Opening my morning email I received a request from a major fitness
group asking my opinion of the business' "next big thing." After going
through a number of points including the deeply troubling world's
economy and the return to a notion of "value for service", the
conclusion was the "next big thing" was in-fact a return to tried and
true methods and fun exercises that harken back to games of our youth.
While fitness professionals start
to re-learn the "fun" side of exercise through the next decade, this is
something that my group of training professionals embody, as we take
what some consider drudgery and have turned it into a destination
hobby. Although the notion of "fun" has long since been taken out of
much of the industry whereby many are handcuffed to a treadmill, the
newest craze is a step back in time and rope skip.
With many already embracing the fun
of skipping rope and a good old fashioned school yard game of
"double-dutch", it is a signal of a major move in the exercise
industry. Not only does this trend reflect the public's interest in
exercise that can be fun and relieve stress, but it incorporates a
stripped-down approach that every fitness professional can make use of.
For those within
including our TEAM of professional instructors, skipping rope is one of
the first training methods to be used both in individual training and
classes. Skipping rope is a consistent, dependable and inexpensive
exercise medium. It is a perfect training medium whether you are an
elite athlete or everyday person, simply trying to lose some unwanted
pounds. Its many benefits include:
- Foot and hand speed
- Cardiovascular efficiency
- Improved motor skills/muscular harmony
- Reduced body fat
- Strengthened soft tissues
- Increased work capacity
Your choice of rope is a personal preference and should suit your
budget. I personally use a very common plastic rope that you can
usually find in most stores for well under $10. The rope should be long
enough that when it's looped under your feet, it will reach chest
height. There is no right or wrong way to position your hands when
skipping. However to enhance rope speed, pinch elbows into your ribs,
with forearms reasonably close to parallel to the ground.
Naturally as you begin to skip
there is a learning curve but you will find it a relatively steep one
and it won't be too long until you are confident. As you begin, make
sure you take your time, where good shoes with proper arch support and
make sure you stretch completely after. For those just starting I would
suggest a very patient approach and urge you not to overdue it to
Borrowing upon my book on
Snowboarding, "Sessions"; as basic technique improves I will begin to
use the following movement patterns:
Basic two feet together:
jump with both feet together and only high enough to clear the rope passing underneath; speed is at the maximum pace.
Crossover of Hands:
as the rope starts to pass overhead, quickly cross one hand over the other in a whip like fashion.
shuffle the feet back and forth
jump high while turning the rope as fast as possible so that two
revolutions of rope are completed for each single time the feet contact
Side to side slalom:
with the feet together, jump quickly from side to side over an
imaginary line. The distance of the jump should be small (approximately
six inches) with minimal clearance as the rope passes underneath.
Hip turns (feet parallel):
Skipping with the feet together, quickly turn the hips back and forth, 90 degrees each turn.
Hip turns (left foot forward):
With the left foot in front, akin to a boxer's stance, quickly turn the
hips from back to straight ahead to back to the starting stance.
Hip turns (right foot forward):
With the right foot in front, akin to a boxer's stance, quickly turn
the hips from back to straight ahead to back to the starting stance.
Run in place with the knees high. As technique improves with each of
the above movements, athletes should utilize a three minute "round"
with the following pattern for a more aggressive approach.
Once these movements are learned we can move into the following three-minute "rounds":
Renegade Rope Skip Pattern™
'"time per (in seconds)
0 to 15 basic 2 feet together
15 to 30 Crossover
30 to 45 Ali shuffle
45 to 60 double skips
60 to 75 side to side slalom
75 to 90 crossover
90 to 105 hip turn
105 to 120 Crossover
120 to 135 hip turn, to left only
135 to 150 crossover
150 to 165 hip turn, to right only
165 to 180 high knees
Rope work is performed daily after the dynamic range of motion work
with three to five, 3 minute rounds, each with one minute rest
intervals. From this, the next step for the fitness professional is
building into full scale, high energy fitness class.
Enjoy skipping rope as all of a sudden it's fashionable!