Training in boxing for numerous years has made me accustom to warming up and using a jump rope for conditioning in training.  I think I have used almost every type of rope imaginable from multi-coloured beaded ropes, leather, PVC rope to 2 to 5 pound weighted ropes and enjoyed learning foot work, doubles, triples, crossovers and 180 to 360 turns.   There are many benefits to taking up jumping rope.  It can be used as a very cheap and easy way to train the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems or as variety to spice up any training program as well as an activity for the enhancement of any sports or athletic program.  I also use it in mid to late stages of healing and into a return to sports phases of rehab.

To elicit an aerobic training response with rope jumping you must maintain a consistence speed that holds your heart rate between 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – your maximum heart rate can be calculated by taking 220 and misusing your age i.e. if you were 30 years old you take 220 – 30 which gives you a maximum heart rate of 190 beats per minute in peak exertion.

However rope jumping has its best benefits in a power phase of training when the anaerobic system is being utilized.  In this phase the greatest gains are capitalized on to peak competitive advantage in speed which is quickness over a sustained period of time,  agility which is one’s ability to accelerate, decelerate and make quick changes in direction as balance, speed and control is maintained and in an  athletic explosiveness.

The best surface to jump rope on is a hard non-slip surface.  Soft surfaces provide more give but require more energy to push off which slows down the speed and momentum much like running in sand does.  This will increase muscular endurance and strength but does not capitalize the plyomentric effect of speed rope work.   This works by using gravity to store potential energy in the muscles which immediately turn this stored energy into kinetic energy.

But what rope is best?  Just as with choosing any other exercise equipment quality and material matter.  Jump rope made from leather have been around for 90 years but waste energy on turning the rope and the rope is not adjustable making one have to turn the rope in wide circles if to big or hunch over if the rope is to short promoting poor posture and injury.  Thick cord, beaded, heavy, cotton or nylon ropes are made from slow turning materials and slow the speed of each turn create drag therefore no matter how fast you try and turn the rope the rope will not turn fast enough to benefit hand and foot speed needed in sports.  A speed rope like a hyperformance swivel ball bearing rope will help develop and produce lightning fast reflexes.

An easy guide to measuring your rope to ensure it is the right height for you is to stand on the center of the rope with one foot and pull the two handles to measure up with the armpit.  A more experienced jumper can use a shorter rope, one that extends from the foot to the upper chest.

Happy skipping!

Book; Jump Rope Training techniques and programs for improved fitness and performance by Buddy Lee

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Carolyn Zepf
osteopathy (current study) & Certified Athletic Therapist, Keynote & Professional Speaker