Along with hopscotch and monkey bars, most of us played with skipping ropes (aka jump ropes) when we were kids, but have you picked one up since?
t’s one of the best-kept secrets in fitness right now, so let’s uncover the 13 reasons why skipping is so good for you.
Skipping is a very effective form of cardio
There’s a very good reason why skipping is the favourite cardio exercise for boxers and martial artists. 10 minutes of skipping is the equivalent of running an 8-minute mile, but it’s so much more convenient because you don’t have to go anywhere! Skipping is a very effective way for boxers to build the aerobic capacity they need to last longer in the ring.
A fun alternative to your usual cardio workout, skipping is a great way to get your heart rate up each day to improve your aerobic fitness quickly.
Research has shown that this fun fitness activity can help you burn over 1,000 calories per hour
It’s a fun and efficient way to burn calories
Not many exercises burn as many calories as skipping. In fact, it’s one of the most efficient forms of exercise you can do when it comes to calorie burning. Consuming 1 litre of oxygen costs our bodies about 5 calories, and the more muscles an exercise involves, the more oxygen is required.
Targeting several different muscles, skipping at a moderate pace can burn 10-16 calories per minute. In just 10 minutes, you could burn up to 160 calories! Research has shown that this fun fitness activity can help you burn over 1,000 calories per hour.
What this all means is, you don’t have to spend every moment of your spare time doing it to get great results. It’s all about consistency, and 5-10 minutes of skipping rope work each day is a great place to start. A little goes a long way!
It’s great for all fitness levels and goals
Whether you’re totally new to fitness or you’re a seasoned athlete, a skipping rope can help you build your cardio and endurance. It’s also a great tool for reaching fat loss goals, strength goals and improving your athletic performance, no matter what your current fitness level is.
Skipping is easy to incorporate into a wide variety of different training styles, so no matter what your goals are, a skipping rope is one of the best investments you can make for your health and fitness.
Skipping doesn't require much space (it’s lockdown friendly!)
In addition to a flat surface and some comfortable gym shoes, all you need is enough space to safely swing the rope without hitting any furniture, fans or light fittings! You can do it in your home, in the gym, or an outdoor space like your backyard or the local park.
One of the best things about skipping is how little it takes to get started, and investing in a skipping rope makes it so much easier to achieve your fitness goals when gyms are closed and restrictions are in place.
It’s very affordable and versatile
As far as workout equipment goes, skipping ropes offer one of the most affordable ways to keep fit. However, their design has come a long way since you were skipping around the playground, so it’s worth investing in a good quality rope that’s easy to adjust. One with ball bearings that connect the rope and handle will work better and serve you for longer.
There are also countless ways to structure a skipping rope workout to get fit and strong at your own pace. You can use it to warm up, but it’s also ideal for a challenging main exercise or a brutal finisher. It gives you endless versatility, it’s easy to incorporate into any exercise routine, and it’s the only piece of home cardio equipment you really need!
It’s easily portable
How many training tools can easily fit inside your smallest small bag? Paired with resistance bands, the skipping rope is an excellent option for workouts at the park, as well as staying fit while travelling.
The only other piece of equipment you need is a timer, which can easily be downloaded to a phone or tablet and used to set specific work-to-rest ratios. Skipping gives you the freedom to take your workouts wherever you go!
It’ll spice up your strength circuit
Alternating between different muscles groups during a strength workout will give you an added cardio benefit by increasing your heart rate. If you’re looking to increase the overall intensity of your strength circuit, adding a skipping rope station will do the trick!
Alternatively, 2-3 minutes of steady skipping at the end of your strength session is another quick and easy way to increase the intensity and get more out of your training.
Skipping improves bone density
As a moderately high-impact activity, skipping is great for strong bones. Skipping is easier on your joints than running, with even more benefits for bone density. However, it's still important that you wear supportive, cross-training shoes.
The impact of running goes through the heel, which often causes a lot of pain for runners. The jumping action of skipping is mostly done on your toes and the balls of your feet, so it’s less likely to cause the knee and hip injuries associated with other forms of moderate impact cardio.
Skipping improves your balance and coordination
Skipping is a great way to become fast and agile, which is one of the main reasons why boxers love to use it in their training. It requires precise timing between the feet and hands, and this whole-body synchronisation builds a stronger neural connection between the upper and lower body.
The steady cadence and rhythm of skipping will improve the coordination between your eyes, feet and hands, while your balance gets better through constant neuromuscular adjustments. Boxers need to move quickly and lightly in the ring, and skipping helps them develop a high level of body awareness and coordination.
Skipping will make you smarter
Skipping improves cognitive function
That’s right; skipping will make you smarter! The combination of rhythm, timing, and the quick calculations of the rope’s speed, direction and position in relation to your body make skipping a fun challenge.
Learning to skip requires you to focus on your footwork to master new motor patterns. With practice, skipping improves the way your nervous system sends messages between your brain, wrists and lower leg muscles, which will enhance your overall cognitive function.
As you get better at skipping, the left and right hemispheres of the brain become more developed. This development enhances your spacial awareness, improves your reading skills, boosts your memory, and helps you stay mentally alert. These brain benefits beat a boring treadmill session any day!
It’s a full-body workout
It may seem like the wrists and hands are doing all the spinning work, but there’s also a lot of work required from the upper arms, shoulders and back. To keep the rope stabilised and under control, your upper body needs to stay switched on.
Not only does skipping strengthen your calves and glute muscles, but it also improves the elasticity of tendons and fascia in the lower leg. The more elasticity and resilience, the less likely you are to experience leg injuries from running and other high-impact activities. Skipping is a true total-body workout, which is why it’s such an effective form of cardio.
Lots of room to progress over time
Once you master the basics of skipping, there are many tricks to learn! Unlike other forms of cardio, skipping allows you to learn and progress with new skills all the time.
Once you master the basics of skipping, there are crisscrosses, double-unders, side swings, single-foot jumps, boxer steps, many more tricks. There are also weighted skipping ropes for those wanting to increase their upper body strength and burn even more calories.
Master the basics first! To get the most from your workouts, it helps to focus on the correct technique:
- Jump off and land on the balls of your feet.
- Avoid looking down at your feet, keep your head up and look straight ahead.
- Avoid hunching over; always skip with a straight back.
- Jump only a few centimetres into the air (beginners often jump too high, which is very tiring!)
- Twirl the rope from the wrists rather than the shoulders.
- Keep your movements light and quick.
Skipping for fitness is fun!
There’s a good reason why skipping is so popular with kids - it’s so much fun!
When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, consistency is everything. For a fitness routine to be sustainable over the long term, the fun factor is crucial because it’s so much easier to stick with something you enjoy.
Something as simple as a skipping rope gives you freedom and flexibility, the opportunity to learn new skills, along with heaps of benefits for your mind and body - all while having fun. When you get yourself a skipping rope, you may even feel like a kid again!