If you want to get great cardio, melt away fat, increase your foot speed, get better coordination, and do a workout that ALWAYS challenges you… then I recommend you start doing Jump Rope Training!
This aint exactly what you did in grade school… but if you haven’t jumped rope since then, you’re going to find it a lot harder!
I used to do jump rope workouts all the time. Ever since I read Bruce Lee was a big fan of them, and he did them all the time. I also read that 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivelent to 30 minutes of running. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but given what we know today about high intensity interval training — it makes sense that jumping rope could be better for you in shorter amounts of time than jogging.
How To Pick The Right Size Rope
If you don’t pick the right size rope then it’s going to be difficult to get a good workout in because you’re always going to be thinking about how hard it is to swing the rope.
(fun fact: I’m still not tall, but when I was younger, I was obviously a lot shorter, and I would actually wrap the jump rope around my hands a couple times to make it shorter. I shoulda had my dad cut it for me and put it back together, but whatever.)
You want to take a rope and holding each handle in your hand, step on it on the center of the rope. When you bring the handles up they should just barely be touching your armpits. If it’s somewhere around there — that’s a good enough length.
Also, the old leather ropes are alright, but I kind of like the newer plastic ropes because they won’t fray as easily near the handles, and I think they might even spin faster (I know they make specific “speed ropes” for this purpose but I’ve never tried those).
How To Get Started Easily
The easiest way to get started jumping rope is what I did when I couldn’t keep it going. I would just swing the rope kind of slow foward over my head, and take a small hop in between each jump over the rope. So I wasn’t skipping the rope on each revolution overhead, It was actually more like: “skip, small bounce, skip, small bounce, skip, small bounce”.
If you start off this way you’ll notice you’re swinging the rope REALLY slowly, but it’s giving you enough time to really get used to jumping the rope correctly and getting the rest of your form down.
Small Circles, Keep Your Shoulders Down
One of the keys to jumping rope efficiently, and by extension faster and for longer, is to keep your shoulders relaxed and “down”. A lot of people pull them up (myself included) into their ears as they start getting faster and fatigued. Don’t do it because you’ll tire out faster.
Plus, you need to not lift your hands or arms out so far from your body to swing the rope, just enough as is necessary. What’s more: you should strive to make small movements with your hands and wrists, it doesn’t take much to get the rope swinging correctly and swinging fast.
How To Change It Up To Have Fun
Once you’ve mastered the “skip, hop, skip” method. Then you probably want to switch it up a little faster and start skipping with every turn of the rope. This’ll get you going kind of fast.
Then you can do stuff like:
- One legged skipping, switching feet…
- Double unders, jump higher and have the rope go under twice…
- Jump turns, where on each jump you keep your legs together and twist to the left then jump twist to the right…
- The Ali Shuffle: where you are shuffling your feet like Muhammed Ali…
That’s all fun to do. And will keep you from getting bored.
Also to keep from getting bored and continually challenge your cardio, you should vary the intensity. So starting off with the “skip, hop skip” method first, then straight skipping really fast, then slow it down a bit, then really fast, then slow then some double unders, then slow, etc…
How Long Should You Jump Rope?
Some people like to go for outright time. I like to do it for rounds like in a boxing match. This is the way I’ve always practiced it because it was more sport specific for what I was doing, it’s less mentally taxing, and it keeps you interested and striving to beat the clock.
From my training logs, I’ve done all types of variations:
- 6 rounds of 1 min.
- 3 rounds of 3 min.
- 3 rounds of 2 min.
- 6 rounds of 1.5-2 min.
You can do it too. Just pick a number you want to jump rope for (like 10 minutes or something) and then break it up into a round structure that works for you.
Can You Help Me Out?
NOTE: I’ve had this for years — whenever I get out of breath, the muscle under my left shoulder blade (it used to be both) hurts SO BAD. And jumping rope compounds the problem because I think there’s some scapular stabilization going on to keep your arms out in the correct position and spinning the rope in small circles. Anyways, this really sucks and I don’t jump rope as often as I used to — if anyone knows what problem I’m describing or how to fix it with whatever methods necessary (foam rolling, massage, A.R.T. ,etc whatever!) I’d be really grateful.
And now, some motivation for you, THE man, Floyd Mayweather skipping a little rope:
Wrapping It Up…
So I highly suggest you add in jump rope training to your exercise plan starting pronto. Why? Becaus they’re awesome, they’re fun, they challenge you in so many different ways and you’ll never out grow them. Add to that the fact that you only need a piece of rope and about 10 square feet of space and it’s one of the best “bang for your buck” exercises out there. So have fun and make sure to add jump rope training to your schedule today!