Rope Skipping: Hype or Sport

In the beginning of August 1998 I was asked to write an article about Rope Skipping. Ernst Hart, editor of the Dutch magazine 'KVLO' for teachers Physical Education saw the words 'rope skipping' more and more the last years, that he became interested. And since he knew my name from the past and my connection to both Rope Skipping, as well as being a teacher PE, an E-mail was send, answered and an appointment was made. His question was easy: 'Would you like to write an article about Rope Skipping?'. And he supplied: 'With connection to primary school (6 to 12 years) and high school (12 to 18 years)?!'. 'No!', would have been the most practical answer, but it turned out to be 'Yes.'. The first draw was set for November 1998. In my head all kind of things, ideas and sessions were growing. My palm-top was a useful friend and the final results are as of now available to you.

The first question occurring to me was: 'Why does one have to legitimate everything one does outside or inside?!' Why is there this urgent need for analysing and deducing the movements and motivations of a persons motion to it's last components.

In July 1995 I was connected to Rope Skipping by visiting the European Championships and EU-Rope-Skip (Camp) in Sweden. Immediately I was passionised by all the (im)possibilities of the 'rope'. Some Americans and Canadians are talking about Jump Rope. My housemates and me were introduced to Sweden where we met Belgian, Danish and Swedish male and female skippers who effortlessly demonstrated their Arts in single rope, as well as in double dutch. Being gymnast, volleyball player, teacher PE and sports-lover, I immediately was in love with the simplicity, as well as complexity and by teamsport, as well as individuality. For a whole week I let the ropes torture me, both physically and mentally, and was brought down to my knees. At the end of the week I had become one of them, we went back home and we started within the KNGU (= Royal Dutch Gymnastics Union) with practising, grounding a demonstration-team, giving workshops and performances and the production of materials (ropes, video's, newsletters, etc., etc.). Almost the same time I started teaching Rope Skipping in my schools and club with the ropes I had taken with me from Sweden, to test me, the Sport and my kids / students.

Although the motivation amongst kids under 12 years is higher that amongst 13 and up, I often heard the question: 'When are we going to do double dutch again?!'.

This might seem an overwhelming way to answer the legitimisation, but I hope I have shown you the intrinsic motivation to practice rope skipping from within the skipper.

Leaves me now with the theoretical legitimisation. The anatomical/physiological part I duplicated from an assignment paper TSO of the Belgian rope skipper Maarten Goedeme:

Jump: By Maarten Goedeme ©

History, skills, different subjects of Rope Skipping, physiological basics, practice-strategies and workouts.

Assignment paper TSO PE and Sport 1996

Chapter 4: The physiological basics of Rope Skipping

Rope Skipping is being practised since centuries in whole the world.


In comparison with other sports relatively few is known about the influence of Rope Skipping to one condition. The more there is quite a large number of studies done which proof the positive influence of Rope Skipping.

One of the first questions was to look for the influence Rope Skipping has to the airways as well as the condition of the heart and bloodtransportationsystem.

If someone skips for 3 days a week 15 to 30 minutes a day, does this influence the heart, lungs and muscles?

In 1996 John Baker proofed the equivalent of someone skipping 10 minutes a day to someone who runs 30 minutes a day. The sales of ropes increased enormously.

Unfortunately later research proofed there are negative effects for Rope Skipping as well. It can also bring damage the body. It also showed that basic Rope Skipping is equivalent to one kilometre running in 5.5 minutes or one minute cycling with an average speed of 22 km/h.. This energy-system is to easy for those who are fit and to demanding for those who are in poor shape.

Further research also showed that skipping 130 jumps a minute is not improving the reduction of energy-usage, because one has to jump higher and turn slower to keep the rhythm. This shows why a large number of people think Rope Skipping is demanding.

This gives us the first problem: How to introduce Rope Skipping to people who are not trained? Because with running you can begin with introducing walking, then jogging en finally running faster and faster.

Second problem: Rope Skipping is too demanding for beginners and too easy for experienced athletes.

But the moment a little acceleration occurs or the difficulty increases it will become tougher. If you jump with two feet together, the needed energy increases by 6%, but running takes 12%. Crossing pour arms brings 31%. With double unders (the rope passes the body underneath within one jump) and triples (3 times) there is of course a need for much more energy. With a complete (competition) freestyle routine this increases drastically.

Rope Skipping is an anaerobe activity the minute one starts performing doubles. Triples for sure are an anaerobe activity because the aerobe metabolism can't bring the amount of energy needed in such short time. The anaerobe metabolism can, but only for a relatively short period, about 2 minutes.

