05.15.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness
By Becky Johnson, Certified Personal Trainer (ACE); IBNFC Certified Nutrition Coach
Remember the song “Not last night but the night before, twenty-four robbers came knocking at my door”? Those were the days; when playing hopscotch, jumping rope and playing on the monkey bars were the best part of the day!
While hopscotch and monkey bars may no longer make up your daily activities, jumping rope could be. Not only is it a great cardiovascular alternative to the usual aerobic workout, jumping rope can increase body awareness and develop better hand and foot coordination.
In fact, I use jump ropes with my clients all the time. I have them jump between strength training sets to get their heart rate up and keep it up throughout the workout. Plus, it’s fun!
One of the greatest things about jumping rope is how little time it takes to get started. All you really need is some comfortable shoes and a good rope. Jump ropes have come a long way since some of us were skipping around the playground. Today, they are made from a variety of materials and feature various grips. Some ropes are weighted or have heavy handles. These ropes are usually too awkward and hard to handle. Instead, choose a light-weight rope with foam grips so it won’t slip away from you even if your palms get sweaty.
Choosing the right length rope for you: Step one foot on the center of the rope and bring both handles up to the chest. The handles should reach about chest high. Most ropes can be adjusted to any length. Usually through the handles.
Learning The Basics
Here is a breakdown of the dos and don'ts of jumping rope:
*Lightly grip the handles near the end closest to the rope.
*Keep shoulders relaxed and elbows close to your body.
*Your knees should be slightly bent.
*Turn the rope from the wrist and aim to keep a smooth arc in the rope as it passes over your head.
*Never hunch over. Keep your back straight and head up.
*Jump low to keep the impact on your knees and ankles to a minimum.
Jumping Rope- Refresher Course
If its been a while since you’ve swung a rope, you can rest easy - the essentials are still the same and that's all you realy need to know to get a good workout. If you want to create a fun and exciting fitness routine, you’ll have to add an extra element...
The easiest way to do this is to turn up some of your favorite workout tunes to get you motivated. It’s the best way to keep that energy up during your workout. Once you’ve mastered basic jumping, try getting a little adventurous and creative. Jump backwards or vary your foot patterns. Try bringing your knees up or scissoring your legs. If you find yourself needing a break but don’t want to stop completely, twirl the rope from side to side.
The point is to stick with it. You’re sure to notice a marked improvement in your endurance level, which will help with any other sports or activities you may do.
And who knows? Jumping rope might even make you feel like a kid again!
Stay Fit and Healthy,
Have your own fitness questions? Leave them below and Becky will answer them in an upcoming post!
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