Running While Jumping Rope Prevents Overstriding

by Mark Cucuzzella, M.D.  My six-year-old daughter taught me this drill  and I became immediately aware that this was the perfect practice to create rhythm, balance, posture –and most importantly prevent overstriding.  Jumping rope as a drill helps wake up elastic recoil and rhythm.  You always land aligned and balanced.  When you add a little lean and start moving you start running.  Perfect form is what she is doing in this short video. Done right, you almost don’t even know the rope is there. If you are overstriding, however, and your natural elastic recoil, cadence, or posture is not correct, then you will get tangled in the rope.

I’ve taught this how-to-prevent-overstriding drill to several adults. After a few stumbles and tangles, they get it and the rhythm and feel locks in.  A perfect learning cue and it is fun!

To do the drill, start be jumping rope in place on both feet. Get the nice rhythm and elastic recoil feeling. Then add a little lean and start running gently. Do not jump!  The motion is passive and elastic. If you are having difficulty, ask a child to show you how it’s done.

20 Responses to “Running While Jumping Rope Prevents Overstriding”

  1. Mark,
    What a great and fun training tool! I recently wrote a post on what I think is the best technique for jumping rope (just the plain staying in one place way), at I’d never thought of jumping rope as a way to improve running form. But insofar as it certainly can help awaken elastic recoil in the foot and ankle, it makes total sense. I’m going to get my youngest to teach me how to do it!

  2. Dr. Mark says:


    thanks for the link to the specifics of jump rope technique. we’ll get a video up on this soon. it is true that historically all the boxing coaches of the greats recommended some protection of the foot but not softness. they jumped on the firm boxing mat with some 70’s trainers or boxing shoes (firm thin soles) and did not jump rope barefeet on concrete.

    Happy jumping!


  3. mestach says:

    How long should the rope be?????

  4. Patty says:

    I started jumping rope while running barefoot
    last December and I love it.

  5. Dan Goldberg says:

    One thing I noticed, look at how much higher this young girl jumps off of her right foot than she does off her left foot. This is certainly due to the fact that the rope always passes under her body once the right foot leaves the ground. She is compensating with the right side to ensure the rope doesn’t get tangled on her right foot. Count the frames and you’ll see a 10 to 15% difference in air time off each foot…

  6. Mary Lindahl says:

    I love the jumping rope drill, Mark! Thank you! Your daughter is adorable!

    • Dr. Mark says:


      this would be a great Chi Running drill to mix in the menu for fun and to get folks not to overthink it. like running barefoot…the drill teaches.



  7. Mary Lindahl says:

    I love the jumping rope drill, Mark! And your daughter is adorable! Thank you, Mary

  8. excellent drill – I am going to try it ( on myself first) and a few over striders I know – thanks for sharing

  9. Andrew says:

    Best piece of info I have found in ages! I now do this drill post run everyday. It has dramatically cleaned up my form. I actually visualize it as I run to try to keep my mechanics in check. Finishing my runs with a lot fewer aches and pains. I have been battling achilles problems on both legs and you would think this would irritate it, but it actually did just the opposite for me. My conclusion was that is forced me to be balanced. Who knows… Huge thank you, I might actually be able to prepare sufficiently for New York now.

    • MarkC says:

      Andrew, What would be real fun would be to run the marathon this way. i remember a guy carrying a glass of wine in a tux at NYC Marathon, and another juggling. You may go faster this way. :) certainly lots of cheers.

      Dr. Mark

  10. Jamaal says:

    Hi Mark. I know I’m a little (okay a lot) late seeing this, but this right here is EXACTLY what I need to start my training off for the spring! I love jumping rope! I’ll run for one mile while jumping rope, jump rope in place waiting for the light to change to cross the street, and run back jumping rope.


    (And tell your daughter I said thank you! She’s a boss)

  11. Kate O says:

    Hi Mark. I think this is really a great running drill. Thanks a alot.
    I tried to do this drill this morning before my run. But I found a little bit imbalance between my left leg and right leg. I found my left jump over the rope every stride I run, but my right leg seems in a passive movement. Any advice and tips to improve my imbalance jumping rope pattern? Hope to hear from you soon. Keen to improve my running form…
    Thanks :-)

  12. Dave says:

    I’ve been walking 1.3 miles during lunch everyday for several months and it’s helped me lose about 15 lbs. Recently I added your jump rope jogging to the routine. I walk 50 yds, and jog/jump 50 yds. I can’t believe the increase in heart rate! This might be good for another 10 or 15 lbs!


  13. LuLu says:

    I’d love to see the video–as I am new to running and the minimalist ways. However, it doesn’t seem to be on the page anymore.

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