Sportsmith Blog

Jump Ropes

Jumping a rope for fun and exercise has been around a very long time. Jump ropes have progressed far from simply grabbing a length of hemp rope and jumping over it. There are styles and designs for almost everything imaginable. Today, we know that it’s a beneficial exercise, and many athletes include it in their daily regimen.

Jumping rope actually has some benefits over running as an exercise. There is less stress to the legs and knees due to the fact that the body’s weight is distributed on the balls of the feet during landing rather than the heels, which makes it a lower-impact exercise and lessens the chances of joint damage. It’s also good for building cardiovascular stamina and arm, wrist, and shoulder strength. More than anything, though, it helps build up coordination and precision in the footwork. Boxers have long known that jumping rope helps with their footwork, and other athletes such as runners, track and field participants, and wrestlers, now jump rope to help with their footwork and timing. Even Mixed Martial Arts combatants have taken to using jump ropes to compliment their regimens. Jumping rope also has several advantages over other exercises. It requires only a single piece of very inexpensive equipment. You can do it completely by yourself with no trainer or partner required. You also need very little space to do it in, usually just stepping outside is good enough, but if the weather is bad, a garage with a high enough ceiling will do the trick. Jumping rope also requires little training. Just grab a rope and go. Just about anybody can do it.

SPORTSMITH currently sells a variety of ropes in different lengths, styles, and prices for different needs. Here are some examples of what we currently offer.


This one is designed purely for speed, such as when you see someone twirling the rope around two or even three times during a single jump. This is a basic, inexpensive rope that’s perfect for the beginner, or for someone more advanced.


This rope is a little longer than the basic speed rope, and has several great features. Foam padded handles help you grip the rope, even with sweaty hands. A ball-bearing system in the molded handles delivers lightning fast speed as well.


Instead of a plastic polymer rope, this one features a sturdy, traditional leather one. It includes the same foam padded handles and ball-bearing system seen in the Deluxe Speed Rope as well.


Designed more for beginners, this rope features elongated beads that slow the rope’s orbit down, allowing you to learn the timing and cadence of the exercises. It includes foam padded handles.


A recent addition to our jump rope line, the Rope Master has several interesting features. Its bearing swivel system allows for a lot of customization. You can easily replace the rope, or even adjust it to your height quickly, using the included tool. The rope itself is incredibly thin but strong, and coupled with the bearing swivel system, allows for some of the fastest speed rope action around. Foam padded handles included.


The Aero Speed is a new type of rope. One that is completely adjustable to your needs. The rope length is adjustable to almost any height. It’s lightweight, made of strong aluminum, and includes a replaceable swivel bearing system. Because of the way it’s constructed, its also good for almost any type of jumps, from incredibly fast speed jumps, to slow and steady power jumps. Foam padded handles included.


This is a basic speed rope, but has a uniquely constructed handle that allows for almost no friction. The handles have a metal core, giving them heft and sturdiness. It is Ideal for blazing speed jumps and crossing maneuvers.


Featuring a thumb rest at the tip of each handle, this rope allows for superior control. It is designed for speed jumps, and uses a plastic coated steel cable for the rope, which is almost unbreakable. Handles designed with a tough a durable plastic with long lasting ball bearings. Handles are designed by competition jumpers who want the most out of their abilities

Note that SPORTSMITH also stocks racks and hangers for these ropes, so they will always be handy when you need them. Grab yourself a rope today and get to jumping!


Stairmaster Steppers – Preventative Maintenance

About This Video

This video is covers preventive maintenance on your Stairmaster SC916 Stepper. Following a good preventive maintenance schedule will reduce equipment down times and repair costs.Due to the workout your equipment gets from use, they can become dirty over time.

Inspect the heart rate grips (if equipped) and make sure there is no accumulation of sweat on or around the contacts. A non-abrasive cleaner can be used on the contact heart rate grips daily.

Inspect all the shrouds and ensure they are securely fastened and no cracks have developed. Use of abrasive cleaners can create cracks in the shrouds or cause them to become brittle.

