Building a Disc Golf Home Gym, the Jump Rope

Pretty regularly, when I talk to people about my disc golf home gym, people automatically assume that I’m equating muscle size to disc golf skill.  Someone always wants to chime in with, “I’m skinny as heck and I can throw 500 feet!”.  That’s usually someone on line so there’s a 95% chance they can’t break 300, but the comment is a consistent one.

Aside from being a lazy person’s excuse for not working out, there’s actually some validity to it.  Plenty of skinny people who have never worked out or trained before can throw far.  Will Shusterick can throw really far.  Simon Lizotte can throw obscene distances.  Simon won the USDGC distance competition by almost 90 feet.  I could be wrong, but he doesn’t look like he hits the gym much, if ever.

First, I’m a firm believer that no matter how skinny you are and how far you throw, you could improve your disc golf performance by working out.  As far as Simon throws, time spent in the gym would improve his game beyond the remarkable level it has already achieved.  Second, the “I’m skinny and can throw far” argument is faulty at it’s core.  It’s a stupid statement for a couple of reasons.

I’ll start with the “I can throw far” part.  Distance is not a measure of how good someone is at disc golf.  Go over to DGCR, FaceBook, or Reddit, and 90-95% of all of the “I want to get better” at disc golf threads are related to throwing farther.

Now look at a score card.  Maybe I’m missing something, but there is no spot on the card where you write down how far you threw your drive.  I’ve never seen payouts given in the order of distance thrown.

[tweetthis]Too many people assume distance equals skill in #discgolf[/tweetthis]

While time in the gym will improve most people’s distance (regardless of what distance they start with), distance is way down on the list of things that training will help you with.  I won’t go over the whole list here, but I wrote an entire post about the disc golf specific benefits of weight training.  Does that mean I never work on distance?  Of course not.  I dream of throwing a disc 500 feet.  I just don’t mislead myself into thinking that will lower my scores.

Next let’s look at the assumption that time spent training in a gym is geared solely at getting bigger muscles.  Honestly, when I put together my disc golf home gym, my physical size was something I never even considered.  Will you get bigger if you train regularly?  Most likely.  If you start off being able to do 5 push ups and work your way up to being able to do 50 push ups, you will be bigger than when you started.  It’s just the way the body works.  It’s not the goal of training for disc golf, though.

What the “I’m skinny and can throw far” crowd don’t seem to get is that the goal of training for disc golf is improved performance across all skills.  It’s lower scores.  It’s prolonging the amount of time in a day or a lifetime that you can effectively play.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to stop playing because I’m out of shape or old.

[tweetthis]One of the best things about disc golf is that if you take care of your body, you should be able to play for almost all of your life.[/tweetthis]

So, if the goal isn’t size, but better performance, let’s go ahead and look at Simon Lizotte and see if there might be something we can do while training to closer approach his inhuman distance.  Why is that little guy able to throw the disc so far?  The answer is twofold.  Timing and technique.  While you can work on both on the practice field, you can also work on one of them in the gym.

Speed Plus Timing

To find out how, we have to look at other sports that require things similar to disc golf.  We need to look at a sport that requires the athlete to generate power with their feet and core, transferring that up through their body, down their arm, and result in a massive amount of speed and power delivered by the hand.  Combat sports require all of that.  A fighter’s speed and power comes from timing and technique.  Like disc golf, that timing and technique starts with the feet and works up from there.  How do boxers and MMA fighters work on their speed, footwork, and timing?  Among other things, by jumping rope.

Today’s MMA gym bears little resemblance to the boxing gyms of old.  The drills are different, the equipment is different, the sport is different.  One thing that has remained constant, though, is that you will see people jumping rope in both.  It has remained a part of fight training for a reason.  It’s effective.  Many of the reasons it is effective for training boxers also apply to disc golfers.

  1. It teaches you to be light on your feet.
  2. It requires great hand eye coordination.
  3. It builds endurance.
  4. It’s low impact (when done correctly) and has a very low risk of injury.
  5. It teaches speed.
  6. It teaches footwork.
  7. It burns significant calories.
  8. It looks badass when done well.

OK, maybe that last one is just a side benefit, but you get the idea.  Jumping rope is one of the best ways to work on speed, coordination, footwork, and timing when you aren’t on the course.

All that said, a jump rope is my clear choice for the next piece of equipment to add to your disc golf home gym.  If you are doing the sandbag training we talked about in this post, you can easily add 5-10 minutes of rope work to end of any of those work outs.  Jumping rope is a great finisher to any training.  As a nice side benefit, ropes are cheap!

jump ropes

If you haven’t ever jumped rope before, you’ll want to start with a heavier rope.  It will be easier to pick up.  Something like this one is a really nice place to start and it comes in under $10.  Once you get the hang of it, you can move up to what’s called a speed rope.  That’s a lighter rope that you can get going faster than the heavier starter rope.  The speed rope is where you start being able to work up to fancier stuff like double unders.

If you end up really liking it, check out this rope set up.  This is what I currently use and I’ve worked my way through about 4 different weight cables at this point.  There’s no need to spend the extra money on an upgraded rope until you get the basics down.  Honestly, the first two I linked will serve you indefinitely.  If you are looking to keep your investment in your disc golf home gym low, just stick with those.

So give it a try.  It’s one of my favorite parts of any training routine.  I’m tall, uncoordinated, and have the vertical leap of a brick.  If I can learn to do it, you can too.

For some inspiration, and to see just what is possible, I’ll leave you with this:

[wysija_form id=”1″]


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


2 thoughts on “Building a Disc Golf Home Gym, the Jump Rope”

  1. Do you have some special jump rope exercises that fit better for disc golf, or does everything improve your disc golf skills?

    • Hey Eivind. For me, it was, and is, a general improvement in hand eye coordination. I noticed the benefit most in my xstep and footwork.

      What I did, and recommend for others, is to just get good at skipping rope without stopping.

      I would start with 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off for 10 minutes. Once you can do that without messing up, try 60 seconds on and 30 seconds off for 15 minutes. Then 2 minutes on, 30 seconds off, and up from there.

      A good goal is to be able to do it for 10 minutes straight without stopping or missing. I’m very uncoordinated by nature and this was actually pretty hard for me. It’s still rare that I can go the whole 10 minutes without smacking the rope into my legs or feet every once in a while.

      Thanks for reading the blog and thanks for the question!

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