What is jumping rope? Jumping rope, or skipping rope, is a simple yet effective full body exercise! Itâ€™s been around for ages, starting as a way for children to play. Itâ€™s morphed from being a childâ€™s activity, to a staple for boxers, to more recently becoming a popular way to get cardio (and maybe show off on instagram). Because it works every part of your body, no wonder itâ€™s such a fun way to stay fit!
As a young girl, I remember watching my mom jump rope with wide eyes, impressed by how skilled and fast she moved. I carried that inspiration into my teen years, when I started jumping rope for exercise. I started counting the 100s, then 1000s. I challenged myself over and over to achieve faster times, more unbroken reps, new tricks, longer times. Iâ€™ve been doing it regularly since then, incorporating it into my weekly routine. Itâ€™s been over a decade of jumping rope for me â€“and I still love it. I hope you can find the joy in it as well! Here are some reasons, benefits, and ideas to get you startedâ€¦
Why should I jump rope?
Jumping rope has so many benefits to enhance your health, no matter what your fitness level. It strengthens your entire legs. Your shoulders, forearms, and grip become stronger too. Although it builds muscle strength, it best benefits your cardiovascular health. It raises your heart rate & increases endurance. And the best part is that you can control the speed & intensity! Another plus for the exercise is that itâ€™s both portable and cheap. You can conveniently jump rope in your home, easily carry a rope to a preferred exercise spot, or take it with you on vacation without any trouble. Prices range anywhere from 5 to 50 dollars, but you donâ€™t need fancy for effective.
As with any exercise, be careful, use good form, and donâ€™t work through injuries. Those with weak hearts or with serious injuries, particularly in the legs, should not participate in jump rope. Be extra careful if you have a history with injuries. Donâ€™t be afraid to try; but listen to your body!
How do I start?
So you want to jump rope. What next? All you really need is open space and a rope. But there are a few more factors and details to know to help you make the best choices for you.
First, choose a hard, flat surface. Grass and sand donâ€™t make for easy jump roping. A surface with some shock absorption is ideal but not necessary. Next, make sure you have enough space in front and behind you (Iâ€™ve damaged a thing or two by not following this advice). Lastly, though not absolutely essential (you can go barefoot) put on some supportive footwear. This is important for protecting your joints.
Types of Jump Ropes
But what kind of rope do you use? There are three types of jump ropes: speed, weighted, and basic. They come in a wide variety of materials, colors, and sizes. If you are starting jump rope for the first time, a basic rope will be great. If you are more advanced, a speed rope is perfect for building, well, speed, and getting a high cardio kick. A weighted rope will test your strength and endurance, as well as drain your soul.Â Make sure the rope is the right length by putting the middle of the rope under one foot & holding the handle bars to your shoulders. Be sure to use proper form by keeping your back slightly arched, core engaged, hands level with your hips, arms not too wide apart, and knees unlocked.
Lastly and most importantly, do it! It takes practice to be fast and do neat tricks, and the only way to get to your goals is to do it! And have fun. Listening to some favorite songs can give you rhythm for your jumps & time will fly by. Getting ideas from others through the many videos out there will give you inspiration. This all means you enjoy your intense, beneficial, fun workout.
There are two main ways you can format your jump rope workout. Sure, you can just jump as long and as much as you feel like, but if you want to reach a goal or track your progress, you can go by reps or time.
The first way to structure a jump rope workout is with reps. This is perhaps more beneficial if you want to check your progress. See how long it takes you to do 10, 100, or 1,000 reps. Then check again after a week or a month. You can challenge yourself by trying to do a certain amount of reps in a certain amount of time, according to your level. You can also do interval training by going fast for 100 and slow for 100 for 10 rounds for a total of 2,000 reps. Keep adding reps as it becomes easier.
The advantage of doing a time based workout is that your mind is freer to think or space out or listen to music or a podcast or whatever it wants to do, as itâ€™s not occupied with counting. The main disadvantage is not being able to track your speed. Nevertheless, it allows for intervals, like going fast for 20 seconds and then slow for 40 seconds. Try this for 10-20 minutes for an excellent short and sweet workout. Another option is going hard for 30 seconds and easy for 30 seconds for 20-30 minutes. Of course, you can also set the timer for however long youâ€™d like and just jump!
Notice how and when your body starts to fatigue during your workout. Take some moments to focus on your breathing. Listen to the sound of the rope as it hits the floor. Feel your body moving. This will not only help you better your jump rope skills and workout, but also help your mental health.
With all the benefits of jump rope, as well as flexibility for different fitness levels, any one, any age, can have fun working out!