Some people might believe that jumping rope is child’s play. But several generations of professional boxers would probably challenge your assumptions! Although jumping rope may not be as easy as it initially appears to be, it doesn’t take long for a beginner to learn the basics and reap the benefits. If you want to learn what the proper way to jump rope for fitness is, we’ve put together this article.
Jump Rope Benefits
Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular workout with many other benefits. In fact, jumping rope can burn more calories than most other traditional forms of exercise. If you jumped rope for an hour (however, this is not advised if you’re a beginner!) you would burn more than 1000 calories. That’s more than three times as many calories burned while walking and significantly more compared with swimming, jogging, cycling or rowing.
Aside from simply burning calories, jumping rope requires mental strength and alertness. You need to concentrate and pay close attention to the rope to be able to perform. It isn’t like most exercises where you can simply turn off your brain and power on through. And there’s no cheating when it comes to jumping rope. Your balance and spatial awareness must remain acute. If your form becomes sloppy the rope will give you immediate feedback. In fact, it’s been found that jumping rope stimulates both the left and right hemispheres of your brain as well as your body. No wonder those boxers take jumping rope so seriously!
And when it comes to convenience, you can pretty much jump rope anywhere. Try lugging your dumbbell set with you the next time you travel! As long as you have your rope, a powerful cardiovascular workout is available to you.
Jump Rope Basics
When most people think of jumping rope, they think of the plastic skipping ropes used by children in the playground. And while the plastic, playground skipping rope can provide the basis of the activity, using a properly weighted jump rope will go a long way into making it an easier undertaking and get seriously involved.
The problem with a jump rope that’s too light is that it doesn’t provide enough feedback to the user. You can actually feel a heavier rope rotate around your body. This gives you important sensory indicators that allow you to time your jumps properly and improve your coordination. A heavier rope will also rotate slightly slower than a lighter rope. Those few milliseconds will make a big difference in being able to coordinate your jumps. For the beginner, a weighted jump rope can be the difference between a frustrating one-off attempt and a long and rewarding exercise trajectory.
You’ll also need to choose the right rope for your height. Using a rope that’s too short or too long can create endless problems with the trying to time your jumps properly. Exercise jump ropes typically come in four sizes (small, medium, large and extra-large) that are sized for various body heights. Check a sizing chart before buying.
Jump Rope Technique
You need to pay particular attention to your hands and feet when starting out jumping rope. Your hands should be at about waist height and equal distance away from either side of your body. And when spinning the rope, you want to limit the movements to the wrists and refrain from involving the shoulders and elbows.
Your feet should be kept close together as you jump. Bounce lightly on the balls of your feet with your toes pointed towards the ground as you jump. Try to keep your jumps short – about an inch or two off the ground. Although you always want to keep your knees slightly bent you don’t want to be bending them back with each jump.
Keep your back straight and elongated with your head up and facing forward. Your shoulders should be pushed back while your elbows are kept down and back. It may take some time to get used to jumping without tripping but using a mirror can be helpful.