Of all the childhood memories I have, the most unforgettable is that of games. Among all the games I played, skipping was my favorite. For one, I could play it with my friends or even play all by myself. I remember all the jumping I did with the rope. Those were the days I could load myself with pancakes, fried food and not worry about weight gain at all for the simple reason that skipping was enough to burn it all!
Skipping is no new age trendy exercise. In fact, it has been there for years now. Unfortunately, as we grew up, the rope got lost somewhere in our store room. This article will tell you why the skipping rope must make a comeback in your life.
Let’s check out some of the benefits of skipping exercises or rope jumping.
Benefits Of Skipping Exercise
- It is one of the best cardio and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout.
- Jumping rope is known to burn around 1300 calories/hour (now that’s high!). Thats an effective way to melt your fat, right?
- Skipping exercise burns more calories in comparison to running. Besides, you need not go outdoors as skipping can be done at any place. What’s more? Bad weather can’t hamper your fitness routine.
- It’s one of the most inexpensive forms of exercise as you can buy a skipping rope for less than Rs 100.
- Skipping helps in muscle toning as it is a body weight exercise.
- It improves footwork, balance, coordination, and agility. Most of the runners and other athletes jump rope for training.
- It is one of the best exercises for endurance training and conditioning.
- Skipping gives a full-body workout. It is especially great for toning and developing the thighs, shins, and calf muscles. Simultaneously, it also works on the abs and arms.
- It engages and improves the hip-flexor muscles.
- Studies show that skipping exercises put lesser pressure and are less shocking for the joints than running. It is a low-impact exercise when compared to running and therefore a better option.
- Skipping enhances cardiovascular health as it improves the rate of heart beat. It is beneficial for blood pressure patients.
- Skipping can be done by anybody and everybody, from beginners to the advanced levels.
- It is also known to help in improving bone density.
- All that the skipping exercise requires is a jumping rope, which can fit into your purse or handbags and is travel-friendly. So, you will never have to miss your workout. All you need is a rope and an open area to burn calories, and you are good to go.
You can make the most of these benefits, but you also have to consider the following instructions.
Basic Things To Follow While Doing Skipping Exercises
- Buy a good quality rope. An inappropriate rope can break while you are exercising and hurt you. So make sure the rope is strong.
- One of the most basic and common questions that skippers have is if skipping must be done barefoot or wearing footwear. Many studies claim that barefoot skipping is better as it makes your feet strong. It also helps to cure many foot-related problems. Barefoot skipping comes naturally to some. But, most people need to train themselves slowly to be able to jump rope for a good session of barefoot skipping. If you feel pain when you try barefoot skipping, wear trainers or good sports shoes to absorb the shock of your feet meeting the ground repeatedly.
- Wear a good high impact sports bra. Skipping allows a lot of breast movement. If you do not wear a proper fitting sports bra, it can cause tears in the breast muscles. This will cause your breasts to sag.
- It is true that skipping can be practiced by people from any level on the fitness scale – beginners, intermediates, and advanced. But, you should keep it mind that skipping is used for endurance training and conditioning, not just burning calories. So, practice progressive skipping to build your endurance level and condition your body slowly over the time. So, start small and then gradually increase your speed or the length of time. Otherwise, it can prove to be taxing on your heart and harm your joints.
- Jumping surface for the exercise matters a lot. Skipping exercise should not be done on a carpeted surface or stone or asphalt surface. You should do the exercise on shock-absorbing surfaces, preferably wooden floors or other smooth surfaces to avoid tripping or rubbing, which can lead to injuries.
- A proper jumping area is required for this exercise. Though skipping can be done anytime and anywhere, it still needs an open area so that the rope doesn’t get stuck in any objects nearby. The area should also have high ceilings or open sky.
- Rope jumping is a high-intensity exercise and hence one must do a proper warm-up before starting the exercise. Stretching exercises are a must before skipping. A light on-the-spot jogging warms up the body for the high-aerobic skipping exercise.
Are you ready to jump the rope? Here are a few useful points you should remember before starting the skipping exercise.
How To Start Skipping
The first thing you should do before you starting skipping is adjust the length of your rope. Hold the handles at each end of the rope, one handle in each hand, by your sides. Now, step in the middle of the rope, keeping the length taut with the ends stretched upwards. Shorten the rope till both the ends reach your armpits.
Hold on! Before we start, let’s see what options we have at hand, i.e., how many types of rope jumping exercises are there, and how will you benefit from each.
Types Of Skipping Exercises
There are various types of skipping exercises. Read to know more about them.
1. Double Jump
The most common style of skipping exercise is double jumps. This technique is often practiced in high speed and burns most calories. The intensity of double-jumps can be varied according to the speed and how high you jump; whether you take your feet completely off the ground or just enough to pass the rope. Jumping higher results in slower skipping, but it is good for muscle toning. On the other hand, low and fast skipping is good for HIIT and endurance training.
Here is how to do it.
- Hold the rope stretched upwards and taut, with one handle in each hand at your sides, with your elbows bent and forearms parallel to the ground.
- Keep your shoulders rotated back, chest pushed out, elbows close at your sides, abdominal muscles tight and your weight on the balls of your feet.
