If You Want To Improve Your Fitness level- Skip Cardio!!

If you’ve visited a gym recently and stood in the cardiovascular section, you may have felt a little intimidated by the array of high tech equipment before you.

Step, rowing, cyclical, running and cross training machines bristling with flashing lights, tv (in some cases!) and numerous options and buttons to select, make the whole experience a little daunting. Whilst there is always a “Quick Start” button for those who did not achieve a degree in “Fitness Equipment Mechanics”, it never seems to quite cut it as a workout!

Time therefore to re-introduce you to some old inexpensive technology that will get you maximum results.

The skipping (Jump) rope.

Indeed, the American College of Sports Medicine published a report that expects it to be the exercise accessory of the year after consulting over 4000 fitness professionals!!

Skipping or jump roping is very good for cardiovascular training. It improves timing, posture whist increasing leg strength and tone. Ropes now come in all different styles from simple cord, leather and pvc with handles, to high tech ones that can count revolutions, calories burnt, heart rate etc when synced with an app. There are even weighted variants which add load to the entire body and target more muscle groups with every rotation- helping to burn even more calories!

It’s a little known fact that if you skip at a moderate pace for 30-40 minutes you’ll burn though 300-450 calories- which is impressive!! Further, studies have shown that if you compare jogging for 30mins daily to 10 minutes of skipping each day you gain the same level of cardiovascular improvement!

So, there you are, “workout smart, not hard!!”

Skipping is far kinder to joints too as you land on the balls of your feet, not the heel, which reduces the shock that travels up the leg. Many skippers also use mats to further reduce impact. It’s therefore a good exercise for all ages to adopt.

If you’re not familiar with skipping don’t be fooled into thinking its just a matter of jumping up and down on the spot, boringly, for minutes on end. The things you can do with a rope in terms of complexity of manoeuvre are numerous- each adding to the difficulty and enjoyment. View the video above for some examples.

Whether you want to simply beat your continuous jumps record or indeed your jump duration you’ll find it soon becomes addictive. The changes you’ll see and feel in your body become quickly noticeable too.

Skipping can also be a very social exercise and there are many Instagram/Facebooks sites ready to share videos, provide tips, offer products and provide  encouragement to new and more experienced jumpers. Many also run monthly exercise events and challenges to keep that all important motivation going!

So, what will I need?

  1. It may sound obvious but a rope- that’s adjustable! It’s not a one size fits all situation. Ideally you should stand in the middle of the rope and the handles should be around your armpits. A little tweaking will get the correct length for what you are trying to do- even if it involves a temporary knot - or two.
  2. If you’re a beginner, you may wish to try a slightly weighted rope. Beginners may struggle to “feel” the rope as it rotates if it’s too light. Start therefore with something that has a little weight- 0.25lb is a good starting rope.
  3. Have patience. Don’t expect to skip like an expert immediately. Its all about timing and rhythm and relaxing into it. Jump just enough to clear the rope (2-3cm) using the balls of your feet.
  4. Concentrate on basic jumping until you perfect it and then add in tricks you like the look of! So9me examples are contained in the video.
  5. Be prepared to get “whip” marks and the occasional sore (knuckles from weighted ropes) whack. Best therefore to tell your loved one what you’re up to in case they think you been visiting some dubious establishments!!

The benefits of skipping/jump rope has been well known to boxers for years- they all do it.

Now we’re all getting in on the act and many gyms are running classes which is an excellent way to get started.

Isn’t it time you gave it a try?

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