For cardio, ever thought about skipping? Jumping rope to lose weight has been a favourite of the martial arts community for a very long time. Not only will you lose weight, but you will also get many other benefits as well.
Jumping rope works your timing, balance and coordination. It can be done as an interval workout. You can do it almost anywhere. You don't have to go outdoors (if you don't want to).
For a great overview of skipping, I highly recommend you read Gray Cook's "Athletic Body in Balance". Many major league athletes as well as the military's elite soldiers see Gray for his physical fitness expertise. Gray makes a real case for jumping rope in his book. It is one of his top recommendations for cardio.
"Skipping? Really?" you may ask. "Does anybody actually do that?" I thought the same thing when skipping was first put before me as a way to lose weight. But that's what all the literature said, so you'd think they would know what they're talking about.
That rumbled around in my head for awhile. Then one day I happened to walk into a martial arts class in a local gym and what did I see? Fifteen to twenty people all skipping together. "Oooookay," I thought, "People actually do this."
So that rumbled around in my head for a little while longer and then one day I bought a skipping rope. Then the fun began.
Jumping rope is tough. Okay, it's not that tough, but it takes awhile to get used to it. You'll find your first little while with it to be frustrating at times. It involves a lot of tripping.
So here is a good time to mention a trick I learned from juggling, which is similar to jumping rope in a few ways. When I first started to learn how to juggle, they said to spend a bit of time trying it, but as soon as you start to feel frustrated, stop. Take a break. In a little while, whether it's a few minutes or a few days, start back up again.
I recommend doing the same thing for learning how to jump rope. It can frustrate you. But if you try to push through the frustration, you will probably find that you will only get more frustrated. That's why you should take a break as soon as you start to feel frustrated.
So when I was learning how to skip, I did it a little bit at a time. Ten to fifteen minutes at a time. That's usually when the frustration would start to kick in. I made sure I had fun with it. I didn't force it. I only did it when I felt like it. Sometimes weeks would go by and I didn't touch the rope.
Please note, however, if you want to take a bit more aggressive stance with it, feel free. You don't have to wait for weeks to go by if you don't want to.
In the end I learned a few tricks with it too. There are many different types of skipping you can do. You can jump from side to side, like a downhill skier; you can do "tuck" jumps, which is when you try to lift your knees as high as possible with each jump; plus many others.
One of my favourites was crossing your hands in front of you as you bring the rope under your feet. These are called "crossovers" and are quite fun to do once you get the hang of it. These are a trick you would typically see people do in the movies when the main character is doing their training and getting in shape for some big athletic endeavour.
Jumping rope to lose weight. Try it. A skipping rope is not much money. If you already go to a gym, there should probably be some jump ropes there at the gym. Pick one up. Have a go at it. I dare you.