Jump rope. When was the last time you did it? Grade school? Maybe randomly at some kickboxing class you tried? Or maybe you do it regularly at Crossfit classes or Boxing classes….or even just at your local gym? If the latter is you- AMAZING! If not….listen up, because you may be surprised….
Wherever you are in life, jump-rope-wise, it would benefit your fitness level to take up skipping rope.
Jumping rope, just at a moderate pace, burns a whopping 10-16 calories per minute! That’s a lot, compared to other cardio activities…and it means that just 10 minutes of jumping rope can burn 100-160 calories! No elliptical or stationary bike is going to do that for you!
It is also super fun, and there are some really great ways to challenge your jumping ability and go beyond the basic skipping you did as a kid. Ever seen VS model Adriana Lima’s jumping skills? If you haven’t, check it out– you’ll be rushing out to buy a rope in no time.
Before I get into some ways to challenge your jumping skills and keep it interesting, lets discuss the pro’s of jump rope:
Burn MAJOR Calories
I explained this above- and it sort of explains itself right?!
It Improves Coordination
When you jump rope, you really have to focus, specifically on your feet and their placement. With practice, you will become lighter on your feet, and better at moving quickly with ease.
Improves Bone Density
Jumping is good for building bone density, which makes your bones stronger AND will keep them stronger as you get older.
Wards Off Foot/Ankle Injuries
Jumping rope improves foot coordination and increases the strength in the muscles supporting your foot and your ankle. Strengthening these muscles will help prevent foot related injuries while doing other physical activities.
It Is Mentally Calming
You have to really focus when you jump rope which can have great mental benefits- it can calm you down and make you feel sort of “zen” if you tap into the right mental attitude. It can also do wonders for your breathing. When forced to really focus, your body learns to do things more efficiently.
Now, the standard jumping is great, and you will get all of the benefits from jumping straight and normal. BUT if you want to challenge yourself, the double under may be the perfect thing for you!
Double Unders are exactly what they sound like- the rope makes TWO rotations under your feet in one single jump. So instead of just going around once when you are off the ground, it goes around twice, which takes a lot of focus, practice and hand-foot coordination.
You need to spin the rope with your wrist faster than you normally do AND you need to jump higher each time you jump.
These are HARD to do- they can be pretty frustrating at first, but when you finally get it, it feels amazing! You also burn WAY more calories doing these because your heart rate is higher throughout.
Double Unders are all about rhythm- you have to find the right cadence that works for you….a perfect marriage between jump height and wrist movement. Also- keep your elbows close to your body, this will keep you from tripping up on a too-short rope.
A speed rope works best for challenging your jump roping skills- here is the one I have.
I also love a one-legged jump. It really burns your calf muscles….and pretty much your entire leg. I’ll alternate legs every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes and by the end of it, my legs are on fire!
Whichever type of jumping you decide to do- your body will thank you for adding it to your routine!