The origin of a skipping rope is not entirely clear due to its short-recorded history. Many believe that the jump rope originates from ancient China, where it was a pastime that many children took part in during Chinese New Year’s festivities. Most people still think of the jump rope as a child’s toy, but it is now used as a training tool by professional athletes and has become a competitive sport in a large number of countries. In fact, it even has its own, annual, World Championships.
Skipping rope is often used by boxers and competitive athletes across sports. However, it is a great way to implement fun and diversify exercise practice even if you are not a professional athlete. Remember your childhood experience and grab that skipping rope.
9 benefits of skipping rope
Skipping rope is deeply underrated and is significantly less popular than exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming. However, skipping rope still gives you a lot of benefits and boosts your health no worse than all the exercises mentioned above.
1 Jumping rope will strengthen your heart
Jumping rope is a great way to lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular fitness, according to numerous studies. In an experiment conducted in 2019 in which young men participated, researchers divided participants into two groups. One group jumped rope twice a day during this study, while the other group continued with their regular exercise regimen. As a result, the group that was using a skipping rope showed a significant increase in VO2 Max, a measurement of how much oxygen the body is capable to use during exercise. Jumping rope had a positive impact on many risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including body composition, inflammation, blood pressure, and how blood and lymph circulate throughout the body in teen girls, according to another 2019 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
2Strengthens your bones
Every time you jump the rope, you make contact with the ground. Our bones become stronger as a result of these impacts. When bone density naturally starts to decline later in life, it can be advantageous. Also, in 2015, the American Journal of Health Promotion published the results of a randomized controlled trial that revealed that, after the end of the experiment, there was a noticeable increase in hip bone mineral density in women between the ages of 25 and 50 who jumped rope twice a day between 10 and 20 times.
3Rope is a full-body exercise
When you start skipping over the rope, you engage both upper- and lower-body muscles. The rope will activate the legs for jumping; you’ll use your shoulders and arms for spinning the rope over the body while also stabilizing yourself with your abs. This means that you can easily improve all parts of your body with this little device.
4Skipping rope can make you faster
Adepts of running also need to observe that skipping a rope may boost your speed. Jump training is associated with improved running times, according to a meta-analysis of 21 studies. More than five hundred participants who were involved in various studies demonstrated considerable gains in jumping and sprinting. Skipping rope training also was linked with enhancing endurance runners’ physical fitness and sports performance. Similar results were shown in another study, which was published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Athletes who use a skipping rope to warm up before they run have a serious improvement in their 3K (1.86mi) running time compared to those who perform their usual warm-up routine.
5It improves coordination and balance
If you had a look at the training of professional boxers, you might notice that they often use a jump rope during their training. Ever wonder why they use it? That’s all because skipping rope has the ability to improve coordination. Good coordination is crucial in a boxing ring as well as in everyday life. Let’s use a conventional skip as an illustration. For it to be done successfully, the legs and the arms must cooperate and move in unison in order for the arms to swing the rope and the legs to repeatedly jump over it.
Italian scientists used a slightly different sport in their research to test the effect of jumping rope on human coordination. Preadolescent soccer players were gathered and split into two groups; one group was told to jump rope before each of their training. After an 8-week trial period, young athletes who jumped rope showed better motor coordination and balance compared to their non-jumping teammates, according to their research, which was published in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine.
6It is time efficient
Jumping rope may give you a variety of health advantages in a short period of time. Skipping calls for speed and coordination and engages all parts of your body to perform a good jump; that’s why you can argue that it’s a type of high-intensity interval training. Because of its high intensity, it takes less time to burn a considerable number of calories, so you have more time for your family, friends, or other hobbies besides fitness.
7It relieves stress and improves mood
You may think of it as something not so crucial, but in reality, it’s pretty important when it comes to the workouts. When you make your workout routine fun and pleasurable, it’s more likely that you won’t skip your workout, which in turn will help you achieve your fitness goals faster. So, start your favorite playlist and jump rope to the rhythm of your favorite songs.
8It improves cognitive health
Physical activity is proven to boost brain health and cognitive function, and jumping is no exception. Studies suggest that exercising with skipping rope enhances the neurotransmitter activity of nerve cells involved in attention. It may also help facilitate neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change and adapt due to experience. Neuroplasticity is very important for keeping your brain sharp and letting it function on a good level.
9Skipping rope is free, well, almost…
Ok, ok, it’s almost free. A good skipping rope will cost you around £15-30 or less. So compared to other sports equipment, like a bike or running shoes, a skipping rope is inexpensive. Furthermore, items such as bicycles require regular maintenance, and you will need to replace your running shoes as they wear out over time, which can be costly. On the other hand, because of its simplicity, a skipping rope, even with intensive use, can last for an entire year or more.
