Performing jump rope tricks may not be as easy as it seems, but it can be fun recreation and a great workout. Jump rope tricks not only take skill and precision, but cardiovascular and musculoskeletal strength as well. Learning to perform tricks with the jump rope, like many other endeavors, requires practice and dedication. Performing each trick and mastering the movements without the jump rope first may help speed the process of mastery. There are a number of tricks one can learn at the basic level, such as performing small kicks or heel taps while jumping, before attempting intermediate and advanced tricks.
Basic or beginner tricks generally do not require flourishes of the rope and aim to improve one’s balance, timing, and rope skills. A key aspect of learning to perform jump rope tricks is rope control. The goal is to move the jump rope through small, almost unnoticeable turns of the wrist. Keep arms stationary as much as possible, as large, exaggerated arm and wrist movements could make moving on to the next stage difficult. The first goal is getting comfortable with the basic bounce. Once you have done that, you can add in different types of kicks at this stage. Alternating heel taps, toe taps, and front kicks are all basic jump rope tricks.
Intermediate jump rope tricks often introduce more difficult rope movements in combination with legwork and typically require improved dexterity. Jumpers can start off with the criss cross trick: as the rope comes over your head, cross one arm in front of the other, hands to opposite elbows, and jump through the loop made in your rope. As the rope makes it way over your head a second time, uncross your arms and return to a basic bounce. To add difficulty to this trick, eliminate the basic bounce and switch the cross of your arms with each jump: right over left, then left over right.
Other intermediate tricks include a side swing and a leg up trick. The side swing is achieved by placing hands side-by-side as the rope comes over the head, swinging the rope to one side of your body, and returning to a normal bounce on the second jump. The Leg Up is an impressive jump rope trick to try, too. On the first rope swing, lift the right leg and swing the right arm under the crook of the right knee. Jump the rope by hopping on your left leg. On the second rope swing, pull your arm from under your knee to the left, ending in a side swing. Add a basic bounce and do the same trick with the left leg up.
Performing advanced jump rope tricks employs balance, dexterity, and speed. The double under is a trick in which the rope passes under your feet twice in only one bounce. This is where the mastery of your rope skills typically comes into play; small, powerful wrist movements should be used for best results with this trick because the rope must spin so quickly. The double under is a good base move for advanced tricks; you can incorporate moves from the basic and intermediate groups. One example is the double under criss cross, wherein the rope passes under your feet the first time with a normal swing of the arms, and passes under you the second time as you cross your arms the same way you would for a normal criss cross — you’ve simply taken out the jump in between.
All of these jump rope tricks are done by a single jumper using a single person jump rope. You may also consider involving friends and a much longer jump rope, or two long jump ropes for double dutch. The same tricks can be performed with or without your single person jump rope inside the long jump ropes. Get creative — find a list of jump rope tricks to perform in a book or a website. You may even invent your own tricks.