As it was national skipping day earlier this week, we are bringing you back to your younger days – playing with friends, riding your bike and maybe even skipping! You may not have known or even thought about it, but there are many benefits of this enjoyable activity. Although jumping rope is normally referred to children playing and having fun, many athletes compete seriously in the sport of skipping and must be incredibly fit, in the fast paced, skilled activity.
Run faster and further
This simple exercise is great in a lot of aspects and massively contributes to the development and improvement of your muscular and cardiovascular endurance systems. By incorporating skipping into your cardio workouts for 5-10 minutes each session, it will increase the endurance and power of your lower body. This will add a completely new dynamic to your running ability; making each stride more powerful, increasing the speed that you perform the movement and keeping you well balanced.
Even if you don’t enjoy skipping or find it tedious to perform for more than a few minutes you can still make it enjoyable and only introduce it into your warm up. Incorporate skipping towards the end of your warm up to benefit from the effects of the plyometric aspect of jumping rope. This will increase the efficiency of how your neuro-muscular system produces voluntary movements and prepares your body for when you start loading up the weights. Skipping is especially beneficial to lower body strength exercises, for eample, Squats, Lunges etc…
Skip splashing the cash
In this day and age everything seems to be increasing in price and a lot of people are put off from going to the gym or starting an active hobby due to this very reason. Rather than spending hundreds of pounds on specialised equipment that promises unrealistic results, why not use the change in your pocket and head to your local sport shop and buy a skipping rope, or even make one? With so many benefits at such little cost it’s surprising that there are not more people doing it.
Sport and skipping
The most famous example where skipping is used to help with athlete development is boxing. Surely everyone has seen Rocky? He used the skipping rope to increase his speed, agility and power to defeat the majority of his opponents. Normally films exaggerate and incorporate exercises that wouldn’t benefit the athlete, but this is not the case. As said above skipping can increase speed, agility, power, coordination and other factors that help athletes in a multitude of sports.
A word of caution
As with every sport and exercise there are always precautions that need to be taken when participating in them. Although skipping is an amazing exercise with many benefits, I would always recommend that you use the correct footwear to support your ankles especially if you are performing the exercise for the first time. Try and find a floor surface that isn’t too hard to lower the risk of injury to your joints and ligaments. Also, if you already have hip, knee or ankle problems I recommend not performing the exercise until you are fully fit and healthy. For those who are over weight according to the body mass index you should be careful to only skip for short intervals and not skip for long periods of time.
How to skip
Watch the brief skipping video below showing you how to skip. If you feel you need a more in depth easy to follow tutorial for beginners, click here. Once you have learnt the basics, incorporate it into your training and see the benefits before your own eyes.