A zero-cost workout that needs very little space and burns 135 calories in 10 minutes! A piece of equipment that weighs less than a smart-phone and can be packed into rucksacks, suitcases or handbags! It all sounds too good to be true, but skipping or jump-rope as it has now become known as, is a perfect workout to tone abs, legs and arms in the most space, time and cost-effective way. Whether you want something new to try at the gym; a simple exercise to do in your lunch break or a simple way of keeping fit while travelling – jump rope is the perfect answer.
If you haven’t picked up a rope since your early teenage years, now is the time to get back in touch with the younger you. Beloved of boxers, martial artists and an increasing number of fitness gurus, jump rope is a simple form of exercise that can be used in the gym, at home in the backyard, at a park or in a quiet spot near the office.
First of all, a quick recap on how to be an effective proponent of jump rope.
To make sure the rope is the correct length, place one foot on the centre of the rope and lift the handles, they shouldn’t go past the height of the armpits.
- Jump 1 to 2 inches off the floor giving the rope just enough space to slip under the rope.
- You should think light – only the balls of the feet should touch the floor.
- Keep your elbows close to your sides as you turn the rope. Make sure the movement comes from the wrists and forearms, not the shoulders.
Jump rope moves
For an effective jump rope workout, you should look to add some variety to your skipping action. As you become more confident, so your repertoire will increase but here are some movements to get you started.
Jump over the rope with your feet together, one jump per turn of the rope. Start at a pace and tempo that is comfortable and increase this as you become more confident. Aim to increase the number of jumps and the speed of movement.
This is the skipping move that boxers make look ridiculously easy, as they swing the rope at speed and just seem to glide over it. Once you get the rhythm of this move you will see that it is an easy move. As you turn the rope you are doing a double jump on alternate legs, so just shifting your weight back and forth as you jump. You can do the move with a small knee lift or, for greater speed, just throw your feet forwards as you jump.
Front and back
As you jump with both feet together, push your body slightly forward from the hips so you land a few inches further forward. On the next jump, move your body several inches backwards. This movement works the hips and glutes as they are working hard to move your body laterally as well as in an up-and-down-motion.
For this variation, jump with both feet together but move sideways with each jump, so you are bouncing side to side. This will work the outside of your thighs and is a great exercise foe skiers, runners and cyclists.
Jumping jack skipping
This move can be introduced as you become more confident and your timing has become spot on. As you land after your first jump, land with your feet shoulder width apart, on the next jump, bring your feet together – keep this movement going, it is simply a jumping jack movement but with a skipping rope thrown in.
How long should I jump rope for?
An effective jump rope session will last 10-15 minutes and can include variations on all these moves. Even more effective is the addition of some weights/weight bearing into your routine – for example, do one minute of single jump skipping followed by 30 seconds of push-ups, repeat six times.
Jump rope is one of those activities that you can be really creative with – it is fun, energetic and good for you, so pack your rope and enjoy.