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Back To The Playground

March 2, 2011

By Gerard Bochese

When we were younger we played with jump ropes.  Whether it was in gym class or on the playground, we looked at jumping rope as a fun activity.  What we didn’t realize at the time was that jumping rope is an excellent workout.  So it’s time to return to our youth and start jumping again.

Jumping rope can achieve a variety of fitness goals.  It can be used as endurance training to improve our cardiovascular systems.  By using a basic jump rope pattern (two footed jump, two footed jump with a mini jump in between, or a shuffle jump with the feet scissoring forward and backward), we can maintain a moderate pace for 15-25 minutes utilizing our entire body (arms, legs, and core) to build stamina and burn calories. Take short (less than one minute) breaks during this 15-25 minutes so you don’t get too exhausted.

By applying more explosive patterns (high knee runs, double jumps (two turns of the rope for each jump), single leg jumps) we can train the anerobic system.  These types of jumps are essentially a form of plyometric training, which not only improves our anerobic capacity but also helps develop speed, quickness, agility, power, and strength while improving balance, coordination, rhythm, timing, and concentration.  In addition, rope jumping will increase strength in the foot, ankle, leg, and wrists for better sport performance.  Rope work is a great way to train speed because it is easy to count rope turns over time, which will demonstrate changes in performance.

Jumping rope is an excellent exercise to add to a circuit training series.  It is convenient and does not require a lot of space or expensive equipment. Your circuit may consist of a pull exercise, followed by a push exercise, then a level change, then a rotation exercise (see the blog Starting Point), then 2 minutes of rope jumping or 30 seconds of explosive jumping with a 30 second rest performed three times.

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