If Cardio is the Question, then Skipping is the Answer

[ Read time: 4 min ]

 

Want to get some cardio work in this week, but something is holding you back? 

You say to yourself, self, I know I need to do some sort of exercise today because I’ll enjoy it, it’s good for me, and I’ve been on a roll these last few weeks now I don’t want to let it slip.

But it sure does seem like that post-work run I had planned has been washed right out of the picture.

 

So, what do you do? 

You could do a weights circuit to get the heart pumping but you have a personal training session booked in for tomorrow morning and you’d prefer not to be super sore walking into that. Any other options?

If you have a stationary bike or walker at home, perfect, just jump on that bad boy for 20 minutes or so and keep warm, dry, and cosy inside.

But you’ve been cooped up all of today with work, and the whole point of your planned run was to get some fresh air in the lungs.

Am I destined to feel sorry for myself after spending the rest of my evening on the couch drowned in the same old Netflix binge?

No, Skipping is the answer.

Dust the cobwebs off that old skipping rope you’ve had hiding in the garage for years and it’s time to get cracking!

 

But wait, where do I start? Do I just skip till I can’t skip no more? 

First off let’s think back to the time you decided to start running again, that very first run.

The motivation was high, the body felt good, not a care in the world. You stroll out onto the pavement remembering the last run you did was about 5km, so surely, you’ll be able to just smash that out no problems.

How wrong you were. The next day you were in agony, you have soreness in things you didn’t even know could get sore, and better yet, it’s still there a week later! You can bet your bottom dollar we will be doing our very best to NOT have that happening on our skipping journey.

Start slow, re-learn the rhythm it takes to get some successive skips in and some momentum going. Like any task, developing the skill of skipping requires practice. Your limiting factor, in the beginning, is probably going to be how many you can get in a row, and that’s exactly why it’s a good choice for those looking to add a bit of variety to their training, it will be relatively self-limiting.

Now to ensure we don’t spend tomorrow crawling around everywhere because our calves and Achilles are so sore, I do have a few little tips to keep the heart rate up but also keep our muscles from hating us the next day:

Start with shoes on, and find a soft surface, preferably grass.

Once you are comfortable with that, shoes off, and stay on the grass.

Next up, slip those shoes back on, but now find a harder surface like some tiles or pavement.

The final challenge, and one that I don’t recommend until at least a week or two of repeated sessions. Shoes off, on that hard surface that you’ve found.

 

What about how long?

So, once you have got through the initial phase of finding some rhythm with your skipping begin with some interval work:

15 seconds ON, and then rest for 15-30 seconds. Repeat this 4 times, take a whole minute of complete rest and repeat the series a further 5 times. The skipping session should go for about 10-15 minutes total with plenty of work and rest mixed in together.

As you progress from session to session, you should be looking to increase your ‘ON’ time by about 5 seconds. Building up to a consistent minute of skipping with about 15 seconds rest for 4 rounds.

Once you get to this level it will be a great workout for the days in between weights sessions or even as some extra work before or after you go for a run (if the weather is nice of course).

As a little bonus for those not just interested in general health and fitness but are looking to improve their running or sports performance, skipping’s got your back no worries about it.

Just this year, a group of researchers added just 10 minutes of skipping to their athlete’s normal warm-up routines across their weekly training sessions and the result was significantly improved performance in their 3km time trial performance, jumping ability and arch stiffness when compared to those that did not skip in their warm-ups (García-Pinillos et al., 2020).

There you have it, there is something in it for everyone.

What are you waiting for? Stop reading this blog post and get started now!

References
García-Pinillos, F., Lago-Fuentes, C., Latorre-Román, P. A., Pantoja-Vallejo, A., & Ramirez-Campillo, R. (2020). Jump-Rope Training: Improved 3-km Time-Trial Performance in Endurance Runners via Enhanced Lower-Limb Reactivity and Foot-Arch Stiffness. International journal of sports physiology and performance, 1–7. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2019-0529

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