Running is a great cardiovascular exercise, but it can be hard to do during bad weather. It can also be hard to do if you have small children at home.
This is where the jumping rope can be of benefit. Jumping rope is an effective cardiovascular exercise that can be performed anywhere with a very inexpensive piece of equipment- the jump rope.
Jumping rope burns many calories, and helps to improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Jumping rope not only improves your endurance, but it also helps develop strength in your legs, arms, and stomach. According to the Essentials of Personal Training published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, jumping rope is a great interval training exercise that can burn a high amount of calories in a relatively short period.
Jumping rope is a total body exercise as it involves your legs to jump up and down, and your arms and shoulders to control the rope. It is no surprise that it is part of almost every athlete’s warm-up and workout routine. The best part of jumping rope for fitness is that it can be done anywhere with very little space
Burn Tons of Calories
Both of these exercises burn calories, but jumping rope has been shown to burn more. In fact, you would have to run an 8-minute mile in order to burn more calories than jumping rope.
Beginning a jump rope fitness routine: If you are looking to begin a jumping rope fitness routine, follow the suggestions below to ensure you get off to a great start with minimal risk of injury.
Choosing the right size jump rope: The proper jump rope for you depends upon your height. Take the handle of the jump rope in each hand and stand on the center of the rope with your feet side-by-side. The tips of the handles that do not have the rope attached should be facing toward the ceiling. The tips of the handles should reach your underarms. If they do not, the rope is too short. If they reach past your underarms, the rope is too long.
Proper shoes for jumping rope: Your shoes should fit snugly and provide proper arch support in order to reduce the risk of injury to your ankles and arches. A good quality, all-purpose fitness sneaker is ideal.
Body position: When jumping rope, always maintain a proper upright posture. Do not lean forward or backward to distribute your body weight properly.
Jumping speed and height: You should jump at a speed that is comfortable for you. Beginners may have to start at a slow to moderate pace. As your skill builds, you can increase your speed to a moderate or fast pace. To avoid injury, only do this when you are fully comfortable with the mechanics of rope jumping. Jump only high enough so that it does not cause a harsh impact on your ankles or knees when you land back on the floor. You should be jumping only high enough for your feet clear the rope
Instructions for jumping rope
Now that we have discussed how to begin a successful rope-jumping fitness routine, we will go over the steps required to perform the move successfully.
Foam rolling: Because you will be placing a heavy workload on the lower body, you should first warm-up by using a foam roller on your calves, hamstrings, quads and lower back. This can help loosen up your muscles in order to avoid injury once the activity begins. Foam rolling loosens the muscles more deeply than simply stretching.
Dynamic stretching: It is also a good idea to perform a few dynamic stretches before your rope jumping routine. This will increase your body’s core temperature and prepare your muscles for intense exercise. Perform the following dynamic stretch routine before jumping rope:
Elbow to instep lunge with rotation: Stand straight with your feet together. Take a long lunging step with your right leg and extend your left leg behind you. Twist your upper body to the left so your right elbow is near your right foot. Your shoulder should be near your knee. Hold for a few seconds then rotate your upper body so your chest is aimed toward the ceiling and your right arm is extended overhead. Return to the standing position. Perform 3 on each side.
Hand-walk: Begin on your hands and knees. Straighten your legs so that your body is in an inverted ‘V’. With your hands firmly planted on the floor, slowly walk your feet towards your hands. When your toes touch your hands, walk your hands out until you are in a plank position. Invert your body back into a ‘V’ and walk your feet towards your hands. Perform 5.
Knee Hug lunge, Elbow to Instep: Stand straight and bring your right knee to your chest, hugging it with both arms. Step forward into a lunge. Place your left-hand flat on the floor with your right elbow touching the inside of your right foot. Place your right hand on the outside of your right foot and stretch your hips toward the ceiling. Lower your hips and step into the next stretch. Perform 5 on each side.
Inverted hamstring: Stand straight on one leg with your arms raised 90°. Bend over at the waist, raising your free leg toward the ceiling. When you feel an intense stretch in your hamstring, return to the starting position and switch legs. Perform 5 on each leg.
Reverse lunge with side flexion: Stand straight with your feet together. Step backward into a lunge with your right foot. Raise your right arm up and over your head to the left while crunching your upper body to the left as well. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Perform 5 on each side.
Sumo squat to stand: Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend over and touch your toes, keeping your legs straight. Lower your body into a squat. Raise your arms straight up toward the ceiling, and then stand up. Perform 5.
Now you are ready to jump rope:
- Stand straight with your feet together and the handles of the jump rope in each hand the rope itself should be behind you.
- Bend your elbows to a 90° angle. Keep your elbows close to your sides with your hands angled out to 45° angles.
- With a smooth motion, rotate both hands in a circle in order to swing the rope up and over your head, and then back down to your feet. Standing on the balls of your feet, jump 1 to 2 inches into the air so that the rope can pass beneath them.
- Keep the rope rotating over your head and back under your feet while bouncing on the balls of your feet to jump over it.
A more efficient 10-minute cardio routine
Once you understand the basics of rope jumping, you can combine it with various other exercises to create a well-rounded cardiovascular workout. Below is a sample workout combining rope jumping with several other moves to get your heart rate into the fat-burning zone and tone your entire lower body.
Perform the following set three times with a one-minute rest between sets. This routine should be performed 3 times per week, on alternating days.
Follow this jump-rope workout below.
- 60 seconds: jump rope
- 30 seconds: march in place
- 30 seconds: side shuffles
- 30 seconds: mountain climbers
- 30 seconds: burpees
- 30 seconds: bicycle crunches
Jumping rope is a great way to increase your cardiovascular endurance and tone the lower body. A good quality jump rope can cost less than $20 and is small enough to fit into a purse or gym bag. As with any fitness program, if you experience any pain while performing the move, stop immediately.