Today I will be covering one of my favorite all-time exercises, jumping rope. Jump rope is one of the best overall body workouts because it is not only an excellent cardiovascular activity, but it burns more calories per minute than running, develops your upper body and shoulder muscles and is great for conditioning.
With the correct technique and rope, you will be jumping in style in no time. I actually didn’t start jumping until I was in my 40’s, so it’s never too late to start. It gives me an awesome cardio workout filled with rhythm and dance. I love it.
First and most important is making sure your rope is sized correctly. The length of the rope needs to be sized according to your height. Stand on the rope in the middle with the handles crossed to one side of your body. They should come to your shoulders. No higher, no lower. Most ropes can be cut to size.
Make sure you have a good pair of sneakers and if possible, reserve those only for jumping. This will keep them in good shape. I don’t have a particular brand, but advise that make sure they are shock absorbent and #2 they are comfortable.
Contrary to popular belief, jumping is actually easy on your joints. But finding a good surface is important. Surfaces will have some “give” to them are the best. For beginners, mats are a good option and so is grass or even sand if you want to challenge yourself. Concrete will allow you to jump faster but isn’t as shock absorbent.
To begin, I would recommend jumping in sets of 30 seconds on and resting for another 30 seconds. Once you’ve mastered this, you can move to one-minute sets, resting for 30 seconds.
The biggest mistake I see beginner jumpers make is that they go too high. You should only be a couple of inches off the ground. This will allow you to maintain your stamina and will form the basis for other more advanced tricks.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Most jump ropes have swivel handles. I love these because it helps utilize your wrists and not your arms.
Keep your arms about parallel to your elbows for proper alignment.
Your feet should barely leave the ground and the majority movement should come from wrist activation. You can slow down and speed up easily while keeping this form. Here is where you build master control to form the foundation for other more advanced jump rope skills.
The running man is a fun variation where you alternate legs. This will activate more of the quads and glutes and it’s ok to allow for a bit more height off the ground when doing these. Coordination can be tricky here so be patient and keep up the practice.
Twisting is one of my favorite jump rope moves because it activates the core, particularly the obliques. I love doing these and incorporate them into most of my sessions.
OPEN AND CLOSE
Open and close is a slightly more advanced technique because it requires greater coordination. Timing is key here. As soon as the rope hits the ground under you, switch positions. Sometimes I alternate these with a twist for a great combo.
Criss-Cross legs is easier than the open close to some extent because all you have to do is switch your feet from front to back
So now you have all the knowledge to start jumping in style. Have fun, get to practicing and I’m always available to answer any questions you may have. Repetition is key to building muscle memory, so don’t get discourages and quit. I often see beginner’s skills just click into place one day. And that will happen for you, I promise.