With the right jump rope, an understanding of the correct technique and the persistence to stick with a jump rope routine, you can be on your way to improved cardiovascular and overall fitness. The best jump rope routine takes into account your fitness goals and fitness level. Jumping rope can be an intense, high impact workout, so it is best for beginners to ease into it.
Before you begin a jump rope routine, assess what you hope to get from it. Jumping rope is known for improving cardiovascular fitness, body coordination and bone density. Often, jumping rope is used as part of an aerobic training program that can include running, biking or other activities. To improve coordination or increase bone density, a short jump rope routine usually is sufficient.
Pay attention to your technique when first starting a jump rope routine. This will help you avoid injuries and get the greatest benefit from your workout. Set a reasonable goal when you first begin. In the first week or so, five minutes of non-stop rope jumping is a good place to start. From there, you can begin to vary the length and intensity of the workout based on your fitness level.
A common mistake for beginners is to do double bounces as the rope swings around. If this happens, it usually means you are not swinging the rope fast enough. It can also indicate a lack of core or center-body fitness.
Putting too much emphasis on the arms is another common mistake. The main focus should be on wrist movement. As the speed of the jump rope increases, the wrists move faster, not the arms.
If you have limited space or must work out in an area with a low ceiling, it is possible to do a jump rope routine without the rope. This might be an option if you have difficulty coordinating the jump rope. You simply can go through the motions or use a hand-held fitness device that simulates jumping rope.
As you advance, try adding variations to your jump rope routine. With front and back jumping, you simply jump with your feet together and alternate jumping forward or backward about 6 inches each time. You also can try the same technique while jumping side to side, as if in a skiing motion. A third variation to try is moving the feet in a jumping jack motion while jumping rope.
The best jump rope routine should not place undue stress on your knees. Be particularly careful if you have had knee injuries or knee pain. When in doubt, always check with a physician to ensure that a jump rope routine is right for you.