Jump Rope Techniques and Routines
End Boring Workouts with a Little Fancy Footwork
Jumping rope is an excellent way to burn off fat and calories. The trick is keeping it from getting boring. Don't settle for the standard spin-jump-spin; experiment with a little fancy footwork.
Try an intermediate technique called jump running or running step. That's when you jump first with one foot, then the other. You don't move forward while doing this; it's like running in place.
If you enjoy jump running but want to bump up the intensity, pull your knees up to your chest each step. That's called high knee runs and they can increase your calorie burn by 20%.
Another version of jump running is the side-to-side. You still jump first with one foot and then the other, but when your feet land, they alternate the landing areas from left to right.
When you've become more sure of your footing, try the front-back. That's when you jump with your feet together and go 6 inches forward one turn, then 6 inches back the next.
A variation of the front-back is the slalom. Instead of jumping front and back, you jump 6 inches to the left and then 6 inches to the right. This is an excellent technique to use if you're training for skiing.
The jumping jack works just like it sounds. The first time you jump over the rope, you land with your feet wider than hip-width apart. That's followed by a jump where you land with your feet together. As you switch between the two, it's like lower body jumping jacks.
Advanced jumpers may want to try a double under. You have to spin the rope around twice for each jump. The lower your jumps are off the ground, the faster you have to spin the rope and the harder this variation is.
To really work your legs and calves, try the one foot jump. You jump a few times, first on one foot, then on the other. See how many jumps you can do on one side before fatigue forces you to switch.
When you want to be challenged, practice the cross step. You jump up in the air, cross your legs and land with the legs crossed. The next time you jump up, you uncross your legs and land again.
A Jump Rope Routine
As you learn the various techniques, it's important to put them together into a workout program. Here's a basic jump rope routine I like.
Start with your warm-up. Jumping rope for 3 to 5 minutes at a moderate pace should do it. Then begin a series of rest/jump sets. Rest for 30 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of jumping as quickly as possible. Try to repeat the rest/jump sets at least 5 times.
Let your muscles help guide you. The day after your first workout, you should feel some mild soreness in the calves, thighs and butt. If you're not sore at all, your routine might be too slow or too short. If it's difficult to walk, you probably overdid it and should recover, then try again at a less energetic level. Your ultimate goal should be to do as many as 10 or even 15 sets each time you workout.
If you want to add your jump rope exercises in with an existing weight lifting program, use it in a cross training routine. Jump for 30 to 90 seconds between sets to keep your heart rate elevated. That way, you're burning calories and building muscle together in a single session.
Be warned though, a workout with weights and cardio interspersed is extremely challenging and most people would be lucky just to finish a 30-minute mixed program. Take it slow as you build your endurance. When you get tired, it's easy to start stumbling on the rope. So to finish your workout safely, drop the rope but keep your arms and legs moving.
Use these techniques to help you lose the fat, build your endurance and keep it all interesting.
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