As a child, skipping was a game.
It was a way to try and deplete an endless source of energy.
On the playgrounds you would see it all the time – kids spent their recesses skipping rope. Together. It was beyond enjoyable.
And even though it would be years before I finally understood the true benefits of skipping rope, I must say I have always admired the activity.
Today, however, it’s one of the top tools in my fitness arsenal.
It’s light, portable and relatively inexpensive. I can bring it to the gym with me or I can stay at home and build an entire home workout around it.
The options are endless.
Here are some benefits of skipping rope that you should be aware of.
Skipping rope is a very efficient and complete full-body workout. You are integrating resistance training of your calves, hamstrings, shoulders and arms with an incredible cardiovascular workout. In a sense, you are toning your muscles while strengthening your heart.
[Skipping rope was a big part of my Muay Thai training in Thailand. We used heavy ropes to make the exercise extra challenging.]
Jumping rope requires overall coordination of your body. Your arms and feet need to be in tune with each other as you continue to increase your skipping pace. It takes a lot of concentration and focus. Skipping combines rhythm and timing as you have to recognize the skipping rope’s distance, direction, speed, and position. Your brain will be forced to make extremely quick calculations. Therefore, skipping rope helps you build great overall body coordination, improved reflexes and a greater sense of balance.
Another great benefit of skipping rope is the effects it has on preventing osteoporosis. It is an excellent weight bearing activity – it places stress on the bone which helps develop optimum bone mass. Researchers from the Osteoporosis Society in the UK have discovered that skipping throughout life helps minimize the rate of bone loss and provides the maximum protection against osteoporosis.
One of the well known benefits of skipping rope is its calorie-burning effects. Researches say that one hour of skipping rope (at a good pace) can help you burn over 1,000 calories. That comes out to roughly 20 calories per minute!
I look to incorporate a lot of interval training in my skipping workouts. This helps me burn even more calories. It’s all about increasing and decreasing intensities. For instance, I would skip at a light pace for one minute, then go all out for 30 seconds, back to a light pace for 1 minute, then go all out again for 30 seconds. I do this sequence four times (total of 6 minutes), then rest for 2-3 minutes before doing it again. These kinds of workouts really get your heart rate going which will help you burn even more calories after your workout [read more about epoc training].
One knock against skipping rope is the fact that it can get frustrating or boring. You are jumping in one spot over and over again and, thus, you are stressing your Achilles and calves constantly. When lactic acid builds up you start to fatigue and you start to make mistakes.
It’s important to always keep switching your patterns up. You can do double-foot hops, single-foot hops, criss-crosses, toe-to-heel, and even running in one spot. If your arms are starting to burn (which they will), learn how to do side skips and arm-crosses to relieve some of the tension from your arms.
If you want to add some variation to your routine, you can read about these 10 skipping rope exercises that I’ve written about or a video of these 23 skipping rope exercises I’ve put together. I show you how to change up your pace, foot patterns and even your hand placement to make skipping more challenging.
I’ve put together a new post that outlines everything you need to know about skipping rope. Find it here:
There you have it – the benefits of skipping rope. Go get yourself a skipping rope and get started. Learn the basics and gradually start to incorporate new patterns and new tricks. Your body will thank you!
What are your thoughts on skipping rope? Is it a big part of your workout routine? Share in the comments below!