Used by professional boxers, Olympic athletes and school children alike, jumping rope is a low-tech, but highly effective, workout that is simple and readily accessible. Jumping rope can be performed almost anywhere, and can be made as easy or as challenging as you want. Once you have mastered the basic technique, and can keep the rope turning for more than a few minutes, you will see numerous benefits from your jump-rope workouts.
Improved Aerobic Fitness
Once you can keep the rope turning for 20 minutes or so, you will start to improve your aerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is your ability to take in, transport and utilize oxygen while exercising. Aerobic fitness is directly related to the condition of your heart and lungs, and in the majority of cases, the more aerobically fit you are, the better your aerobic fitness, the healthier you are likely to be.
Improved Anaerobic Fitness
Anaerobic fitness refers to your ability to exercise without oxygen -- sprinting flat out, or lifting weights. Develop your anaerobic fitness by alternating periods of very fast jump rope with periods of slower recovery -- one minute as fast as possible, then one slow minute, repeated 10 times to total 20 minutes. This type of training is useful for boxers, football players, tennis players, or sprinters who must perform start/stop activities.
Increased Fat Burning and Weight Loss
Jumping rope burns lots of calories, and compares favorably to running, cycling and rowing for fat burning. By burning calories through exercise, and eating a little less, any energy shortfall will come from your body's fat stores, and thus result in weight loss.
Increased Lower Body Muscular Endurance
Jumping rope is a dynamic, repetitive movement that uses all of your leg muscles. At first, you may find that your legs tire easily, but as you get used to the exercise, your legs will be better able to cope, and you’ll find you can keep going for longer. This is in part because of improved aerobic fitness, but also because your leg muscles develop greater endurance, and resistance to fatigue.
Improved Agility and Coordination
Jumping rope is a full-body activity that will challenge your agility and coordination. Agility is your ability to respond to an external stimulus -- in this instance the rope -- and coordination is your ability to move two or more limbs in a fluid and synergistic manner. Both agility and coordination are important fitness components for sports and everyday living. You may find, at first, that a lack of agility and coordination hampers your jump-rope ability, but as they improve, you will trip less, be able to continue for longer, and eventually be able to perform tricks, like crossing your hands, or performing two rope turns per jump.
- Boxing Fitness: A Guide to Get Fighting Fit; Ian Oliver
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.