Maybe you need to increase the intensity of your jump roping workout, or maybe you are looking for variety to break up the repetitiveness of jumping rope. Either way, adding one-legged jumps into your routine challenges your balance, your muscles and adds a challenging change of pace.
Jumping rope is an effective cardiovascular workout that also improves your coordination and body awareness. One-legged jumps rely on the smaller, stabilizing muscles in your legs to keep your balance which increases your calorie-burning. Even if you do not have a jump rope, you can mimic the movements for an effective exercise. An invisible rope also makes it easier to continue the workout without stopping to untangle the rope.
Rope jumping is a high-impact exercise, so use caution when including this in your workout. Remember that your jumps just need to be high enough for the rope to pass under your feet. If you have any knee, hip or ankle discomfort, speak with your doctor before you begin. Always keep your knees slightly bent to reduce the impact. Stand up tall and look forward to protect your spine. Relax your shoulders and grip the rope firmly, but not too tight. Keep your elbows close to your body as you swing the rope over and under you.
Many of your two-legged jumping rope exercises are easily changed into one-legged movements. For example, bend your right knee and lift your right foot behind you and then perform a single-leg hop over the rope. Aim to land on the ball of your left foot to reduce the impact on your knee. Perform the same number of hops on each leg. As your strength improves, do a double twirl of the rope for each jump. Add forward and backward single-leg jumps over the rope and side to side hops for directional changes. Or, jump on your right foot toward the front, right corner of the room and then on a diagonal to the back, left corner.
Single-leg jump roping is something to build up to. Include portions of it into your routine for an interval training workout. For example, perform one minute of squats and one minute of single-leg hops. Then, do 30 crunches followed by 30 seconds of side to side hopping on each leg. Next, lunge forward for one minute and then hop front to back for 30 seconds on each leg. Adding small intervals of jumping rope at a time will improve your endurance and lessen your risk of injury.
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.