Posted May 7, 2013 by Gareth Evans in Health

Lessons from the playground: Why skipping is a great addition to your training regime


Skipping may be a form of exercise that you attach either positive or negative childhood memories to, but if you’re looking to spice up your training regime, add a bit of variation and burn a lot of calories, then skipping could be something that’s worth revisiting. Possibly the greatest thing about skipping is its accessibility. A decent skipping rope will cost you next to nothing and it is one of the best investments in exercise equipment that you could make, as you can take it anywhere with you, whether it’s away on business to use it in your hotel room, or on holiday as a way of sneaking in a few quick cardio sessions before a day of relaxation on the beach.

Skipping has been a part of my fitness regime for over a decade now and here are just five of the reasons that skipping should be an addition to your weekly fitness routine too.

1. Great calorie burner. Above all else, the most persuasive reason why skipping should figure in your workouts is that it is an extremely effective calorie burner. One of the primary goals of any fitness regime has to be to burn calories in a time-effective manner. Research indicates that skipping can burn up to 700 calories per hour, with some estimates putting this figure closer to 1,000. If we break this down, as skipping for one hour is a somewhat unassailable task for beginners, this equates to burning over 100 calories in just ten minutes. The British Rope Skipping Association, furthermore, claims that skipping can have the same positive overall health benefits as 45 minutes of steady state running. And if you needed any further convincing, why not try using skipping as a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), with one minute periods of hard work, interspersed with rest, which has been proven to increase your body’s metabolic rate, thus burning fat more effectively.

2. Lower impact on the joints than running. We all know that feeling in the knees that comes with too much road running. If you’re new to running, are carrying a little too much weight, or are simply getting a little older, why not try replacing one of your weekly runs with a skipping session. Skipping is a far lower impact form of exercise than running and can be made lower impact still by jumping on a padded floor at your local gymnasium. By reducing the impact on your joints, you are less likely to experience pain, which increases the likelihood that you will stick to your training regime, as well as prolonging your ability to train in later years.

3. Improves balance and coordination. Jumping rope is a staple of any boxer’s fitness regime. And the reason is simple; skipping improves your balance, coordination and timing. These are three skills that are a prerequisite for any successful boxer, but they are also assets that are transferable to an array of sports, such as football, rugby, basketball, and tennis. If your fitness goals are sports-specific, skipping could be the exercise that helps you gain an edge over your competition. The unique blend of power, timing, balance, speed and fitness required to jump rope gives athletes a great workout that is directly applicable to their chosen sporting field.

4. Strengthens the heart. Studies undertaken by the Rope Skipping Association indicate that skipping can help to strengthen your heart and reduce your blood pressure.

5. Variety is the spice of life. The uninitiated may think of skipping as merely jumping up and down on the spot over a rope. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the opportunities for adding variety to your skipping workouts are seemingly endless. Jumping jacks, one leg hops, single leg bounds, side to side movements, backwards skipping, and alternate single bounds are just the beginning of the options available to keep things fresh during your skipping sessions. Not only does skipping add much needed variety to your weekly cardio regime, it also allows for a degree of creativity within the discipline itself.

Try something new

Once you’ve been exercising regularly for a sustained period of time, your training regime can start to feel a bit stale. You may not be getting the rewards that you once were and this can lead to de-motivation. Skipping offers an alternative to the more traditional forms of exercise and it’s one of the most time-effective calorie burners around. No longer is skipping solely the exercise of choice for children, it’s rapidly increasing in popularity amongst adults too. Now you know the benefits, why not give it a try and let us know how you get on?

Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans
A former professional rugby player in his youth, Gareth is now a bit of an all-round amateur when it comes to sport. He continues to play rugby for his local club, has studied Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Argentina, played Basketball in Peru, trekked in the Andes and the Himalayas, is a reluctant adventure racer, and is now studying KFM (Keysi Fighting Method). He has a passion for a whole host of sports, as well as travel, but feels truly at home on the rugby pitch or in the mountains.