A martial artist and former coach for two decades from Houston, Texas. Specializing in the disciplines of kickboxing, karate, MMA, and Jiu Jitsu.
Jump rope is a very important conditioning exercise that just about all combat sports athletes do. This is especially true in Muay Thai, where rounds of jump rope are done before every training session.
Let’s dive into Muay Thai jump rope and why it is so important for Thai boxers. Going over the benefits of Muay Thai jump rope and detailing different variations.
- What is Muay Thai jump rope?
- When should you do Muay Thai jump rope?
- The benefits of Muay Thai jump rope
- How many rounds of Muay Thai jump rope should I do?
- Types of Muay Thai Jump Rope variations
- Are there alternatives to Muay Thai jump rope?
- What are the keys to learning Muay Thai jump rope?
What is Muay Thai jump rope?
You were probably forced to jump rope in grade school and maybe weren’t too big a fan of it. Jump rope has been a staple of conditioning workout for combat sports for decades.
There are numerous videos of old boxers from the 1920s and 1930s jumping rope to prepare for a fight. It not only became a staple in boxing, but also within Muay Thai.
The only difference between Muay Thai jump rope and normal skipping rope is that it’s performed barefoot. In Muay Thai, you fight barefoot, so you also have to train barefoot, which includes skipping rope.
It is something that all of the best Thai boxers perform before every training session. If you’re serious about improving your skills, then you should be doing Muay Thai jump rope everyday.
When should you do Muay Thai jump rope?
Muay Thai jump rope should always be done as a warm up before your training begins. If you’re at a good Muay Thai school, the coach or Kru will always make you do rounds of jump rope.
The benefits of Muay Thai jump rope
Skipping rope has a long list of benefits, which is why the exercise has become ingrained within Muay Thai. Here are the benefits of Muay Thai jump rope.
Skipping rope is probably the best warm-up that you can do for Muay Thai or any other combat sport. It is a dynamic movement that warms up all of the muscles of your body.
You get your blood flowing, while breaking a good sweat that prepares you for your Muay Thai session.
Strengthens leg muscles
Probably the most important attribute to have in Muay Thai is good leg strength. Your legs need to be strong for constant movement, while also being able to throw strong kicks. Jumping rope everyday will strengthen your leg muscles and especially your calves.
Strengthen feet & ankles
Not only will skipping rope increases the strength of your leg muscles, but also your feet and ankles. Strong feet and ankles are very important in Muay Thai, because of the constant moving and bouncing. Skipping rope is by far the best way to improve your foot and ankle strength.
Doing rounds of jump rope everyday will improve your coordination drastically. You will be way more fluid whenever you’re moving and throwing combinations.
Improves your cardio
One of the main reasons that jump rope is ingrained in Muay Thai is that it’s a great form of cardio. Doing 15-30 minutes of skipping rope is the same as running a few kilometers all while standing in the same place.
Great for weight loss
Another great benefit of Muay Thai jump rope is that it’s great for weight loss. Skipping rope is a full body workout that can burn a lot of calories in a short time. If you practice Muay Thai for weight loss, then you should definitely jump rope before every class.
Then the last benefit of jump rope is that it is low impact and won’t strain your joints or muscles. You can get all of the benefits of running without damaging your joints.
How many rounds of Muay Thai jump rope should I do?
The number of rounds of jump rope you do will depend if you’re a beginner or more advanced. For beginners, 2-3 rounds at 3 minutes a piece would be a good starting point.
This number of rounds will allow you to build your stamina and coordination. Then for more advanced Muay Thai practitioners, you should be doing a minimum of 5 rounds per day, if not more.
Types of Muay Thai Jump Rope variations
There isn’t just one type of jump rope exercise but over dozens of variations ranging from beginner to advance. Here is a list of ten different Muay Thai jump rope variations and how to perform each one.
When you first learn how to skip rope, you should start with a basic jump, where you keep your feet together. As you flip the rope over your head, make your jump right before the rope hits your feet.
The basic skip is the most basic type of skipping rope that is done in both boxing and Muay Thai. As you’re jumping, you’re going to be jumping side to side from your left foot to right foot.
The next level up after basic skips from side to side are kick outs. These are where you slightly raise one foot between each jump and kick it outward. Doing this variation along with basic skips are great for helping you develop coordination.
High knees are a great way to improve strength of your calves and quads during your warm ups. All you have to do is lift a knee up as you’re jumping. Just like doing high knees in place, but while skipping rope.
The reverse of kick outs are butt kicks, where your heel touches your butt between each jump. This is a great way to loosen up your quads and hamstrings, while you’re jumping.
One leg jumps
Rather than jumping from one leg to another, you can just jump on one leg while you’re skipping work. Doing this variation is far more strenuous than jumping with both legs. Try jumping on one leg for 15-30 seconds and then switch legs.
One more advanced jump rope exercise are the shuffle steps that Muhammad Ali made famous. As you jump, one leg moves forwards as one leg moves back. It may take you some time to get the hang of this one.
Criss crosses w/ legs
If you have good coordination, then you can give criss cross jumps a try doing your warm up. Cross your feet one way, uncross them, then cross them the other way during a round of jump rope.
Criss crosses w/ arms
Criss crosses with your arms are one of the more advanced jump rope movements that you can perform. When the rope comes over your head, quickly cross your arms, and uncross them as you keep the movement going.
Side jumps w/ criss crosses
To add on to the criss crosses with your arms, you can also do side jumps. These are where you rotate your hands and make figure eights with the rope between each jump. Mix these with arm criss crosses to improve your coordination.
Double unders are the advanced type of jump rope exercise that you’ve probably seen crossfitters perform. Instead of jumping the rope one time, you flick your wrists hard to jump the rope twice. This variation is a great way to boost cardio.
Double unders/arm criss crosses
To go along with double unders, you can arm criss crosses to make them even harder. This is one that you’ll just have to learn from experience.
Mike Tyson squat dance
Now, if you get really good at jump roping, then you can give the squat dance jump variations. This is the variation that Mike Tyson made famous, where when Tyson jumped, he would stick one leg out.
Going incredibly fast as he did it. You need a high level of conditioning and coordination to pull off this variation.
Are there alternatives to Muay Thai jump rope?
If for some reason you can’t jump rope, there are different alternatives that you can do. Here are two specific alternatives to jumping rope.
You can perform rounds of shadow boxing as a warm up instead of jumping rope. Shadow boxing gives you many of the same benefits of jump rope as you loosen up and lightly perform techniques.
The other alternative that you can do instead of jumping rope, you can also do side shuffles. These are where you stay in a square stance and side shuffle one way and to the other. You can also do it in a ring and switch directions when you feel like it.
What are the keys to learning Muay Thai jump rope?
The main key for performing Muay Thai jump rope is to always be on the balls of your feet. Doing this allows you to be light on your feet and move just like you would when practicing Muay Thai
Your other two important keys to learning how to skip rope is practice and repetition. Learning to skip rope is not something that you’ll learn overnight.
It is something that you’ll eventually get good at after doing numerous rounds. Just stick with it and you’re going to develop great footwork and be better conditioned for Muay Thai