As a strength and conditioning coach I notice the emphasis that many of my colleagues in the fitness biz like putting on strength and I enjoy doing much the same, however I’m also a big proponent in emphasizing the significance of conditioning as well…or more specifically what I refer to as athletic conditioning. Today’s post is about examining how the jump rope is way underrated in many strength and conditioning programs and why you should be utilizing this tool for your own conditioning time. What do you think?
The Value Of Coordination
All too often I’ve touched on the importance of coordination and reaction time. I have a firm belief that way too much of the population has suffered from a growing epidemic of diminishing proprioceptive awareness and a lack of kinesthetic learning. This is something that I largely blame on the growth in popularity of technology in the form of headphones, cell phones, and small handheld devices.
There are too many distractions and with these distractions the expansion of a cushy lifestyle has led many people down a path of moving more like zombies than self aware and reasonably coordinated individuals.
Because of this when designing the strength and conditioning programs for my Muay Thai and MMA fighters the jump rope is as much a part of the conditioning process as the kettlebells and dumbbells are for strength development. The act of conditioning goes beyond cardiovascular fitness. It’s as much about coordination and skill as it is cardio conditioning. Make no mistake jump roping is inherent in the conditioning process for what we’re doing.
So why do I believe in the jump rope? What are the benefits of jump roping? Why is the jump rope so underrated?
Let’s face it, if you’ve never used the jump rope the idea of it can be a potential foreseeable frustration. I mean I believe people internally know that it’s going to be a challenge in terms of coordination and skill which is why the jump rope tends to get the cold shoulder from some when it comes to training. For many it just simply boils down to patience.
I remember when I first used the jump rope to an extensive degree was back around 2002 when I started training in Muay Thai for the first time under my friend and Kru Jeff Perry. Before we even got started the jump rope was the staple of our warm up and we had to get conditioned for skipping rope for 2 to 3 Muay Thai rounds which involved 3 minutes of jump rope per round followed by one minute of rest.
This was a humbling experience and it took 5 to 6 weeks of consistent skipping twice a week before I started feeling like I was getting proficient with the movement. Of course now it’s a regular part of my own training.
Jump Rope Skips
As you can see here the skips are small quick movements that involve alternating the feet to help with pacing and to allow for getting through a full round and longer bouts. Jump rope skips are a low grade plyometric which also helps us to develop agility and nimble feet.
The ROI (Return On Investment)
Another reason I’m a huge proponent of the jump rope is that the return we get from the investment of such an affordable piece of equipment is huge. I mean a quality rope can be bought for just a few dollars and will last for quite some time. During the this time there are quite a few benefits we can derive from this investment.
- We can implement several movement variations to train different energy systems
- Enhanced coordination
- Enhanced reaction time
- Enhanced cardiovascular fitness
- Enhanced calorie burn
- Enhanced agility
- Space friendly
Jump Rope High Knees
As you can see with the video here we can simply vary the use of the rope to develop more speed as well by performing high knee runs. Once we develop a high level of proficiency we can start incorporating more advanced drills to train for intensity. The jump rope is scalable and can be applied at a moment’s notice for what we need.
In short the jump rope is underrated in many training systems for the simple fact that many people fail to exercise sticktoitiveness in order to reap the rewards…so for many gyms this equipment piece simply ends up being a wall decoration.
Recommendation: For a beginner or unpracticed individual I would recommend starting out by trying to master building up to the jump rope skips for 2 to 3 minutes at a time. I would recommend practicing on a consistent basis at least twice per week.
Are you including the jump rope into your training program? Post up and tell us about it in the comments section here below.