Almost everyone who jump ropes on a consistent basis has experienced knee pain at some point and too often people quit jumping rope because of this issue. I understand, when your knees are sore and aching after a jump rope workout, it’s hard to find the motivation to put yourself through the pain again.
However, if you use these four tips to help prevent your knee pain, you can reduce or even eliminate pain and soreness in your knees after a jump rope workout.
The most important thing is to actually realize you can fix your knee pain. Many believe that it is unavoidable, but I am here to tell you that you can - and will - be able to jump rope without knee pain once again.
Keep in mind that although the following four ways to help with knee pain should help you reduce pain immediately, you may not eliminate all knee pain until you get more familiar with jumping rope on a consistent basis.
If you still feel some soreness after workouts, even with these four preventive steps, make sure you ice your knees after you are finished to help you recover even faster.
But remember to keep going if you feel soreness in your knee. The only way to eliminate knee pain when jumping rope completely is for your body to adjust to jumping rope. Once your body gets used to jumping rope on a consistent basis, not only will there not be any negative consequences, but it will actually be good for your joint health.
So try these four techniques and completely eliminate knee pain from your jump rope workouts.
1. Pick The Right Shoes
One of the most neglected components of jumping rope in the minds of many are the shoes they are using. Most people use their worn out tennis shoes to jump rope in and then wonder why their knees are sore after their workout. If you are experiencing knee pain after jumping rope, you may not have to look much farther than your shoes.
First and foremost you should be using a pair of shoes, preferably running or CrossFit shoes, that are lightweight. Shoes that are heavy make you work harder to jump higher, leading to an increased level of stress on your knees. Lightweight shoes, on the other hand, allow you to jump free and easy.
Another big factor when considering what jump rope shoes you should use are the shoe inserts. If the shoe inserts have thin, hard padding, then you should probably find another pair. Instead, choose a pair of jump rope shoes that have soft, absorbent insoles.
Also be sure to make sure you tie your shoes tight. This will directly help you by providing ankle support, which will ultimately take pressure off of your knees and allow you to prevent any possible post jump rope workout soreness you may have been experiencing previously.
Instead of purchasing a shoe online, I would recommend going to a store in person and trying on shoes to find one you like. However, if you want a few recommendations on good jump rope shoes, here are a couple.
The first one is the Nike Free RN Flyknit 2018. It’s somewhat expensive at $120, but it is arguably the best shoe for fitness workouts on the market.
Where to Buy: Nike
The second recommendation is the Xero Prio Running and Fitness Shoe. This shoe, which is available for both men and women, is lightweight with good, cushioned inserts.
Where to Buy: Xero Shoes
If you have a pair of shoes that you like, but you need a new pair of inserts, I would recommend Dr. Scholl’s Athletic Series Running Insoles.
Where to Buy: Dr. Scholl’s
2. Stretch Before and After
While most people understand the importance of stretching before a jump rope workout, very few realize the importance of stretching after your jump rope workout. Often times after you finish a cardio workout of any kind, especially a jump rope workout, you are so tired and happy that you are finished that you mistakenly think your work is finished - but it isn’t.
Stretching before your jump rope workout is beneficial for more obvious reasons. For one, it loosens up your muscles, which helps you prevent various kinds of injuries as well as help you avoid that dreaded post workout knee pain.
Not only does stretching keep you from having tight muscles during your workout, but it will also improve your overall flexibility. When your muscles are more flexible, they are able to move around more freely and as a result reduces the stress on your joints.
Also, when you stretch before your jump rope workout you are able to get your blood flowing properly before your workout, which makes having good form and reducing knee pain much easier once your workout begins.
So stretching before your workout is crucial, and you probably already knew that. But why is it important to stretch after your workout? After all, the workout is over.
The most important reason is that it keeps your muscles from tightening back up after the workout. If you go directly from an intense cardio workout to doing absolutely nothing, your muscles will tighten up very fast, leading to knee pain. So it is important to bring your body back to normal slowly with a good post workout stretching routine. It will also allow you to have an improved flexibility long after your workout is over.
Along with the improved flexibility and loose muscles, you avoid lactic acid from building up in your muscles when you stretch after your workout. This allows you to prevent and reduce soreness not just in your knees, but in the rest of your body as well.
Below I’ve laid out three good stretches you can do before your workout to help you avoid knee pain when jumping rope. Check out these 16 post workout stretches to do after your jump rope workout.
Side Lunge to Crossover Lunge - For this stretch, start standing straight up with your arms stretched out in front of you. Then you begin by stepping to the right and lowering into a side lunge. You will then bring your left leg behind your right and lowering your knee to the floor. Repeat this process 8 times for each leg.
Windmills - Windmills are another walking stretch. You will begin by bending down with your right leg straight and your left leg swinging up towards the sky. Touch your right foot with both hands and then return to position. Then step with the left leg and stretch by swinging your right leg up. Continue this process for 8-10 reps.
Lunge to Mummy Kicks - For this warm up stretch, you will start by doing a lunge with your left left leg and then go into a mummy kick with your right leg as you come up. Follow it up by doing a lunge with your right leg and go into a mummy kick with your left leg as you come up. Repeat the process for 8-10 reps.
3. Choose The Right Surface
Another neglected factor in avoiding knee pain when jumping rope is the surface on which you are jumping. It is very important to have the right surface available when you jump rope. If you are constantly jumping rope on concrete or hardwood floors, it could be part of the reason you may be having knee pain and soreness after your workouts.