Downsides of skipping rope
The benefits of rope skipping are numerous and obvious. However, like any sort of physical activity, skipping could have risks or negative effects that need to be considered before incorporating it into your exercise program.
If you already experience chronic joint pain or if you’ve had any kind of joint damage, the jumping rope might not be the best exercise for you. Although it is well known that healthy movements can ease arthritis or other forms of chronic joint pain, jumping rope frequently has an adverse effect on your knees, which can cause joint pain. Additionally, skipping rope puts a lot of strain on your heart and circulatory system, which can be harmful if you already have a heart condition.
How to manage
If you have chronic joint pain or heart condition consult your physician first. And if it’s allowed then start slowly and step by step increase volume. No rush. You have all your life in front of you.
Skipping rope can be repetitive, and doing it for long periods of time, at high speeds, with complex movements or poor technique can put a lot of stress on the joints. This can increase the risk of injuries like shin splints, calf strains, or ankle pain. And if a condition like shin splints is not treated right away with some much-needed rest, it could become chronic and lead to serious consequences, such as a fracture.
How to manage
It’s simple. Don’t overdo it 🙂 Increase speed gradually. Try complex movements one by one and move from simpler versions to more difficult step by step.
Nowadays, almost any physical activity can be done at home. But the skipping rope has some problems with this. When skipping at home, there is a chance of tripping over the coffee table, tipping over a lamp, or accidentally hitting your pet with the skipping rope. Besides, unless you live on the ground floor, your downstairs neighbors might come to you with complaints. And under these circumstances, stress eating may replace your training.
How to manage based on personal experience
If you are not on the ground floor in most of the UK houses built before the 1990s you are risking serious problems with your neighbours below. Don’t even try double unders and high jumps. It’s so annoying for your neighbours unless you want to create problems for them specially.
Common mistakes when skipping rope
Even though there will always be some impact when jumping rope, the level of a negative impact can be significantly reduced by avoiding these common jump rope mistakes.
Jumping too high
Using poor technique when jumping rope might result in joint discomfort. especially if you jump very high. This might cause severe joint discomfort if done repeatedly.
Wearing improper shoes
Sports shoes that are created for running or training are designed with specific characteristics to lessen the impact on your joints, whether you run or jump. On the other hand, shoes that don’t have specific technology to support your foot and have a flat base are bad for intense activities. Jumping rope while wearing flat shoes can significantly enhance impact.
Jumping on a hard surface
Jumping rope on hard surfaces will cause your joints to be more heavily hit. The force you apply to a hard surface is mostly returned to you rather than absorbed, so the more force you apply to the floor as you fall, the harder it will push you back. Because of this, it’s better to choose surfaces with a rubber coating for your jump training, or at least do this exercise on some sort of training mat. Using such surfaces will help you reduce the impact on your joints during jumping rope exercises and make your training sessions safer by lowering the risk of injury.
How to choose a skipping rope
If you’re choosing your first skipping rope, it’s important to get one with the right length. If the rope repeatedly hits your feet during the jumps, this indicates that the rope is too short. On the other hand, if it drags on the ground and slows the pace, the rope is too short. In both cases, you won’t be able to perform your skipping exercise for a proper period of time. To find your perfect skipping rope length, you need to step on the middle of the rope and pull it taut; the rope’s ends need to be at your armpit level. Another option to determine the length of rope you need is to simply add 90 cm (3 feet) to your height.
Healthhack from Healthypedia
If you are new to skipping rope, it can appear pretty hard for you to begin, so start with the basic jump. When you master this movement, you can add variety to your skipping workout with all the different types of jumps, such as the alternate footstep, the side swing, the boxer step, the cross-over, the double under, and much more. This will make your skipping exercise more intense.
Fun & curious facts about skipping rope
Megumi Suzuki accomplished the most skips in 30 seconds on 12 March 2010 in Tokyo, Japan. The young girl made 162 jumps!
During the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly in Europe and America, boys were the one who mainly jumped the rope. The activity was considered indecent for girls due to concerns of them showing their ankles.
Joey Motsay of the United States set the record for the longest marathon skipping time of 33 hours and 20 minutes. Without taking a break, the fitness trainer Motsay succeeded and raised $38,000 for a children’s charity, Smile Train.
Skipping rope is one of the easiest exercise to start and do it regular. Minimum equipment, close to zero cost and a lot of fun and health benefits.It will have a positive impact on your cardiovascular health, coordination and muscle mass. And as a bonus
Not enough? Here is more from our colleagues!
Take a look at this video about skipping rope’s benefits from Adam Sinicki. Adam is the creator of the popular YouTube channel – The Bioneer – which he uses as a platform to speak up on functional training and the human body.