Anaerobe practice is for Speed-athletes very important, like for most athletes, because it makes 'powerbursts' possible. This also accounts for boxers, football-, basketball- and soccer-players, etc..

So anaerobe-exercises are important to all sports which need long-term power-suppliant. But of course rope skippers need to practice aerobe as well.

Techniques like quadruples (4) and quintuples (5) are most likely examples for anaerobe types of exercise. But even the anaerobe system can't supply the need for energy. These techniques extract their energy also from the creatine-phosphate-system. Unfortunately these energy-reserves are emptied very fast. This is comparable to 100 meter-sprint-athletes and weightlifters.

A study suggests the equivalent in power-type for Rope Skipping to the vertical jump which is being needed for volleyball as well as basketball.

A comparison with tennis shows us the difference and connection between the 3 systems, the aerobe system, the anaerobe system and the creatine-phosphate-system:

creatine-phosphate-system: power, to hit the ball hard during service

anaerobe system: fast played game

aerobe system: needed to go backwards

Rope Skipping is a continuous combination of these three systems because of the complexity of the jumps, the endurance and the speed which need to be demonstrated performing. A practise that is made to the personal progression or competition will have to take these systems in consideration and introduce them all during practise.

For those of you who can't extract the needed motivation in the previous text here for the last time: 'Why should Rope Skipping be a part of the P.E.-program?'

It must have come to your attention that numerous sports have been using the rope as a conditioning prop. At a relatively small area condition, co-ordination, as well as footwork and mentality can be trained. All these items are basic skills for many, perhaps even all sports. Rope Skipping has evolved from out these basics to a Sport with unlimited possibilities. Adding music even allows introducing Rope Skipping in to the discipline of moving to / with music within the lessons PE.

With all previous in mind, the adult behaviour of students of 13 and above, the class-enlargement (30 and above) and the university in movement in PE, I give some teaching-suggestions for primary school (6 to 12 years) and High school (13 and up). The whole can be seen as a red line that goes all the way from the age of 6 to 18. Of course lessons ca be tough separately and in higher or lower age-groups.

Have fun!!

Eric Herber


Brediusweg 15

1401 AA Bussum.

Tel.: +31 - 35 69 70 130

Fax: +31 - 35 69 404 97


First this:

Because of the origin of Rope Skipping is in the United States of America and contact with coaches and skippers from all over the world is on a very regular basis, the KNGU-PGRS has decided to stick to the English terminology.

How can be shown systematically in which group / class what has to be taught / mastered. The following shows such possibility.

12 and under 13 and over
-6 7-8 9-10 11-12 13-14 15-16 17+
I Single Rope
II Combo's
III (Group)Routines
IV (Group)Routines to music
V Starting with Long Rope ending with Double Dutch
Long Rope
Double Dutch
VI Chinese Wheels

The exercises' or teaching-methods' constructions allow looking back or forward at all times.

I Single Rope: all agegroups

Target: To look at and perform some (repeated) skills.



1. Basic Jump:

just a basic jump, nothing fancy


2. Double side swing:

swing your rope along one side of your body, holding two hands on the same side. If this is the left side, make sure your right hand is on top.

In the single side swing jump you only perform it on one side, in the double side swing you go from a side swing on the left directly to a side swing on the right

3. Single side swing:

see 2.

4. Side straddle:

Open your legs to the side when jumping over the rope and close them again in your next jump.

5. Forward straddle:

Open your legs to the front when jumping over the rope and close them again in your next jump.

6. Criss cross:

Cross your arms (put your left hand on your right side and put your right hand on your left side) and then open arms again after you jumped over your rope in the crossed position.

7. Side swing Criss cross:

Perform the side-swing on your left side, then keep your right hand on your left side and bring your left hand over to your right side and jump over the rope: you're in the criss cross right now.

8. Double bounce:

One rotation of the rope with two basic jumps.


9. Skier:

Jump from the left to the right and back, keeping your feet together.

10. Bell:

Jump from the front to the back, keeping your feet together.

11. High knee:

Jump up lifting your foot and the next time you jump over the rope your foot touches the ground next to your other foot.

12. Speed step:

'Running' inside the rope without going forward.


13. 180 turn to the back:

Swing your rope to your left side and at the same time walk to the back following your rope. Once you're standing backwards you can bring your hands to the side again and you're jumping backwards.

14. 180 turn to the front:

The jump to the front is kind of the same: when jumping backwards you get your hands together when they're in front of you and make a half turn again. When arrived at the front open your arms again (they're going down now) and jump over the rope.

15: 360 turn:

A direct combination of 13 and 14.

