Not all fitness tools are created equal: some are gimmicky and some have proven time and time again to give people results. One such tool is the humble jump rope.
The jump rope helps your client build coordination, functional strength, and endurance, as well as nudge along fat loss. You can incorporate it into any cardiovascular or high-intensity workout routine, a warm-up or cool-down, or in-between sets. Plus, it’s perfect for clients who want to work out at home or the frequent traveler.
The only thing is, jump rope exercises can get tedious fast. Clients who want to lose weight, but find it difficult to stick to a routine would appreciate the variety and fun that jump ropes add to their workout.
What if the client doesn’t know how to jump rope?
Even if your client says they’re not “coordinated enough,” this is an opportunity for you to deliver an exciting and empowering experience. If your client is new to jumping rope and doesn’t feel comfortable with standard or speed ropes yet, using a weighted rope is a great way to help him or her learn more quickly.
The additional weight from weighted ropes creates resistance and feedback so that your clients can better time their jumps and control the speed at which they jump. The weighted rope also eliminates any kinking or tangling issues. Make sure the weight is in the rope itself, not the handles, because weighted handles don’t provide the same feedback and can actually hinder coordination. So stick to a weighted rope with ball bearings.
Traditional weighted ropes are notorious for causing wrist and shoulder injuries because most people are unable to use proper mechanics at first. The ball-bearing rotation ensures that the wrists and shoulders can remain in a strong, stable position without excessive torque.
Checklist for proper jumping rope cues
- Make sure your client is standing tall: head, chest up, and back straight.
- Hands should be in line with the hips, 8-10 inches away from body.
- Wrists are used to turn the rope; minimal movement at elbows and shoulders.
- Keep a slight bend in the knees when jumping and land on mid-soles of feet for maximum shock absorption.
- Jumps shouldn’t be higher than half or one inch. Make sure clients aren’t pulling their knees up or behind them (in an effort to create more space between themselves and the ground).
If your client is just starting out, stick to short jump rope sessions, between 5-10 minutes, for 3-4 times per week to start. This gives their feet and ankles enough time to adapt to the new stress. For experienced jumpers, increase their sessions to 15-30 minutes at a frequency of 3-4 times per week–as long as they pay attention to any unusual pains in their feet and legs.
Here are some ideas to jazz up your client’s jumping rope exercises, according to their fitness goals.
5 Jump rope routines for a variety of clients and goals
Now we move on to five routines you can use to help your clients meet various goals.
Routine 1: Build coordination
For beginners, building coordination is about building confidence. This is a simple sequence that they can use to do that. It’ll take about 5-10 minutes to complete.
Recommended rope weight(s): 1/2 lb to 1 lb weighted rope (basically a light and heavier rope)
- 10 consecutive jumps
- 20 consecutive jumps
- 30 consecutive jumps
Ensure your client is jumping at a slow cadence (about 1-2 seconds per jump) and completing only one rotation of the rope (bound per rotation). Most beginners might do a “double hop” per rotation, but encourage your clients to jump once per rotation. We typically look at speed in terms of rotations per minute (RPM). Sixty RPM is a good pace for beginners. As they progress, they can work up to 120 RPM and onwards.
Once someone has learned the basic jump (without a “double hop”) and can maintain a good jumping pace, structure a coordination workout with each of the following (as examples) at 30-second to 1-minute intervals.
- High knees
- Butt kicks
- Scissor jumps
Routine 2: Lose fat
Weighted ropes are great for burning calories and losing fat. Moreover, you can switch up intensities on the fly. Most effective high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout with jump ropes involve transitioning between low intensity (60 RPM) and high intensity (120 RPM), and vice versa. For example, your client can switch between a light basic jump and a max-effort sprint.
Recommended rope weight(s): 1/4 lb, 1 lb
This specific workout will take about 10 minutes to complete. Have your client repeat this circuit six times, alternating between a light and heavy rope.
- 30 seconds of a jump rope exercise (as fast and as intensely as they can go)
- 30 seconds of any type of bodyweight exercise (max intensity)
- 30 seconds of rest
An example would be to do:
- A double-under (see video above) as fast as your client can go for 30 seconds.
- Push-ups for 30 seconds
- Rest for 30 seconds
Repeat six times.
Routine 3: Improve endurance for a race or sports
Interval training with jump ropes is an intense cardiovascular workout in and of itself, but jumping with progressively heavier rope weights can help your client prepare for a marathon or mud run. Or even if they’re just wanting to get a winning edge in their basketball game, you could have your client try this routine. It’ll take about 10-20 minutes to complete.
Recommended rope weight(s): 1/4 lb or 1/2 lb
Have your client complete as many rounds of the following exercises as they can in 20 minutes:
- 50 jump rope basic jumps
- 50 jump rope high knees
- 50 jump rope butt kicks
- 50 jump rope scissor jumps
Routine 4: Boost functional strength
Jumping with a 1 or 2-lb rope will require greater muscular and energy system demands than a regular rope, particularly at higher rotational speeds. That’s because the weight is evenly distributed throughout the cables themselves (and not in the handles). The centrifugal force, or the force that the muscles are required to resist, from the rope is amplified. For clients who want get stronger, try this 4-minute exercise.
Recommended rope weight(s): 1 lb and 2 lb
Complete four rounds with 30 seconds of maximum jumping, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
- Beginners should perform basic jumps
- More experienced jumpers can try high knees
Routine 5: Improve speed and agility
Using both light and heavy ropes can be effective for increasing speed, power, agility, and general athleticism. It’s analogous to baseball players and golfers that use weighted bats and swing trainers. This workout takes about 10 minutes to complete.
Recommended rope weight(s): Any mix of (1) light and (1) heavy rope
Perform 5 rounds of the following sets:
- 15 seconds max effort jumping with a heavy rope / 45 seconds rest
- 30 seconds max effort jumping with a light rope / 30 seconds of rest