If you've ever watched boxers prepare for a fight, you've likely seen them jump rope.
Jumping rope provides serious benefits for boxers. Preparing to get in the ring is a serious endeavor. You are going up against an opponent who is trying to hurt you, and you are trying to do the same to him. To compete in boxing you need to be in peak physical condition.
Jumping rope is a key exercise for achieving this goal. You don't need to be a hardcore boxing fan to realize jump rope is an integral part of boxing training. As a boxer, jumping rope improves your conditioning, footwork, balance, and speed. These are all crucial to becoming a better fighter in general, and jumping rope regularly can help you to improve in all these areas, exponentially.
So why do boxers jump rope? In this article, we will go through each specific benefit.
1. HAND-EYE COORDINATION
A boxer's hand-eye coordination is crucial. The ability to catch your opponent's punches - read them and move out of the way is what separates champions from contenders.
Jumping rope requires you to use both use your feet and hands at the same time while training with it. This is similar to throwing technically perfect punches, the coordination of throwing a punch needs your feet and lower torso to have the power behind it.
Boxers who lack hand-eye coordination will be left bruised and battered after a few rounds, but by adding jump rope to your routine, you are helping your coordination improve each day.
2. STAMINA & ENDURANCE.
The sport of boxing requires a high degree of endurance. Whether we're talking about professional boxing or amateur boxing - boxers are in the ring for as few as 3 rounds and as many as 12 rounds. And, each round is typically 3 minutes - this requires incredible endurance and stamina.
Late into the rounds of a fight, you're going to need to be conditioned to go the distance. This is one of the main reasons why boxers jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to improve your stamina and endurance as a boxer, and if you lack these two things in a fight you will be in for a long night.
3. MENTAL TOUGHNESS.
Jumping rope doesn't just help to improve a boxer's physical stamina, it also helps to condition their mind to be mentally tough. Like most sports, success as a boxer requires you to be as mentally tough as you are physically tough.
The person who wins a match is not always the more skilled fighter. At times, it's simply a matter of who has the stronger mind and who breaks first when things get tough. Jumping rope helps train your mind to keep going even when your body is begging you to stop.
It's said that Jack Dempsey used to count out loud while he jumped rope to stay focused during training camps and that Muhammad Ali would jump rope for 20 minutes at a time, constantly striving to get his footwork to a level where he knew he could out-maneuver any opponent in the ring.
Jumping rope is hard work, but if you can push past the limits of your mind and body, you will develop the mental toughness needed to win fights.
4. SPEED & FOOTWORK.
Footwork, at its core, is the ability to move your feet quickly, effectively, and efficiently, and jumping rope regularly as a boxer is an incredible way to improve your footwork and your explosiveness.
Speed and footwork are one of the most important, if not the most important, foundations of a good boxer. The ability to pivot, move in and out of range, and create angles is what separates a good boxer from a great boxer. Generally, you should always be on the balls of your feet within your boxing stance, and being able to move around the ring smoothly and quickly is what often determines the outcome of a fight.
Once you start incorporating more advanced techniques into your jump rope routine, you learn how to move your feet in incredibly dynamic ways, making you dangerous both offensively and defensively.
Something that doesn't get talked about enough in boxing is having a good rhythm.
It sets the tone of the boxer in the ring in terms of movements and who is in control of the ring. Rhythm in boxing is often seen as the one who seamlessly evades punches and is able to land their own in an almost flow-type state. It seems like they can see everything in slow motion.
This is a product of great agility, footwork, and technique. Jumping rope as a boxer is one tool to help develop rhythm between the hands and the feet outside of technical boxing training.
One of the greatest boxers of all time, Sugar Ray Robinson, once said:
"Your rhythm should set the pace of the fight. If it does, then you penetrate your opponent's rhythm. You make him fight your fight, and that's what boxing is all about."
How Often Should Boxers Jump Rope?
While boxers should jump rope often, you should not jump rope every single day. There is no need to jump rope every day as there are other training modalities you need to fit in your training week and at some point, you need to give your body a rest.
Jumping rope is a low-impact activity. However, there is still impact from bouncing on and off the ground. So for the overall health of your feet and legs, don't jump rope every day. For beginners starting out jumping rope, we recommend 5-10 minutes a few times a week. For a more in-depth breakdown of how often boxers should jump rope, read our previous article here.
When you think about all the benefits jump rope has for boxers, you know that it is a workout that has to be consistent. By incorporating rope jumping into a boxer's training regime, you can improve your speed, stamina, coordination, and toughness which are all essential skills for success in the ring.
Want more boxing tips? Check out our full list of articles here.
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