choreographed to music. During the speed events, athletes try to complete as many jumps as possible within a particular amount of time. For example, the world record for 30 second speed is 200 jumps, set by Jolien Kempeneer. The FISAC-IRSF World Jump Rope Championships are held in July every other year. In 2006 Toronto, Canada hosted the event and in 2008 it was held in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2010, it was in London, England. The 4th Asian Rope Skipping Championship was held on 9 February 2007 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi, India, organized by the Rope Skipping Federation of India. Jump rope exhibitions are also frequently staged at events such as festivals, charity functions, and sporting half-time shows.
In the United States, the main jump rope organization is USA Jump Rope (USAJR). USAJR is composed of hundreds of jump roping teams and hundreds of jumpers from all over the country. These teams attend workshops, training camps, perform for the public, and compete against each other throughout the year. USA Jump Rope sponsors various regional competitions and a national competition at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida every June. In 2009 the Competition was held in Galveston, Texas and will be held there until 2012, when it will move to Long Beach, CA. USA Jump Rope Nationals is broadcast by Fox Sports Net annually. Competing teams consist of athletes of all ages, but are most commonly graduate school to high school-aged individuals.
Historically in the United States there were two competing jump rope organizations: the International Rope Skipping Organization (IRSO), and the World Rope Skipping Federation (WRSF). IRSO focused on stunt-oriented and gymnastic/athletic type jump rope moves, while the WRSF appreciated the aesthetics and form of jump roping. In 1995 these two organizations merged to form The United States Amateur Jump Rope Federation (USAJRF), which was recently renamed USA Jump Rope to fit the trend of other Olympic and Olympic-hopeful sports.