Skipping: The total body workout. A jump rope story
What you need
Sense of childlike enthusiasm – preferred, not essential
Why is skipping a great workout?
According to NASA scientists exercises that involve regular jumping actions provide an aerobic workout that is ‘the most efficient and effective exercise devised by man’. A bold and intriguing statement and one that requires further investigation.
When devising a workout programme for clients, I look to cover two main bases; aerobic and muscular endurance.
An effective aerobic workout is an activity that increases the heart rate and makes you breathe harder and faster.
An effective muscular endurance programme involves engaging a large group of muscles to force fatigue in order to break down muscle fibres and strengthen them during recovery.
How many exercise can you name that achieve both? There are quite a few, but boxing and skipping spring to mind straight away.
The aerobic part should be fairly obvious- jumping up and down for a sustained period of time will of course get you breathing harder. In fact, jumping on the spot for 10 minutes has been likened to running a mile. It’s an extremely efficient way of burning calories.
On the muscular endurance side of things, skipping mainly focuses on core strength and stability and explosive leg power. Core strength comes from muscles in and around the back and abdomen, and is essential for balance, coordination and posture. Skipping develops this through maintaining balance and control in the air during each bounce, and through contracting and bracing muscles during the ‘rebound’ stage of the jump to help propel yourself back into the air. This principle is naturally extended into the muscles in your calves, legs and glutes.
One final benefit of note is that jumping exercises are known to help rouse the lymphatic system, which is part of our immune system that helps protect us from viruses and bacteria. So like the famous apple, skipping will keep the doctor away!