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Jump Rope Routine

By Ed Yong, MS, CSCS, RYT

There are a several reasons to incorporate jumping rope into your fitness program:

  1. It’s a great way to improve speed, agility, quickness, coordination, strength and power.
  2. It can help reduce the risk of injury by increasing strength and ankle stability while working in a safe, controlled environment.
  3. It can be used to increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Jump at a steady rate for an extended period of time to improve aerobic fitness or at a higher rate for shorter periods of time (interval training) for anaerobic fitness.

If you are a beginner, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that your rope is the right length for your height. To determine correct length step on the rope with one foot, put the handles together and pull them to your shoulder. The handles should come to your shoulder, but no higher than your shoulder.

Start your rope training with the basic bounce step. This is the foundation to developing rhythm, form, coordination and speed. To execute the bounce step, stand with your feet together and the rope behind you. Swing the rope forward over your head. As the rope approaches your feet, jump over it with both feet. Clear the floor by about 2 inches and land lightly on the balls of your feet. Jumping rope is a low-impact activity, so stay close to the floor. Start at a steady pace of 1 jump per second for one minute (60 RPM). When this gets easier, increase the rate to 2 jumps per minute (120 RPM) for one minute.  Increase your time every day by 30 to 60 seconds for as long as you can or try one of the advanced jumps listed below. Note: jumps start and end on both feet; hops start and end on one foot.

  • Double Foot (Regular) – This is your basic bounce jump on 2 feet.
  • Single Leg Hops – This is your basic bounce movement, but on 1 foot at a time. Work both feet.
  • High Knee Run – Start by jogging forward and alternate hopping from one foot to the next. Gradually increase speed.
  • Boxer’s Skip – (R, R, L, L) – Alternate the bounce step jumping 2 times to the right and two to the left.
  • Split Jumps – Start with one foot forward and one foot back and alternate moving your feet forward and backward on each jump.
  • Crossover – Cross your hands in front of body as the rope comes forward and jump through the loop created by the crossing action of your hands.
  • Lateral – Jumps Side-to-Side – Jump (two feet) side-to-side on each revolution of the rope.
  • Lateral – Hops Side-to-Side – Hop on one foot side-to-side on each revolution of the rope. Repeat on opposite foot.
  • Forward and Backward Jumps – Alternate jumping (two feet) forward and backwards.
  • Forward and Backward Hops – Alternate hopping (one foot) forward and backwards. Repeat on opposite foot.
  • Double Under – This is a power or plyometric jump. Jump (two legs) twice on each revolution of the rope.
  • Tuck Jump – This is a power or plyometric exercise. Jump (two legs) bringing your knees to your chest on each jump.

Get creative and put together different combinations of jumps and hops to create your personalized routine. For example, do 60 seconds of bounce steps followed by 20 seconds of power jumps without rest between exercises. Rest for 30 seconds and do another paired set of single-leg hops for 60 seconds on each leg and 20 consecutive power jumps. Regardless of the drill used, try to spend as little time on the ground as possible between jumps. Stay on the balls of your feet, and when doing any lateral movement, keep most of your weight on the instep and big toe without letting your ankle role. When jumping forward and backward or side-to-side, don’t think about how much distance you cover, focus on jumping as quickly as you can.

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Ed Yong, MS, CSCS, RYT is a minor league strength and conditioning coach for the Texas Rangers in the Northwest League.

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