Regrettably, even in a somewhat small town like Fort Collins, folks can make exercise seem awfully complicated. I’ve heard my personal fitness clients debate the pros of cons of early morning vs. evening workouts, fight over which foods constitute the best post-workout fare and even engage in epic arguments about free weights, how fast (or slow) to lift them, which weights are best for women (or men) and how long workouts in the gym need to last. Alas, it’s a maze out there—kettle balls, elastic bands, and Pilates. My solution? Keep it simple. Which brings us to the almighty jump rope—an inexpensive, non-technical, and throwback from nearly everybody’s childhood days—jump ropes can seriously jump-start your heart rate and your regular workout without putting a squeeze on your wallet or your time. Read the following FAQs about jump roping and take your workout up a notch or two.
“Do I have to jump rope for the same amount of time that I spend doing other cardio?” In two words—no way. Jump rope is a great way to pump up your current workout. For instance, Jane, a forty-something personal training client in Fort Collins, has reached a plateau. Running on the treadmill has been her standard early morning means of training for over two years. Unfortunately, Jane feels like these workouts have lost their potency. Plus, as much as she hates to admit it, she’s a little bored. Jane now uses a jump rope. Jane now warms up for 2-3 minutes at a slight incline and then runs moderately at incline 5 for three minutes. She drops the incline down, carefully steps off the treadmill and picks up her jump rope. Jane then jumps briskly (if she misses a jump, she just “resets” and continues jumping) for two minutes. Then back to the treadmill for 3 more minutes at level 5 incline, then two minutes of jump roping—repeat, repeat—for 30 minutes rather than an hour. Some days, Jane power walks instead of runs and some days she keeps the incline at a steady level 3. The idea here is variety, physical challenge, and of course results. Says Jane, “I’ve definitely seen a drop in weight and a spike in my eagerness to get to the gym and work out.”
“It’s been a long, time since I jump roped. Can I (pardon the pun) jump right back in?” Good question. Even if you were a serious jumping pro as a kid, this type of exercise is best when you ease back into it. Even straightforward (stationary) jumping requires a lot of focus and stamina. Start by incorporating jumping between weight sets—a minute at most. Just like the tortoise and the hair—slow and steady wins the race. Don’t rush your jumps. As time progresses, your jumping (and jumping speed) will improve, as will your physical fitness.
“There’s no way I can just jump over and over in place. How can I get a little bit more challenged and up the variety of my jump rope workout?” As you get better at jumping, the time you can do it will increase. In other words, it won’t be so hard. This is the perfect time to change up the way, speed and types of jumping you perform during your workout. Check out jump rope routines online, visit a boxing gym (where the jump rope is a very popular tool of the fitness trade), vary your jumping speed (interval jump rope workouts are very effective) or call a personal fitness trainer for professional exercise advice.
Remember, over time, your body begins to learn what to expect when it comes to the gym. After years of dedicated exercise, we all learn subtle ways to make a regular workout easier. Our bodies adapt, we get in better shape, etc. Don’t be tricked into staying in this fitness purgatory. Instead, head out to the garage, find that 19-year-old jump rope and start feeling exhilarated again.