Inspect the cup holder shroud. Make sure there have been no holes drilled into the shroud for the purpose of allowing sweat to drain and preventing accumulation. The proper method of dealing with the sweat accumulation in the cup holder shroud is regular cleaning of the area.

Once you’ve made all the shroud inspections, step up onto the pedals. Feel the motion of the unit and verify smooth operation. Listen for irregular noises. A good maintenance routine allows you to recognize how a unit in good operating condition should feel and sound.

Next, inspect the step chains. The links of the chain should move freely. The chains should be lubricated on a 3 month basis with 30w motor oil.

Inspect the pedal hardware. Each step the user takes, there is movement of the pedal hardware. Ensure that all the snap rings are secure to their shafts and none are working free. If a snap ring is not secure, it’s possible that damage to the pedal can occur or it could fall off during exercise and possible injury could occur.

These are the main points for preventive maintenance.


Ride the Wave


Originally developed to aid surfers and skiers with their balance, Balance Boards have become popular the world over with athletes of all sorts. Even a simple activity such as running requires a certain amount of balance, and these products can help hone and perfect balance, and can provide challenging exercises for even professional athletes.


The Bongo Balance Board is currently one of the best known examples of the product. It is a “rocker-roller” board, which emphasizes a side-to-side movement. It is constructed of high-impact plywood and polypropylene, and utilizes a nylon and rubber bungee cord to hold the roller portion onto the board for added safety. The wheels of the roller are designed to move independently, making certain exercises more challenging, and have a tapered tip, allowing for limited front-to-back movements.

The Bongo Balance Board is primarily designed to develop balance, as its name implies. This means not only working muscles associated with bodily balance, but also the areas of the brain that determine balance. These brain areas can be “trained” by repeated use of a Balance Board, and they become more efficient at their job by this training.

Sports trainers and athletes have long known of the benefits of having a strong “core” (and not just athletes, many other lines of work benefit from a strong core, such as the military). The core is essentially the torso of the body, without the arms and legs. It determines or assists is virtually every movement made. Exercising with a Balance Board forces the core to make movements and adjustments that the muscles are generally not used to making, therefore they get strengthened and exercised whereas they usually would not be. Of course, the core isn’t the only part of the body utilized when using a balance board. Virtually all the muscles in the body, from the neck down, are used to make micro-corrections while attempting to maintain balance. All you need to do is use a Balance Board once to understand this, as you’ll feel your entire body attempting to keep its’ balance, and every part of you seems to be involved. It’s truly exercise like no other, and muscles that would never see use otherwise get a great workout.

Some users of Balance Boards state that there is an almost transcendental experience from the balance attempt. The individual parts of the body coming together as one to keep the body from falling is something that virtually no other type of exercise can duplicate. Some users report almost falling into a “trance” state while perfectly balanced. While the physical benefits of using a Balance Board are obvious, the mental benefits cannot be overlooked.


The Indo Board is similar in function to the Bongo Balance Board, with a few exceptions. First, the Indo Board comes in a large variety of designs and shapes. These have both “surfer” and “skier” motifs, and one of the styles of Indo Board is actually shaped like a miniature surf board. While one type of Indo Board comes with a “rocker” styled roller exactly like the Bongo Board, there are also styles that also come with the IndoFLO Balance Cushion. The cushion has the effect of an “all around” exercise session, as you have to keep the board balanced while it’s capable of 360° movement. This makes keeping your overall balance much more challenging, as instead of just moving side to side, you’re body has to literally move everyplace to maintain it’s balance. The cushion also allows for more esoteric exercises, such as using the board for elevation while doing push-ups (and using the cushion makes push-ups far more challenging, as you have to constantly keep your upper body in motion to maintain your balance). The IndoFLO cushion is mouth-inflatable, and you can adjust the difficulty of your workout by how much you inflate it. A fully inflated cushion makes for a more challenging workout, while a less full one will be easier to balance on. Made of high-impact laminated hardwoods, the Indo Board is built to last, and will give you years of fun and effective exercise.