Meet the experts – ​skipping for fitness with Lewis Dove

Meet the experts – ​skipping for fitness with Lewis Dove

Lewis Dove is a VPT at Gymbox Farringdon. In this expert series, he explains to us how skipping is arguably one of the best forms of cardio training to access easily, and anywhere! Regular skipping as part of your exercise plan can help you get fitter, lose weight, and brings some fun variation to your training.

Variety is the spice of life

One thing that jump rope training will do is bring some variety into your gym life. I see so many people everyday doing the same thing e.g. jog on the treadmill, or jump on a bike for half an hour. Yes you will most probably gain and maintain a certain level of fitness, but you'll rarely push yourself and can easily become bored constantly doing steady state cardio. Skipping is mainly a skill based form of exercise so once you start improving on technique & progressing then you'll get the buzz and trust me, you won't want to do anything else!

Burn baby burn (calories)

As skipping is a skill based exercise it's important to get the basics right first before trying out tricks & high intensity stuff. The good thing is as soon as you get your base skip flowing you'll be burning calories on your first jump! The human body will burn more calories skipping for 20 minutes then you would either jogging or cycling! This is mainly due to the fact that you're body is engaging more muscle groups at one movement. Just doing a basic jump with bodyweight will work the abdominals, but adding resistance in the form of weighted ropes and varying the motion will target the core muscles along with the rest of the upper-body, therefore turning it into a full-body workout! On top of this motor skill components come into play e.g. co-ordination, agility and balance. The human body naturally burns more energy when the brain has to think and work harder to perform a certain movement, so whilst you're skipping & your brain is ticking you'll burn more calories in half the time!

Health benefits

The most important muscle in the body that needs to be worked is the heart. Regular bouts of cardio training will maintain a healthy heart and help towards building an active lifestyle. It has been scientifically proven that skipping reduces the risk of Osteoporosis by increasing bone density. Skipping also engages your lymphatic system with the up & down rhythm of jumping continuously.

Interval Training is a great method to get the heart pumping and definitely get you breaking a sweat. Use TABATA timed intervals; 20 seconds on 10 seconds off for 8 rounds, that's a total of 4 minutes! Try this basic skipping routine to bring some fun and intensity to your weekly workouts;

Round 1. Base Skip

Round 2. Skiers

Round 3. High knees

Round 4. Base skip

Round 5. High knees

Round 6. Skiers

Round 7. Base skip

Round 8. High knees

Base skip - This is the jump you feel most comfortable when skipping. You should be able to keep the rhythm fluid whilst in your base skip e.g. feet together or alternate feet. In the base skip you shouldn't jump any higher than an inch off of the floor.

Skiers - This skip is designed to work on lateral movement and engage your core Oblique muscles. Keep your feet tight together and jump side to side through the rope.

High Knees - Running motion, target the knees to reach hip height. Other than the double under jump, this skip technique is one of the most physically intense when done so correctly and as fast pace as possible.

Aim to complete this interval circuit 3x round. You can even turn up the intensity by adding in cross overs or double unders to push your heart rate towards its max! If you don't know what these are then I suggest you stick with the basics for now!

Impact

When performed correctly skipping is a medium to low impact exercise and it isn't as hard on your joints as running. Skipping is 60/40 ratio on working your lower and upper body; and the benefits involve low impact on the hips, knees & ankles. In the long run skipping has a lot less risk of injury compared to running, therefore you're more than likely be training injury free for many years to come. At the end of the day in my opinion if you can walk, then you can skip ‘no excuses!’ So what are you waiting for? Pick up a rope and start skipping!

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