How Jumping Rope Benefits Health and Fitness
Individuals trying to get and stay in shape can find it difficult to get a regular workout. Can jumping rope help when there is no time?
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Jumping rope can be a highly cost-effective exercise to incorporate high-intensity cardiovascular fitness into a workout routine. It is inexpensive, efficient, and done properly can improve cardiovascular health, improve balance and agility, increase muscular strength and endurance, and burn calories. (Athos Trecroci, et al., 2015)
- Jumping rope can be utilized in interval training to keep the heart rate elevated and allow the muscles to rest in between weight lifting and other intense exercises.
- A jump rope can be used when traveling as its portability makes it a top piece of workout gear.
- It can be combined with bodyweight exercises for a dependable and portable exercise routine.
Jumping rope is a medium-impact exercise with benefits that include:
- Improves balance, agility, and coordination
- Builds stamina and foot speed for coordination, agility, and quick reflexes.
- Variations include one-leg jumping and double unders or with each jump, the rope goes around twice to add difficulty.
- Builds Fitness Fast
- Burns calories
- Depending on skill level and jumping rate, individuals can burn 10 to 15 calories a minute by jumping rope.
- Faster rope jumping can burn calories similar to running.
For individuals who have high blood pressure, jumping rope may not be recommended. The downward arm position can reduce blood circulation back to the heart which can further increase blood pressure. Studies have shown that jumping at a moderate intensity is beneficial for individuals who are pre-hypertensive. (Lisa Baumgartner, et al., 2020) Individuals with hypertension and/or a heart condition, are recommended to discuss the potential risks with their doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Choosing a Rope
- Jump ropes are available and made from various materials and come with different handles.
- Cordless jump ropes are great for working out in limited spaces.
- Some of these materials help jump ropes spin faster with a smooth motion.
- Some options have a swivel action between the cords and handles.
- The rope you buy should be comfortable to hold and have a smooth spin.
- Weighted jump ropes can help develop upper body muscle tone and endurance. (D. Ozer, et al., 2011) These ropes are not for beginners and are not necessary for an agility workout.
- For individuals who want a weighted rope, be sure the weight is in the rope and not the handles to prevent straining the wrists, elbows, and/or shoulders.
- Size the rope by standing on the center of the rope
- Pull the handles up along the sides of the body.
- For beginners, the handles should just reach the armpits.
- As the individual’s skills and fitness develop, the rope can be shortened.
- A shorter rope spins faster, forcing more jumps.
Following proper technique will ensure a more safe and effective workout.
- Start slowly.
- The proper jumping form keeps the shoulders relaxed, elbows in, and slightly bent.
- There should be very few upper-body movements.
- The majority of the turning power and motion come from the wrists, not the arms.
- During jumping, keep the knees slightly bent.
- Bounce softly.
- The feet should leave the floor just enough to allow the rope to pass.
- Land softly on the balls of the feet to avoid knee injuries.
- It is not recommended to jump high and/or land hard.
- Jump on a surface that is smooth and free of obstacles.
- Wood, a sports court, or a rubberized mat are recommended.
- Before beginning jumping rope, do a light, 5 to 10-minute warm-up.
- This can include walking or jogging in place, or slow-paced jumping.
Increase Time and Intensity Gradually
The exercise can be relatively intense and high-level.
- Start slowly and increase gradually.
- An individual might try three 30-second sets at the end of a routine workout for the first week.
- Depending upon fitness level, individuals may feel nothing or some slight soreness in the calf muscles.
- This can help determine how much to do for the next jump rope session.
- Gradually increase the number of sets, or the duration, over several weeks until the body can go for about ten minutes of continuous jumping.
- One way is to jump after each weight-lifting set or other circuit exercise – like adding jumping for 30 to 90 seconds in between exercise sets.
Stretch Out After
- Cooling down and stretching after is helpful to gradually reduce heart rate and relax the muscles. (Bas Van Hooren, Jonathan M. Peake. 2018)
There are variations of workouts. Here are a few:
Double foot jump
- This is the basic jump.
- Both feet slightly lift off from the ground and land together.
Alternate foot jump
- This uses a skipping step.
- This allows landing more prominently on one foot after each spin.
- A slight jog is incorporated while jumping.
- A moderate pace with a high knee raise increases intensity.
Rope jumping is a great addition to an interval training or cross-training routine that creates an efficient whole-body workout that incorporates both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength.
Overcoming ACL Injury
Trecroci, A., Cavaggioni, L., Caccia, R., & Alberti, G. (2015). Jump Rope Training: Balance and Motor Coordination in Preadolescent Soccer Players. Journal of sports science & medicine, 14(4), 792–798.
Baumgartner, L., Weberruß, H., Oberhoffer-Fritz, R., & Schulz, T. (2020). Vascular Structure and Function in Children and Adolescents: What Impact Do Physical Activity, Health-Related Physical Fitness, and Exercise Have?. Frontiers in pediatrics, 8, 103. doi.org/10.3389/fped.2020.00103
Ozer, D., Duzgun, I., Baltaci, G., Karacan, S., & Colakoglu, F. (2011). The effects of rope or weighted rope jump training on strength, coordination and proprioception in adolescent female volleyball players. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 51(2), 211–219.
Van Hooren, B., & Peake, J. M. (2018). Do We Need a Cool-Down After Exercise? A Narrative Review of the Psychophysiological Effects and the Effects on Performance, Injuries and the Long-Term Adaptive Response. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 48(7), 1575–1595. doi.org/10.1007/s40279-018-0916-2
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