Although jumping rope is a main staple of boxing exercises, it is also an all around good method for getting into great shape fast. Jump rope exercises consume a lot of calories in a very short time. One minute of jumping rope burns an average of 11 calories. Once you increase the intensity, you start eliminating around 20 calories per minute. Not bad for a fun exercise!
However, a regular jump rope workout offers much more than just dropping belly fat. It also increases better footwork, agility, endurance, coordination and quickness. All of these benefits make jumping rope an excellent conditioning workout regardless of the sport you chose to pursue. What’s even better, jump ropes are incredibly inexpensive, can be easily used practically anywhere and can be thrown in a bag for easy transport.
Determining Correct Jump Rope Length
You’re going to need to buy a jump rope if you don’t already own one. You can get a good rope for conditioning purposes for $5 or less. The main factor to consider when shopping for a jump rope is its length. Most standard ropes are between 8 to 10 feet long and may need to be adjusted to fit an individual’s height. Here’s a quick way to determine the correct jump rope length for you:
With one foot, stand on the center of the rope so that the handles are even when held up. If you are an inexperienced jumper then the tops of the handles should come to your shoulder. More advanced jumpers will want the rope a bit shorter to gain a better jump rope workout so the handles should come only to the armpit.
If the handle ends go above your shoulders (or armpits for advanced users) then you will need to shorten the rope. You can do this by either cutting off the desired length, or you can tie knots in the rope close to the handles for a temporary solution.
Jump Rope Techniques
There are many ways to alter your jump rope routine which will add difficulty and provide fresh variation. Following are some of the most common, yet challenging, jumping styles which will have you fit as a fiddle in no time.
Running with a rope can be done by either running in place or by actually running while you skip rope. However, you should begin this jump rope exercise while running in place until you increase your coordination skills. Once you perfect this technique, you can take to running around a park or forested trail which makes for a more challenging and enjoyable experience. This is an excellent cardio workout.
Whether you chose to run in place or run a path, the method of execution is the same. Lift your knees high when taking steps in order to increase calorie burn.
Alternating Leg Jumps
To complete this jump rope exercise, you simply alternate legs when jumping. This is a common jump rope workout used by boxers to increase endurance. Start by using this technique for 5 to 10 minutes and work to increase to 30 minutes or more.
One Foot Jumps
These are a great way to develop more refined balance as well as calf strength. Start jumping on one leg while skipping rope and do as many reps as you can. Then, switch legs and do the same number of repetitions on the other leg.
Front straddles require that you move your legs backwards and forwards in an alternating fashion while jumping. You will be completing a scissor-like motion with your legs from front to back with the rope passing under your steps with each jump. Thisexercise will work the calves as well as quads and hamstrings.
A bit more difficult to do than front straddles, side straddles require that you move your feet from the inside to the outside with each pass of the rope, like you’re doing jumping jacks. This exercise places a great deal of work on the calf muscles, especially the outer calves.
This is a more advanced workout due to its difficulty. However, this method will increase your overall jump rope workout benefits as you increase your jumping skills.
To complete a double under, you will pass the rope under your jump twice before jumping again. Begin by using both legs together to jump and, as you become better, utilize the other mentioned steps such as running, alternating leg jumps, one leg jumps and straddles. The double under will mainly increase your cardio workout as well as upper body development due to having to rotate the arms twice as fast.
Even more advanced than the double under is the criss-cross. Boxers use this exercise to increase coordination as it takes more concentration to skip rope while it’s being crossed back and forth. Once you get used to criss-crosses on simple jumping techniques such as basic two leg or one leg hops, try them while running, or doing double unders.
To perform the criss-cross, on the downward swing of the rope, cross your arms at about the elbows and jump through the created loop. Uncross your arms for the next rotation and then repeat with crossed arms, etc.