What workout equipment costs less than $20 and can burn the amount of calories consumed in a chocolate bar in about 10-15 minutes? Jump ropes! No more excuses as to why you can’t train on a rainy day or while on a business trip. Simply grab a jump rope and place it in your purse, briefcase, gym-bag, or luggage and workout from anywhere. Stay in shape no matter where you are with this fat-burning, light-weight solution.
Here are 6 reasons why you should start implementing jumping rope into your workout routine:
- It’s practical.
Both compact and lightweight, you can take it anywhere you go. Whether you’re going on vacation and want to keep up with your fitness or travel frequently for business, a jump rope is the perfect solution! It can also be done both indoors or outdoors, so weather conditions will not keep you from sweating it out. Additionally, if you’re short on time, a quick 4 minute tabata (20 seconds hard, rest for 10 seconds; complete 8 rounds) jump rope routine is all that’s required to get your heart pumping and your muscles burning!
- You’ll burn calories (and fat) quickly.
Jumping rope repeatedly can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour! You’d have to run at least an 8-minute mile to burn more calories than jumping rope. If you’re into the speed-rope, your body will even go into EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), and you will continue to burn calories for the next 24 to 36 hours following your workout.
- It’ll improve your balance, coordination, speed, and agility.
Improving hand-eye coordination and proficiently learning to jump on the balls of the feet, not only enhances athletic performance in any sport you play, but will prevent future accidents and injuries later in life by improving overall balance. For instance, jumping rope is a well-known part of a boxer’s routine for numerous reasons, one being that it helps them develop their footwork. As a beginner, often times someone may not have the coordination or footwork down to jump rope continuously. However, with practice it eventually becomes second nature, allowing you to change up the pattern to work on a variety of footwork routines. Jumping rope also works the fast-twitch muscles, the muscles that are used in explosive movements, improving speed and agility in any activity.
- It’s a total body workout.
Strengthening all of the major muscle groups in your body, jumping rope is a great total body workout! Using both your upper and lower body, along with your core, jumping rope helps you tone and define every part of your body each time you jump. Additionally, by using your own body weight as resistance, the simple act of jumping up and down has been shown to strengthen and build bone strength, reducing the likelihood of osteoporosis later in life. What’s even more surprising is that when done properly, jumping rope has a lower impact than jogging or running on your joints, minimizing ankle and knee injuries.
- It enhances your cardiovascular health.
Incorporating the jump rope into your regular workout routine will get your heart rate pumping, enhance endurance, and improve your overall cardiovascular health. Jump rope interval training can increase your heart rate rapidly in short bursts and then bring it back down by slowing the pace. This form of jump rope training will help condition your heart and improve your body’s ability to pump oxygenated blood from your heart and lungs to the working muscles. If you aren’t a fan of the interval training, you can jump at a slower, more steady pace for a greater length of time to promote cardiovascular endurance. Greater cardiovascular health means improved overall health and reduced blood pressure, ultimately reducing the likelihood of many chronic and potentially debilitating diseases.
- You’ll feel great.
When you do any form of exercise, including jumping rope, your body releases chemical known as endorphins. These endorphins not only reduce the brain’s pain receptors (working as a natural pain reliever by diminishing our perception of pain), but also trigger a positive feeling in the body. That “euphoric” feeling that you get following a great workout is due to endorphins, ultimately improving overall mood.
A few tips for beginners…
- Choosing a jump rope: While it may seem counterintuitive, light ropes are actually more difficult for beginners to learn on than a heavier one. Avoid really light ropes or the cotton ones, and pick something that has a little weight so you can feel exactly where the rope is as it rotates (adjustable cable ropes are great). This way you will begin to time your jumps more accurately and gain a sense of the proper rhythm as you practice.
- The length: When you step on the middle of the rope, each handle bar should reach anywhere from between your waist to your underarms. As you continue to practice, you will begin to observe what length feels best for you.
- Jumping rope is all about rhythm and timing, hands are to the side and elbows are close to your body. Before you attempt to jump over the rope, place your feet close to each other, lift your heels off the ground simultaneously and stand on your toes (repeat 5-10 times). Then, start jumping, lifting your feet no more than 2-3 inches off the ground, making sure to turn have a slight bend in your knees so as to absorb the shock when hitting the ground. Once you get comfortable at that, start incorporating your jump rope – slow – feet together – and as you get the rhythm down, begin to pick up your speed.
Jump Rope Tabata Challenge:
Tabata calls for 20 seconds of active exercise followed by 10 second rest periods. So here’s the challenge:
Complete a total of 8 sets (20 seconds of work + 10 seconds of rest = 30 seconds x 8 = 4 minutes)
Initially, just focus on you technique and consistency during the 20 seconds of work. As you become more comfortable, incorporate alternate legs, one leg at a time, front to back, side to side, lunge jumps, etc.
Do this for a week and see how fast your coordination and speed grow!