Jumping rope delivers a great workout even if you’re short on time or on the road. Learn how to get started and stay safe.
Perks of Jumping Rope
1. Enjoy the versatility. This piece of workout equipment is cheap, portable and compact. It’ll fit in a small suitcase or a studio apartment and you’ll probably spend less than $20.
2. Get a full body workout. In one session, you can target your upper and lower body. You’ll also improve your cardiovascular fitness. Skipping rope strengthens many muscle groups in your legs, hands, and wrists, which can improve your performance in other sports and help to protect you from injuries.
3. Increase your coordination. Enhance your fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. You’ll soon be able to do any physical activity better, and practicing this kind of mental concentration also wards off boredom.
4. Burn more calories. A typical adult can burn 750 calories or more per hour during moderately paced jumping, according to the National Institute of Health. That’s more than almost any other activity, including jogging or bicycling!
1. Check with your doctor. As a precaution, see your doctor before starting this high intensity activity, especially if you’re over 45 or have been inactive for a while. Skipping rope may also need to be avoided in the early stages of injury until your joints are strong enough to handle the impact.
2. Monitor your heart rate. By understanding your target heart rate, you can burn fat more efficiently and avoid injuries. Your maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. Aim to stay at about 75 to 85 percent of that figure for the most challenging phase of your workout.
3. Choose the correct rope for you. Look for a rope that’s long enough to nearly reach your armpits when you stand on the middle of it. Many beginners find beaded ropes easier to control but plastic, leather and nylon are also good options.
4. Wear the right shoes. Get shoes that absorb shock. Aerobic or cross training shoes with generous cushioning are ideal.
5. Stick to safe surfaces. Rubber mats and wood are better for absorbing impact than concrete or asphalt. Be cautious about skipping rope on carpets because your shoe could stick and cause an ankle injury.
Important Techniques for Your Jump Rope Workout
1. Start off slowly. Lots of people feel awkward at first. Try rehearsing the movements without a rope or focusing on your arms and feet separately until you’re ready to put it all together.
2. Engage in interval training. Alternate between periods of intense jumping and gentler movements. Increase the intensity gradually as your capacity builds up. When you feel fatigued, try swinging the rope at your side while you keep your feet on the floor or march in place.
3. Warm up and cool down. Include a few minutes before and after every session to warm up and cool down in order to condition your heart and avoid dizziness. Finish up with static stretches to augment your flexibility.
4. Use good technique. Proper form protects your joints by lowering the impact level. Keep the rope close to your feet as you lift yourself only about one to two inches off the floor. Allow just the balls of your feet to make contact with the floor. Elbows are kept close to your sides as you turn the rope with your wrists and forearms.
Jumping rope is a very effective exercise that works out your whole body. Check with your doctor if you have any concerns, and be sure to master proper form so you can protect your joints and heart while you burn away calories.