Jumping into Fitness 1

First in a two-part series

Jumping rope has been around for decades and known for the challenging cardiovascular endurance aspects, high intensity interval training elements (i.e. HIIT), solid caloric expenditure and fun. There are low impact modifications which work well for those with impact restrictions and there are great variations of jump ropes from traditional ropes to “free” ropes which do not have a center rope piece (i.e. Air Ropes, etc.).

We all have observed professional boxers and MMA athletes “work” the rope with amazing, rapid fire deftness and coordination. However, just about anyone may learn how to perform a few basic jump rope skills/drills and still reap the many benefits that jumping rope has to offer. One of the great aspects to jumping rope is that you do not have to perform the skills/drills for long periods to benefit from this activity. This week, the fundamentals of jumping rope with two different types of ropes will be highlighted and next week, we will feature three basic skills/drills with the ropes. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Jump Rope Fundamentals

• Classic jump ropes are inexpensive; however, purchase a good quality one that will last and that is the correct length for your body (i.e. consider height, lever lengths, hand grips, etc.). Also, remember the vertical space that you require for classic jump ropes and consider that when purchasing.

• If purchasing an Air Rope (there are other variations on this theme, but I have had excellent results with the Air Rope product), consider the horizontal spacing as the “balls” on the end of the ropes could knock over objects around you as the rope rotates. *You may purchase this product and classic jump ropes from www.powersystems.com.

• Clear an adequate space for jumping rope (if you can perform it outside or in a gym with high ceilings that is preferable). Always pay attention to others around you so that there is no chance for you to hit them with the rope.

• Warm up for 5-10 minutes elevating the RPE’s to a 1-2 which is very light to light exertion. It is a good idea to use the rope during your warmup. This is a great way to rehearse the skill of rotating the rope and simply marching, knees up, step touches, walking, etc.

• Keep the upper arms close to the torso, rotating the rope from the wrists and forearms. Avoid turning from the shoulder joint. Also, keep in mind that the quick rotation of the rope is more efficient. The better your arms work, the better your legs will work!

• Jumping rope is a relatively intense, skill driven activity. Consequently, begin with the low impact version and attempt an interval training format such as five rounds of 15 seconds of continuous “jumping/skipping” followed by 45 seconds of recovery. When proficient with five minutes progress slowly to ten and above based upon your fitness goals.

• Once you feel comfortable with the low impact version, attempt skipping the rope and eventually to jumping. With both skipping (i.e. one foot off the floor at a time) and jumping (both feet off the floor at once), perform from the balls of the feet.

• Perform jumping rope skills/drills two-three non-consecutive days/week.

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