The jump rope is a real fitness all-rounder.
From improving cardio and burning calories and fat, to toning muscles and improving balance and coordination, this small and inexpensive accessory can go a long way to helping you stay in shape.
Here we examine why it’s beneficial to use a jump rope, and how to get the best out of it.
What are the benefits of using a jump rope?
It’s practical, small, and easy to transport. It’s also cheap and simple to use.
Skipping improves all-round fitness. The jump rope, also known as a skipping rope, is a great way to warm-up before a session, and warm down after.
A jump rope is an essential tool for boxers and mixed-martial-artists. As fighters are often required to cut weight before fights, skipping is a great way to define muscle whilst staying lean and toned. It’s particularly good for your calves, thighs, and buttocks. It’s also fantastic for building stamina.
Before you start
Choose your rope
The two main things to consider when buying a rope are the handles and length. If these aren’t right, it will affect your rhythm. Be sure to buy an adjustable rope as you may wish to shorten it at a more advanced stage. A good, ergonomic handle is important. Handles can be soft and spongy or solid, so make sure you choose the most comfortable for training.
Adjust your rope
Place your foot on the centre of your rope and pull the handles up as high as your armpits. This gives you your natural rope length. Start off by trying a few light and easy skips jumping about three centimetres from the floor. Adjust your rope accordingly to make sure you get the right rotation length.
Find the right space
Make sure you practice in a space with enough overhead room for your ropes to go safely over your head. If you’re in a group keep everyone at a long enough distance that your ropes don’t tangle.
Protect your feet
Make sure you are always wearing training shoes before using a skipping rope. Skipping barefoot can really hurt your feet.
If you are training alone, you’ll need a Timer or a boxing phone app so that you can time your circuits.
How to use a jump rope correctly
Holding your rope
Hold the handles of your jump rope with the chord facing outwards. Use your wrists to rotate the rope (not your arms) from behind your feet, over the back of your head.
Start with a comfortable skipping pace and aim to intensify your pace in later circuits. This will help reduce injury.
Your back should be straight with your chin up, eyes forward. Do not gaze at your feet whilst skipping as this will throw you off balance. Also, be sure to be on your toes and the balls of your feet whilst skipping.
It can really help to practice skipping in front of a large mirror. You’ll see how far your feet are coming off the ground, or how straight your posture is. Maybe you need to widen your arms further? Or tighten your rope?
Don’t forget to control your breathing and stay as relaxed as possible. Rest between circuits and take on water when needed. If you encounter pain whilst using a jump rope, you should stop immediately.
This is where you skip with both feet hitting the ground at the same time. All beginners should start with Double Foot. You should aim to jump and land in the same place every time.
For this technique, you transfer your weight between your right and left feet. To start with, skip two rotations one foot before switching to the other. Once you become familiar with this technique you can change sides as often or little as you like. Single Foot a very good technique for boxers looking to work on balance and leg strength.
Side to Side
Imagine a straight line running between your feet. Then try to land on the left, then the right of the line intermittently with both feet together. You can practice this first without a rope first.
Front to Back
To practice Front to Back you need to Rotate the rope the opposite way, over the back of your head and under the back of your heels. This is a great technique for balance and coordination.