I have rediscovered the cardio power of jumping rope over the last few months. Forget the treadmill. Forget the stationary bicycle. If you want to get the most pulmonary, and cardio, bang for your workout minute — pick up a rope and start jumping!

What you see below is my favorite — and most expensive, at $88 — jump rope. This beautiful Infinity Rope from Crossrope arrived with a set of weighted ropes, and the handles action is so smooth there’s no excuse not to jump rope ten times a day. Some “weighted ropes” only have heavy handles — you want a weighted rope where the weight is actually in the rope. Sure, you can get fancy, and do crossovers, and double-unders, and around-the-worlds, but just a simple, two-footed, single jump, per whip cycle, is plenty good enough to get your entire body moving — and heaving for air! Start slow. Build up your stamina over time, and you’ll be feeling stronger, and more powerful, before you know what whipped you. Your chest will also begin to get excellent definition that no other exercise scheme can carve so quickly, and so fluidly. Remember, you get what you pay for, and getting quality in your hands, and a weighted rope your heart, is worth more than the money you spend. This Infinity Rope is not adjustable. You order the right size for you, and it arrives pre-cut and measured. You want that. You want your rope to be three feet taller than you, so make sure you know your height.

Here is another jump rope I tried. This is a “Muay Thai” style rope, weighted, from Elite SRS. The price was around $15. While I like a weighted jump rope, the weight in this setup is all in the handles. The rope itself feels more like plastic tube than rope, and the kinks in the rope do not readily remove themselves — even in high speed jumping. You cannot cut this rope to measure. You have to order the right size. The rope is fine, but bulky, and you cannot build speed, or velocity, with this type of rope.

Next is the Blizzard jump rope from Aerospace NYC — Michael Olajide Jr’s workout space — and this rope set up is also only weighted in the handles, and not the rope itself. The rope material is a plastic. You have to cut the rope to your size — not a simple task. You have to unscrew the end of one handle, unclamp a metal setting circle, cut the rope, and then reclamp, and re-screw, the handle. The rope also tends to stay kinked as indicated below, and will not straighten out through exceptional use, or hanging it from a door. The Blizzard touched off at $40 delivered.

If you missed my review of Chris Hemsworth’s Centr exercise App in my Human Meme podcast, here’s that episode. Michael Olajide Jr is the boxing instructor for the Centr App, and he exclusively uses his Blizzard jump rope in the coaching videos.

Finally, we come upon the Sonic Boom Speed Rope. $31 delivered. This jump rope looks slick — and it is — but it is also the most easily damaged. To set the length of the rope, you have to press down the top pincer lock that grabs, and holds, the rope in place. If you guess wrong, or measure wrong, and need to take out more rope, you can, but the pincer claws will have deformed the delicate rope, and given the thin rope a permanent kink. There is a slight bit of weight in the handles. The rope has no weight by design, and is made of braided, steel strands wrapped in plastic — and it is all very delicate. The rope arrives with instructions to get a second rope for free if you email them. I emailed them for the free rope two months ago, and I have yet to receive a second rope.

I haven’t jumped rope for 40 years, but I started jumping again because of Michael Olajide Jr in the Centr App, and I haven’t looked back since — except to share this one warning with you.

If you happen to have floaters in your eye as I do, you may want to be careful with your jumping as you restart the routine. Early trouble — like missing a jump or getting slapped by the rope — can shock you and jarr you. I overdid my exercising and hurt my eye — and I’m not sure if the injury was caused by jumping rope, or running, or ballistic push ups, or something else — and I created two hematomas in my left eye. Now, these were pinpoint hematomas — broken blood vessels — but they were still there on my retina, affecting my vision, and I had to stop all exercise for about a month to let everything heal. My retina specialist was careful, but proactive, in trying to get everything to heal right, and while my hematomas are gone for now, I still have another 6-8 weeks of healing before the residual laser flashes are gone. With the doctor’s blessing, I am back to all exercising now, and everything seems better, but I wanted to warn you that if you have active floaters in your eye, those floaters can pull on your retina, and cause some weird things to happen in, and around, your vitreous gel — like pinpoint hematomas, and laser-like flashers — but you won’t know what will happen until it happens, and then you just need to find the right retina specialist to help walk you through the diagnosis, the cause, and the remedy for healing.

That said, I now say this: Jump!

But jump carefully, and with awareness!

You won’t shoot your eye out jumping rope, but you might just blow out a blood vessel or two!

If you are jumping rope the right way, you don’t bounce twice between rope revolutions, and you should only be jumping about a half an inch off the ground — just enough to let the rope fly underneath you — and in that quiet, and practiced, precision, you will quickly learn the value of just the right jump to save your heart, and to help heal your eye.

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