- Bring the rope forward by rotating your wrists.
- Jump with both the feet 2-3 inches off the ground to let the rope pass under your feet.
- Repeat the motion and vary the speed according to your fitness level.
The next skipping exercise is even more fun and relaxing. Take a look.
Cross jumps are the least intensive of the skipping styles. The style is often incorporated in high-intensity workouts when one needs a break from high-aerobic exercise. It is better to continue less-taxing cross-jumps instead of stopping altogether.
Here’s how to do it.
- The posture for the cross-jump would be the same as that for the double-jump.
- The difference between the two styles of skipping is that double-jump involves jumping with both the feet simultaneously and the cross-jump involves skipping with one foot after another.
- Bring the rope forward by rotating your wrists. The movement comes from your wrists and forearms, and not by rotating shoulders or whole arms.
- First, skip the rope with one foot followed by the other.
- Repeat the motion as fast as you can without tripping over the rope or spraining your foot.
Now, this next rope jumping exercise is a little tougher in the sense that you must have great balance and endurance. But, with our simple explanation and steps, you will perform this exercise with ease and fun.
3. Single-Leg Jumps
Single-leg jumps are an advanced level of skipping style, which require good balance and put more weight on one leg. It should be attempted after one can do double-jumps and cross-jumps fairly well. To prepare yourself for single-leg jumps, you can begin with balancing exercises like standing for an extended period on a single leg or doing asanas like Natarajasana and Garudasana that require balance.
Here’s how to do it.
- Hold the handles of the rope, one in each hand; shoulders rolled back, chest out, abs tight and the belly button sucked in.
- Now, lift one leg bending it at the knee.
- Start jumping the rope on the single leg that is on the floor while keeping the lifted leg in the air.
- Do your set of repetitions and then do the other leg.
- Single-leg jumps should be attempted slowly and with practice. Very fast jumps can result in leg injuries or falls.
These rope jumping exercises will burn the extra calories and slim you down. Rope jumping can also be incorporated into your daily workout routine to get even better results. Check out our recommended workout plan in the next section.
Sample Skipping Workout
Skipping can be incorporated in a workout in many ways. Skipping for 20 minutes suffices for the daily cardio for those who want to lose weight. It also improves the running skills of a person and is used by runners for warming up. Cross-jumps are also practiced as an outdoor form of racing. Double-jumps and single-leg jumps are on-the-spot styles of skipping. Cross-jumps can cover distances. So, you can also do cross-jumps on the tracks.
Alternating the high-intensity skipping with a hold pose like plank or a low-intensity exercise like knee-highs or butt-kicks burns more calories and conditions the heart. It also ensures that we burn calories not only when we workout but throughout the day.
Here is a sample workout that uses skipping as a HIIT exercise.
The following workout stretches about 15 minutes with 20sec-10sec divisions. Since this is an HIIT workout, it has 20 sec of high intensity and 10 sec of a holding exercise. One 20 sec-10 sec makes one set, and you have to do 2 sets of each exercise.
Start with stretching and warm-up for 5 minutes.
- 20 sec double-jumps at normal speed. Jump high in the air.
- 10 sec of holding the plank pose.
- 20 sec double-jumps at high speed.
- 10 sec hold of the deep squat position. Make sure your knees are behind the toes. Squat as deep as you can.
- 20 sec of single-leg jumps at moderate speed. Alternating legs after one set.
- 10 sec of arm-hugs. Stand straight with your abs tight and move your arms in a way as if you are giving yourself a big hug. Take both your arms as far back and out as you can and bring the inside crossing each other and wrapping around your body. Sweep as big as you can.
- 20 sec of single-leg jumps at high speed. (as high as you can without the risk of injury)
- 10 sec of holding the seated C-pose, with knees bent, butt on the floor, calves lifted and parallelled to the ground and torso off the floor. Put your hands at the back of your thighs to hold your legs in the air if you are a beginner or otherwise have a problem with pilates positions.
- 20 sec double-jumps at high speed.
- 10 sec chair pose.
- 20 sec single leg jumps at moderate speed. Alternating legs after every 5 sec.
- 10 sec of marching in the place at a normal pace. But make sure you lift your knees high and move your arms front and back covering as much area as you can.
- 20 sec of cross-jumps at high speed.
- 10 sec of knee-to-elbow tummy tucks in plank.
- Cool down with stretching exercises for 3 minutes.
Make sure you keep yourself hydrated during the workout. The stretching before and after the workout is important as it prepares the body at the beginning for the high-intensity aerobics and in the end brings the body slowly down from that peak. The cooling down also helps in reducing the cramps that may hit later in the day. Since skipping is a cardio exercise, it is important to consume a post-workout meal with healthy carbohydrates and proteins.
As we come to the end of this article, keep in mind the basics and don’t go all out at once if it has been a while since you last skipped. Ease your body into it slowly and keep it steady, but progressive. Experiment with your skipping styles and sessions. Include skipping as an exercise in different workouts or just do it alone. In the end, it always feels like a fun game and makes us feel energetic and young at heart.
Now is the time to find your skipping rope.
Have any questions or want to share your weight-loss success story? Drop in your comments in the section below.
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