EYC Podcast #14 Text Breakdown
Taking Advantage of Jump Rope
Speed rope is a great compliment to calisthenics because it is a great calf workout. I don’t really incorporate isolation exercises into my routines, so the jump rope is another great way to engage the calfs, along with squats of course
I primarily use a Harbinger X4 speed rope, which i started using about half way into my skipping ventures. I also have a weighted handle rope, and a beaded rope. The main differences are the speed rope has a 3 axis handle which allows for less friction, and more control – the rope is essentially perpendicular to the handle and affixed to dual bearings. The rope is a thin, steel wire coated in Nylon, so you are going to be able to get a lot more speed out of it. It’s also not as flexible as a PVC rope for example, so you are going to have to make sure to coil it properly to avoid kinks. The weighted handle rope is more for conditioning and involving the upper body. The weighted handles make it a little more difficult to perform tricks that require quick movements like the crossovers, or double unders, but as mentioned, you’ll get more upper body focus out of it. Finally, I have a beaded rope which is in between as far as weight goes. They are generally used for performances so the audience is able to see the rope as it is being used. It is also the cheapest of the ropes, so if you are looking for something economical, it’s a good choice.
The rope should be spun using primarily the wrists – you get a lot more efficiency in your movement so you will conserve energy. Using your wrists gives you more control, and tricks like double, and triple unders are highly dependant on how quickly you rotate your wrists. You don’t want to rotate the rope at the shoulders or elbows – it is slower, and less efficient
Jump on the balls of your feet – Your feet shouldn’t be coming of the ground more than an inch or two – this also has to do with efficiency of motion. The higher you jump, the harder you are making it on yourself – if that’s your purpose, then all the power to you, however if you are going for more of a cardiovascular, endurance type workout, then you are better off maximizing your efficiency. It’s also important to note you will likely jump higher for techniques like the double under, but the goal is to be able to do so with the least amount of jump possible.
As for hand placement, I’ve found that the hands are generally at about waist height, or slightly above. Do what is comfortable – my hands are usually about a foot from my body, with a comfortable bend. This also depends on the length of rope and length of your arms, so a bit of experimentation may be necessary
You don’t want to double hop! If you find that you are double hopping, start slow. Jump once, stop, reset, and jump again. This will help you get into the habit of only jumping once per revolution
The but should be tucked in, and the body upright. It also helps to stare straight ahead. I’ve found that starting straight ahead helps maintain alignment, and jumping in the same general area. Staring at a fixed spot can help keep focus during your set.
Jump in front of a mirror every once in a while if you are able. It will allow you to get a look at your alignment and technique so you can make adjustments. At one point, I found that I was clipping my left foot a lot with the rope so I stood in front of the mirror to see why. It turns out that my right hand was slightly lower my left so it was pulling the rope, at its crest, slightly to the right. So overall, the mirror can help make these kinds of adjustments in order to improve your technique
Counting Rhythm Can Help – if you are having trouble with double hopping, or maintaining consistency, counting in your head can help. I have a knack for rhythm, so I used this a lot in the beginning. I basically just kept a 4 count, 1-2-3-4, which helped me establish a natural rhythm while skipping
Steel Rope Can Really Hurt – if you are using a steel rope, understand that mistakes can sting. I’ve finished workouts with lash marks on my arms and legs so be wary. There are other speed ropes made from PVC which likely wouldn’t hurt as much, so those are an option.
Rope Length – a good way to tell if your rope is long enough is to stand on the rope, and hold the handles up and right in front of you. The rope should be at about arm pit length
Know What You Want – Understanding what skills are you looking to acquire is very important. This allows you to choose a rope that will be best suited in reaching your goals. Are you looking for a rope that will allow you to perform tricks easier, or are you looking for one that will give you more of an upper body workout?
Be Patient – Jumping rope takes time, and can be extremely frustrating. If you find you are catching the rope a lot, stop, take a deep breath, and reset. Start small. I’ve found it effective to use two methods to measure progress – time and repetitions. Start off with a certain amount time or repetitions, and aim for that number. I still find that as I get more tired, I catch the rope more often. In turn, get enough rest, and continue on.
Have Fun – Be sure to mix things up. Tricks are a great way to make things more interesting, and can keep your enthusiasm alive. Whatever your are using it for, cardio or endurance, footwork, calf work, simple fun, it’s a great way to achieve all of those things.