Jump rope has been around for centuries; kids across different cultures used whatever cloth they could get to jump rope. Today, jump rope benefits are extremely well known, well researched and well documented. The Jump Rope Institute (yes, there is one!), states that jumping 120 revolutions per minute for 10 minutes offers the same benefits as jogging for 30 minutes or playing two sets of tennis. Even celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence have used jump rope to get in shape. You need not even know any special jump rope techniques to see results: anyone can burn up to a 1000 calories in under an hour with this simple workout. Let us study some easy tips and skipping rope tricks to make the most of this workout.
1. Choose a good rope
This sport requires just one tool-rope. But based on the type of jumping you do you need to choose the rope accordingly. Lengths will wary depending on if you jump alone or in a group. Too long and the rope will be a pain to swing. Too short, and you are likely to trip over unless you hunch-which can take a toll on your back.
2. Measure the rope as per your height
To jump by yourself, measure the rope based on your height. Stand in the center of the rope. Take someone’s help to lift each side of the rope. Ideally the rope needs to come to your armpits on each side. This is the perfect rope length. If you plan to jump with a friend, then make sure that the rope reaches the armpit of the taller among you two.
3. Pay attention to the rope’s material
The material of the jump rope is of utmost importance here. Skipping ropes are available in three materials: cloth, plastic or beaded. If you are a beginner, go in for a cloth rope. This way; you won’t get hurt when the rope stings; this is bound to happen a lot as you learn. Advanced jumpers can go for beaded plastic ropes for doing advanced jump rope tricks. These help speed, precision and also offer greater control. Note that plastic ropes are heavier and take greater effort to turn than cloth ropes. Leather ropes are also available for the advanced jumpers.
4. Choose a good place for jumping
Where you jump is also important whether you are a beginner or advanced pro at jumping. Outdoor jumpers need to use heavier ropes as they need to account for the wind. Also, plastic ropes are preferable for outdoors, especially in wet season. Basic jumps can be done at home in the living room or backyard. You can even do these at a gym with an aerobic floor that offers cushioning.
5. Jump on proper flooring
Skipping rope is a great workout as it puts stress on your entire body and that is why one burns hundreds of calories in a short amount of time. A gym floor which is basically wooden with bit of spring to it also works well. Rubber floors and mats are also great as they protect your toes and knees. Avoid foam mats as they take the bounce out of landing and put great deal of pressure on your joints.
6. Wear proper footwear
If you jump on a side walk or on the road, then make sure you wear good quality athletic shoes with padding to absorb the shock of jumping. Avoid shoes with thick knobs on the soles. Never jump bare feet or in slippers or sandals; that can hurt your ankles and feet.
7. Start with a warm up
One of the topmost jump rope benefits is that it helps you burn calories in short amount of time. However, you should always start with a warm up. Do at least 5 minutes of jumping such as jumping jacks, spot jogging, a few squats etc.Also stretch the quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings. Don’t forget to stretch the arms, shoulders and neck muscles. You need not spend too much time on stretching; just ensure that your muscles feel loose and ready.
8. Stay hydrated
Keep a bottle of water and keep taking sips. You will lose a lot of water through sweat so stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after the workout.
9. Do basic solo jumps
Solo jumping is the perfect solution to boredom. It is easy to learn and every advanced routine starts with solo jumps. Keep elbows close to the body and bend your arms slightly as you jump. For a basic jump: jump as you swing the rope over your head and land on the balls of both feet. Once you master this jump, you can go for backward jumps as well.
10. Know the dos and don’ts of jumping
- Do not jump too high as it takes too much energy and you’d also end up landing with high impact
- Try to land softly.
- Do try and use some wrist and forearm when turning the rope handles. Make small circles or cranking motion.
- Don’t look at your feet – look straight ahead.
- Don’t raise your hands too much – keep them level with the hips.
- Do try to relax your neck and avoid hunching shoulders. Keep elbows bent by the torso.
- Breathe normally. Ideally you should be able to have a conversation with someone while jumping.
- Do not jump too slow or too fast. Keep a proper pace and if needed, use music to guide your rhythm.
11. Other basic jump rope techniques
- Alternate jumps – Try to now jump with alternate foot. Jump over the rope with one foot and then the other. This technique is two times faster than the solo jump with both feet.
- Toe tap – Jump and touch your toe to the ground behind you. Keep your weight on one foot. Switch and touch the ground behind you with your other foot.
- Heel tap – This is just like toe tap, only you touch the ground with your heel. Keep weight on one foot. Switch feet and touch the other heel to the ground behind you.
- Jump rope side swing – Move your hands to right side of your body as you twirl the rope. Next, move your left hand to the left side and open to rope to do a basic jump. Now move your hands to the left side of your body as you twirl the rope.
12. Move on to advanced jump rope techniques
You might have seen many gym enthusiasts doing advanced jump rope techniques like cross over jumps, double Dutch and so on. Depending on your goals, you can decide if you want to try advanced jump rope technique and tricks. If weight loss is your goal, you can simply use basic solo jumps for 20-25 minutes and slowly increase the time so you can do up to 45 minutes or 1 hour of jumping. Here are some resources to help you with advanced jump rope techniques.