Jumping rope is an excellent high-intensity, high-impact workout that blasts calories at roughly the same rate as running at a 6 mph pace. In fact, according to Discovery Health's Activity Burn Rate Calculator, a 150-lb. person burns roughly 113 calories during a 10 minute, moderately-paced jump rope workout. The best part is that because the workout is so intense, your body will actually continue to burn more calories during rest and recovery, increasing your total calorie burn. By adding just a few of these short, high-intensity workouts to your regular fitness routine, you may see significant, long-lasting results. Plus, all that hopping will help you sculpt stellar calves! Check out our jump rope tips and try our quick, 10-minute workout!
8 Tips before getting started
- Choose the right rope. Your son's plastic, segmented rope probably isn't your best bet. Look for a rope that has sturdy, comfortable handles, an adjustable rope length and a solid cord. The type of cord is up to you, but look for ropes that offer sealed ball bearings for smooth, even rotation.
- Choose the right length. A rope that's too long or too short can significantly impact your jumping success. When testing out a rope, stand on the center of the rope and pull the handles (without stretching the rope beyond its natural length) as high as you can under your armpits. You'll know the rope is the right length when the handles reach the height of your sternum. If you have an adjustable rope, simply adjust the length until it reaches this height.
- Consider weighted handles. If you want to increase the intensity of your workout, consider getting a rope with weighted handles. Most of these ropes allow you to remove the weights, so you can start without them and add them back when you're ready to make your workout harder.
- Remember practice makes perfect. If you haven't jumped rope since elementary school recess, you're probably going to flub it up! Don't worry about it, just keep on trying. It takes time to find the rhythm, and as long as you keep at it, you'll be a jump rope phenom in no time!
- Avoid the "in between" bounces. You want to jump at a steady rate so that you jump once for every rope turn. It's a tempting habit to swing the rope slowly and add an extra "hop" between turns. There's nothing overtly wrong with this, but as you add tricks to your routine, the extra bounce could throw you off.
- Give it a rest! If you find yourself becoming exhausted, and you're only a minute into your routine, don't sweat it! Jumping rope is tough. Take a break to catch your breath, then start back up again. Just remember, your 10 minute workout doesn't include your breaks. Keep an eye on the clock and tack on time for every break you take.
- Do what you can. This is an extension of the "practice makes perfect" rule. If all you can do right now is skip, that's okay! Do 10 minutes of skipping. If you think you're ready to progress to jumps, one-legged jumps or other tricks, go ahead and progress. Changing up the routine is what keeps it interesting, but there's nothing wrong with keeping things simple.
- Go at your own pace, but push yourself. Start at a slow or moderate pace to get the rhythm of jumping down, but as you're able, increase the speed of your jumping routine. The faster you go, the harder you'll work and the more calories you'll burn. Even if you just pick up the pace for 30 seconds here or there, that extra effort will pay off in the end.
10 Minute jump rope routine
Add this jump rope routine to your workout once or twice a week. It makes a great addition to a strength training workout, or you can fit it in early before you head to work.
- 0:00 - 1:00, Standard skips
Skip in place, almost as if you're jogging, alternating feet as you rotate the rope.
- 1:01 - 2:00, Standard jumps
Hop in place with both feet together, hopping once for each rope rotation.
- 2:01 - 2:30, One-legged jump
Hop in place on your right leg only, hopping once for each rope rotation.
- 2:31 - 3:00, One-legged jump, opposite leg
Hop in place on your left leg only, hopping once for each rope rotation.
- 3:01 - 4:00, Reverse jumps
Start with the rope in front of your feet and rotate it in the opposite direction; it should rotate backward over your head and forward under your feet.
- 4:01 - 5:00, Criss-Cross jumps
Begin jumping using your standard jump; after you've jumped over the rope once, quickly cross your arms in front of your body so that your arms are crossed before the next jump; after the second jump, quickly uncross your arms so that they're back to normal before the next jump; continue criss-crossing your arms back and forth for the duration of the exercise.
- 5:01 - 6:00, Ski mogul jumps
Begin jumping using your standard jump; after you've jumped over the rope once, rotate your hips and legs to the right while keeping your knees together, as though you were a skier going over the moguls - your legs should be rotated when you land; after the second jump, rotate your hips and legs as far as you can to the left while keeping your knees together; continue rotating your lower body back and forth for each jump.
- 6:01 - 7:00 Lateral hops
Begin jumping using your standard jump; after you've jumped over the rope once, jump both legs as far to the right as you can before landing the next jump; after the second jump, hop both legs as far as you can to the left; continue hopping back and forth over an imaginary line for the duration of the exercise.
- 7:01 - 8:00 Reverse jumps
Repeat a minute of reverse jumps to help balance out all the forward rotation you've been doing.
- 8:01 - 9:00 Standard jumps
Slow the pace down and do a nice, slow minute of standard jumps.
- 9:01 - 10:00 Standard skips
Keeping the pace relatively slow, skip out the remainder of your workout.
Header image credit: andrewmalone, http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewmalone/5103914804/ Body image credit: baileyraeweaver, http://www.flickr.com/photos/baileysjunk/3574980729/