After an entire winter of going from inside your house, to inside your office, to inside the gym, aren’t you ready for some fresh air and sunshine? Summer is here, and it’s time to rediscover a powerful cardio tool -- the jump rope.
Most people are amazed to learn that jumping rope actually has lower impact on your joints than running. When you run, 100% of your weight lands on each foot, with each stride. Most jump rope skills are two feet at a time, and therefore have only 50% of your weight landing on each foot. Performing jump rope drills with proper form also reduces the impact on joints. With practice, you can learn to jump an inch or less from the ground while still gracefully clearing the rope.
When the average person thinks of cardio, they think of the dull, repetitive motions of treadmills, exercise bikes and elliptical machines. On the other hand, when they try to visualize improving coordination, the typical woman might envision a dance class, while the typical man might picture a martial arts class. Since your time is limited, why not get cardio and coordination from a single piece of equipment? Because the rotation of your wrists has to be perfectly timed with your feet, the jump rope adds coordination and foot speed to your cardio workout.
Look around your gym, office, or neighborhood, and you’ll see the majority of people fall into one of three categories:
1) People who do lots of strength training but no cardio.
2) People who do lots of long distance and steady pace cardio, but no sprinting or strength training.
3) People who are sedentary.
All three groups are missing the one form of training that burns fat fastest: anaerobic cardio, short bursts of intense effort followed by rest. While you could get anaerobic cardio by running sprint intervals, the jump rope is a fun and outstandingly effective way to gain this crucial missing ingredient. Although the exact number of calories burned per hour will depend on your weight, and the work/rest ratio of your intervals, you can burn more calories per hour jumping rope than by running, swimming, or biking.
So, how do you know where to start? Do plain, two-footed jumping, and count how many reps you can do, stopping only when you are out of breath or trip over the rope. If you get less than 140 continuous jumps (about 1 minute) then stick to basic jumping for a few weeks or months. If you got over 140 smooth, connected jumps, you are ready to learn some of the more advance steps. "Jump Rope Training" by former Marine and Olympic athlete Buddy Lee is a great source for creative jump rope drills and routines. Both a book and a DVD version are available.
The best place to begin jump rope training is to devote 10 minutes of every workout to your practice. Beginners can try 20 seconds of jumping with 40 seconds rest. Intermediate exercisers can try 30 seconds of jumping to 30 seconds of rest. Advanced exercisers can either do 45 seconds of jumping to 15 seconds rest, or leave the rest time high but move on to skills like the alternate footstep (like running, but with the rope), ½ twister (like doing ski moguls with your feet, while your upper body stays still), or side straddle (like jumping jacks with the addition of the rope).
If you want to purchase a rope, the two high quality ropes that are the biggest hits with students at EFT Personal Training LLC are the Master Jump Rope and the Aero Speed Jump Rope. But remember, jumping with an old, worn jump rope today is better than jumping with the best rope in the world tomorrow.
Want friends to jump rope with? Ready to learn some new steps or start jumping for the first time?
Come to ReBOOT Your Health Boot Camp in Central Park by EFT Personal Training LLC. Each week, we have jump rope classes open to all levels, as well as beginners-only classes. You are welcome to bring your own rope, or use one provided by the instructor. Mention LocalVox Media to get a free 1-hour personal training session ($150 value) with your purchase of one month of unlimited Boot Camp classes!