Remember all those skipping races you did as a kid─all those rope games, fighting over the rope and jumping around for the fun of it. Those were the days when one could eat a whole load of pancakes, jalebis and samosas, but not gain a single inch of fat. And the reason is─all that jumping around was enough to burn it all!
Skipping exercise is nothing new, but the thing is that as we grow up, the rope gets lost somewhere at the back of our store room. Well, this article will make you understand why that rope should make a comeback in your life. This article will also teach how to speed up your journey to your fittest self!
Benefits Of Skipping Exercise:
Let’s have a look at the benefits of skipping exercises:
- 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 really high!). Therefore, it can basically be called an effective fat-melter.
- Skipping exercise burns more calories in comparison to running. At the same time it does not require you to go outdoors. It can be done anywhere.
- It’s one of the most inexpensive exercise forms as you can buy a skipping rope for less than Rs 100.
- Skipping helps in muscle toning as it is basically a bodyweight 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 thighs, shins and calf muscles. Simultaneously, it also works on abs and arms.
- It engages and improves the hip-flexor muscles.
- Studies show that skipping exercises put lesser pressure and is less shocking for the joints than running. It is a low impact exercise than running and therefore a better option.
- It improves cardiovascular health as it improves the heart beat rate. It is beneficial for blood pressure patients.
- Skipping can be done by anybody and everybody, from beginners to advanced level.
- It is also known to help in improving bone density.
- All the equipment that the skipping exercise requires is a jumping rope, which can fit into your purse or handbags and is travel-friendly. So, you won’t have to miss your workout, all you need is a rope and an open area to burn calories.
Basic Things To Follow While Doing Skipping Exercises:
Listed below are a few basic things, which you need to follow while doing the skipping exercises:
- Make sure to buy a good quality rope. A bad rope can break while you are exercising and it might hurt you. So, it is better to get a strong and a good quality rope to avoid it.
- One of the most basic and common questions that skippers have is whether to do skipping barefoot or wear trainers.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. But, if you feel unusual pain when you try barefoot skipping, it is advised to 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 good sports bra, then it can cause tears in the breast muscles. It can result in sagging breasts.
- Yes, it is true that skipping exercise 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 it is advised to practice progressive skipping to build your endurance level and conditioning your body slowly over the time. So, start small and then slowly 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, 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 should do a nice, proper warming up before starting the skipping exercises. Stretching exercises are a must do before attempting skipping. A light on-the-spot jogging warms up the body for the high-aerobic skipping exercise.
How To Start Skipping Exercise?
The first thing you should do before starting skipping is adjusting the length of your rope. Hold the handles at each end of the rope, one handle in each hand, by your sides. Now, step on the middle of the rope, keeping the length taut with the ends stretched upwards. Shorten the rope till both the ends reach your armpits.
Types of Skipping Exercises:
There are various types of skipping exercise. Read to know more about them:
The most common style of skipping exercise is double jumps. This style is often practiced in high speed and burns most calories. The intensity of double-jumps can be varied according to the speed and also according to 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 is good for muscle toning. On the other hand low and fast skipping is good for HIIT and endurance training.
- 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.
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 preferred to continue less-taxing cross-jumps instead of stopping completely.
- 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.
3. Single-Leg Jumps:
Single-leg jumps are an advanced level of skipping style which requires a good balance and puts 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 single leg or doing asanas like natrajasana and garudasana that require balance.
- 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 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.
Sample Skipping Workout:
Skipping can be incorporated in a workout in many ways. Skipping for 20minutes 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, which uses skipping as a HIIT exercise.
The following workout stretches about 15minutes with 20sec-10sec divisions. Since this is an HIIT workout, it has 20sec of high intensity and 10sec of a hold exercise. One 20sec-10sec makes one set and you have to do 2 sets of each exercise.
- Start with stretching and warmup for 5min.
- 20sec 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 abs tight and move your arms in a way as if you are giving yourself big hugs. 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 parallel to the floor 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 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 5sec.
- 10 sec of marching in the place at a normal speed. 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 to keep yourself hydrated during the workout. The stretching before and after the workout is important as it prepares the body in 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 good carbohydrates and proteins.
So, don’t you think skipping is really a fun? Are you going to start skipping as your daily dose of cardio? Ready to boost that metabolism? Just 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 in different workouts or just do it alone. In the end, it always feels like fun and games and makes us feel as energetic and young at heart as we were as kids.
Do you skip? Or did you skip as a kid? Share with us in the comments section below all the fun you have with the skipping rope.