Practice makes perfect, they say.
And they’re absolutely right.
But practice, admittedly, can get monotonous. Boring even. That’s just the nature of doing the same thing – like jumping rope – over and over again.
But practice is essential. If you want to become a jump rope ninja, then you must be consistent with your practice. You must be diligent with your drills and technique sessions.
That’s why it helps to find simple ways to make practice feel fresh and engaging. It’s what helps you stay consistent.
In this post, I will show you 5 unconventional methods to rapidly improve your jump rope skills so you can get the most out of your jump rope training.
Let’s get started.
1. Learn How to Jump Rope Backwards
If you ever want to essentially double the number of jump rope variations in your repertoire, learn how to do each variation backwards.
Backwards single unders. Backwards criss-crosses. Backwards side swings. Backwards double unders. Backwards heel-to-toe.
You get the idea.
And here’s the thing…
When you first try turning the rope in the opposite direction, it will feel disgustingly awkward. You will feel uncomfortable. Completely out of your element. You’ll want to punch something.
And that’s exactly the point (well, not the punching part).
The objective is to get uncomfortable. To get out of your zone. To put your body and mind in a position where they are forced to adapt.
That’s how you get better.
The first time I started playing around with backwards skipping it felt as if I was learning how to jump rope all over again. It was incredible. Everything felt off.
But I stuck to it and it paid off big time.
Learning how to jump rope backwards will not only expand your repertoire, it will also expose you to a completely new level of timing, balance, and synchronization. It will allow you to be more creative with your training (and freestyle) sessions.
And it will make you a better overall jumper.
2. Master the Side Swing
The side swing is a powerful variation that you absolutely must incorporate in your repertoire. Ever since I learned how to do it, I’ve been using it extensively throughout my jumping routines.
The side swing offers you the ability to do three very important things:
- Transition quickly from one variation to another (while also making it look sexy),
- Shift effortlessly between a range of intensities, and
- . . . . . .
Let’s be honest for a second…
Jumping rope at the same pace for an extended period of time can get stale.
Truth be told, it makes me want to fall asleep.
Being able to consistently (and effortlessly) shift between different variations and intensities is essential for keeping your jump rope sessions challenging and constantly engaging.
Huh? What’s that?
Oh…you want to know what the third important factor is.
It’s a good one: active rest.
Jumping rope at an intense pace can get tiring. It happens to me all the time. But instead of stopping to rest, I simply go into side swing mode and rest actively.
Watch some of my YouTube videos and you’ll see me put the rope in one hand (or keep it in two) and simply turn the rope from side to side while bounding very lightly. That’s how I rest.
Here’s what the side swing looks like (I’ve even slowed it down for you):
Click play to watch the video.
If you want to learn how to properly use the side swing, I teach how to do it in my Jump Rope Ninja course.
3. Master the Double/Triple Under
One way to really improve your jump rope skills is to up the intensity.
Again, you must get out of your comfort zone.
There is no better way to do this than to incorporate the double under (or triple under) into your routine.
The double under is a very powerful exercise (where the rope travels underneath the feet two times for every bound). It requires exceptional strength, timing, power, athleticism, and mental grit to pull off. But the results speak for themselves.
But, learning how to pull off solid (consistent) double unders can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Fortunately, with the right instruction, anyone can learn how to do it. I know because I’ve helped dozens of “average” jumpers master this exercise. See for yourself here.
If you’re looking for something to help you improve your double under skills, check out my free Jump Rope Crash Course. Inside, you’ll find a number of very in-depth and comprehensive double under lessons.
Now if you are already able to do double unders in your sleep, then it might be time to take things to the next level.
Try triple unders.
For that, make sure to check out Dave Hunt’s full tutorial on triple unders.
4. Jump Rope Blindfolded
That’s right, my friend. Blindfolded.
They say that when you lose one sense, all your other senses become heightened.
