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10 Minute Beginner Skipping Routine

July 22nd, 2009 No comments

So you want a jump rope routine but you don't know where to start. If you've got ten minutes, you've got plenty of time to get in a good workout and master your skills. Take this basic plan for a routine and make it your own. After the warm-up alternate between skipping and the boxer's shuffle. As you improve you can increase your skipping time until you're going strong for almost 10 minutes straight.

Warm up: 15-30 seconds each for 2 minutes total.

  • shoulder rolls
  • arm circles both directions
  • swing rope from one side to the other
  • two foot hops
  • boxer's shuffle (jumping lightly side to side, one foot landing a split second before the other) with or without rope swing

2 - 2:30 skip

2:30 - 3:00 boxer's shuffle

3:00 - 3:30 skip

3:30 - 4:00 boxer's shuffle

4:00 - 4:45 skip

4:45 - 5:15 boxer's shuffle

5:15 - 6:00 skip

6:00 - 6:30 boxer's shuffle

6:30 - 7:30 skip

7:30 - 8:00 boxer's shuffle

8:00 - 10:00 skip

What you expected cross-overs, jumping jacks and slalom? This is a beginner skiping routine, which means it's a lot more important that you get the technique down pat than try intricate or difficult moves. Trust me, this will get your heart racing plenty. Once you learn how to skip, you can move on to more fancy footwork and things will get a lot more interesting.

How to Jump Rope

June 19th, 2009 No comments

Before I get into this post I should let you know that I am no jump rope expert, just someone who recently researched the art of skipping so I could apply the correct technique to my practise and to group fitness classes I will occasionally be leading. What I learned is this - you don't have to be perfect to get benefits from skipping, but you should be aware of your form and try to improve it so you can reduce joint impact and make it safer and more enjoyable - the same rule that applies to any fitness activity you take up.

Warm-up

Before jumping right in it's a must to warm up the muscles and get some lubrication flowing to the joints. Otherwise you may end up tired achy after just a few minutes. A good warm-up involves dynamic movements for the upper and lower body. Marching in place, side step taps and the boxer's shuffle will do the job for your legs. Prepare the upper body by doing shoulder shrugs, arm circles and making the arm movements without a rope. About five minutes of progressive warming-up should do it.

Jump in

Prepare by jumping lightly, with one foot touching down a split second before the other (like the boxer's shuffle) or with both feet landing softly at the same time. You should feel springy on your feet. If you start skipping from a dead stop it can be harder to get into a rhythm. Practise jumping into the rope for a few minutes, even if you get it on your first attempt. Swing the rope from one side of your body to the other, bringing it wide when it's in front of your body so you'll have lots of space to jump in. Once you can jump in and out of the rope consistently, try to jump in while your arms are crossed.

Technique

  • Jumping - Big, klunky jumps are best to be avoided. To ensure skipping is somthing you'll want to do and be able to keep doing, strive for maintaining soft knees and performing low jumps, with the rope close to the top of your head and no slack in it. Land on the balls of your feet and let your entire foot absorb the impact.
  • Speed - To begin with focus on form instead of speed or length of time you can skip. Play it like you did as a kid and try to make it to 20 jumps. When you reach that number try to make it to 30, 40 and so on. You won’t feel as pressured to do more than your cardiovascular system can handle. Before you know it you’ll have reached the one minute mark and beyond. On the other hand, once you get the hang of it, skipping too slowly can cause the rope to catch on your feet. Try to work up to a good beginner pace of 60 to 70 turns per minute. Often choosing the right jump rope can make it easier to get up to speed.
  • Torso - Keep your back straight and don't bend forward from the waist.
  • Wrists, Arms and shoulders - Turn the rope with your wrists and keep your elbows close to the sides of your body. Power should come from your forearms, not your shoulders.

There you have it. Everything I know about skipping. If you want to know more check out pros like Buddy Lee, who have created instructional DVDs and jump rope workouts. Or you can try this simple 10 minute routine (link coming soon). Now get out there and try it already.

Choosing a Skipping Rope

June 18th, 2009 No comments

Before you spend your hard earned cash on a jump rope, thinking it's the way you're going to meet all your fitness goals, you really should consider trying one out first. And that means either going to your local gym and playing around with the ropes there for a few weeks or borrowing a rope from your favourite niece. It'll take more than a few skips and hops to know what you're going to like and dislike in a permanent skipping rope.

Just so you know what kinds of characteristics you should be looking for, here's a short list:

Proper skipping rope length

Almost any length of rope can be used, but some lengths are easier to work with than others. When you stand on the middle of the rope the place where the rope meets the handles should reach your armpits.

