You probably think of working out as visiting the gym to lift weights or running several miles daily. Well, you are wrong. Jumping rope is one of the forms of aerobic exercises that boxers to pro-athletes swear by. Jumping rope is not just a fitness secret but also helps improve your health. So it is probably time you quit thinking that it is just for little school girls and boxers. We delve into the benefits of jump rope and how to get the most out of it.
What Are The Benefits Of Jump Rope?
While skipping rope has become more popular over the years, many are yet to embrace and harness the power of this form of exercise. The best thing about skipping is all that you need is a rope. This form of exercise is inexpensive, fun, and has many great perks.
You might also ask how to get the benefits of jump roping without rope? While it is possible to jump without a rope, you do not get the full benefits that come with actually skipping the rope. Jumping without a rope, however, is a great way to practice how to jump rope properly.
Here are 10 benefits of jump rope exercise that make it one of the best cardio exercises out there:
Very few exercises burn calories like skipping rope. So when compared to jogging, swimming, cycling, or walking for a few miles, jumping rope burns way more calories. And if you are trying to shed some pounds, then burning more calories helps you speed up your weight loss along with other considerations like dieting.
Skipping is a thermogenic activity. It works several muscle groups in the body, so jumping produces heat. Your body needs more fuel to generate this energy, so it consequently burns up more calories.
This form of cardio can burn up to 1300 calories per hour of vigorous activity, with about 0.1 calories burned per jump. So skipping rope for 10 minutes is roughly considered the same as running a mile in 8 minutes (4).
Helps Boost Coordination
Jumping rope requires some level of coordination and balance. So skipping consistently boosts your coordination. And even more so as you progress to skilled moves such as split leg jumps or running in place.
To achieve a single jump, a number of body parts need to communicate, and this betters your coordination. You must lift your feet off the ground as your wrists rotate to create a skipping motion. In a recent study of young soccer players, skipping was shown to improve body balance and motor coordination (5).
Can Help Decrease Belly Fat
This is another of the great benefits of jump rope for weight loss. Jumping rope can help you decrease belly fat, just like cutting back on beer. Note that no single form of exercise can help you reduce belly fat without changing your diet and embracing several other healthy habits.
However, research shows that High-Intensity Interval Training like skipping rope can effectively reduce abdominal fat (3). It can help strengthen your abdominal muscles. By tightening your core during a jump rope exercise, you can target your abdomen.
Improves Bone Density
Skipping rope helps make your bones stronger. Bone density is a measurement used to estimate the amount of calcium and other minerals in your bones. This indicates how strong your bones are.
Having a higher bone density means your bones have enough calcium and are less likely to break. Low bone density is usually associated with osteoporosis (brittle and weak bones) or osteopenia (low bone mass). A higher bone density can help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis later in life, especially in women.
A higher bone density also makes you less likely to get fractures. With every jump movement, you make an impact with the ground. These impacts cause stress on the bone. The body then counters this stress by remodeling the bones to become denser and stronger.
Reduces The Risk Of Injuries
This exercise involves both your feet and requires that you coordinate the lower and upper sections of your body. With improved coordination and better fitness, you can lower the risk of certain injuries associated with working out. Additionally, jumping rope helps build stability and increases the mobility of the ankle joint, thus preventing ankle injuries.
Regularly jumping rope increases the elasticity of your legs. This exercise strengthens your calf muscles and increases the elasticity of the adjacent fascia and tendons. Tight calf muscles usually result in strain on the surrounding tendons and plantar fasciitis. To improve elasticity, land with the ball of your foot first and let your heels touch the ground completely.
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Greater Muscle Engagement (With Weighted Ropes)
What are the benefits of a weighted jump rope? Just like other forms of jump rope, using weighted jump rope has great benefits. One of the benefits of weighted jump rope that stands out most is greater muscle involvement. If you are looking to build strength, then jumping with weight ropes is a workout option you should consider.
Weighted ropes are slightly heavier compared to light ropes and can weigh about 1 to 6 pounds. You choose which rope to use depending on your strength and fitness level. They allow you to do the same form of jumps as a speed rope, just that it requires more strength.
Weighted jump ropes engage several different muscle groups. It also requires more muscular control, so it increases the intensity of your workouts. The weighted rope engages the shoulder and forearms, so it works your rotator cuff muscles, triceps, and biceps. Using weighted ropes also works your core musculature, back, and muscles of the legs (hamstrings, calves, and quads).
Increases Agility And Flexibility
Jump rope exercises make you flexible and agile. Skipping gives great strength to your muscles and relaxes them. Proper and efficient jump rope techniques involve moving the balls of your feet off the ground first, which helps develop your agility and even footwork.
Jumping rope involves combining both upper and lower body movements and stretching your muscles. The overall outcome is that you become more flexible. Flexibility helps you develop greater strength and improve your physical performance. Additionally, it allows you to build muscle fibers which will enable you to move faster.
Improves Heart Health
This is one of the best benefits of jump rope cardio. Jumping is good for your cardiovascular health. So picking up a jump rope and skipping for 12 to 20 minutes would be the wise thing to do.
It helps increase your cardiorespiratory fitness, which means your body takes up and uses oxygen more efficiently (1). Cardiovascular fitness has been shown to increase longevity and improve health by improving insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and diabetes (2).
