By Lars Hundley
Recently, I came across a new book about jump rope workouts called 101 Best Jump Rope Workouts, by Buddy Lee. The book piqued my interest initially because my own experience with jumping rope has been that it is extremely aerobically demanding and also also requires a lot of coordination. The book led me down a path that ended up at this YouTube video of Mr. Lee demonstrating his amazing rope jumping skill.
As I learned more about the author, I discovered that not only is Mr. Lee a retired US Marine, but also a US Olympian who wrestled in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, a co-inventor and patent holder for a speed rope used by top athletes, and someone who has demonstrated jumping rope in more than 6,000 shows in 50 different countries. So I contacted him through his publisher to ask him some questions about jumping rope that he was kind enough to answer.
One of the advantages of cycling can also become a disadvantage as we age. It’s a low impact sport, so it’s easy on your joints. But the downside of that is that cyclists who don’t do other forms of exercise can sometimes end up with low bone density. Can jumping rope help with that?
Cycling is a great exercise for the heart, muscles and overall health but is not considered to be a weight-bearing activity that can increase bone density. Bone strengthening exercises are extremely important for the aging adult as well as for children and teens, since the greatest bone mass growth occurs just before and during puberty.
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), weight bearing and muscle strengthening physical activities causes new bone tissue to form and this makes bones and muscles stronger to help prevent osteoporosis.
Jumping rope is recommended by the NIH as one of those weight-bearing exercises that build and maintain both strong muscles and stronger bones. Weight-bearing exercises make you move against gravity while standing upright and can be either high impact or low impact.
Other examples of weight-bearing exercises include, jogging/running, walking, dancing, hiking, tennis and other racquet sports, plyometrics and weight training to name a few.
Jump rope is defined as a plyometric exercise, that involves repetitive jumping, bounding and quick force production that can help improve speed and power while generating sufficient ground forces to develop stronger bones and increase bone density. The repetitive landing of jumping causes your entire leg muscles to contract, helping to improve overall tone and definition.
As a trainer to cyclists and athletes worldwide, I recommend a 10 minute jump rope workout integrated at least 3 times a week and before every cycling workout. 10 minutes of jumping is sufficient enough to satisfy the demands of an effective weight bearing exercise program that helps to increase and maintain bone density.
A 10-minute daily jump rope workout could consist of executing 1500 to 1800 jumps over 10 minutes having repeated contact with the surface, which transfers over directly to building new bone tissue for stronger muscles and bones to support the body. This translates to 3 RPS (revolutions per second) or 180 RPM (revolutions per minute).
My book 101 Best Jump Rope Workouts combines strength training and cardiovascular exercise all in one, making jump rope the greatest exercise on the planet! Rope to Success®!
If you’re an endurance athlete who already has a good cardiovascular fitness, are there other benefits to jumping rope aside from building bone density issue?
Jump rope ranks as one of the most efficient ways to improve cardiovascular fitness in as little as 10 minutes. It is a total body activity that recruits and activates every muscle group from head to toe resulting in high caloric expenditure and weight-loss.
Once you are able to sustain a ten minute bout of non-stop jumping using correct form and techniques at higher intensities you will begin to experience the many additional benefits of this portable exercise that can be done anytime and anyplace!
Studies by the American Heart Association and other organizations have concluded the following benefits to name a few: improved balance, eye-hand-foot coordination, increased circulation and function of the lymphatic system, strengthening of the vestibular system, improved kinesthetic awareness, toning and trimming waist lines, increased endorphins, mental alertness, memory and reading skills, and sports specific benefits (increased speed, quickness, agility, power, reflexes, jumping ability, foot-ankle-knee strength).
How long does a rope jumping workout need to be to be effective and what do you usually recommend for people getting into it who are relatively fit?
Learn how to combine jump rope workouts with other functional exercises and take your fitness to another level. According to studies, as little as five minutes daily of jumping rope can improve physical fitness. When you can build from five minutes to ten minutes of non-stop jumping, it provides the same cardiovascular benefits as 30 minutes of jogging, two sets of tennis singles, or 720 yards of swimming. That requires you to jump at a rope speed of 2 RPS or 120 RPM. In my book, I offer a variety of programs that includes sessions of five to 10 minutes of jumping and longer.
Your book has a large number of different rope jumping workouts. Do you have to be a super-coordinated jump rope expert to do these workouts, or are some of them suitable for people who are just starting out? How would someone use the book?
