Jumping rope has to be one of the most deceptive forms of exercise. While it looks simple, it’s a challenging cardio workout, especially if you use a weighted jump rope, which adds resistance and increases the rope velocity. It takes a bit of time to work up the conditioning and coordination to jump effectively for an extended length of time, and Lifeline’s Heavy-Weighted Speed Rope is a good option for beginners. The weight of the rope seems just right, and it spins smoothly for an efficient workout. Plus, this is a convenient product because you can adjust the rope length easily without taking the product apart. And, last but not least, this jump rope is not very expensive, so you can give this kind of exercise a spin without making a great investment.
When we first started using weighted jump ropes, we found that ropes weighing more than a pound offered resistance and velocity that was too intense. However, the Heavy-Weighted Speed Rope weighs just 0.75 pounds, so it provides some speed and resistance without being overwhelming.
The rope is actually plastic tubing, which is soft but durable, and has a very smooth action. The easy rotation of the rope is due in part to ball bearings in the handles that allow the tubing and the handles to move freely. As for the handles, their shape is simple -- just round tubes made of plastic, with no ergonomic form to them. Despite that, we felt that they were comfortable enough, and kept in mind that this jump rope costs half as much as those with more sophisticated handle shapes.
One advantage of this jump rope is that the cord is widely adjustable, and it is easy to fix to the appropriate length. While it takes a few minutes and a little trial and error to determine the right length, you don’t have to disassemble the product, as is required with some low-cost models made with plastic beads.
To set the length of the cord, you merely adjust a plastic flange at each end of the cord. Basically, these flanges sit inside the handles and act as stoppers, allowing a certain amount of cord to slip through the handle to be used while jumping. You can slide each flange to any position on the cord, and then slide a sleeve over it to lock it into place. Once you have locked each flange, you can then jump a few times to see if you have the right length for jumping comfortably. (Ideally, the rope should not touch the ground when jumping.) If not, adjust the flanges as necessary. Overall, we found that this is a pretty quick process, and not really difficult.
Once everything is adjusted, you can cut the leftover cord tails that stick out the end of the handles, or simply tuck the extra cord into the handles.
To test the jump rope, we used it over the course of several weeks, primarily doing interval training -- doing several sets of 100 jumps or so, and resting several seconds between sets. For the most part the rope performed well, but we did find a literal kink in the design. While resting between sets, we noticed that the cord would be twisted and kinked. To straighten the cord we only had to twist the handles, and this was just a minor inconvenience, but still an issue. We thought that the plastic cord would become more limber over time -- which it did -- and solve the problem, but the cord continues to get twisted.
Aside from this annoyance, the Heavy-Weighted Speed Rope was easy to use, moved smoothly and swung with suitable speed and resistance to ease a person into jumping rope. We’re still amazed that an activity that looks so simple can provide such a demanding workout. And the other great advantage is you can carry a jump rope with you anywhere, so no matter where you travel, a vigorous workout routine is always within reach.
SNEWS® Rating: 3.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $19.95