Muscles Targeted: Jumping rope targets several muscle groups on the body and this is why its such a great all around cardio exercise that burns a lot of calories. The key to burning a lot of calories is the intensity that you’re performing the exercise along with the number of muscles involved. For example, riding the stationary bike only works your lower body versus using the elliptical trainer with the handles which works your upper and lower body. So, the more muscles you can move while doing cardio, the more calories you will burn and the more effective the exercise will be for losing body fat and getting a lean physique. The jump rope is perfect since you’re using your arms, shoulders, legs and calves while you’re doing it. You also work your abs and core as stabilizers when you’re jumping up and down. So, jumping rope is one of the best overall cardio exercises you can include in your routine to burn maximum calories in a short amount of time. The other great thing about jumping rope is that all you need is a basic $10-$15 jump rope which you can buy at your local sports store. You don’t need any expensive equipment or machines, like a treadmill or elliptical in order to get a killer cardio workout.
Exercise Advice: Start off by choosing a quality jump rope. Focus on buying a vinyl speed rope which you can find at any sports store in your area. You can also find some great jump ropes online. A good, quality rope will last you a long time so spend a little extra money and get the speed rope versus a cheaper one. The length of the jump rope is probably the biggest factor you need to be concerned about before you start performing the exercise. If it’s too long, it will cause issues and if it’s too short, it will end up whipping you in the shins or lower legs which will sting like crazy and not make for a fun workout experience. The best way to find the correct length is to stand on the middle of the jump rope with both feet together. Bring the handles of the jump rope up and stretch them out to see how far they go. A good length is when the handles come to right below your armpits. Adjust the rope to this height by popping off the little plastic cover on the end of the handles. You should be able to pull the rope out and there will be a little metal clamp attached to the rope. Use a set of pliers and bend the clamp in order to loosen the rope, then adjust it to the preferred length. Begin jumping rope by putting both feet together and swing the rope around your body in a smooth and slow tempo. Try to swing the rope by turning your wrists and not moving your arms. Keep your elbows into your sides and if you have access to a mirror, jump rope in front of it to check your technique to make sure your form is correct. The jump rope workout in this video is performed by going forward for about 10 yards and then going backyard to the starting position. When going forward, jump rope using a one foot skip routine where you jump on one foot once and then move to the other foot. On the way back, you will be doing a double skip where you do two repetitions on each foot and then switch to the other foot. Go down and back to complete one full cycle and then rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat.
Things To Avoid: The biggest mistake most people make when jumping rope is they try to swing the rope with their arms and shoulders to get it around their body. When you see someone doing this, they look like they’re using a bunch of effort to perform the movement. Compare this to an experienced trainer who uses the correct technique and the difference is like night and day. The experienced person looks very fluid and smooth, while their basically turning their wrist and keeping their elbows into their sides. Another issue is jumping too high with your feet. Try to take short little jumps and let the rope pass right under them on each repetition. When starting out, its fine to jump a little higher to ensure the rope passes under your feet but after you’ve been jumping rope for a few days and have the technique down, try to limit the amount of height you jump. Now, there are times when you want to jump high and this is when you have a specific routine like an explosive HIIT (high intensity interval training) program where you want to work on getting your knees up in order to work your abs more. However, on the basic jump rope motion you will want to limit the height of your jump and try to keep it efficient since you will be jumping rope for 20-30 minutes or more during an average workout. If you’re jumping too high on each rep, you will burn out much quicker since your legs will be really tired from all the extra energy you’re exerting.
Reps and Sets: When you’re starting out, shoot for 30-60 seconds of straight jumping without stopping. If you can’t do this much, then try to do 20-30 reps straight to get your technique down and really work on your form. After you’re jumping rope smoothly and your form is down, try to do jump rope workouts for 20-30 minutes per workout. Cardio workouts should be performed 4-6 days per week for optimal fat burning.
Other Exercises To Use: A few great exercises to include with jumping rope are burpees and jumping jacks. A killer cardio workout is to do 60 seconds of jump rope immediately followed up by 60 seconds of burpees and then rest for 60 seconds. You can mix it up with jumping jacks as well. Do about 8-10 sets of these and you will be sweating big time! This is a perfect cardio workout to strip away body fat and really tone up your entire body.