A jump rope is one of the most versatile conditioning tools you should have in your pocket. Its small size makes it perfect for workouts at home or on the go, and it can't be beat for quickly getting the heart rate up in a high-intensity interval training session. Once you get the basics of jumping rope down, you can change up your speed and jumping techniques for a challenging high-intensity workout that will improve your fitness and burn fat.
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Jump Rope Basics
Jumping rope is an effective cardiovascular workout that can also improve your coordination. First you need a long enough jump rope. When you step on the middle of your jump rope with one foot, you should be able to get the ends of the rope up to chest height. Keep your knees slightly bent as you jump, and hold your elbows close to your body. Jump off the balls of your feet. To lessen the impact on your joints, jump just high enough for your feet to clear the rope.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, involves alternating intervals of very intense exercise with recovery intervals. While ratios vary, recovery intervals are typically equal to or double that of high-intensity intervals. During your high-intensity intervals, work hard enough that you have a hard time completing the interval.
Your recovery interval should last until your heart and respiration rates have returned to a comfortable level. Start a HIIT workout with a five to 10-minute warm-up, then complete as many interval cycles as you can in 20 minutes. You may need to start with a smaller number of intervals and work your way up.
Read more: 5 Myths About HIIT
Benefits of HIIT
The major benefit of HIIT is that you can burn more fat and improve your fitness more effectively and efficiently than you can doing a steady state workout. In a study published in Journal of Applied Physiology, two weeks of HIIT significantly improved fat oxidation during exercise in a group of female participants.
One of the reasons HIIT is so effective is that the recovery period allows you to work harder during the intense intervals. When you do HIIT, you can do more high-intensity work than you could if you did the training at a steady pace without the recovery intervals. HIIT results in rapid improvements in your cardiovascular and respiratory function.
Try this workout to use a jump rope in your HIIT. Start out jumping rope or jogging at a leisurely pace for five minutes. Put your jump rope down and complete a full-body dynamic stretching routine to ready your muscles for action. Include motions to stretch your arms, like arm circles, and your calves, like heel and toe raises.
Begin the interval portion of your training. Track your time on a stop watch. Jump as fast as you can, aiming for a one-minute interval. Slow your jumping pace for two minutes. Cycle through high-intensity and recovery intervals for as many seven interval cycles.
End your workout with a five-minute cool-down period. During your cool down either jump rope lightly, march in place, jog or walk. Finish with a full-body stretch, especially focusing on your arms, shoulders and legs.
Read more: Jump Rope Workouts & Benefits