Are you looking for an inexpensive, easy piece of exercise equipment for your cardio workout?
We have an idea.
What if we could offer you a piece of exercise equipment that was:
- provided an intense cardio workout in a short period of time
- is small, lightweight, and easy to carry and store
- less than $10
Would you be interested?
I bet you would!
Our secret is the humble jump rope!
A jump rope can offer a tremendous cardio workout. By jumping rope for 15-20 minutes a day, you will likely burn more calories doing this compared to light jogging or walking. Amazing!
But first, make sure you are in reasonable physical shape for jumping rope. If you suffer from knee or hip problems, for example, then jumping rope may not be the exercise for you.
The real “secret” benefit to jumping rope is that you are exercising many different muscles at once. When using the jump rope, muscles in the legs, back, shoulders, and the core are all being exercised.
One interesting advantage of the jump rope is that it may be less stressful on the knees than jogging. How is this possible? This is because when you jump, you tend to land on the balls of the feet, and not the heel. Shifting the landing towards the front of the foot helps distribute the shock experienced while landing. Plus, you can have better control over the landing from a short, repetitive jump versus a long, striding run.
But, don’t let the simplicity of the equipment fool you. The jump rope can be a great exercise tool if used properly. Here are a few tips for you to consider:
The rope itself – We recommend staying away from home made or toy jump ropes. A really good jump rope will only be ~$10-$20, so make the investment in a good one. You should get one with padded handles, and one that is easily adjustable.
Surface – Avoid jumping rope on carpet, grass, or other surfaces where you may slip during the jump. Instead, go for solid surfaces, such as an exercise mat. Alternatively, a sheet of plywood resting on top of a carpeted floor may work fine.
Footwear – Cross-trainer shoes typically provide the most cushion for the jump. Alternatively, use basketball shoes.
How to get started
It’s possible that you have not used a jump rope in many years…perhaps since you were a kid! How should you get started?
First, grab both handles in one hand, and start swinging the rope slowly without jumping. Get a feel for the rope, it’s weight, and it’s rhythm. After a while, continue swinging the rope, while simultaneously hopping in place to the rhythm of the rope hitting the floor.
This may also be a good time to adjust the length of the rope.
How long should the rope be?
To gauge the proper length for the rope, try standing on the rope, evenly dividing the rope between your left and right hands. The tips of the handles should reach the top of your shoulders. This is standard length, but feel free to adjust as you jump.
Remember, you do not have to jump very high in order for your feet to clear the rope. You should only need to jump an inch or two off the floor to clear the rope. If you find yourself jumping higher, lengthen the rope.
Try this routine for the first 3 or 4 workouts before trying to actually jump rope. Again, start slowly, with as short a jump as possible.
How long should you jump?
This depends on your overall physical condition. But, generally, anywhere from 1-5 minutes of continuous jumping daily is a great addition to an overall exercise program.
Jumping rope exercises your brain?
You bet! Jumping rope, especially for beginners, requires a certain amount of concentration and focus. You are moving many body parts at once in a coordinated manner, performing a series of movements which are, frankly, unnatural. To do this well, our brains need to focus and coordinate all of these movements to clear the rope. So yes, the brain get’s very involved as well!
The humble jump rope is an inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that can be a great compliment to your overall workout routine. It’s simple to use, very portable, inexpensive, and highly effective. Start off slowly with a quality jump rope. Develop a feel for the rhythm of the rope, and adjust its length before performing the full exercise. Start slowly, and build your speed and stamina over time. Pretty soon, you’ll marvel at the benefits from this simple, inexpensive “secret” piece of exercise equipment!
Bonus Tip : We love to take our jump rope on business trips, but be very careful jumping rope in hotel rooms. This is because hotel carpeting can actually be somewhat slippery. If the hotel has an exercise mat, try jumping rope there instead.
For more information:
The Jump Rope Institute ( link )
Valeo Jump Rope – a great rope for <$10 ( link )
How to jump rope like a boxer video ( link )