February 22, 2024

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The Best Jump Rope Workout For Beginners, From A Trainer

6 min read

If you’re craving an anywhere cardio workout that torches calories, builds muscle, and improves coordination, then it’s time you get acquainted with jumping rope. Now, you may associate this toy with recess and childhood fun, but you can actually get an intense workout with this simple (and affordable!) accessory. After all, there’s a reason celebs like Jennifer Garner and Carrie Underwood swear by it.

“Jumping rope is an easily accessible, effective, total-body workout that builds cardiovascular fitness, rhythm, and coordination,” says Lany Herman, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and master coach at Title Boxing Club. It’s a great training option that builds skill, stamina, and endurance, while simultaneously working your mind-body connection since it also requires agility and balance, she says.

Meet the expert: Lany Herman, CSCS, is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and master coach at Title Boxing Club.

Not to mention, jumping rope works your lower body including your calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes, while also targeting your back, core, and forearms, says Herman. Plus, it’s great for improving your footwork to enhance your overall athletic performance.

Most importantly, jumping rope is accessible and totally beginner-friendly. It may take some practice to build endurance, but be patient with the process, says Herman. “It takes time to build jump rope stamina, and I recommend jumping rope at least three times a week if you would like to see improvements,” she explains.

Quick safety note: Jumping rope can add stress on your joints, research has found. If you have previous or existing knee and/or ankle injuries, check in with your doctor or a physical therapist before getting started.

Ready to jump on it? Get started with a jump rope workout for beginners programmed by Herman, plus everything you need to know about jump rope benefits, proper form, and how to include it in your current fitness routine.

How To Jump Rope With Perfect Form

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How to:

  1. Stand on the middle of your jump rope with your feet together, and stretch the jump rope up the sides of your body. The ends of the rope (excluding the handles) should reach your armpit. (Adjust longer or shorter if they don’t.)
  2. Hold the handles in each hand, with the rope behind your ankles on the floor.
  3. Stabilize your shoulders by activating through your mid-back and maintain a neutral spine with your core engaged. Keep your head up and avoid looking at the ground.
  4. Rotate your wrists forward so the rope clears over your head in front of you. Your wrists should be around waist height with your elbows slightly bent while the rope is swinging.
  5. Jump one to two inches straight up in the air from the balls of your feet so the rope can clear underneath you and land softly back on both feet. Keep your toes pointed down to the floor with every jump. That’s 1 rep.

Pro tip: If you haven’t grabbed a rope since your recess days, Herman recommends practicing in front of a mirror to help coach yourself with direct visual feedback.

3 Jump Rope Workouts For Beginners

The following three jump rope circuits, programmed by Herman, are perfect for working on your skill development, speed, and conditioning. Each workout progresses in difficulty, so work your way up as you become more comfortable with the movement pattern and form.

Instructions: Start with the warm-up, completing all exercises before moving on to the circuit of your choice. Repeat one of the jump rope circuits for three to five rounds. Finish with one round of the cool-down circuit.

Jump Rope Warm-Up

Arm Circles (10 reps forward and 10 reps backward)

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Calf Raise (15 reps)

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Toe Curls (10 reps)

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Hip Pull (10 reps on each side)

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1. Skill And Speed Jump Rope Workout (5-7 minutes)

    1. Jump rope at a steady pace with both feet together for 30 seconds.
    2. Speed up and jump rope as fast as you can while maintaining rhythm and form for 30 seconds. (Switch feet as if you’re running in place.)
    3. Rest for 30 seconds. That’s 1 round.

    2. Conditioning Intervals Jump Rope Workout (9-15 minutes)

    1. Jump rope at a steady pace with both feet together for 30 seconds.
    2. Jump rope only on the right leg for 15 seconds.
    3. Jump rope only on the left leg for 15 seconds.
    4. Jump with high knees (raising both knees as high as possible on each jump) for 30 seconds.
    5. Speed up and jump as fast as you can while maintaining rhythm and form for 30 seconds. (Switch feet as if you’re running in place.)
    6. Rest for 60 seconds. That’s 1 round.

    3. Agility, Conditioning, And Speed Jump Rope Workout (12-20 minutes)

    1. Jump rope at a steady pace with both feet together for 30 seconds.
    2. Speed up and jump as fast as you can while maintaining rhythm and form for 30 seconds. (Switch feet as if you’re running in place.)
    3. Jump with high knees (raising both knees as high as possible on each jump) for 30 seconds.
    4. Jump and complete double-unders for 30 seconds. (When you’re in the air on each jump, rotate the rope under your feet twice with a flick of the wrist.)
    5. Jump rope at a steady pace with both feet together for 30 seconds.
    6. Jump rope freestyle for 30 seconds.
    7. Rest for 60 seconds. That’s 1 round.

    Jump Rope Cooldown

    Downward Dog Peddle Knees (30 seconds)

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    Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch (30 seconds)

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    Standing Bent Over Calf Stretch (30 seconds per side)

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    Standing Quad Stretch (30 seconds per side)

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    Top 5 Jump Rope Benefits

    1. Improve athletic performance. Not only is jump rope a killer workout to build muscle and tone your calves, legs, shoulders, and arms, but you’re also improving coordination, agility, balance, endurance, and explosiveness, says Herman. After all, jumping rope requires you to move multiple body parts at the same time, so you’re training your body and mind to boost overall athletic performance.
    2. Support cardiovascular health. Since jump rope is a moderate to high intensity workout, it raises your heart rate which builds cardiovascular fitness and health, says Herman. “There are many benefits of improved cardiovascular health since it can help reduce your risk of having a stroke or developing heart disease, while also reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer.”
    3. Build strong bones. “Jump rope places a load on your bones that can help improve bone density,” says Herman. “This can make you less likely to break a bone and reduce the risk of osteoporosis,” she explains. In fact, a 2017 study found that regular jump rope can increase lower body bone density in female youth, and a 2018 study found that weight-bearing exercises like jump rope can improve bone health in postmenopausal women.
    4. Burn calories. Aside from getting your heart rate up, you can expect to torch *a ton* of calories. Research even found that jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories in 15 minutes since your cardio is elevated and you’re working all your major muscle groups.
    5. Train anywhere. If you’re looking for a quick sweat sesh while on-the-go, jumping roping scores a ten out of ten, says Herman. “You can take a jump rope with you anywhere and everywhere, so you can leave it in the car, gym bag, or take it with you during travels,” she explains. Accessible, lightweight, and portable? Check, check, and check!
    Headshot of Andi Breitowich

    Andi Breitowich is a Chicago-based writer and graduate student at Northwestern Medill. She’s a mass consumer of social media and cares about women’s rights, holistic wellness, and non-stigmatizing reproductive care. As a former collegiate pole vaulter, she has a love for all things fitness and is currently obsessed with Peloton Tread workouts and hot yoga.  

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