Though it may make you think of your childhood, a simple jump rope can be a very useful fitness tool to help you lose weight or get in shape. It is very simple to learn how to start a jump rope exercise program because it involves minimal equipment (the jump rope is all you need). And in just 10 minutes, you can burn anywhere from 100 to 160 calories with this affordable piece of gym equipment. Another benefit is that it is easy to travel with.
While exercising, you need only continue with a certain movement for 1-2 minutes in order to get the benefits from it. Changing your style and your jump rope workout will keep things interesting, as well as challenge your mind and body. So once you have a good hold on your balance, try the following moves to keep your workout challenging. The best way to try a new move is without the rope first. Once you have a grasp of the movements, grab your rope and give it a try.
Jump Rope Exercises
Here are six exercise tips and ways to jump rope to vary your workout routine:
- Figure Eight: This is a fun exercise. Stand straight up with feet shoulder-width apart, grasping the jump rope handles with both hands together in front of the body. Trace a sideways figure eight moving from right shoulder to left hip, then left shoulder to right hip. Shift your weight from the right to left foot as you move your arms across your body.
- Side Swing: Holding the handles together in one hand, swing the rope to the left and to the right then jump.
- Step Touch: Holding handles together, swing the rope to the left and turn twice in a circular motion as you step to the left and tap right toes by left heel. Repeat to the right.
- Front-Back: Jump up with feet together, moving 6 inches forward over the rope. On the next turn, jump back 6 inches. Continue alternating, jumping once per turn.
- Slalom: Jump over the rope 6 inches to the right, landing on both feet. On the next turn, jump 6 inches to the left. Keep your feet together and continue alternating, jumping once per turn.
- Jumping Jack: Jump over the rope and land with feet wider than hip-width apart. On your next jump, land with feet together. Repeat for optimal jump rope fitness.
Choosing a Jump Rope
When it comes to picking a jump rope, a model that has a plastic rope is usually best. This is because cloth ropes are too flimsy and leather ropes take too long to break in. Another option available to the consumer is weighted jump ropes. These are a great way to help build strength while increasing the effectiveness of your cardio workout. However, if you have not used a jump rope in awhile, or ever, I would recommend starting with a basic plastic jump rope and then working your way up to the weighted one.
Another key thing to keep in mind is that they are not one-size-fits-all. To make sure you get the benefits of this exercise, be sure the rope you purchase is right for your height. To do this you will need to unfold the jump rope. Then, with one foot, stand on the center of the rope and pull the rope straight up along the side of your body. If the handles reach to your armpit then this rope is the perfect size for you.
There are a few other things to remember as you learn how to jump rope, and many apply to other cardio exercises too.
You must start your routine with a simple warm-up exercise. This will get your heart rate up and prepare you for jumping up and down as well as balancing. One such warm up routine would be doing jumping jacks for a minute or two. Another warm up that is effective but more gentle on the joints is to simply step over the rope as you swing it around, giving your body a chance to get used to the movement. As a minute passes start to speed up slowly, eventually getting to the point that you have to jump as the rope goes by.
No matter how good you are at your other cardio workouts, it can be tough to sustain jumping rope for 30 minutes, so work up to it slowly. Treat this like any other cardio exercise by starting out slowly and working up to full speed within the first five minutes of the workout. You will also need to start slowly cooling down for the last five minutes of your workout.
Jump Rope Preparations
When choosing this as an exercise program you need to ensure the safety of your body. Jumping up and down can put a lot of stress on the joints. That is why it is so important to wear the appropriate workout attire for a jump rope workout. Wear comfortable clothing that will wick away sweat as well as supportive cross-trainers, tennis, or basketball shoes. Running shoes do not have enough support in the balls of the feet for them to be used while jumping rope.
The workout surface that you jump rope on is important as well. Floors that give a bit, such as carpeted or wood-covered surfaces, are best for jumping rope. Avoid those made of concrete. Floors laid over concrete and other hard surfaces like tile can easily cause shin splints and other serious lower body injuries. If you are not able to use a carpeted or wood surface, place an exercise mat on the floor and jump on that.
Jumping rope does take skill and coordination, so don't get frustrated with your training. With practice, your abilities will improve quickly along with your cardio condition. Like any other exercise program, make sure to stretch at the end of your workout as well.