The key to finding the right surface to jump on is to find a place that is hard, so that jumping is effortless, but not too hard to where there is no cushion when you land. Jumping rope in grass, turf or carpet can be very difficult as it can be hard to get the rope through and under your feet and a hard surface can be horrible for both your knees and your feet, so a good median is what you want.
Another important factor is the level of the ground you are jumping on. If you are using a jump rope mat, avoid placing it on a hill or any sort of uneven surface. Instead, try and find a flat surface so your feet will land correctly on each jump.
The perfect surface to jump rope on is a jump rope mat, so if you jump rope on a regular basis I think it would be a good investment in order to prevent knee pain from your jump rope workouts. Below are a few exercise mats that are proven to work well. You can also find a quality, affordable mat on Amazon or Ebay.
The first mat that I would recommend is the Beachbody jump mat. It is made of extra shock absorbing, high density foam, so it will give a little when you land to help prevent pressure on your knees, but will not give so much that it affects the quality of your workout.
Where to Buy: Beachbody
The second recommendation is the SuperMats Equipment Mat. It is a high quality mat that is much less expensive than the Beachbody jump mat. It is also available at Dick’s, so you can pick it up in store as soon as tomorrow and be ready to go.
Where to Buy: Dick's Sporting Goods
If you don’t want to pay for a mat, I would recommend finding a weight room with a hard foam floor. Also, most gyms have a cardio room that has mats available to use. So if you have a gym membership, I would recommend jumping rope there and use one of their mats in their cardio room.
Regardless of which option you choose, if you are having knee pain when jumping rope, finding the right surface to use can be crucial to improving and preventing the problem.
4. Jump On Your Toes
Practicing proper jump technique can be another way to avoid knee pain when jumping rope. Specifically, you should focus on jumping and landing on your toes when you jump rope. When you land and jump more on your heels than your toes, you put pressure on your knees, which leads to pain and soreness after your workout.
When you jump rope on your toes, you are putting the pressure on your calves as opposed to your knees, which is actually good and can strengthen your calf muscles.
The best way to jump rope on your toes consistently is to start slightly on your toes before you begin. Think about having your weight out in front of your body as opposed to sitting back and having your weight on your heels. Also, as you being to fatigue during your workout, make a conscious effort to stay on your toes. By doing this, you will relieve a lot of the pressure from your knees and have a much better chance of preventing the dreaded knee pain when jumping rope.
Also, choosing jump rope exercises that naturally require you to be on your toes is another good way to avoid knee pain. Below I’ve listed two exercises that I think can be beneficial to those who may have sore knees after their jump rope workouts.
Running Man: For running man, you will begin with one foot in front of you and one foot behind you. As you begin to jump, you will leave your front foot forward and your back foot behind you, so there is no alternating with this exercise. With each jump, you will shift your weight from your back foot to your front foot, similar to the running in motion. Try and get into a rhythm. If you feel like switching your feet, then go for it.
Short Sprint: For short sprints, you will start out by doing basic jump rope sprints while standing in place. To do these, you will jump rope in a running motion, having one foot off the ground at all times while staying on your toes. As you get comfortable you will do a quick sprint forward for four to five steps then backpedal slowly back to where you started. Continue this process for the entire 45 seconds.
Most importantly remember to keep proper form in general. Keep your hands by your side and rotate with your wrist, have good posture with your head up and stay on your toes as you jump. If you keep the proper form, it will greatly help you eliminate knee pain when jumping rope.
Bonus #1: Size Your Jump Rope Correctly
Another good way to avoid knee pain when jumping rope is to make sure your jump rope is correctly sized. When your jump rope is too short or too long, it can cause you to have to work harder to keep up and your form can suffer.
If your rope is too short, you will constantly be changing your posture and landing position in order to get the rope over your head and under your feet. If the rope is too long, you will constantly be changing your hand position and trying to jump higher in order for the workout to go smoothly.
So what size should your jump rope be? There are a few ways to determine this. First, I would recommend checking out the Rope City Sizing Guide. It will tell you exactly what size your jump rope should be depending on your height.
If you want to get even more specific with it, you can find the perfect size using the following method:
- With one foot, step on the middle of the rope and pull the handles straight, making sure the rope is tight.
- The cable end (not the handle) should reach to the mid chest level.
- Adjust the rope to your desired length.
- Test the rope out and make sure it’s how you want it.
So if you are having knee pain after your jump rope workouts, you may not need to look any farther than your jump rope, which could be affecting your form.
Bonus #2: Use A Knee Compression Sleeve
Although I’m not an expert on compression sleeves, I would assume that this would greatly help any knee pain you may be experiencing. Not only can a compression sleeve help you prevent knee pain, but it can help manage your knee pain if it already exists.
If you want to know more about knee compression sleeves, check out this article by Better Braces.
Don’t Be Afraid of Your Knee Pain
If you take control of your pain and use these four preventive ways to avoid knee pain when jumping rope, you should see your pain diminish in no time.
In the meantime, however, don’t be afraid to jump rope with slight knee pain. The risk of your pain turning into an injury of any kind is slim to none so go for it. Just be sure to ice after each workout until you see your knee pain go away.
I hope you try these techniques to eliminate knee pain from your jump rope workouts. If you tried them and they worked for you(or even if they didn’t) let us know in the comments below.
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