Skipping in Boxing Training
(Above) A graveyard of cheap eBay jump ropes! All were rejected after a few days. The thick foam covered weighted handles – were just too uncomfortable to hold, and a leather rope hitting your legs is really painful! All around £5 from eBay – When will I ever learn!
As a complete novice (and a heavy bloke) I found jump rope / skipping hard to learn. For the first 3 to 4 weeks I was pretty hopeless. It was very frustrating, and even though each workout only contains a 2-minute intense skipping routine – I knew in the long run the jump rope, as a full body exercise, would be a key training component for me.
I thought skipping would be a simple exercise I could ‘add-in’ as an extra session at several points during my work day – to help combat my desk-potato sedentary lifestyle. I was planning 10 minutes skipping, 3 or 4 times a day to break up long periods of sitting – it would be more efficient (and effective) than taking a walk. And I wouldn’t need to leave the house to skip (so more likely to do it).
Skipping in Boxing Training
So, why was I so useless at the beginning? I think the overriding issue was lack of coordination. ‘Turn the rope first and then jump’, it sounds basic – but that involves thinking about two things at the same time. Not my strongest point! And when you start to increase speed, the legs have to correspond with faster jumps – before long I would mess up, the momentum would drain away – and I’d get all angry with myself.
And it turns out I also made every beginner mistake possible (analysed by my wife, who is a natural born skipper and keen to point out my mistakes!). But without a full-size mirror at the gym it was useful to have someone watching my technique and give some feedback.
My skipping fails;
1. I did a double bounce for each rotation of the rope, I don’t why, but for a long time I just couldn’t stop doing it!
2. I jumped way too high, trying to clear the rope. It was exhausting and I could feel the extra impact on my feet and lower legs.
3. My elbows were out too wide – so the rope would essentially get shorter and make it much more difficult to clear.
4. Even when I maintained a good rhythm, sometimes my arms would eventually drop as the rope came over my head causing the it to hit the ground and then my shins.
After trying to gradually correct the above faults – day after day – all of a sudden it just clicked. I was skipping with much more ease. Okay, I’m not that skilled, I can’t do all the different moves but still proficient enough to get some speed and keep going, long enough for a good workout – get out of breath and feel the muscles burning. I might not skip like a pro but it’s certainly better than my running!
I’m positive that skipping has helped my overall fitness – and the short skipping sessions during the day have forced me away from the desk – and got my body shaken up and blood pumping. It’s a great exercise.
Which jump rope to buy for skipping in boxing training?
Umm, there’s a question. I’m struggling to find a jump rope that (a) feels comfortable to use (b) doesn’t break after a few weeks.
My latest purchase was this rope – Adidas Pro Speed Rope. Initial thoughts? The quality felt quite good. The handles were thicker than regular speed ropes but still lighter enough not to need a permanent tight grip. Even though the handles are light, the rope itself is thick and heavy. It weighs enough to make my forearms ache – but I liked that, I could feel the benefits of all the hard work. In general it felt well balanced and I was achieving good rhythm.
One major downside – the rope has worn away at the point where it turns inside the metal casing (see right). Eventually that’s going to snap – not a good sign.
Below – Master of Muscle Speed Rope
My wife didn’t like the Adidas Pro Speed Rope – “Way too long and really heavy” (I wasn’t going to let her cut the length, it was perfect for me!). She bought this instead – Master of Muscle. It seems well-made and incredibly light, the 90-degree turn handle means you can skip a lot faster. I’ve tried it out but not got used to it yet – it’s just so much lighter! And I just felt a lot easier – I wasn’t so tired, and can’t help but think “doesn’t that defeat the purpose?”.
So, without doubt the Adidas rope will fail me before long and I’ll be in the market again for another jump / skipping rope. If anyone has found the ideal skipping rope for their training – I’d love to hear some suggestions. Also anyone who has found skipping in boxing training of benefit I would love to hear about that too.
Related article at ‘Fight Yourself Fit’ – Skipping for Health