We know you've been doing everything you can to keep both your mind and body healthy amid a pandemic. If exercise is one of your coping mechanisms—and we sure hope that it is—trade your usual cardio moves for a workout you probably haven't done since you were in elementary: jump rope! Jump rope is a high-intensity form of cardio that works every muscle in your body. It builds your stamina, increases your strength endurance, challenges your heart and lungs, and improves your coordination. It's actually so good for you that even the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended it.
Things to consider before jumping rope
If you're wondering whether there's a "correct" shoe for jumping rope, there isn't. Comfort is key; we suggest going for shoes with enough cushioning to take the impact of when your feet hit the ground. If you want to really master this workout, buy a weighted rope so that you can get a rhythm of when you should be timing your jumps. It'll also help you not trip as much. And of course, make sure the rope you buy isn't too short or too long; the recommended length is a rope that's around three feet longer than you. Check those size charts before adding to cart!
How to jump rope
The next tricky thing is actually learning how to jump rope. Even if you remember skipping as a kid, it's a little different if you want to do it as a form of exercise. For one thing, you'll have to learn how to minimize the risk of injury; landing on your feet the wrong way can hurt a lot. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Keep your posture straight.
- Swing the rope from your wrists, not your shoulders.
- Make sure to land on your toes instead of your heels.
- Engage your core.
- Your elbows should be slightly bent.
- Avoid a "double bounce," which just means jumping twice before the next swing.
- Avoid jumping too high.
- Start slow so your stamina can build.
Before even using the rope, practice with shadow jumps. Shadow jumps are basically "fake" jumps. With your posture straight, your feet should be close together; make sure your weight is on the balls of your feet. Keep your elbows close to your ribs, with your hands slightly in front of your hips. Then start jumping gently—just an inch off the ground. The goal is to establish a rhythm before you incorporate a rope into the exercise.
Next, hold both jump rope handles in one hand. Spin the rope in circles right in front of you, making sure you're using your wrist. This will train you to only use your wrist while jumping rope; people often make the mistake of engaging their shoulders. When this movement feels natural to you, switch to the other hand.
Jump rope for beginners
The best advice we can give you is to take things slowly. Just like any workout routine, it is important to warm up. Casually skip rope for five minutes to make sure you've got a rhythm going. Next, try some single unders aka the most basic jump:
Keep your butt tight while you're jumping. This video shows you the difference between rotating from your wrist (the correct way) and having the movement come from your arms (which means you're exerting more effort). Another common move for you to master are double unders:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a slight bend to your knees, making sure you land on the balls of your feet and not your heels. If you're nervous about double unders, you can get a momentum going first by doing five single unders and inserting a double under before doing five more singles.
The celebrities who love jump rope
Hollywood celebrity trainer Mark Jenkins told ELLE.com that he instructs his clients to do 100 skips at a time, as fast as possible: "I use it with my clients to keep their heart rate elevated between sets so they continue to burn fat and build muscle at the same time...Just doing five minutes, depending on how fast you jump, can be equivalent to running a half mile to a mile."
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