Type of skipping ropes

Jump ropes can be made of nylon, leather and many different types of plastic. Nylon is usually harder to turn and can be heavy depending on the thickness of the rope. Leather (especially when soaked first) is long-lasting and easy to use. The heavier rope gives muscles more of a workout. There are many different types of plastic jumps ropes, so they can vary widely in weight and ease of use.

Some jump ropes have added weight, most often in the handles. If you feel you need an extra challenge start out slow and work your way up. If you've never skipped before it's probably best to forgo any extra weight for now.

Price

Whatever the type of jump rope you choose, they all vary in price from a few dollars to over $20. Look for a rope that turns easily inside the handles so it won't get tangled up. And it's important to get a rope that can be adjusted for length. If you decide to spend a lot of money on a rope you can't try out first, make sure you can return it if you're not satisfied.

Now that we've got all that covered I should mention the footwear issue. Skipping, as easy as it can be on the joints, still requires some impact. Jumping rope in flip flops is not a good idea.A pair of cushiony cross trainers that provide shock absorption is your best bet. That's all the equipment you need.

5 Reasons to Jump Rope

June 9th, 2009 No comments

It burns crazy calories - You can burn around 10 calories for each minute of skipping. Even better, you'll be burning calories long after you hang up your rope.

It's low impact - I know you’re thinking there’s no way skipping can be low impact, but it is if you learn to do it right. Skipping jumps should be light, on slightly bent knees so you can absorb the impact. It’s also a good idea to choose softer surfaces, ideally sprung wood floors or even just a nice soft patch of grass instead of concrete. Add in shoes with cushioning and it'll be like you're floating on air.

It's portable - Sure you can work out when you’re travelling, bringing runners, a yoga mat or resistance bands for strength. But even better than just being portable, skipping is quick. Just 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day and you’re done. If your hotel room is big enough you might not even have to leave it.

It builds muscle - Unlike some types of cardio, skipping works the upper body and lower body at the same time. Different jumps and different arm motion can also change the way muscles are targeted. Straddle jumps (like the bottom half of a jumping jack) work the inner and outer thighs, while high knee jumps work hip flexors. Holding the rope works the shoulders more, while holding the handles works forearms best.

It busts through plateaus - Do any one type of cardio exercise all the time and your body is bound to get used to it. Which is why at some point during the weight loss journey most people hit a plateau. Intervals of high and low resistance cardio are a great way to break through plateaus and there's no easier way to get your heart rate soaring for a short period of time than by jumping rope. As for the variation necessary for breaking plateaus, skipping can be done in so many different ways that it's almost impossible not to have variation.

Categories: Cardio Tags: ,

Skipping Helps You Skip Long Cardio Sessions

June 8th, 2009 No comments

Fridays at work have been reminding me a lot of grade school recently. That's because I've been leading a 45 minute jump rope class. No I'm not fit enough to skip the entire time - strength training moves are sprinkled throughout. In the moderation that is my style I still haven't jumped rope for more than two minutes continuosly, even though I've been at it for over a month.

I never thought I'd be getting any use out of this Jump Rope for Heart relic again.

Class starts with some dynamic movements to limber up, we work at swinging the rope with good technique and then add in some jumps focussing on limiting joint impact. Next comes practising the art of jumping in, which we do several times, as well as jumping out...all while keeping the rope swinging. When we do jump in it's for 30 seconds to a few minutes of skipping at a time. Later in the class when we've got a good flow going we change up our jumping style with high knees, slalom jumps and jacks.

Sounds pretty tame, but believe me it's not. Skipping as an adult is not the same as skipping on the playground and you'll find that out within minutes as your heart rate soars and you either trip yourself up on the rope (learning how to do it again is one of the things that makes this workout fun) or quickly run out of breath.

But the chance to relive your carefree childhood aside, the reason you should try skipping again is it's one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can get. Not to mention it strengthens your calves, thighs, butt, shoulders and forearms. It has been reported again and again that skipping burns more calories than running, around 10 calories a minute. And after my first class I believed it, but I still had to check it out for myself. The calorie counter on my waist agrees that it is one kick butt workout.

If you're still not convinced, consider the possibility that a 10 minute skipping workout can beat your regular 30 minutes of cardio in terms of total calorie burn and cardiovascular conditioning. There's a reason that boxers and Olympic athletes jump rope. It's time you learn to skip too.

Categories: working out Tags: ,