“Jumping rope can be 3 times more effective than jogging or running”. Years ago I was reading a book written by Bruce Lee where I read this statement. Knowing that when it came to physical exercise and training Bruce Lee was somewhat of an expert, I took this advice to heart. Jump roping is the best form of exercise that I know. I went on a Jump roping binge at one time in my life. I was jumping 20 minutes 3 times a day. I’ve learned that this is a bit excessive and not needed. Jump Roping does not need to be done every day, but if you’re looking for something that you can do that will improve your health, then please consider jumping rope.
Go to a sporting goods store and purchase a good solid jump rope. My first jump rope was a 8 foot, heavy nylon rope. At the time I was too cheap to go purchase one. A few weeks later I went to the sporting goods store and purchased a good jump rope. The problem with the nylon rope is it started to unravel in the middle where it was hitting the ground. This is why you want a good jump rope that will withstand the battering of being used. Since then I went and got a 100 foot of nylon-tree rope. Rope used to pull down trees. I’m still on my first eight feet of this long rope after 6 months. I like it because it’s heavy. To start you may want a lighter rope.
Pick a good time, 3 to 5 times a week, where you can consistently jump rope. Keeping yourself on a schedule will help you get fit by forcing you to jump rope at the same time. I usually do this first thing in the morning then I’m done for the rest of the day, or two, and can concentrate on other things.
Start out slow. If you’ve never jumped before you may find yourself tripping over the rope more often than not. Find a rope that will reach almost to the middle of your chest while the rope goes under both of your feet. The length of the rope is important. When you jump you don’t want the rope to hit the ground a lot. You want to jump only a couple of inches off the floor and the rope to go under your feet. This is the ultimate goal. Small jumps, but enough for the rope to go under your feet. At first you will find yourself jumping much higher than you need to. That’s expected, don’t sweat it. Just keep doing it. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you get the hang of it the more you do it. Pretty soon you’ll be swinging the rope very quickly and making short jumps to clear the rope.
At first try to jump 20 times without stopping, take a rest, then 20 more, then rest. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes. At first your rests may be longer and get shorter as you learn more and get in better shape. To count make sure you count when your feet hit the ground. Don’t try to count the rope going by. It’s too easy to miscount. Your feet hitting the ground is a much better gauge. I found this out when a friend was visiting and I was jumping rope. I’d count a hundred and my friend was only on 60. Wasn’t I surprised to find out they were counting when my feet hit the ground. I was trying to count the rope whizzing by my face and severely miscounting, in my favor, of course.
Use your whole arms. When you first start you will probably have to use your whole arms to jump rope. Start with the rope behind your ankles and with a rope end in each hand bring your arms quickly back behind you in a circular motion. Hold your arms out a little from your body. Move your arms in a circular motion, bringing the rope behind them. As the rope comes around to your feet jump over the rope. Keep doing this for as many reps as you want to do. At first it might be a little difficult, but in this case practice will make it easy. After you’ve done it for a while you’ll get to where you can just use your hands and wrists to swing the rope around. You’ll use less energy and get better exercise. Funny how that works.
Add other exercises between jumping. If you add other exercises, like jumping jacks, push-ups or sit-ups between jumping reps you’ll have less of a chance of getting bored with the routine. Just jumping could get monotonous after a while. You can also try running while you are jumping as an advanced exercise. Another advanced exercise I like to do is skipping in place while jumping rope. To do this you kick your leg up as the rope goes down and then as your front leg goes down you kick your back leg back, to miss the rope. It looks funny at first, but it’s definitely an advanced move and will tire you out quickly. Exercise at it’s best.
Get a good jump rope.
Up your reps to where you are jumping consistently for the full amount of exercise time. If you can jump rope at full speed for a full 10-15 minutes you know you are in great shape!
On the days you don’t jump rope think about lifting weights to build up your muscle. But, that’s a topic for another article.
Don’t get discouraged. When I first started jumping I was horrible. I would hit my feet (or even my head) more often than jump over the rope. Stick with it and after a while it will be easy, I promise!