Skipping is a great exercise to raise your heart rate and burn fat whilst increasing your aerobic capacity and overall fitness. It can take time to improve your skipping and get those double unders but if you can skip consistently and build up a reasonable workout you can burn hundreds of calories quickly. So, if you want to emulate your favourite boxer, are hoping to transfer from single to double jumps or simply want to be able to string 10 jumps together, here’s some hints and tips to get you started.
Improve your skipping with The Right Skipping Rope
When it comes to choosing the right skipping rope – think Goldilocks – you don’t want it to be too long or too short, you need it to be just right. Having the right length rope will help you improve your skipping no end so its worth taking the time to make sure its the right length. Your rope handles should come up to your armpits and not further – having your rope too long mean the rope has a bigger arc and will take longer to circle plus you’ll need to jump higher than needed meaning you’ll tire more quickly. Having said that, as a beginner you’ll want it just a few centremeters longer to give you a bit more time to get a feel for the rhythm.
A speed rope is designed to cut through the air more quickly so will make it a lot easier to get double unders if that’s what you’re after – but be warned, if you catch your feet and whip yourself these really sting! Only progress onto a speed rope when you can competently string 100 single jumps together. I know it sounds like this will take ages but consistency is key and you only want to progress when you’re ready – if only for your feet’s sake!
Some ropes have weighted handles – I recommend these if you’re already proficient at the basics and are happy to give your shoulders some extra burn because these will tire your shoulders out. They can also mess with your rhythm when you first switch over so be prepared for it to feel like two steps back and one step forward.
I always carry a skipping rope with me in my gym bag – you can easily tag 10 minutes practice on at the start or end of your workout (I recommend doing it at the start as jumping with tired legs wont often leads to a few whippings!) To see what else is in my gym bag take a look here.
Timing and Jumping
Timing is key with improving your skipping – this comes from building momentum with the rope and not jumping too high. I started skipping without the rope – I know it sounds odd but its almost like visualising and it gets your body conditioned to the movement and connects the hand and foot rhythm which you need.
A lot of people jump way too high at the start – look at the size of your rope – its mm’s thick not half a foot so minimise your jump height accordingly. Start slowly, try not to include an extra bounce which a lot of beginners do – just jump once and start to build up your speed gradually keeping your knees down and arms relaxed.
When moving on to double unders – you need to move the rope more quickly and kick your feet out in front to give you’re self more time for the rope to come round twice. Do NOT just jump with your knees up by your ears – I see this all the time and it was just exhaust you before you can learn to improve. It takes a lot of practice and patience but if you can relax and keep your shoulders down, arms and legs long, then you will get there.
Wrists not arms
Another error I often see if with beginners using their arms far too much – you don’t need to be making circles with your arms, its just a wrist movement. Using your arms will mean your tire your shoulders out before you’ve even managed to work up a sweat from skipping. You need to be able to keep going long enough to build up that sweat to burn fat and get fitter. If you need to stop every 2 minutes because you’re arms are tired out you wont get there. So relax, flick your wrists and keep your hands by your sides.
Watch the experts
It may sound far fetched but technically, I was taught to skip by non other than champion boxer Floyd Maywather. Really??? Well yes! I watched his video on skipping over and over and over again and found it so helpful. I really wanted to learn to do cross overs and was struggling until I found this video where he explains to start trying to do it on one leg first as this gives you a narrower frame and makes it easier. After you’ve got this – then move to two feet – and it worked!
Its really hard to explain in writing how to skip and there are plenty of vidoes out there with tips and challenges for you so just find someone you like and follow their guidance.
Watching someone doing it and then filming yourself will also provide you with a good comparison point so you can see where you need to improve.
Finally - Practice, Practice, Practice
Sorry but there’s no quick way to getting this – skipping is a skill and it needs you to put in the time and effort. Be prepared to have some whip marks and yes the better you get the faster you move the rope the more it hurts when you whip yourself – but without this speed you wont build up that heart rate and aerobic endurance to really shred and burn calories. So what are you waiting for – in the few minutes its taken you to read this you could have been practicing!