Using jump rope exercises to stay fit is a great way to vary your routine and get a little cardio in on days you cannot make it to the gym for a full workout. The American Council on Exercise recommends it as a "great cardiovascular alternative to your usual aerobic workout."
Benefits of Jumping Rope
Jumping rope, a gym class staple for years, has real health benefits for adults and kids alike. Some of them include:
- Increased agility, balance and coordination
- Toning (arms and legs)
- Strengthening cardiovascular muscles
A jump rope is cheap to own and can usually be purchased at a local discount store for less than 20 dollars. You can store it anywhere and use it almost anytime. Its portability makes it the perfect exercise for vacations and business trips.
Start Jump Rope Exercises
Get started jump roping after your doctor has given you permission to begin an exercise routine. You want to purchase a rope that hits you about mid-chest and is made of a sturdy rubber. Nylon braided ropes can snag and might have plastic handles that are hard to hold if your hands sweat.
Use your wrists to turn the rope over your head. Do not bow your elbows out; keep them tucked into your body. Jump as the rope comes down just in front of your feet, landing lightly on the balls of your feet. Rope jumping is not a high-jump competition, so jumping just a couple inches off the ground is sufficient. If you have not jump roped in a while, it may take a few practice sessions before you get the hang of it again.
Do your workout indoors or outside. Use a non-slip mat inside on carpeted or slick floor surfaces. Outside, jump on a level area of grass or pavement.
Jump rope exercise routines can last from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your fitness and skill level. To get started, try this simple 10 minute routine:
- Minutes 1-2: Warm up by walking briskly in place, pumping arms.
- Minutes 3-4: Jump at a moderate pace with both feet, swinging the rope forward.
- Minutes 5-6: Skip as you jump rope, hopping from one foot to another each time the rope comes around.
- Minutes 7-8: Do a running jump at a high pace. A running jump is basically running in place, stepping over the rope as you run.
- Minutes 9-10: Return to a two-footed jump, gradually decreasing the pace until you come to a complete stop.
To fit a little additional exercise into your day without doing a full-blown routine, keep a jump rope on your end table. Jump during commercial breaks of your favorite primetime television programs.
People who are more fit or who start to find a simple routine easy should increase the level of difficulty of their jump rope exercises to continue weight loss and health benefits.
Add New Moves
One way to increase your level of difficulty is to incorporate new moves. Dr. Jump offers ideas on how to do this by incorporating harder footwork skills and arm action skills. These skills are often combined by the most advanced jump ropers. Legwork, like kicking legs back to hit your heel to your butt or skipping with knees as high as your chest, is often easier to master than arm skills, which require more coordination. Work on legs and arms separately before you combine them.
Pick Up the Pace
Speeding up your exercises can also create a more intense workout. By just upping the average beat of your workout songs by 10-20 per minute, you will find yourself jumping faster to the rhythm. Interval training with your jump rope can also help you maintain your fitness level, as you move from high intensity jump skills and speeds to low intensity and back again.
Jumping rope is a fun, easy exercise almost anyone can do virtually anywhere. If you find you have a knack for complex skills, you may want to join USA Jump Rope, an organization that works to promote the sport to young and old alike.