++. Backwards:

Everything that has been practised forward can also be performed backwards!!!!

++. Additional:

These additional exercises mostly can be can taught to the 9-10 age-group.

Exercises with pairs in one rope.

Use 10'' (= 2m90) ropes for these exercises.

1. Together in the rope

. Turn the body towards the outside and switch grips from one hand to the other.

. Jumping in and out of the rope (alternating no. 1 and no. 2)

. criss cross: no. 1 exits the rope, taking the handle closest to no. 2, at 'go' no. 2 crosses the arms in front of the body while no. 1 crosses his hand(le) in front of no. 2's body.


16. The X:

Jump into a side straddle (legs opened to the side) then close them, but cross your right leg over your left one. Jump back into the side straddle and then cross your legs again, but put your other leg in front.

17. Wounded duck

Jump letting your knees and toes point to each other. On the next jump place your heels together and let your knees and toes point to the outside.

18. Peek - a - boo:

Touch the floor on your right side with your toe and then place your feed back together. Do the same thing with your left toe, close again and repeat this.

19. Double peek - a - boo:

The same jump as the peek-a-boo but do it without performing a basic jump between the left and the right side.

20. Toe to toe:

Jump over your rope and let your right toe touch the ground in your back, keep your to over there and jump over the rope again, then your feet again and repeat this with your other foot.

21. Heel to heel:

Same as toe to toe but jump touching the ground in front of you with your heel.

22. Heel to toe:

Jump touching the ground in front of you with your heel and right after that touch the ground in your back with your toe (same foot).


23. High knee cross over:

Jump up lifting your right leg and the next time you jump over the rope your right leg touches the ground next to your left leg (on the left side of it).

24. Rocker:

25. Wallow:

26. WW-kick:

Swing your right foot in the air (after jumping over the rope) and then jump up from left foot, letting both feet touch in the air.

27. Mad Dog:

A direct combination of 13 and 14, but not continuing the turn to 180 + 180 = 360, but going clockwise 180 and directly 180 counter-clockwise.


28. E.B. cross:

Basic jump, but with one hand / arm behind your back.

++. Additional:

There are more skills like 'Frog', 'Toad', 'Push-up' and 'Caboose Cross', which are relatively easy to be mastered, but are difficult to be described. These skills are shown on the video 'Updated Visual Skilllist', which can be ordered at the author. This video also contains skills in wheels and double dutch. Another video ('Introduction to Rope Skipping') shows even more like 'Traveller' and 'Around the world'.


No. 1 has the 10'' rope in both hands.

No. 2 jumps the same speed and paces at his spot.

No. 1 jumps next to no. 2 and moves behind no. 2 so they jump together in the rope. The next jump no. 1 is next to no. 2 again, but on the other side.

Also: * No. 2 moves towards no. 1

* No. 1 in front of no. 2

* With pairs, 3, 4, etc.

II Combo's (11 and over)

Target 1: Going from one skill to another or making a different or more difficult skill.

Target 2: Making a combination of 6 (11-12 years) up to 20 (17+) (different) skills in a routine with a smooth flow.


11-12 Perform 6 different skills

13-14 Perform (within 15 seconds maximum) 10 different skills; forwards is different from backwards.

15-16 Perform (within 20 seconds maximum) 15 different skills. (Writing them out up front.)

17+ Perform (within 30 seconds maximum) 20 different skills and writing them out up front.

III (Group)Routines >> Compulsory (11-12 as far as 17+)

Target 1: Perform with a group (2 or more persons) a routine.

Target 2: Perform with a group (2 or more persons) a routine that has been self-choreographed.


11-12 4x Double Side Swing

8x Basic-Jump

4x Skiër

2x 'Hinkel': 2 x left, 2 x right

4x Side Straddle

13-14 8x Basic Jump

4x Skiër

4x Side Straddle

4x Bell (Start forward)

2x X (R over L first)

1x Heel to Heel R

1x Heel to Heel L

15-16 heel to heel R

heel to heel L

toe to toe R

toe to toe L

heel to toe R

heel to toe L

heel R, toe R (touches in front of L foot)

heel L, toe L ( touches in front of R foot)

rock L-R-L , kicking R foot to R side + double bounce

rock R-L-R , kicking L foot to L side + double bounce

WW kick R

WW kick L

17+ As 15-16, but added with:

basic , mad dog R

basic , 360 R

high knee L cross over R

high knee R cross over L

basic , mad dog L

basic , 360 L

high knee L cross over R

high knee R cross over L

heel to toe R 2x

slide to the right 4x

heel to toe L 2x

slide to the left 4x

IV (Group)Routines to music (11-12 as far as 17+)

Sub-target 1: Being able jumping to music (9-10 as far as 17+)

Sub-target 2: Being able jumping a routine to music (11-12)

Target: Finding suitable music, analysing it, making a routine to it and performing it. (15 and over)


In fact almost every 'danceable' music is suitable for Rope Skipping. Mostly music which is used for aerobics is being used for Rope Skipping, but in every hit-list there are suitable numbers. Here are some older numbers with their performing artists to give a bit of an idea. Also the BPM (= Beats Per Minute) is being given; this gives an indication.

