Don't let the simplicity of jump-roping trick you into thinking that it's a walk in the park. Jump-roping requires proper technique and constant practice to improve your agility, speed and quickness. It also improves your cardiovascular health, posture, rhythm and stamina as a result of training. Give jump-roping a try for a month. In the end, you may be as nimble as a rabbit.
The bounce step is the foundation to develop a steady rhythm, breathing and technique of jump-roping. Stand with your feet together and hop on the balls of your feet and toes. Start jumping at a rate of one jump per second for 30 seconds. As you improve, increase the rate to two jumps per second. Every two or three days, increase your jumping time by 10 seconds until you reach two minutes of continuous jumping. Use this guideline to progress in all jump-rope exercises. You can always jump for more than two minutes if you desire.
The single-leg hop can reveal if one side of your body is more coordinated than the other side. It demands a higher level of stability in your core and improves your strides by teaching you to relax one leg while pushing off with the other leg, says physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." Stand on your left foot and raise your right knee toward your chest so that your right leg and hip are bent at 90 degrees. Swing the rope beneath you and hop at a steady rhythm while keeping your raised leg in the same position. Start with one hop per second for 30 seconds before progressing to two hops per second.
The lunge stance, or scissor stance, is jumping with one foot in front of the other in a narrow stance. Like the single-leg hop, it reveals if one side is better than the other side. Stand with your right foot in front of your left foot. As you jump, keep your chest high and land lightly on the balls of your feet and toes. Swing the rope beneath you and hop over it with your front foot before hopping over it with your back foot.
The compass jump is jumping in different directions based on the the three previous exercises. You can choose back and forth, side to side or at a diagonal angle from your starting point like jumping toward the directions on a compass. Start with the bounce step position and hop back and forth for 30 seconds. Then hop side to side for 30 seconds, followed by diagonal patterns for 30 seconds. Do the same drill based on the single-leg and lunge stance patterns.
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
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.