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The jump rope reemerges

Jumping rope may be a popular activity on the playground, but this child's play has evolved into one of the most efficient ways to improve cardiovascular health. In the new edition of his popular book Jump Rope Training (Human Kinetics, 2010), Buddy Lee explains how jump rope training offers functional exercise that can increase fitness and sport performance.

“Many coaches, fitness trainers, and sports and fitness enthusiasts remain unaware of the full potential of this simple but challenging exercise,” Lee says. “Rope jumping is one of the few inexpensive, highly portable, and easily learned fitness and sport training exercises that require the precise coordination of several muscle groups.”

Improved cardiovascular health and rapid fitness gains have been proven with rope jumping. Research has shown 10 minutes of jumping rope can provide cardiovascular benefits equal to 30 minutes of jogging because the multijoint movements of jumping rope can easily draw on aerobic and anaerobic energy systems in a 10-minute set. As little as five minutes of daily rope jumping can also be enough to quickly raise fitness levels for people who rarely exercise.

Jumping rope requires the integration of multiple muscle groups that quickly improve overall fitness while decreasing the risk of injury caused by a loss of balance. According to Lee, frequent, sustained rope-jumping sessions improve the capacity for dynamic balance—the ability to maintain equilibrium while executing complex, vigorous, and omnidirectional movements. 

“Jump rope sprint training programs can also provide an edge in most sports and dramatically improve performance levels,” Lee says. “Jumping rope targets the anaerobic energy system and helps develop speed, quickness, agility, and explosiveness, which are key factors in gaining and sustaining a competitive edge.”

By incorporating rope jumping into training sessions, athletes can fine-tune neuromuscular adjustments, synchronize multiple muscle groups, and improve concentration. Increased sport performance has been seen in running endurance, broad-jumping ability, and upper-body strength.

“A jump rope is portable and requires only a small space. When used correctly, it can provide you with significant benefits in weeks or even days,” Lee says.

For more information see Jump Rope Training.