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Jumping rope torches a ton of calories, builds athleticism and looks incredibly cool—if you do it right. If you’re tripping yourself up on every rotation of the rope, you’re not likely to impress anyone. But you have to start somewhere and the best place, of course, is the bare basics.
The greatest difficulty that beginners tend to have with learning to jump rope is syncing the rhythm of the rope rotation with their jump. I see people who just jump at random and wherever the rope is doesn’t change anything. That never turns out well. Keep it as simple as possible at first and you will have fewer variables that can hamper your coordination. The following steps can take a beginner with absolutely zero rope experience and turn them into someone with a basic grasp of timing and rhythm. The good news is that once you pick that up, you can progress very quickly into more challenging variations and longer sessions.
1. Rotate the rope as slowly as possible when you start. If you have a slightly heavier rope, you should be able to feel when it is just about to hit the ground.
2. When the rope hits the ground, jump over it. Here, some people new to the rope tend to mix in another half bounce. Do not leave the ground again until the next revolution.
3. Gradually increase the rate of rotation. This is vitally important if you ever expect to shed your beginner’s skin. If your jump timing goes out of sync or you start ‘double jumping’ between revolutions, then stop and start at a slow pace again.
When you first start practicing and the rope is moving slowly, it will feel like a very long pause on the ground between jumps but this is okay because you are learning to jump only when the rope is about to pass beneath your feet. Once you get these basics down, then you can focus more on the mechanics of using a smaller bound and using your wrists and not your arms to generate most of the rotation.
Dave Hunt is a former Navy pilot, competitive track athlete and the owner and creator of CrossRope (www.crossrope.com), which offers progressively heavier cables to vary the speed and intensity of your rope training. For workouts, tips and to find out how to get your hands on a CrossRope kit, visit www.crossrope.com.