Monday, August 4, 2008

Improve Sports Performance With This Kindergarten Exercise

Ever heard this saying? Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten! In many cases this is true. One favorite kindergarten game (exercise) is woefully underutilized by athletes and exercisers in general: JUMPING ROPE!

It is one of the best exercises to use for warming up because it engages the total body. Jumping rope will strengthen and condition your calves, legs, torso and arms.

Speed jump roping is performed in short intervals at up to 200 RPM (revolutions per minute). It also uses the anaerobic energy system (85% to 95% of max heart rate) and develops fast twitch muscle fibers.

This type of speed jump roping gives the athlete more speed, quickness, agility, balance, coordination, power and knee/ankle/foot strength. Jumping rope also improves the athlete's timing---a critical element needed in sports. Boxers are legendary speed jump ropers.

Jumping rope can improve your vertical leap, lateral movement and starting speed. An increased vertical jump is an indication of improved leg power which leads to improved overall speed.

Jumping rope can also be utilized to improve the athlete's aerobic capacity. Jumping rope can burn up to 800 calories an hour depending on intensity. This can be helpful for athletes who need to burn fat and lose weight.

Sport specific jump rope moves allows you the transfer-of-training-effect to game competition. Some sport specific jump rope moves are:

1) Ali Shuffle - Named after the boxer who made it famous.

2) Power Jump - Jump higher and turn the wrist quickly so the rope turns twice in one hop. Look straight ahead and keep your torso relaxed.

3) Forward-Backward Jump - Jump a few inches forward, then a few inches back. Alternate the moves between rope skips.

4) Straddle Jump - Straddle feet forward and jump.

5) Skier’s Jump - This jump rope technique looks like a skier's slalom. Jump a few inches to the right, then a few inches to the left. Alternate. Keep feet together and your torso straight.

6) Basic Jump - Jump with both feet together.

7) One Foot Jump - Jump on one foot for 1-2 minutes and alternate.

There are many other jump rope movements. Add this great exercise to your warmups and workouts. It will make you a better athlete!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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