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Skipping to Fitness

Have you ever actually tried to workout by skipping rope?

Now I admit, most people haven't jumped or skipped a rope since Elementary School. A lot of people think of jumping rope as more of a game or a kid’s toy. Which is funny, because it takes a lot of energy to do and many adults have difficulty doing it. I think it is ironic because it is actually an extremely effective form of exercise that burns a lot of calories (hence why in Rocky films you see him skipping rope regularly).

Guaranteed almost everyone you know can take a brisk walk for 15 minutes... But try skipping rope for 15 minutes and the percentage of people who can jump rope for that long drops to about 1%. Most people would get too tired after just a few minutes.

Muscle Groups and Jumping Rope

So if skipping rope is so difficult, what muscle groups is it targeting?

The answer is just about every muscle in the body. Almost all of them, and even a few muscles you almost never use. Try jumping rope for 15 minutes and you will be sore in multiple, if not many, muscle groups. Especially in the calf muscles and abs. In fact, if you are really trying to get ripped abs, skipping rope will help you a lot. Your core muscles really gets worked hard since your abs have to contract to stabilize your entire body as it propels through the air... and its a cardio, so its good for burning a lot of calories and your heart muscles.

Jumping Rope Helps Release Human Growth Hormone

HGH is a hormone that your body releases naturally, which burns body fat like crazy while simultaneously promoting new tissue growth. Increasing your natural level of HGH in your body is your quickest route to burning body fat. Unfortunately, low intensity cardio won’t assist your body in releasing HGH. The proven way to increase HGH is to alternate high intensity cardio for 30 seconds followed by 30-60 seconds of rest…this is known as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Jumping rope is a great way to get that high intensity and release HGH.

Tips on Purchasing a Jump Rope

A good rope will cost you $10 to $15, and you can even get a “Speed Rope” at sporting goods stores. They are basically plastic ropes without the beads. Look for one which is adjustable.

How to Adjust your Jump Rope

1. Place your rope on the ground.
2. Stand on the midpoint of the rope (an equal distance between the handles).
3. Grasp the handles and pull them up to your chest.
4. The top of the handles should reach about 6 inches below the collarbone (never as high as the collar bone or as low as the upper abs).
5. Adjust the rope so it is the correct length.

Note: With time and experience you may decide to shorten it a bit more.

Learning the Skills of Jumping Rope

If you remember doing this as a kid, maybe this part will be easy. But if your memory is foggy then you will need to work on it and hopefully some muscle memory will come back.

Most beginners “double bounce” with both feet during rotations. This actually allows them to rest their core a bit as well as their calf muscles in between rotations and means that they have a low level of core fitness. You will want to jump cleanly in between each rotation and keep the abs and core tight. As you progress you will want to try doing more difficult things like alternating feet and so forth.

Your arms should barely move when you jump rope. The rotation of the rope should come from wrist movement. If you want to increase the speed of the rotations, simply increase the tightness of the circles that your wrist is making (this will make more sense when you start jumping rope). The goal is to eventually work up to a point where you can jump rope for 5 minutes solid without having to stop and start again. This means that if you have to stop because the rope hits your feet, you have to start again from zero. You also want to be able to jump rope alternating feet, so it looks like you are running while jumping rope.

A Sample 15 Minute Jump Rope Workout
  1. Stand in front of a clock or timer of some sort - Jump Rope for 3 minutes to warm up
  2. Rest for 30 seconds
  3. Jump rope as quickly as possible for 60 seconds
  4. Rest for 30 seconds
  5. Jump Rope as quickly as possible for 60 seconds
  6. Rest for 30 seconds
  7. Repeat this alternating pattern for 15-20 minutes

If you want to jazz it up you can try alternating feet, spinning the rope twice for every jump, going as fast as you can, or even endurance jumping... like 60 minutes or something equally intense.

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