Skipping For Fitness
Skipping can improve fitness levels effectively, yet is rarely used as a method of exercise, and is mainly performed by those training for martial arts and boxing. Skipping is a great exercise for improving balance, aerobic ability, eye to hand coordination, and speed. Skipping could prove a low cost and convenient method of exercise to improve fitness, only requiring limited space and basic equipment. Quality skipping ropes can be purchased fairly cheaply, and will last a long duration.
How to skip for fitness
Firstly, ensure the rope is free of tears and is functional. The rope should be of the correct length to ensure safety and maximum effectiveness.
1. Stand erect with the skipping rope handles in each hand, using the thumb and index finger to control the motion of the rope.
2. The upper arms should remain close to the torso and relatively stationary throughout the skipping motion, with the lower arms bent outwards.
3. The motion should be primarily in the circular motion of the wrist, with the handle controlled by the thumb and index finger.
4. The skipper should remain relaxed and quick on their toes. Just like with sprinting, skipping should be mainly performed on the toes, with soft and controlled landings.
As with any form of fitness activity, a warm up is needed to prepare the muscles and body for vigorous exercise. In the case of skipping, a warm up could be composed of low intensity skipping, followed by light stretches, especially to the calfs and thighs. A warm up should last for between five and ten minutes.
If you are new to skipping it can be awkward to master, and you will likely become frustrated with the rope continually tripping you up. Unfortunately, the only method of progressing is to practice skipping at a relatively low pace, building up the speed over a number of sessions until you can skip at a relatively quick and intense pace. The initial skipping sessions will be best performed at a low pace, focusing on completing the duration of the workout with limited trips. This progress can be continued, and once the skipping method is mastered the workout can become more intense.
The more advanced the skipper, the greater number of skipping tricks which can be incorporated into the skipping session. A fifteen to twenty minute session can include a variety of skipping tricks, including double unders, jogging steps, knee high, and cross overs. The skills can be performed for two to three minutes at a time, at varying intensity levels, with light to moderate skipping in between each trick.
A cool down would be advised post workout, with the skipping intensity slowly reduced. Stretching to the legs and upper body would be wise.
Always ensure hydration levels are maintained during skipping sessions, with fluid lose from sweating causing decreased performance.