I’m not going to bury the lead here, so yes, jumping rope is great for football players!
Jumping rope has a ton of benefits for athletes. It can increase heart rate, improve foot speed and improve hand-eye coordination – all this with a piece of equipment that costs less than ten bucks. However, there are situations where jumping rope can be more harmful than helpful.
In this article, I’m going to get into all the benefits that jumping rope can provide football players as well as what to be mindful of to not get yourself in trouble.
Raise Core Temperature
I love incorporating jump rope into warm-ups with football players. It’s an incredibly efficient way to raise the core body temperature – a key component of a good warm-up.
It can also be done in a relatively small space as well as in place. This makes it a great option when you’re warming up inside the weight room instead of out on the field.
Pro Tip: If you are taking your jump rope out onto the field, you don’t have to stay in place. Try doing different jump rope movements – regular, lateral, single leg, high knees – for distance instead of time or for reps. It will add a new challenge and some variety to your warm-ups.
Improve Foot Speed
Training the body to be able to rapidly respond off the ground is a great way to improve foot quickness. It’s why ladder drills and quick foot drills are so popular.
However, in my opinion, no drill does it better than jumping rope. There is a reason why boxers have been using a jump rope as a way to train foot speed for decades – because it works!
READ MORE –> Don’t have a Jump Rope? Try one of these alternatives!
Go jump rope for a minute straight and then let me know whether you think jumping rope can be a great conditioning tool.
Try incorporating jumping rope into a metabolic circuit.
For example, set up three stations – sled pushes, push-ups and jump rope. Do each one for 20 to 30 seconds and rotate. 3 to 4 rounds of that equate to about 5 minutes of straight work and can be a great conditioning session.
I especially like this type of conditioning for linemen. On the field, linemen don’t need to necessarily be prepared to run 30, 40 or 100 yards. They need to be able to engage with another player, exert energy pushing, pulling and sometimes just statically holding another giant human.
RELATED –> The 10 Best Exercises for Linemen
Metabolic circuits where players have to exert energy pushing, pulling and jumping (kettlebell swings, battle ropes and tire flips are more good options) can not only help get those guys in shape, but can save their knees, shins and backs from running too much distance conditioning.
Don’t Overdo It
Speaking of saving shins, this brings me to my last point. My only concern with this article is a player reads all the above info and decides they’re going to start jumping rope for 30 minutes every day. Don’t do that!
Jumping rope is a plyometric activity, it’s a low-impact plyo, but it’s a plyo nonetheless. That means you need to make sure you’re taking a proper progression when you begin jumping rope. This is especially true if you’re a big guy – say over 240 to 250 pounds.
All those jumps can lead to shin splints and/or tendonitis quickly if you try to do too much straight out of the gate.
How much you can do starting off is going to vary big time based on your level of training experience, current readiness and what other plyometric-type activities you have in your strength and conditioning program.
In general, I would recommend starting slowly, jumping rope for a couple of minutes or about 100 taps twice a week. Then gradually increase the total volume over the following weeks. If you start to feel some shin splints or tendonitis coming on, that’s your body telling you to back off some.
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Jumping rope is excellent for football players, or just about any athlete really. I like to incorporate jump rope at least once a week in my training programs, most often as part of a warm-up, but sometimes as part of a conditioning circuit as well.
However you decide to utilize jumping rope in your strength training plan, just make sure not to overdo it too early in your training cycle or it can come back to bite you.
If you found this article helpful, make sure to check out my 10 favorite exercises for football players (Jump rope isn’t one of the ten, but it probably should be!).