If you’re tired of the treadmill and bored with the gym it’s time to grab yourself a rope and get skipping. It might sound like an easy option at first but you’ll soon discover that it’s a lot tougher than you think. Continuous skipping will give you a high intensity workout, and it’s great for the muscles of the upper and lower body. Just 20 minutes skipping will burn 250 calories.
Skipping is an excellent cardiovascular workout and is comparable to running at 12kph when you consider the number of calories burned per minute. Skipping targets the calves, thighs, bottom, and shoulders, helping to keep these areas toned. It is a lower impact activity than running, is kinder to the joints and consequently, carries a smaller risk of injury.
The length of the rope should be right for your height. Stand on the centre of the rope, and lift the handles upward. The point where thehandles meet the rope should be level with your armpits. Some types of rope allow you to cut them down to size but if your rope is the wrong length don’t despair! Tie knots near the handles to make alterations – a good idea if more than one person is going to be using the same rope.
Wear soft-soled shoes. Jump on softer surfaces where possible (e.g. wooden floor would take preference over concrete)
1. Stand tall but relaxed – breathing naturally
2. Elbows remain at waist level with arms extended sideways at about a 90 degree angle
3. Use a circular wrist motion to turn the rope
4. Hold the rope loosely, using thumb and index finder for control
5. Jump on the balls of the feet landing softly
6. Jump just high enough for the rope to pass under the feet
Sixty to seventy turns per minute is a good starting pace (roughly 1 turn per second).
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There are well over one hundred skipping tricks you can learn. A full list is available on the International Rope Skipping Federation website which also lists a ‘skill of the month’. Skills and tricks can add variety to your workouts, as well as the chance to show off a little!
Keep the elbows at waist level and bent at roughly 90 degrees. Turn the rope as normal and as soon as it passes over your head, cross your arms as far across the front of the body as possible, jumping through the gap and over the rope.
In this trick, the rope passes under the feet twice with every jump. You can try just one or do few in a row if you want to look really flash! Jump a little higher and use your wrists to whip the rope around as fast as you can.
These include jumping forward and back (bell jump), side to side (skier), knees up in front (running step), rotate body from the hips from side to side (twist), feet apart then together (straddle).
Changing your grip will emphasise different muscles of the upper body; holding the rope will focus more on the shoulders, whereas holding the handles works the forearms. Jumping
There are a number of skipping clubs around the UK, check out the British Rope Skipping Association for more information. The Rope Skipping World Championships take place every two years. The next one is in 2008, so you’ve got plenty of time to practice!
This workout incorporates all of the techniques and tricks that we have outlined. Skipping for 20 minutes will elevate the heart rate, working the heart and lungs, improving fitness and burning calories. Each of the different skipping moves focuses on a different area of the body, giving you an all round workout, which you can do anytime, anywhere!
Begin by marching on the spot for thirty seconds, bringing your knees up to hip level and swinging your arms. Gradually increase the speed of your march until you are jogging, and jog on the spot for 1 minute. Perform stretches of the quads,hamstrings, and calves, holding each for thirty seconds. Rotate the ankles, 5 times clockwise and anti-clockwise on each side, then 10 arm circles forwards and backwards.
Continuous skip 2mins
Fast skip or Double Unders 30secs/March 30secs x 3
Fast skip or Double Unders 30secs/march 30secs x 3
Continuous skip 3mins
Bell Jump 1min
Continuous skip 1min
Running Step 1min
Double Unders and Crossovers 1min
March on the spot for thirty seconds before performing stretches for the quads, hamstrings, and calves, holding each for thirty seconds.
Copyright 2006 Kristoph Thompson BA MA CSCS. Kristoph runs a successful personal training business in the UK, working with a variety of groups and individuals from professional footballers to those with disabilities, and most recently, Britain’s Strongest Man. He has recently pioneered kristoph.co.uk which provides a free, national health and fitness information service.
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