Photograph: Element5 Digital via Unsplash
If you want an example of the crazy, topsy-turvy world we live in, consider the jump rope, the preserve of boxers and small girls. How can one length of rope be so popular with the toughest blighters in the world… and boxers?
Of course, there’s method to the madness. Skipping is both ruddy hard and fun.
And that’s something Technogym knows. The maker of the cardio machines you’ll find as standard in many commercial gyms has launched a new range of at-home exercise equipment which includes – you’ve guessed it – a skipping rope.
Not just any skipping rope, of course, but one with textured handles so they don’t slip out of your soon-to-be-very-sweaty palms and ball bearings in the handles to aid the rotation of the rope.
So what better excuse to ask Technogym master trainer David Howatson for a workout that’s both ruddy hard and a little bit fun? Not too hard, though – it mixes short periods of skipping with bodyweight exercises and rest. “Jumping can be a tough activity so rest and active recovery are important,” says Howatson.
You can use Technogym’s premium £65 skipping rope (available online soon) or your local gym’s. Just make sure you don’t try to make off with a small girl’s – they are bastard hard.
Each stage has a pair of moves. The first is a bodyweight exercise, the second uses a skipping rope. Do each move for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next pair of exercises.
After the final set of exercises, rest for two minutes. Repeat the circuit three to five times.
1 Star jump / double-leg jump
Start out at a slow-to-moderate speed, using the star jumps to warm up the body for impact. The double-leg jump is an easy way to get moving with the rope – both feet leave the ground together and land together. Keep the jumps small and aim for a comfortable rhythm.
2 Mountain climber / single-leg hop
Mountain climbers will help to engage your core and prepare the body for lifting your knees. The single-leg hop should mirror the height and rhythm of the double-leg jumps. Rhythm and staying light on your feet are the key to nailing the timing. Switch legs after 15 seconds.
3 Lateral lunge / alternating high knees
The side lunge adds a different plane of movement and prepares the body for the next jump rope movement. Alternating high knees looks more like the traditional skipping action. Tuck one knee up towards your chest while you pass the rope under your hopping leg twice, then change legs.
4 Push plank with rotation / twisting jump
For the push plank, begin in a top press-up position, then bring one arm up and rotate your body towards the ceiling. Hold for three to four seconds, then lower into the starting position. Then repeat on the other side. After 30 seconds move on to a double-leg jump with a twist – it’s the same action and tempo as the first exercise but just before the landing, you rotate the hips so your toes point to one side. Alternate the twists so your toes land pointing first to the left and then to the right. This gets the lower back and waist working, just as with the rotation from the push plank.