Grab a rope and join me.
Rope-jumping takes coordination, skill and practice, practice, practice. But the pay-back is worth it. Here’s a teaser for you: the average 150 pound person can burn nearly 125 calories in 10 minutes of rope-jumping. That figures out to almost 780 calories per hour! (See article “Caloric Burn Table” in the Weight Control category of this blog.)
In addition to high caloric burn, rope-jumping trains our cardiovascular system in both aerobic and anaerobic modes, making rope-jumping perfect for Interval Training. And jumping trains us neurologically as well. It improves our coordination, dynamic balance, spatial body awareness and efficiency of movement.
Jumping is portable, do it indoors or out and the equipment is inexpensive. Take your rope on vacation and burn some calories in the morning to make up for the ice-cream you will want that afternoon. Use jumping for your warm-up before your strength routine or to keep your heart rate elevated while waiting for your next weightlifting set.
Rope-jumping, if done properly, is not a high-impact movement. The highest jump you need to do is just high enough to clear the rope. An inch or so off the floor should do it.
Things you will need:
The Rope: several types are availiable. Look for ones that are adjustable in length. See below for figuring out the proper rope length for you. A beginner might want to start with a thicker rope which will slow the movement down allowing you to learn to coordinate your jumps to the rope swing. The other issue with ropes is the handle and connection of the rope to the handle. The handle should be light weight and comfortable in your hand. And the handles should allow the rope to rotate freely thus allowing the rope to turn with little resistance. I picked up an adjustable rope at a famous mall sporting goods store for less than $10 and it fell apart after a month. See me to buy a high quality rope for just $8.00 (my cost).
The Jumping Surface: Find a surface that provides some rebound. Wood floors or a rubber training mat are good. Avoid concrete floors.
The Shoes: Choose cross-trainers with a reinforced toe and lots of cushioning for the balls of the feet.
Space: A quickly turning rope can cause injury to a bystander. Allow about 5 feet all around you and about 2 feet of headroom. And watch out for those sprinkler heads!
Body position: Stand up-right and face straight ahead. Slightly bend your knees. Relax your shoulders. Place your arms close to your sides with forearms at waist level and at a 45-degree angle. When you turn the rope, make small circles with your wrists.
Those first few jumps can be discouraging. Heck, anytime we do something new we usually find it tougher to do than we thought it might be. Just keep a positive attitude and keep on trying. Once you built those base skills, things get better fast. Nothing will improve your ability more than practice. Jump for 2 minutes then rest for 2, then go again. Keep in mind that even the “practice” burns calories galore!
So okay then, give this a try. And later on when you get “fair” to “good” at jumping, throw on some groovy tunes and rock out!