I have been a staunch believer in body weight workouts, especially since the COVID19 pandemic struck, which has forced the entire globe into quarantine. It is during this period that I realised how easy it is to get fitter at home and skipping is one of these workouts.
Skipping is great for your overall fitness, whether it’s part of a warm-up or included in your main workout. If you’re looking to push your calorie burning, fat-busting HIIT workouts to the next level, you should start skipping.
If you haven’t picked up a rope since your elementary school days, never fear: This isn’t just a kid’s toy. The mindless, simple activity of your youth is actually one of the best ways you can take your HIIT workout to the next level. Skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises around, per a study that found just 10 minutes a day with the rope was comparable to 30 minutes of jogging.
Skipping is very beneficial as it works your whole body. Skip for about a minute and you’ll start feeling the burn in your arms, especially your deltoids. You could even proceed to using a heavier rope if you want to a more intense burn on your arms, or a lighter rope for doing double-unders or simply picking up pace.
Regular skipping also significantly improves the muscle tone in the legs and lower body especially your calves, since they primarily get flexed during any kind of jump movements. It is also very time efficient. You can skip for up to 15 minutes before you start up your day and the workout is for your entire body. For the whole day. Skipping is an underrated cardio exercise, the best at that.
Here are some incredible benefits of skipping:
- Skipping is said to burn about 15-17 calories a minute. Running goes upto 12. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile.
- It helps muscle toning.
- Works the whole body.
- The most inexpensive form of exercising.
- It is time efficient.
- Skipping can be done by anyone and everyone.
- It can also be done anywhere, even in small spaces.
- It helps improve bone density.
- Just like any workout it helps improve the skin.
- It helps attain balance.
- You can skip in just anything.
- It helps with your footwork, agility and coordination.
- It engages and improves the hip flexor muscles (something we don’t consciously work towards).
- All it needs is a jump rope. Precisely why it is ideal even when you’re travelling.
This form of exercise should not be boring at all. You can skip along with your friends, colleagues and/or family.
Have a skipping competition.
Implement other exercises into your skipping, say for every 10 skips 3 squats, or you can include double-unders in your normal skip routine.
Change your skipping style. There are various types of skipping styles:
A simple variation where you cross and uncross your feet each jump. Don’t always follow the same patterns. Sometimes I will cross my feet with my right foot in front three times and left foot in front only once. This improves your coordination and focus. See image below for better clarity.
Foot patterns for criss-cross. Follow steps 1 to 4. Make sure you stay on your toes the entire time.
2. Single Leg Hop
These are great for strengthening the legs separately. You can do five, ten, twenty or as many as you like from one leg and then switch to the other. It adds to your core and hip stability, and overall balance. I often mix these with 2 right and 2 left steps and continue for a minute.
3. Running in one spot
I use this skipping rope exercise to finish all of my skipping workouts. Each skip of the rope is one step. You’re basically running in one spot with the rope. When I do this combination it feels as if the rope is going a hundred miles per hour. It’s great for cardio training and improving the muscular endurance in your arms. I often utilize the side rope swing (see next) to relieve stress from my arms.
4. The Double Under
This is a movement that requires quite a lot of practice. So don’t get demotivated if you don’t get it in the first 10 times. The basic movement is to actually to skips in one jump. It would require you to jump higher, as well as move your hands faster. One thing you can do is, switch to a lighter rope so that you can move the rope quicker. This is quite common and a favourite amongst cross-fitters, runners and other kind of athletes.
Boxers use this variation most often (in fact, some of them only skip using double jumps). This one will take a while to master but it is worth the effort.
5. High knees
This is a great exercise to incorporate into a dynamic warm up. It is similar to running in one spot except after each step you will be bringing your knee up high to your chest. The objective is to bring each knee up as high as you can to activate your hip flexors and extendors as well as your abdominal musculature.
6. Split Jumps
This is a rather challenging variation because your balance and coordination have to be spot on. For each skip, alternate one foot forward and one foot back (on your toes). Your pace will naturally be slower because your feet have more ground to cover. Don’t get discouraged with this one. It looks easier than it is. I’m still working on improving my split jumps.
Foot patterns for split jumps. Alternate between positions 1 and 2. Remember to stay on your toes the entire time.
7. Two-by-two combo
This is one of my favorite one-foot-jump combos. I simply jump twice on my right foot and twice on my left foot and I continue alternating. I’ve done this skipping exercise so often that now I can get a very fast pace going. I often tend to make this a three-by-three combo or a five-by-two combo (I’m usually all over the place) to keep my body guessing.
8. Jumping Jack Jumps
This is something that I am not sure has another name, but this is how I put it. In terms of footwork, it is the same as jumping jacks. And the movement is the same as normal skipping.
As you can see, skipping is all about being creative. I’ve tried countless combinations over the years and am surprised by how many new ideas keep popping up.