Cardio Training Option

Not everyone has time and location suited for jogging off into the sunset, or hiking to a mountain base camp. They might not be able to afford a treadmill, or have the space for even a fold-up model if they did. But there is a tight space, full body cardio option for those with otherwise healthy joints and muscles – the jump rope.

I use a speed rope I picked up years ago, when I’m not assaulted by one or more physical issues. It has two wooden handles, a leather rope that seems impervious to wear, and ball bearings to ease its use. While I was looking at fitness equipment online, I found this little beauty.

It’s built similar to mine, but has removable weights in the grips. I don’t own one of these models.  While the reviews are mixed, they seems to weigh much more in favor of it. Out of 80 reviews, it averages 4 stars out of 5. Fits my requirements for a test run. The “rope” is plastic. That might wear away if use on a rough surface and allowed to slap the ground. I prefer a no-contact routine though, which would make this a moot point.

Jumping rope gets your heart going fairly quickly. It should be done with a fluid motion to limit possible joint and tendon issues. Warm up properly before hand. Stretch as you would for any jogging session, and do some jumping jacks before picking up the rope. Get your blood flowing through flexible limbs.

Getting a Jump on Things

  • The rope should reach to your armpits when the loop is held under a single foot and your hand pulls the ends straight up.
  • Lift your feet only a couple inches at most. You will touch the rope to the ground as it passes under, but as you progress, you may slide it cleanly through the air between your feet and ground.
  • Step softly. Minimize impact to your knees and ankles. Land on the balls of your feet. Height isn’t important. Proper timing, form and increased speed with increased skill are.
  • Keep a straight back, look forward, and try not to look at your feet. If need be, practice in front of a full length body mirror to check your form. If you hunch or bend your neck, the operating length of the rope will change and so will your rhythm and speed.
  • Move the rope with a circular rotating motion of your wrists, instead of your whole arms. You’ll have greater control over the rope, and you won’t upset your balance.
  • Wear running shoes. You are “running in place”, and it will be better on your feet, knees, hips and spine if you have proper shoes. Your shoes should be built to prevent your feet from rotating either inward or outward. Stability and proper padding are key. Keep the laces tight and out of the way.

 

 

 

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