A Beginners Guide to Skipping: Everything You Need to Know

Skipping is one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective exercises you can do. It is good for your heart and lungs, prevents weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers too.   The British Rope Skipping Association adds, skipping can “boost your immune system, balance your metabolism and improve your overall health in a short period of time”.

Regardless of your fitness level and age you can enjoy skipping and its benefits. Beginners can start at a low intensity and then increase the intensity and/or difficulty as they wish. Caution is advised if you have orthopaedic issues, for example, knee, back, foot or ankle problems.

As with all forms of exercise, you should warm up before and cool down after skipping and remember to keep yourself hydrated too.

Before we get started, let’s spend a moment ensuring that our skipping technique is correct. Both hands should be roughly the same distance apart from the centre of your body. Keep your elbows as close to the body as possible and bend arms at a 45° angle. There should be minimal movement of the elbow and shoulders, it’s your wrists that generate the rope rotation.

When skipping avoid looking down at your feet, instead look straight ahead keeping your back straight, your shoulders relaxed and your stomach muscles engaged. Aim to minimise the space you create between yourself and the ground, jumping only a few cm off the ground each time the rope passes.  Jump off and land on the balls of your feet and keep a slight bend in your knees, ensuring any impact is dissipated through your body.  Got it? Great! So what are the benefits of skipping?

Fun, Affordable and Portable

Skipping is one of the cheapest exercises available and can be done anywhere. You don’t need a lot of space to skip and the rope does not take up much room, so there is no excuse not to always have it close to hand. Once you have mastered the basics you can learn to do tricks and have competitions with your friends, family and children to see how long you can skip for, how low or how high etc.  During lockdown skipping surged in popularity and as a result, there are plenty of skipping challenges to try online.

Burns A LOT of Calories

Skipping is an amazing calorie burner, it burns more than 10 calories a minute. Skipping is a high intensity, full body workout that increases your heart and metabolic rate, meaning you burn lots of calories in a short time. According to The British Skipping Association, skipping for 1 hour can burn up to 1600 calories. 10 minutes of skipping can burn off as many calories as a 30 minute run! Once you have mastered the basics and want a more intense and varied skipping workout, try a HIIT skipping workout such as https://youtu.be/0NIvRAaOdlQ

Decreases Foot and Ankle Injuries

Skipping is beneficial to those active in other sports because it is low impact and can prevent injuries to the feet and ankles. Jumping strengthens muscles that support the tendons and ligaments of the knees, feet and ankles, decreasing the chance of injury in these areas. Because you gently land on the balls of your feet when skipping, controlling and cushioning the landing, it is a low impact exercise. Skipping is gentler on your joints and therefore offers a good alternative to the treadmill or cross trainer.

Improves Coordination

It’s no surprise that synchronising your arms and legs in time requires coordination, please don’t let this put you off skipping. With practise, coordination, agility and balance will definitely improve through skipping. Expertboxing.com confirms “the more tricks you do the more conscious and coordinated you have to be”. Coordination is especially important for children. It is essential when tying up shoelaces, doing up zips and buttons and other skills that enable them to become more independent. Lauren’s skipping journey is amazing https://www.instagram.com/lauren.jumps/

Improves Fitness

Skipping is a full body, cardio, aerobic workout, using the abs to stabilise the body, legs for jumping and shoulders and arms for turning the rope. 12-20 minutes of skipping 3-5 times a week improves your cardiovascular fitness, stamina and breathing efficiency. The American Heart Association notes that skipping reduces the chances of stroke, heart disease and cancer. Skipping, due to the footwork skills, power, agility and explosive movements, can help train for competitive sports such as tennis, rugby and netball.

Improves Bone Density

Amazingly, skipping aids bone development in children! After the age of 20 years old it is much harder to increase bone density-so get skipping kids! Because skipping is a weight bearing exercise, putting stress on the bone, it can help starve off osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. Dr Daniel W Barry, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, agrees “the best exercise to improve bone density is simply jumping up and down”.

Before I started the research for this skipping blog I had no idea how many fantastic benefits there would be. I knew it would raise my heart rate, I had used my sons skipping rope a few months ago and became out of breath quite quickly.  After learning that skipping improves coordination, reduces the chances of lower body injury and osteoporosis and how many calories it burns I immediately ordered a skipping rope.  It cost me less than £5 and I can take it everywhere with me, so I no longer have the excuse of no time to exercise! Plus when my 3 boys see me skip, they join in too and knowing we are all getting fitter and stronger, whilst having fun together, is the best motivation of all.