I've been getting the idea that people prefer indoor cardio workouts. I don't exactly know why, maybe because they don't know their city well, or they don't feel comfortable going through the city (in this case you should bring someone along with you, you'll help them and they'll help you!).
Jump rope, just like swimming, is definitely one of the best activities to target almost every muscle in your body, especially stability/core muscles (Your abs). How is that? Well when you jump, the core (your abs) are used to stabilize yourself to not fall while landing. The legs (calves in this case) are used to help you jump. Your upper body and arms are used to hold and move the rope, your arms don't get much workout out of this though, if you're doing jump rope right, you'll be using your wrist more. However, you can buy a heavier rope, which will then help you use your arm muscles more.
Yes, this is exactly why Rocky and other boxers perform this activity religiously. Another benefit of doing jump rope, is that it will likely expose your weakest muscles. However, this is not a beginner activity (unless you're really good at jump rope to begin with). You should start with jogging and/or swimming and gradually learn to jump rope better, until you can get 30-40 minutes of good rope jumping, then you can use it as proper cardio. Many people get discouraged before reaching that level, but if you stick to it, it'll be worth it. Jump roping is also hard on the joints, although not as hard as running. Lastly the seriously obese can hurt their backs and legs joints due to the excess weight in the mid section causing excess momentum and jarring. If you're seriously obese you are likely to hurt your back and leg joints due to the weight in the middle of your body, which will then cause excess momentum.
Interesting? So, here's what you need to get started:
You need an area which has high enough ceilings.
Stable flat floor,
A good pair of shoes (check daily tip #2)
And, a jump rope (make sure you have this one.)
Now, for those who are planning to do it in your garage or basement which has cement floor, you need to make sure that you have shoes which absorb much of the impact. If neither your floor or shoes are absorbing the impact, your joints are. It's obvious that it isn't the best idea to let your joints absorb the whole impact, it will also tire you out very quickly. Don't worry though, you can use your mind and create a platform.
For example, you could use a piece of some wooden board ( I used 122 cm on 122 ). You then place it between the floor and several collapsed carboard boxes, which will likely give you (depending on your boxes) about 2 or 3 centimetres between the floor and your wood board. I suggest not trying to jump rope on the carpet, it will make the rope drag and will be very hard, you don't want to damage your carpet either. If you don't have wood, you can try placing a piece of linoleum (I'm sure it's at your local DIY store) on the carpet. The carpet will be a nice cushion, and you can stash the linoleum away.
About the rope. If you are a beginner, you should avoid ropes called 'speed rope', or 'weighted rope', these will require you already knowing the technique, which you probably don't know.
We have the parts, now lets get to the jumping part!
If you're new, what's likely to happen when you try jump roping for the first or second time? The rope hits the ground, or you trip, now why is that? The most likely reason people trip or hit is because the rope might not be of proper lenght. Either it's way too long or short. But how do you measure how much lenght do you need? You definitely do not eye it.
- Set the rope on the ground.
- Stand on the midpoint of the rope with both feet ( make sure you're standing in the middle, the distance should be equal to both handles)
- Grab the handles and pull them up to your chest while still standing on the middle point.
If the top of the handles reach above your shoulders the rope is too long, and If the top of the handles only reaches your upper abs or lower, the rope is too short. The handles should reach your armpits. Now, if you're a beginner you should start with a slightly longer lenght, then gradually shorten it to the proper lenght.
You've set the rope, now jump! Your arms should very barely move when you jump. The movement of the rope should be done with your wrists. If you want to increase the speed, you should increase the tightness of the circles that your wrist is making ( that's the only way I can explain it, you get what I'm saying.) Also keep your elbows tucked into your side. The whole jump should be coming from your feet and calves pushing from the ball of your foot and definitely not from the knees and upper legs. If you find it hard to get the idea, stand straight and make yourself taller by raising yourself to the ball of your feet, you understand now? Good. Do the same but harder, to actually make you hop, do not bend your knees.
You should keep repeating this until you can get about, lets say 10 cm off the ground. While doing this you should imagine you have a rope, and mimick the movement of it with your wrists. The actual trick to going over without falling is to get the rope to skip under the distance between your feet and the floor while you're in mid air.
For the first few weeks (Yep, weeks) you should target no more than 1-3 minutes of flawless jumps (not stopping or hitting your feet) so that you do not get too frustrated (believe me, you can, and I don't want you to quit.). Do not try double hopping. Practice and patience (nutrition too) will strenghten your core, making you better. And as I mentioned, you should lenghten the rope more if you trip or hit often, gradually shortening it.
We got the technique, the place, and the learning curve down, now what's a routine? One of my prefered ones is 5 minutes of clean jumps, then for ~45 seconds. That's not it! I repeat until I get 40 minutes. Why walk? It will reduce the stiffness in your calves, and 40 seconds won't alter your heart rate much.
I think I've covered the basics and helped you, I'm sorry about the lenght. I'm not good enough to explain more simply, I hope you sticked through this post and read it all. I hope you'll use it too, I highly recommend this exercise, which can also be done outdoors, actually combined with jogging!
I thank you for your read and hope you leave a comment with your experience, as it's always interesting for everyone to read.