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The Physics of Jump Roping



As a kid one of my favorite past times during the summer was jumping rope. My sister and I would love to go out with the kids from our neighborhood and do this for hours on end; we even knew all of the silly rimes that people sang! Little did we know, there was a great deal of physics that is involved in this activity.

First, when jumping rope, one has to jump up and down to hop over the rope and this is because of gravity. The force of gravity lets the jumper come back to the ground after they leave it to jump the rope. If you wanted, you would even be able to calculate the distance from the ground you jumped. To do this, you would have to time how long it took to jump up (or down, but not both), you would know that the acceleration due to gravity is 9.81m/s^2, and the initial velocity is 0m/s. Once you have all the information you could use your kinematic equations to figure out how far off of the ground you jumped!

In addition, when you jump rope there is a lot of centripetal forces acting on the rope. When you rotate the rope around your body, the reason it stays up in the air over you, instead of falling on your head, is because when an object is moving in a circle the forces acting on it push outward. The velocity is also pushing towards the outside of the orbit. This means that the rope that you are jumping over will always stay up over your head until it is stopped or the speed decreases. Now you see all of the physics that is involved with jumping rope! Thanks for reading :)



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