Here is an interesting quote from a study I dug up from one of my earlier posts on the topic:
“There is mounting evidence that people missing one sense don’t just learn to use the others better. The brain adapts to the loss by giving itself a makeover. If one sense is lost, the areas of the brain normally devoted to handling that sensory information do not go unused — they get rewired and put to work processing other senses.” – Mary Bates, Scientific American
I’ve written a full article on the power of jumping rope blindfolded, but I’ll give you the quick scoop.
Have you ever tried balancing on one foot with your eyes closed?
I know you have. And I know you probably struggled with it.
We humans have three systems that help us balance: the visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive system. Together, these three systems help us stand in place, walk straight, and move throughout the world with minimal effort.
If you eliminate one of these systems, we suddenly struggle to maintain balance.
But how can this help us improve our jump rope skills?
It has been shown that by eliminating one system – the visual system, in particular – we force the other two to become stronger. Just like eliminating one sense heightens another, strategically eliminating one system of balance can help us better develop the other two.
If we eliminate our visual system, we can make drastic improvements in our proprioception (which is essential for jumping rope).
So how do we eliminate the visual system?
Easy. Get a blindfold. Find a room with lots of open space. And start jumping.
Don’t worry if you look like a fool. I’ve already done it for you here:
Click play to watch the video.
5. Start Working with Heavy Ropes
If you’ve ever tried jumping with a slightly heavier rope, you’ve probably discovered that it’s actually easier to jump with a heavier rope than it is with a lighter one.
Might seem counter intuitive, but I explain why that is the case here.
Regardless of your current skill level, training with heavy ropes can be extremely powerful.
The added resistance of the rope does a number of things: it helps build upper body strength. It forces the heart to work harder (greater cardiovascular exertion). It develops Herculean grip strength. It develops the mental grit of a Spartan. And on and on we go.
On top of all this, once you are able to push the intensity (speed) with a heavy rope, you start introducing the element of power into your routine. That’s how you build strength and athleticism with the rope.
Back in the day it used to be really hard to find a high quality heavy jump rope.
I remember my first heavy rope that I bought in Thailand. I paid 60Baht for it (that’s like $2). It was made out of some cheap clear plastic tubing that was glued to a pair of crappy wooden handles. Gross.
Suffice it to say that I didn’t use it for very long.
Now I use my CrossRope Jump Rope System to get the most out of my heavy jump rope training. It’s the ultimate jump rope training system that leverages the power of heavy rope training.
You can read more about the CrossRope and how it works here.
BONUS TIP: Jump Rope to Music
Everything is better with music, isn’t it?
But there is something unique about jumping rope to music. There is something interesting that happens when you’re skipping and a particular song comes on…
You start jumping to the beat.
Jumping rope is laced with rhythm. It is infused with funky and unique foot movement patterns that happen to come together almost out of nowhere.
It’s kind of like a dance of its own.
The question is how can this make you a better jumper. How can music help improve your jump rope skills?
The magic is in the beats per minute (bpm).
Jumping rope to songs of different (or better yet – constantly changing) bpm can really push you outside of your element. You are forced to concentrate on maintaining rhythm and shifting between varying intensities as the bpm rises and falls. You are able to mix in different jump rope variations throughout the song.
Music allows you to explore your creative side.
Sometimes, when nobody is around, I dance when I jump rope. And it’s beautiful.
I don’t think I’ve ever admitted that to anyone…
That’s all I got for you today, my young grasshoppers.
I’ve given you a number of unconventional, yet simple methods to promptly improve your jump rope skills while still keeping your routines fresh and sexy.
Here’s what I want you to do now…
I want you to pick one of the tips I listed in this article. Just one. Go ahead. Scan through and pick one. I’ll wait for you here.
Got one? OK, great. Now tell me which one you picked. Go ahead. Write it in the comments below. I don’t mind waiting.
Now, for the most important step…
TRY IT! Incorporate it into your routine. Then come report back and let me know how it went. Cheers!
Do you want to know the secret to improving your jump rope skills? I reveal just how easy it is to master the rope in my free Jump Rope Crash Course – click here to sign up!
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