Skipping causes an increase in heart rate and breathing, just like jogging does. If you are to jump for 15 minutes each day, your body will create adaptations in your body. These adaptations are good for your cardiovascular and general health, such as lowering blood pressure.
Improves Your Cognitive Function
Jumping rope improves not only your heart health but also your cognitive function. Rope jumping involves repetitive movements of jumping up and down while rotating your wrists to swing the rope. This helps the brain learn new motor patterns and increases nervous system communication.
Jumping actively involves your body to keep going, thus improves your cognitive function. Research done by the Jump Rope Institute suggests that jumping helps develop both brain hemispheres. This further boosts spatial awareness, reading skills, mental awareness and boosts memory.
Is Portable And Fun
The best part about jump rope training is that it is fun. That’s why school girls enjoy it, and in addition to the other benefits of jump rope training, you should too. To make skipping even more interesting, you can try criss-crosses, single -leg or double unders.
With this exercise, the only equipment you need is a jump rope and a small space for you to use while you exercise. And you can carry it anywhere. So you do not have to put your exercise routine on pause if you travel for a business trip or a vacation.
More so, for just under 10 dollars, you can get a jump rope and do a full-body workout with just one piece of equipment. No inconveniences at all, just a great fun cardio exercise.
How To Get The Most Benefits From Jumping Rope?
To get the most out of this exercise, there are several things you need to get right. First is you need to use proper form and technique. You also should warm-up and limber down after the workout.
Below are the 4 most important things to do to reap maximum benefits from your jump rope workout.
Selecting A Jump Rope
It might sound pretty basic but picking the right kind of rope is crucial. And if you are thinking about making jumping a part of your fitness program, you should invest in getting a quality, durable skipping rope. And the good thing is that even good quality jump ropes are not overly expensive.
Usually, ropes with ball bearings last longer than those without because the ball bearings reduce rotational friction. Ensure that the rope is long enough for your height if you are buying one with fixed handles. You can also choose whether to purchase a basic, a speed (light), a beaded, or a weighted rope.
There are also several materials to choose from – PVC plastic, licorice, cloth, wire, or fiber. If you are jumping rope in the gym, pick one, stand in the middle of it. Then lift it as high as it can go – the handles should reach just under your armpits.
Before you start your jump rope exercise routine, begin with a simple warm-up. Warming up prepares your cardiorespiratory system for physical activity. A warm-up increases your breathing rate, heart rate, the blood supply to your muscles, and raises your body temperature. This generally improves your physical performance and reduces the risk of injury.
You can warm up by performing a few calf raises. You can also do multiplanar jumps. Multiplanar jumps include split-leg jumps, external-to-internal rotation jumps and. Perform two sets for each plane, with each set containing 8 to 10 jumps and 30 seconds rest in between.
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How To Jump Rope
Using the proper form is the most crucial component of any form of exercise. It is no different with this form of cardio. To be able to maximize your jump rope workout, you should be able to jump correctly. This also helps you avoid any unnecessary injuries.
When jumping, move only 1 – 2 inches off the ground, take light hops, and not explosive leaps. Ensure that it is your wrists that are rotating the rope and not your shoulders and elbows. Focus on the rope and not your wrists and feet because as soon as you do several jumps, the movement will come naturally.
Here’s how to jump rope like a pro:
- Hold each handle in your hands and begin with the rope behind you at your heels.
- To get the rope in motion, gently rotate both your forearms forward, rotate your wrists to gain momentum, and swing it over your head.
- As the rope swings overhead, slightly flex your knees. Once the rope passes your shins, jump by lifting the balls of your feet. Start slowly.
- Once you attain a comfortable speed, your wrists and feet move in sync, and you can jump naturally.
- As you jump, be sure to begin at the balls of your feet. Then land softly with the back of your feet.
Cool Down After Your Workout
Cooling down after exercise is as equally important as warming up. Warming down allows your increased heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure to return to normal. During physical activity, your heart pumps faster than usual, so it is crucial to slow it down gradually. For a cool down, you can do calf stretches, and quadriceps stretches.
What Are The Benefits Of Working Out With A Jump Rope And Weights?
Working out with a jump rope and weights involves combining cardio and weight training. You usually need a rope and kettlebells or dumbbells. The workout is usually more intense than when skipping only.
When working out with jump ropes and weights, the benefits of jumping are amplified. And additionally, you are strength training to help you build muscle. To get such a workout underway, you can skip rope, then at the end lift weights and get back to skipping. So you just alternate the two workouts for as many sets as you like.
Jumping rope may have initially looked like a child’s game to you, but it is an excellent cardio workout. It is the complete package because it is a full-body workout. You get to burn calories, increase your flexibility, your heart health, mental sharpness, bone density, and at the same time is fun.
So you can embrace this great form of inexpensive home cardio-workout. Remember, you can up the intensity of the activity by jumping at a faster speed or using weighted ropes. If you are yet to find a fitness routine that works for you, a jump rope workout might be a path for you to explore.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Anaerobic and aerobic responses of males and females to rope skipping (1982, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Cardiorespiratory Fitness: An Independent and Additive Marker of Risk Stratification and Health Outcomes (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Jump rope (n.d., sciencedaily.com)
- Jump Rope Training: Balance and Motor Coordination in Preadolescent Soccer Players (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)