Jumping rope is an easy, relatively inexpensive way to target a wide range of muscle groups. A jump rope slipped in your backpack or bag can be brought along on a trip, to work, school or done in the living room while watching TV. Once you have your rope, make sure it fits you comfortably. When you step on the middle of the rope, the end sections of the rope should fit comfortably in the hands and reach the middle of the chest.
There are many benefits of jumping rope, but here are some of my favorites:
Boosts cardiovascular health
Since jumping rope is an aerobic exercise, the cardiovascular system gets a good workout as heart and breathing rates increase. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, skipping rope is highly recommended for aerobic conditioning. In order to increase your heart and lung health you must do it three to five times per week for 12 to 20 minutes at a time.
Jumping rope is a cyclic activity, which means you perform it in a steady, regular rhythm. The steady rhythm of jumping rope can help improve the coordination between your eyes, feet and hands. This practice, over and over again, makes you “lighter” on your feet. The more tricks you do with the jump rope, the more conscious and coordinated you become.
Jumping rope not only improves your foot coordination but also increases your strength in the calf muscles and improves the elasticity of the surrounding tendons and fascia which helps prevent injuries. To increase elasticity, try to land on the ball of the foot first, but let your heels go all of the way down to the ground.
Burns major calories
Compared to jogging for 30 minutes, jumping rope actually burns more calories. Jumping rope can achieve a “burn rate” of up to 1300 calories per hour of vigorous activity, with about 0.1 calories consumed per jump. Ten minutes of jumping rope can roughly be considered the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile. If you don’t want to enjoy making your own exercise circuits, add two to three minutes of steady rope jumping at the end for an additional calorie-burning opportunity.
While jumping rope, both the upper and lower body are engaged. Almost all the leg muscles are worked out when you jump rope. Everything from the calves to hamstrings to tensor muscles in the thighs are used to jump and land during each rope revolution. The core muscles in the abs are also engaged, especially during jumping variations that require extra balance, such as a one-legged jump. The upper body also gets worked out when you jump rope. When you swing the rope, muscles in both the shoulders and the arms are called into action, along with the wrists and hands. Back and chest muscles are also engaged, especially in jumping variations in which the arms cross over the body.
Jumping rope is often linked specifically to boxers, but many other athletes can benefit from a good rope jumping workout. Athletes who use repetitive shoulder motions, such as volleyball players and softball and baseball pitchers, could especially benefit from weighted jump ropes. Athletes who play racket sports, such as tennis and racquetball, also can benefit from jumping rope as it strengthens grip and muscles around the elbows and wrists. Jumping rope is also good for athletes who are rehabilitating injuries. It is a lower impact activity than running, but still promotes strengthening of muscles and ligaments.
If jumping rope is meant as a warmup, then 10 minutes is ideal before moving on to the rest of the workout. If jumping rope is the main focus of your workout, duration should be 20 to 30 minutes of varied movements at varied intensities.
- Use a floor surface that is even, non abrasive and limits friction.
- The length of the rope – when you step on the middle, the end sections of the rope should fit comfortably in the hands and reach the middle of the chest.
- Remember to lift feet off floor just high enough for the rope to pass quickly.
- Try not to jump high and land hard.
- Keep shoulders relaxed and turn the rope with wrists.
- Have patience. Start slow, then increase slowly.
- Make sure to land on the padded portion or balls of the feet to avoid knee injuries.
- This is an impact sport, so use caution with regard to your knees and ankles.
Maximizing Jump Rope Workout:
There’s more to jumping rope than just the standard two-foot hop. One way to amp up the intensity of a workout is to add more difficult moves, such as incorporating a high step run or moving your landing position from left to right. Increasing the speed can also help maximize a workout. Another option for a jump rope workout is using a weight rope. Just as a normal rope can be used to increase agility and coordination, a weighted rope can be used for building endurance in shoulder and back muscles. Weighted ropes can range from one to six pounds.
- The Exercise and Physical Fitness Page by Georgia State University.
- Jump Rope Training 2nd Edition by Buddy Lee.