Routine (100 - 170 BPM)

'So in love with you' Duke 3:56

'La cucamarcha' TNN 3:54

'Cotton eyed Joe' Rednex 3:12

'Old pop in an oak' Rednex 3:31

Free skipping (120 - 180 BPM)

'Knockin'' Double Vision 3:28

Speed (160 - 210 BPM)

'I wanna be a hippy' Technohead 3:17

Chinese Wheels (this is delt with later on)

Go on Move '94 Reel 2 Real 4:12

11-12 So in love with you: Duke

2 x 8 beats first

1 - 4 Double Side Swing

5 - 8 Repeat

1 - 8 Basic-Jump

1 - 8 Skiër

1 - 8 'Hinkel': 2 x left, 2 x right

1 - 8 Side Straddle

1 - 4 Basic Jump, Basic Jump, Criss Cross, Basic Jump

5 - 8 Repeat

1 - 8 Forward Straddle

1 - 8 High Knee

13-14 La Cucamarcha: TNN

4 x 8 beats first

1 - 8 : Basic Jump

1 - 8 : Skiër (Start left)

1 - 8 : Side Straddle

1 - 8 : Bell (Start forward)

1 - 8 : X (R over L first)

1 - 2 : Heel to Heel R

3 - 4 : Heel to Heel L

5 - 8 : Repeat

1 - 2 : Toe to Toe R

3 - 4 : Toe to Toe L

5 - 8 : Repeat

1 - 2 : Heel to Toe R

3 - 4 : Heel to Toe L

5 - 8 : Repeat

15-16 Cotton eyed Joe: Rednex

1 - 2 : heel to heel R

3 - 4 : heel to heel L

5 - 6 : toe to toe R

7 - 8 : toe to toe L

1 - 2 : heel to toe R

3 - 4 : heel to toe L

5 : heel R

6 : toe R , touches in front of L foot

7 : heel L

8 : toe L , touches in front of R foot

1 - 4 : rock L-R-L , kicking R foot to R side + double bounce

5 - 8 : rock R-L-R , kicking L foot to L side + double bounce

1 - 2 : WW kick R

3 - 4 : WW kick L

5 - 8 : repeat

1 - 4 : basic , mad dog R

5 - 8 : basic , 360 R

1 - 4 : high knee L cross over R

5 - 8 : high knee R cross over L

1 - 4 : basic , mad dog L

5 - 8 : basic , 360 L

1 - 4 : high knee L cross over R

5 - 8 : high knee R cross over L

1 - 4 : heel to toe R 2x

5 - 8 : slide to the right 4x

1 - 4 : heel to toe L 2x

5 - 8 : slide to the left 4x

1 - 2 : jog R forward, jog L forward

3 - 4 : double bounce R

5 - 6 : jog L forward, jog R forward

7 - 8 : double bounce L

1 - 8 : repeat backwards

1 - 2 : basic jump 2x

3 - 4 : criss cross 2x

5 - 6 : basic jump 2x

7 : criss cross

8 : basic jump

1 : side swing R

2 : basic jump

3 : side swing L

4 : basic jump

5 - 8 : repeat

1 - 2 : side straddle

3 - 4 : forward straddle R

5 - 6 : forward straddle L

7 - 8 : side straddle

1 - 2 : double side swing R-L

3 - 4 : basic jump 2x

5 - 8 : repeat

Start all over untill the jogpart; after the backward jogs you catch the rope with your feet and bow.

V From Long Rope to Double Dutch: 6 and under to 17 and over

Sub-target 1a: Errorless entering Long Rope from the 'wrong' side.

Sub-target 1b: Errorless turning of the Long Rope (adjusting to the jumper).

Sub-target 2a: Errorless entering in Double Dutch.

Sub-target 2b: Errorless turning of Double Dutch (adjusting to the jumper).

Sub-target 3: Multiple jumpers inside the Double Dutch and / or performing various skills by jumper(s) (and turner(s)).

