JUMPING INTO THE FUTURE OF CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS
5 Reasons Why Jump Rope is Taking over the Fitness World
Within the continually expanding world of fitness, cardiovascular training has sustained its place as the foundation of conditioning, fitness and endurance. This form of training has been the corner stone of some of the greatest athletes across the vast sporting spectrum and has been the genesis of great personal change and physical transformation for millions of people.
However, despite great advancement in the fitness industry, the masses have persisted with what is safe and simple and have continued the tradition of starting their fitness journey with the universally known treadmill. While many success stories have been born on the treadmill, many have failed, with others becoming bored of the simplicity of continuous miles and slow progression. As a result, the fitness community has been keenly searching for the next mode of fun, functional and fiery cardiovascular training that will push the limits of sporting performance and fitness. Some have looked to the cross trainer, others to the lonely bicycle machine at the local gym, but have we overlooked one of most exciting and challenging forms of cardio ever conceived? The simple answer? – Yes!
The jump rope. This sleek and well recognised fitness adjunct has quickly become the weapon of choice from the arsenal of fitness technology and has begun its ascension to the top of training ladder. Nonetheless, in order to truly understand the power of a jump rope this article will aim to break down 5 key benefits backed by the research and fitness community who have personally reaped the rewards of its adoption.
1. A Real Cardiovascular Challenge
Let’s try something. Jog for 10 steps. Now jump 10 times. Which was harder? It’s clear to see that more energy expenditure and rate of work are required to jump. Want more proof? The British Rope Skipping Association have stated that 1 hour of jump roping can burn up to 1,600 calories regardless of skill or experience! Still think the treadmill is better? According to Harvard Health estimations of calories burned, 1 hour of constant treadmill running would burn 600-800 calories. On a more physiological level, this intense activity significantly increases heart rate allowing you to access more demanding training zones faster. It also increases respiratory rate, venous return (blood returning to the heart) and cardiac output allowing you to push your cardiovascular effort within a short space of time when compared to traditional forms of cardio. The result of all of this hard work? Burning more calories faster which gives you the chance to shed that winter weight! Don’t believe us? Give it a go!
2. Muscle Tone and Contraction
With the more traditional means of cardio training emphasising the use and contraction of synergistic muscle groups within the lower limbs, the jump rope offers the unique means of multiple forms of muscle contraction. Isometric, eccentric and concentric contraction of muscle groups in both the upper limbs and lower limbs can be observed, whether you’re doing a simple single step or the more complex squat jump! By accessing all of the core muscle contraction types you give yourself a chance to truly strengthen muscles throughout your body with your core and posture focused muscles playing a key role to sustain good form.
3. Sporting Performance
Although the benefits of jump roping alone have been reported by many, its use a form of training for other sports has been reported within research. The footwork, multi-limb co-ordination and endurance required to jump rope are skills which can be easily translated across numerous sports such as boxing, football, rugby and all racket sports. Whether its arm speed for the killer boxing combo or footwork for those slick step overs, jump roping is the perfect way to train specific aspects of performance while working on your fitness. It can also be used to for a fast and challenging warm up or means of trying high intensity interval training and is a great mode of exercise to apply into a sport of your choice.
4. Agility, Balance and Co-ordination
With jump rope offering a large constellation of different footwork combinations and tricks it pushes you to work on the finer aspects of performance and fitness. By being a dynamic exercise, it allows you to focus on sharp changes in direction while sustaining balance and proprioception. This also gives you a great chance to improve your co-ordination between your upper and lower limbs which again translates into more effective sporting performance. This is also a great method to train when recovering from injury and can be progressed well with difference combinations when mixed with higher intensity training patterns.
5. Confidence, Self Esteem and Focus
As aptly mentioned by the British Rope Skipping Association, those who partake in jump rope, state that they can ‘think faster, experience improvement in self-confidence, and instinctively react better’. Jumping rope isn’t only about the movement of the body; it is also about the state of alertness which can have a positive effect on a person’s focus and cognitive functions. These huge benefits don’t just translate into sporting performance but into your personal life, whether that’s in a social environment or at work. Once you master those double-unders and cross overs you can bet people will be watching and admiring in the gym!
Alongside these powerful benefits, a jump rope is inexpensive, easy to transport and adaptable to all sports and training types. It’s time to skip the treadmill and wield your rope, whether that’s in your garden, on holiday or in the office! Now the true power of jump roping has been brought to light, only one solitary question remains. When will you take the leap of faith and jump towards your fitness goals?
Written by, Bilal Azhar BSc (Hons) MSc MCSP | Chartered Physiotherapist | Sports Therapist