If you're getting bored with your cardio workout on a treadmill, spice it up with jumping rope. It can boost your metabolism more than jogging and help you torch fat and improve your posture and coordination. Even if you haven't done it since grade school, a couple of minutes of practice a day can get you started.
Jump rope training can be done almost anywhere, from an apartment living room to a corner at the gym. Besides improving your cardiovascular endurance, jumping rope works on timing, breathing and body awareness in a way that you cannot get with cardio machines. Interval training with jumping rope can add variety to your current workout. By doing jump rope exercises between sets of weight lifting, you maintain a high metabolism so that you burn more calories than you do when you just sit down and check your text messages while resting. After your workout, your body's metabolism stays high for several hours. This is known as excess postexercise oxygen consumption, where your body expends a high amount of calories to repair damaged tissues and restore your body to its resting state, exercise physiologist Len Kravitz says.
How to Start
The bounce step is the foundation to jumping rope, physical therapist Gray Cook says, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." This is where you hop with both feet together, landing lightly on your toes and the balls of your feet. Hop at a rate of one hop per second for 30 seconds. Once you can do this easily, increase the rate to two hops per second. Keep your head and chest up and develop your own steady breathing pattern. Otherwise, with poor posture, you may find yourself running out of breath.
Interval Training With Jump Rope
Spice up your workout with interval training once you are familiar with the bounce step. Interval training means that you do one bout of high-intensity exercise followed by a bout of lower-intensity exercise of the same type, according to the American Council of Exercise. For example do 30 seconds of the bounce step at a rate of two hops per second, followed by 30 to 60 seconds of the same exercise a rate of one hop per second. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds before doing another set of interval training. Adjust the variables, such as exercise duration, speed and rest time, to challenge yourself.
Jump Rope Variations
Try other foot and jump patterns and blend them in with your interval training workout. These variations include single-leg hops, scissor-stance hops, side-to-side hops, bell hops and power jumps. If you are too tired to hop, you can twirl the rope in a figure-8 pattern to substitute for a jump-rope exercise, the American Council of Exercise suggests.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.