What’s the Idea?
Why not try some skipping exercises to build your fitness levels, tone up and lose weight?
What’s the story
Recently I’ve been looking for fitness and weight loss activities that are quick and cheap to do which is how I came across skipping exercises.
I used to have a skipping rope and skip both on my own and with friends. We would play skipping rope games using a long rope and sing skipping songs.
Nowadays skipping as a form of play has fallen out of fashion with kids in the UK and is mainly used by adults in the form of skipping exercises.
But rope skipping is still popular in the U.S. and lots of other countries where they call it “Jump Rope.”
And there is an annual World Championship that includes a technique called Double Dutch. This is a type of skipping that involves at least 3 people and can be fast with lots of cool moves.
You can even find skipping in music videos
People should do this because…?
Skipping exercises are easy to do and ropes are cheap to buy, so once you have bought a rope there is no further cost
You can buy skipping ropes that work both outdoors and indoors meaning you can do skipping exercises whatever the weather.
Skipping exercises are suitable for most people. As with all new forms of exercise you should check with your GP if you have any doubts about your ability to tolerate high impact, aerobic skipping.
You can do skipping exercises pretty much anywhere. Because skipping ropes are compact you can put them in your pocket or bag to use whenever you need them.
Skipping is a great addition to other workouts such as circuit training because it adds intensity. A skipping rope is the only piece of home cardio equipment you need.
And best of all skipping exercises have loads of health benefits such as:
Increasing the flexibility, strength and resilience in your lower-leg muscles. This in turn will reduce the risk of injuries to your lower leg and ankle joints.
They can improve your foot coordination. Because rope skipping teaches you to stay on the balls of your feet, your body and mind must make continual adjustments to imbalances.
Skipping exercises improve your balance and coordination, reflexes, bone density and muscular endurance. And this is particularly important as you get older because good balance prevents falls in later life.
They improve the efficiency of your breathing.
You burn a lot of calories too. For example, if you compare skipping rope to jogging for 30 minutes, skipping burns between 850 – 1200 calories per hour. According to Science Daily 10 minutes of skipping rope is the equivalent of running an eight-minute mile.
You can improve your cardiovascular health as skipping is an aerobic exercise. To really maximise this benefit practice try skipping rope 3-5 times per week and between 12-20 minutes each time. Compared to other activities, rope skipping is one of the most effective cardio workouts.
Believe it or not skipping can even make you more intelligent! Because jumping helps develop both sides of the brain, this makes you more mentally alert, improves your reading skills, your memory and increases spacial awareness. That’s pretty impressive!
And skipping can improve your ability to stay calm. Apparently, this is because your mind and body are working at the same time.
How do you do it?
Pick a suitable rope
There are 3 main kinds of skipping rope:
Speed Rope – This is the kind of rope used in competitions. It’s made of vinyl and is mainly used indoors.
This is the type of rope used by boxers and in gyms as they are light and fast. Light ropes however can be difficult for beginners because you can’t feel the rope rotating around your body. This can cause you to trip up and frustrate you when learning. However, you can buy weighted ropes which make skipping easier.
Leather Rope – This is the traditional skipping rope so it’s usually heavier with wooden handles and suitable for casual fitness. This is good for using on hard outdoor surfaces and it makes a proper skipping rope sound.
Beaded Rope – This rope is nylon but covered in plastic beads or segments which make it heavier. These types are used more for Rhythmic Jumping so not ideal for fitness.
Selecting a rope with a ball swivel mechanism makes for a smoother skipping function.
Make sure you have the right length.
Many ropes are adjustable. Stand on the middle of the rope and hold the handles comfortably at waist height then adjust accordingly.
When I was researching skipping ropes, I chose this one that was adjustable so other people could use it.
Choose a good skipping surface
Pick a surface that is flat.
Skipping rope on grass or mud is harder particularly when you are learning so ideally use concrete, a pavement/driveway or exercise mat.
Wear suitable clothing
Wear a decent pair of supportive trainers with plenty of cushioning in them.
Pick ones that are suitable for aerobic exercise like running or jogging.
Women should wear a supportive bra.
Get your technique right
Just like any other exercise you should warm up beforehand and afterwards, make sure you stretch and allow yourself to cool down.
Start with a 5-minute walk and warm up your arms by swinging the rope from side to side in a figure of eight movement.
How you skip will determine the impact on your body so make sure you skip on your toes as these are your natural shock absorbers.
Try not to jump too high – ideally now more than 3 cm off the ground. This will get easier the more you practice.
If you are using a lightweight skipping rope then your wrist should be in a handshake position.
If you are using a heavier skipping rope then your wrist should be straight with your whole hand wrapped around the handle to ensure there is no strain on your wrists.
Make sure there is minimal movement of the elbows and shoulders.
The skipping rope rotation should be generated by your wrists.
- Stand up straight and face front.
- Tighten your abdominal area and pull your bottom in.
- Arms should be bent at approx. 45 degrees with elbows close to your side
- Hands should be pointed outwards at 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock.
- Keep your arms relaxed when you grip the handles
- Turn the skipping rope using your wrists not your arms
- Bend your knees slightly as you jump making sure you land on your toes not the whole of your foot
- As you bring the rope round jump about 2-3 cm off the ground
- Keep going – practice makes perfect
How much should you do?
Ideally you shouldn’t measure the number of skips but measure the time spent skipping so why not start off with 3-4 minutes and progress from there?
The skipping role I purchased has a digital readout which allows you to input your weight.
It then gives you the amount of skipping time completed, the number of cycles and the estimated number of calories. This allows me to track my progress.
Other styles to try
Stuff you may need
- Skipping rope
- High impact, supportive training shoes
- A supportive sports bra (if female)
Links to other stuffer pages
Links to other articles on the web