The Lost Art of Jumping Rope

Jumping Rope generally isn’t the first think people think of when they hear the word “cardio” they immediately think of endless hours on a treadmill. Sweating away in toil on a long run that will eventually burn some fat, but take up a ton of time. Running is obviously a great form of cardiovascular activity, but it is far from the most time efficient, unless you’re performing a sprint workout.

So the next time you’re short on time, pick up a jump rope! It is an old school mechanism that has somehow lost its popularity despite its myriad of benefits outside of the ease and convenience.

  • Decreases Foot and Ankle Injuries
  • Improves Bone Density
  • Improves Breathing Efficiency
  • Improves Coordination
  • Makes You Smarter

If you’re questioning that last one, yes, it makes you smarter. According to the Jump Rope Institute, jumping aids in the development of the left and right hemispheres of your brain, which further enhances spacial awareness, improves reading skills, increases memory and makes you more mentally alert.

Only two things are needed, a jump rope and space. It can be done anywhere, your garage, the gym, out on the street and only takes 20-30 minutes to get a full workout in. With a burn rate up to 1300 calories per hour you can save a lot of time.

When beginning, the two main things to focus on are your breath and your feet. Use your breath as a means to “center” yourself. That will help minimize stress over the new stimulus and overthinking the rotation of the rope. The first few jumps might be exaggerated and that’s ok. As you get used to the rope, you’ll find that your feet only need to come about a quarter of an inch off the ground in order for the rope pass beneath your feet.

Like anything else, learning a new skill takes time. A great way to learn and slowly make progress is to use it as a warm up.

Jumping Rope for a Warm UP

Set a timer for 60, 90 or 120 seconds and slowly start jumping while taking 30 – 120 second breaks between sets. Do this 3-5 times or until you’re sweaty. Remember this is a warm up, go slow and build up momentum from there. Throw some active movements in during your rest periods and you’ll have the ideal warm up.

Here is my standard warm-up.

Jump Rope 2 mins.

Active Stretching

Jump Rope 2 mins.

Active Stretching

Repeat 2 or 3 times.

Customize this warm up to fit your goals, and your body’s needs. My hips and upper back are my trouble areas, so the majority of my active stretching is focused on preparing them to perform and function properly. If you have tight hamstrings, substitute an active hamstring stretch. The warm up is all about getting YOUR body ready.

Jumping Rope for Conditioning

Ideally this will be done some point in the middle or end of your workout. This is even simpler than the warm up. You want to set a timer for no more than 2 minutes and jump as fast as you can. After the timer beeps catch your breath for 30 seconds and do it again. I recommend having at least 10 minutes of jumping time. This will send your heart rate through the roof, and set your shoulders and forearms on fire.

Jumping rope is simple but is by no means easy. It is eminently adaptable. You can perform it at a snail’s pace as a means of recovery, or you can jump like a kangaroo on Red Bull as an interval cardio workout.

Very few things burn as many calories as a minute of jumping rope. It’s going to be awkward at first but you can master it in a very short time. If you want to build coordination, athleticism and burn some fat, start jumping rope. Just find some little girls to teach you how to double dutch.

Patrick Henigan

Patrick Henigan

Patrick Henigan is the owner and Lead Trainer at Jacksonville Fitness Academy. He is a Philadelphia transplant, who helped found the largest private training facility in that city. Patrick has been recognized and certified by, The American Council on Exercise, The National Soccer Coaches Association of America and The Functional Movement System.

1 Comment

  1. October 17, 2016 at 5:16 pm — Reply

    I’m part of a group of pro and amateur jumpers looking for ways to share the sport with other workout enthusiasts. We just released the first version of an instructional jump rope app with 200+ skills. We’re working on workouts and tutorials as well.

    Learn more at our homepage, lots of new features coming soon:

    Here’s a link to download the app:

    Happy Training!

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