Lose Weight and Build Physical Condition with Rope-Jumping

Hi! I am the author and founder of Old School Calisthenic

March 29, 2018

The Jump Rope has been a part of my arsenal since I started to train with calisthenics. I think it is a great piece of equipment -cheap and useful to any practitioner, regardless of their fitness level or weight. Rope-jumping activates the cardiovascular system for better performance while at the same time it is an efficient calorie-burner.

Many professional athletes, like boxers and martial arts enthusiasts, use it to build great stamina and cardio, while for fitness newbies it is a powerful tool to lose poundage and build a basic fitness level. I also found the Jump Rope a great substitute for those unable to run and even a great form of exercise to add to any kind of High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.), to spice up the workout a little for maximum gains.

I was pleased to find out on the internet that doctors actually recommend jumping-rope for fat loss and as a way to improve health. Having their endorsement too, you can now stop wondering how efficient it actually is.

What are the Biggest Advantages of Rope-Jumping?

It is known that if it’s done properly, then jumping-rope is a lower-impact activity than running. By jumping you are placing direct stress on the knees, hips, and ankles. Also, from experience, I know that the trapezes, forearms, and shoulders are getting a lot of work too. Therefore, a proper warm-up is required.

I usually warm-up to increase blood circulation and to prevent any bad consequences like hurting the Achilles tendons -they are the ones most stressed when jumping. In order to make sure you will be ready for a great jumping-rope session, do some squats, burpees etc. Or simply follow the video below:

As I said, it is lower-impact than running, thus overweight persons and those with knee issues can do it successfully. I remember that I used to coach a boy that simply couldn’t run because of his knees, and I had him skip rope to replace a long distance run. He couldn’t jog 20 minutes, but he could skip rope for 30 minutes.

I personally use the jump rope as part of my HIIT workouts. On some occasions my legs haven’t recovered properly after a long distance run, sprint session or a leg workout, so the only thing I can do in this case is rope-skipping.

The beautiful part of rope-jumping is that it can actually help you burn hundreds of calories in only 20 minutes, depending on the intensity and rest-time.

So as you can see these are the greatest advantages that a jump rope brings, to either complete a training session or as a replacement in case of need.

Although your purpose might be to lose weight, while you do that, you will also increase your fitness level dramatically. This progress will ensure your goal and besides that, you will be able to jump at higher intensities and for longer periods, resting for less.

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Rope-jump to Lose Weight

A 20 minutes session of rope-jumping will practically burn more calories than 20 minutes of jogging. For this reason, I think that every person with a busy schedule should consider doing it, especially when losing weight is the primary goal. Besides that, whether you believe it or not, jogging will never feel very intense, while a couple of sets of high-intensity jumps can make your heart beat extremely fast. Just master the double-unders and you will understand what I am saying.

Now here is how I recommend you to jump rope in order to lose weight:

Adapt the intensity to your fitness level

You are constantly burning fat and carbs, even while you are at rest, but it is the length and intensity of your exercise that will determine how much you burn off each. The general rule is that carbs supply us with quick energy boosts and fat supplies us with the energy needed for longer, moderate-intensity workouts. Since carbs are a limited source of energy, if you keep exercising, then the body will switch to using more fat stores as fuel. At what point that switch occurs depends on the fitness level, as elite athletes and very fit people tap into fat stores sooner.

On average, you can expect to make the switch at around 15–20 mins of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as running or skipping rope). Theoretically, in order to burn fat most efficiently, you need to get your heart pumping at your target heart rate, which is 50-80 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). To calculate this number, subtract your age from 220. So, if you are 30 years old, your MHR is 190 and your target zone is 95-152 beats per minute. You can find different devices to calculate this with accuracy.

Nevertheless, don’t worry about this too much, because I never trained using devices like this. When your heart beats pretty fast, then you know that you’re doing it right.

Now, jumping at different intensities for short intervals is actually a great idea for as long as you maintain good blood circulation and an accelerated heart rate. Only make sure that modifying the intensity will not force you to quit sooner than planned.

As I already said, you must train for longer

There are many ways you can train with the jump rope, but if you plan on relying only upon it, then start gradually and as you hit the target time, modify the intensity level. Challenging yourself is a good way to improve performance aka increase stamina.

If you find it hard to jump uninterrupted, then do not panic and don’t throw it away. From experience, I can tell you that it requires time and a lot of practice to master the jump rope. This is a skill you must unlock by actually performing every day. I remember when I was learning to master it I couldn’t jump for more than 20 seconds without stopping because of my bad technique. As a consequence, I got really frustrated. But with time, I managed to jump smoothly for sets of 1-2 minutes.

I usually begin by jumping 10 sets of 30 seconds with rests of 20 seconds from one set to another. This method allows you to start gradually. I consider these 5 minutes as a warm-up. Then I perform another 10 sets, but for 60 seconds now, respecting the same break-time. You can jump for 45 seconds if you want. So I add another 10 minutes to those 5. At this point, my heart usually beats faster, and if it doesn’t, I just raise-up the intensity here and there by jumping faster. After this, if I still have time to train, I add another 10 sets of 2 minutes. The pause between those 2 mins is usually of 30-45 secs. At the end of it, I have performed 25 minutes of continuous workout.

At this point, you can decide whether to continue or not. You can do some extremely high intensity jumps like double-unders or simply continue by performing for a maximum jumping time. So this means that you will aim to jump for 3-7 minutes without stopping. And if you do, then you get back on it immediately until you finish the set.

When you plan to really exhaust yourself and to build-up great physical condition, then…

Add the Jump Rope Among other Exercises

  • If you watched my video then you have understood perfectly how you can integrate the jumping-rope into a bodyweight circuit workout. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lift weights and still jump the rope. I also used to jump between sprints and pushup sessions. Be creative!
  • Any kind of circuit workout will enhance performance, boost stamina and burn calories although it is considered HIIT -anaerobic training. Regardless of how you choose to train, you will still have to respect the things I said above about training longer and using intensities that allow you to do so and maintain an accelerated heart rate.
  • My recommendation is to always jump listening to music. The bpm of the song dictates the rhythm with which you will jump, but it can also help you be more optimistic, hence the time will pass a lot faster than you imagine.
  • So, don’t wait too long, go and determine your training methodology. You will change at least 5 times until you have the experience to know what type of training fits better, but it is fine, everybody goes through this process.
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What is your current fitness level? What are you looking for in your journey to get fitter than ever and what do you think could help you get in the best shape of your life?

I can perform calisthenics and cardio (jogging, skipping rope) pretty well, but I struggle with the fat covering my body and especially my abs. I am looking for workouts and nutrition tips to get rid of it entirely. I want to be fit, lean and strong. I need to finally see my 6 pack!

I am just looking for a place where I can discuss my struggle and journey, put out questions and find answers to. I need weekly workout challenges and nutrition tips!

I want to grow my muscle mass, get leaner and more performant than ever before. I’m not new to calisthenics as I can perform pretty well. However, I really need more challenging workouts that are based on high-volume calisthenics. I want to improve my aesthetics and strength with results similar to coach Adorian, if not better!

I am always very busy! I need assistance with my training and nutrition. I have little time to process, think and plan but I can put in the work if a coach helps me out directly. I want to feel and look well every day, but it would be much easier with Adorian in my corner every time.

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