Workout Wednesday #9

by DavalosMcCormack on February 4, 2009

Go into almost any grammar or junior high school playground in America and I bet you’ll see at least a couple of kids doing jump rope. It’s fun, it’s easy, it doesn’t require a lot of sophisticated equipment or training or room. It also just happens to be a great exercise for kids of any age.

Let’s start with the basics. To jump rope all you need is a… you guessed it… rope. Actually you can use pretty nearly anything but if you are going to do it regularly it makes sense to invest in a good jump rope. It isn’t expensive, between $10-25, and you can find them at any sports store.

A lot of people think they can’t jump rope because they’re not coordinated, but the truth is pretty nearly anyone can learn how to do it with just a bit of persistence. After all, it really only consists of you swinging a rope over your head and jumping over it when it gets down to your feet.

Some people don’t want to do it because they think it’s bad for their knees, but in many ways it can help people who have bad knees be active.

Unlike running or other sports that put a lot of strain on the knee, in jump rope you land on the balls of your feet so your ankles and calves take up a lot of the strain.

Of course it’s better if you can do it on a floor or surface with a bit of give, such as a gym floor. You can skip on concrete but it’s little less forgiving.

As in any exercise good technique is important, spend a little time perfecting your technique. It will pay off.

Then, get the rope. And get jumping. What you will find is that at first it is surprisingly tiring. You would think that something that involves jumping up and down on the spot, and only a foot or two at a time, would be easy. But you are working lots of muscles and muscle groups in new ways and that’s always hard at first. So, don’t be surprised if you get tired quickly.

When starting out jump for one minute, then rest, then jump for another minute. Slowly build up until you can do three to five minutes without resting.

You can then jump rope for a few minutes, then do some sit-ups or crunches, then more jumping, more sit-ups. In 20 minutes you’ve had a great workout without leaving your house!
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can try to learn new techniques, perfect new skills. There are plenty of great sites to go and get ideas from, including the aptly named Dr. Jump

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