In 101 Best Jump Rope Workouts I created programs for everyone from the beginner who has never jumped before to the fitness buff looking for a challenge to the elite athlete in search for the championship edge.
I created a three-step Jump Rope Training system that has been tested and proven with amazing results. Over the past 25 years I have taught people in 60 countries of all ages a step-by-step recipe on how to jump the correct way. It starts by teaching correct biomechanics of one perfect jump and gradually increasing the reps until you reach jump rope proficiency (140 jumps) and mastery of the two basic skills. With these two basic skills, you then gradually build endurance (500 jumps – 5 minutes) and create the foundation to learning all jump rope skills and programs in this book and beyond.
My three-step system focuses on perfect technique, is scalable and invites individuals of any fitness level to enter into my workouts. I strongly suggest everyone to start at the entry level, to unlearn any bad habits. The system takes into consideration all skill levels and offers workouts that will take into account both present fitness level and jumping ability. The more fit you are, even if you don’t know how to jump, the quicker your jumping ability will improve when going through my system.
Programs begin with shadow jumping (using no rope at all) and can take you all the way to jumping at a world class level.
Cyclists love equipment. What do we need to buy for jumping rope? Do we need more than one rope? Should it be a particular kind of rope or brand? What do you typically suggest for people who are starting out?
My company is the inventor of the original external swivel bearing jump rope technology that changed jump rope functionality for the planet. We have been making jump ropes since 1993 and our award winning ropes have been endorsed by the US Government, US Olympic Teams, TRX, CrossFit and 9Round Fitness. They are used by millions around the world for fitness, weight-loss and better sports performance to include competitive jumpers and world record holders with the fastest times on the planet.
Jump ropes are no longer considered a toy but have evolved to a serious fitness and sports cross training tool that can provide good health and life changing results. Ropes are sold today from $100 to $150 to $2,000 dollars but we have maintained our pricing for two decades, offering high quality and great performing jump ropes at affordable prices of $12 to $50.
To follow are the features of a good rope:
- A jump rope should turn freely in all directions with minimum effort, have no rope tangle or drag and should be adjustable to your height.
- Jump rope handles should be designed ergonomically to fit any hand size comfortably.
- Choose a rope cord material that is evenly weighted and you can feel and easily control the rope as it revolves around your body in order to coordinate the rope swing with each jump.
- A rope should have replaceable parts.
- Buy a rope that fits your jumping ability and comes with some educational program on workouts and how to jump the correct way
Check out the ropes I’ve spent three decades developing. No matter what skill level, these ropes will give you a great workout. My world renowned Aero Speed, Rope Master and Super Sonic Speed Ropes are designed with my external swivel bearing technology. They adapt to your jumping ability whether a beginner or advanced jumper.
My motto is “Jump rope the way you want to move and function in life.”
What do new jump ropers typically find to be the most challenging? The coordination issues with the rope, or the fitness required to keep jumping?
When people stop moving and live a sedentary lifestyle they may struggle with both coordination and the fitness required to sustain a one minute bout of jumping.
If people are already engaged in daily physical activity then they stand a better chance to learn the skill and build endurance faster. But nothing is guaranteed.
Jump rope is a total-body, multi-joint movement that raises the heart rate 2 to 3 times quicker than most aerobic exercises. It is classified as a skill and consists of two movements, a linear motion (jumper) combined with the timing and synchronization of a circular motion (rope turning around body), and the coordination of these two movements is the key to mastering this skill.
Whether you are fit or unfit there can be a learning curve to jumping rope that is frustrating for all ages. Bounding up and down while turning and jumping over a rope requires the brain and body to make important neural connections to master the exercise.
This is why I have created a three-step jump rope training system that takes out the guess work and teaches people of all fitness levels a step by step plan to master the skill, by jumping up one inch and landing safely, building endurance gradually while adding new skills and increasing intensity for greater benefits.
In my system there are three phases:
- Base Phase – It involves learning the perfect jump by jumping up one inch and landing safely – through correct biomechanics of the load, flight and landing phases, combined with the timing of the rope turning around the body while bounding.
- Conditioning Phase – Building endurance slowly through consistency and becoming proficient with basic skills.
- Sports Training Phase – Finding a baseline with a system I created to measure present jump rope intensity and then raising intensity to maximize benefits. The measurement is done with RPS and RPM.
In closing, based on how our minds and bodies work together as one, there is a need for a step by step system to teach the world population the secrets to mastering this ancient skill.
Where can our readers learn more about you online?
Links to my website, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are below:
You can also find us on Amazon, eBay and other online channels.