Jump Rope, the Take-Anywhere Cardio

We all do cardio for different reasons, whether it’s to burn off that second er… third glass of wine, or a way for you to checkout from a busy day and check-in with yourself. Cardio is not always an easy task to get excited over, but at the same time, you’ll never regret it afterwards. If you’re in store for a more enticing-seeming push into your cardio fix, try the age-old classic, jump rope.

Jump rope  is a great use for metabolic training and gets your heart rate up quickly. The rebounding helps your lymphatic system detox your entire body, not to mention it’s the easiest pieces of equipment that you can take with you anywhere.  

Cardio jump rope is not your typical schoolyard activity. When you first begin jumping rope for fitness, there are a four key things to consider.  

First is to make sure that your jump rope is the correct length for your height. RX is my favorite jump rope, and has a helpful guide to ensure its the right fit for you.

Second is your grip. All too often when starting to jump rope, we suddenly put superhuman strength into our grip, which tires out the forearms really quickly!  Instead, hold the handle with your index finger and thumb, letting your other fingers wrap softly around the rest of the handle. The rotation should come mostly from your wrists.

Third, try to be light on your feet. Rather than bending your knees and really leaping from the floor, you want small skips coming mostly from the strength of your feet and ankles.

Fourth is to keep your hands in your peripheral vision. Your hands should sit just outside of your hip bones with your elbows in and slightly behind your body.

It’s great to keep number goals of how many skips in a row, or switching up different exercises, and as you feel comfortable you can set timed goals for yourself, turn the music up and just play with different combos. With these in mind, here are a couple exercises to work on while you practice jump roping.  


Getting the tempo can be the hardest part, so set yourself up for success!  Practice swing the rope to one side as your hold the rope in both hands, once you’ve set the tempo start to skip at the same time as the rope drops towards the ground.  When this feels good, you can alternate swinging the rope side to side.

Tempo work is great as a reset at any point of your jumping rope to change things up, or to keep you moving if your miss a step.

Single + Side to side

Single Leg:  Most of us have one side that we feel is stronger or more agile, so it’s important do unilateral work to help build a more balanced strength. Hopping on one foot, focus on the spring coming from your ankle rather than your knee.  Let your lifted foot stay close to your calf squeezing everything towards your midline. Make sure you are high on your toe to keep your ankle from rolling out.

Practice 10 on each side switching it up.

Alternating: This can feel like a low skip or a march, you can hop from side to side, or focus on alternately pulling your knees up to your chest

Out-in: As you skip, focus on maintaining tempo as you jump your feet wide and then together.  Keep your toes facing forward and yours knees over the ankles on the out jump

Double under: The Key to double-unders is that you maintain tempo, you just jump higher when you are trying to get the rope under twice. When first learning, start working from the ground up.  Start with the rope behind your heels, jump a little higher and try to get the rope under twice, once you’ve gotten it once, next try to get two double-udders in a row. Always resetting in your starting position.

Every time you practice jumping rope, you’ll improve, so take the time to play with different moves and get comfortable. Landed yourself a couple welts while practicing? Doesn’t hurt to bring some arnica with you to quickly soothe those marks.


Head of Video: Tina Rosh  DP: Paul Terrie  Clothing: Beyond Yoga

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