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Jumping rope is not just for kids! In fact, it’s an inexpensive and portable workout that burns more calories than you would think — up to 135 in ten minutes! Besides losing weight, a jump rope can tone your muscles and improve your cardiovascular health. Although you’re putting direct pressure on your knees, ankles, and hips, it’s a lower impact activity than jogging when done correctly. Before you begin, make sure you have the right equipment. You can use a cloth or vinyl jump rope, but a beaded one is recommended for beginners because it holds its shape and is easier to control. To adjust the rope size for your height, while stepping on the rope, shorten the rope by knotting it so that the handles reach your armpits. To kick-start your jump rope routine, try these exercises:
1. Figure Eight: This is a great exercise, especially for beginners. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, grasping the jump rope handles together with both hands in front of the body. Trace a sideways figure eight, moving from right shoulder to left hip, then left shoulder to right hip. Shift weight from right to left foot as you move your arms across your body.
2. Single Jump: This is the most basic jump rope exercise; it will begin to increase your heart rate. Jump over the rope with your feet together, one jump per turn. Your jump should only take you an inch or two off the ground.
3. Step Touch: Holding the handles together, swing your rope to the left and turn twice in a circular motion as you step to the left and tap right toes by left heel. Repeat to the right.
4. Front-Back: Jump up with feet together, moving six inches forward over the rope. On the next turn, jump six inches back. Continue alternating, jumping once per turn.
5. Slalom: Jump over the rope six inches to the right, landing on both feet. On the next turn, jump six inches to the left. Keep your feet together and continue alternating, jumping once per turn.
6. Jumping Jack: Jump over the rope and land with your feet wider than hip-width apart. On your next jump, land with your feet together. Repeat.
7. Running: Run in place while turning the rope. The rope should pass under one foot at a time.
Each exercise in this jump rope routine should be about a minute long and you should alternate the higher intensity jump rope exercises with the lower intensity ones (Figure Eight and Step Touch). Picking up the jump rope for the first time since childhood can be a humbling experience. If you can’t make it the entire minute, simply drop the rope and continue the exercise. Overtime, your coordination and endurance will improve and you’ll find yourself skipping yourself skinny in no time!
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