Target: With 3 or more making a routine with everyone involved in both turning and jumping.

Before starting:

Learning entering and exiting the rope.

a) Verbal explanation

- The way of turning: alternating left and right arm turning inwards (hands describing a circle) (important: DON'T cross over the arms / hands!)

- Entering: over the rope closest to the turner

Exiting: diagonally exiting the furthest rope (is the same rope as is being entered)

b) Teaching

Exercise 1: with turning one rope, jumper is left from the turner, turner turns the rope with the left hand inwards

- Jumper jumps over the rope as it hits the floor (= entrance) and jumps out the next time the rope hits the floor (= exit).

Verbal accompanied:

"In and out"

"and" is a 'false' jump (= without the rope passing under the jumper) just 'waiting' for the rope to come down again.

Exercise 2: with turning two ropes.

Just looking to the nearest rope, jumping as exercise 1 (entrance) and on "and" jumping over the second rope in stead of a 'false' jump and on "out" jumping again over the first rope.

The whole cycle exists of three jumps:

1) Entrance

2) Jump over the second rope

3) Exit

This can be practised with all kids in one line and two turners.


7/8 'Long Rope' only:

* Turning

* Jumping with 'non-moving' jumper inside the rope.

* Jumping with entrance (= with the rope).

9/10 Long Rope:

* "Noortje".

* "Shadow" (= following each other).

* "Clockwork".

11/12 Long Rope:

* Taking over turner without stalling the rope. (With and without jumper.)

* With multiple jumpers inside the rope.

* Entrance at the 'wrong' side (= against the ropes directon).

Double Dutch:

* Turning.

* Entering with at least one (!) good turner.

13/14 Double Dutch:

* Entrance and exit.

* Multiple jumpers inside the ropes.

* With single rope inside double dutch.

15/16 Double Dutch:

* Taking over turner without stalling the rope. (With and without jumper(s).)

17 + Double Dutch:

* Routine with group of 3 or 4.

++. Additional:

Additional structures to be practised from 11/12 are 'umbrella' and 'square' with long ropes or 16'' ropes.

In Double Dutch Single Ropes can be added, but also all kind of transitions and switches of turners and jumpers.

VI Chinese Wheels: 9/10 up to 17+

Subtarget 1: Turning the ropes without jumping them.

Subtarget 2: Basicjump as a couple.

Endtarget / Goal 1: Different skills as a couple.

Endtarget / Goal 2: Jumping with 3 or more in wheels.

Before starting:

Turning Chinese Wheels is very difficult. Not only are the arms turning half a phase after from eachother, also the different arms have to serve their own and the other body. This creates a complexity of turning and (not) jumping.

Teaching turning and jumping

. Ways of turning: following half a phase after eachother turning the right and the left rope.

. Don't start to fast with the jumping.

. Don't speed up.

. See what color rope belongs to you.

b) Teaching

. Exercise 1: turning ropes and jumping

In the first phase one stands in the middle. The others are standing on both sides. Both hands are holding a rope. Each rope is then hold by the others who are standing at the side. Three people are using two ropes.

. The next phase has the middle person turning the ropes half a phase after eachother in motion continuoisly. The persons at the side are turning their rope in the right speed and pase.

. When this is done without any problem phase three can be done. During turning the person in the middle starts jumping the ropes; each time a rope hits the floor the jumper has to be in the air to let the rope pass 'virtually' under him.

. Exercise 2: turning and jumping with two persons

We now also have three phases. In the first phase two persons are holding eachothers rope while standing next to eachother. It is wise to use two different coloured ropes. This way communication with orange and white rope is possible. This means each person has his own colour.

. In the second phase the ropes get in motion without jumping. The right and the left person start their right hand first and start the white rope first. Almost immedeately the left hands follow, so bringing the orange rope in motion. When the white rope is up, the orange rope is down. When the white rope is in front, the orange rope is at the back. When both ropes are in front of both persons feet, the motion is performed backwards.

. Now phase three is performed. Just before the rope hits the floor, the turner jumps over his / her rope. This is done for one complete rotation; so both person jump once.

. Chinese Wheels is a fact. There is no stopping after one jump, so the jumpers jump continouisly and are ready to perform tricks in wheels.


9-10 * Timing.

* Basic jumping.

11-12 * Inside Turn.

* Switches.

13-14 * Criss-Cross.

* 3-wheel.

* 4-wheel.

* Outside Turn.

* Backwards.

15+ * Toad.

* EB.

* Changing speed.

++. Additional:

It is also possible to perform turns and switches in 3- and more-person-wheels.

Also travellar in wheels can be done.