Most of us were exposed to the jump rope at the playground as kids. For those who haven’t already noticed, it’s followed us to the gym as adults. Whether we know the jump rope as a toy or a tool, there’s no doubt that its use promotes lean body mass, increases muscular and cardiovascular endurance, and improves coordination. Not to mention that jump ropes are inexpensive, portable, and versatile—ideal for college students.
Here are some tips about how to choose and use a jump rope, as well as exercises for different fitness levels:
- Pick the right sized jump rope. By standing on the jump rope’s center, each handle should reach chest level. If the only available jump rope is too big, wrap the ends around your fingers.
- Hold the jump rope properly. Arms should be slightly bent with hands at hip height. Your palms should face forward. This might not apply to some advanced exercises.
- Minimize movement. Keep the jump rope at hip height. Let wrist movement and momentum control the swing. Stay on your toes and remain low to the ground.
For each jump rope technique, I recommend tracking time rather than jumps completed. The work to rest ratio should start at either 1:2 or 1:3. For example, if you perform the traditional technique for 30 seconds, make sure to rest for either 1 minute or 90 seconds before repeating.
After you can complete a round of jumps without error, either increase your speed or perform more rounds before advancing to the next level of difficulty. Jumping rope can be done 2-4 times each week and combined with resistance training for the ultimate cross-training workout.
- Traditional: Hop with both feet when the rope passes.
- Skipping: Alternate one foot hitting the ground after each pass of the rope.
- Single Leg: Hop with only one foot when the rope passes.
- Split Stance: Alternate one foot in front of the other with each pass of the rope.
- Crossovers: Cross your arms when the rope passes in front of your body. After you hop through the loop, return your arms to each side of your hip for the second hop. Cross your arms again for the third and repeat.
- Double-unders: Hop higher and swing faster while maintaining control to clear your feet twice before landing. This might require a plastic rope for speed.
— Submitted by Frankie R., Lipscomb University