I have had a very one sided relationship to skipping, especially during my childhood. I loved it. Loved it more than life and it was all I would do every lunch and break when in primary school. But while I loved skipping with a passion it didn’t love me as truly, madly, or deeply. The first time I ever suffered any sort of pain from physical activity was when I was barely ten and managed to tear a muscle in my back from skipping (an instance of too much of a good thing). I hated it when the doctor told me I couldn’t skip until it had healed – and I think I hated him too (it didn’t occur to me to hate skipping). But now as an adult (with a simultaneously stronger and more broken body) I have rediscovered my love for this whole body cardio workout and now, it is loving me back.
If you only remember skipping as something you did as a child then I urge you to give it another go. As I said it is one of the very few whole body workouts out there which is both cost effective and whole loads of fun. But there are some tips and tricks, and benefits which everyone should know about and they are things which I have learnt as a life long skipper.
As a side note all of these pictures were taken as I was skipping so enjoy my many facial expressions!
Tips and Tricks
- Make sure you have a rope the right length of your body. As a short human I have always found this really difficult but thankfully the one I have now can be adjusted to suit all heights.
- Don’t go crazy if you haven’t skipped in a long time. What always works for me is not setting a time goal but a number goal. So I will do 1000 skips and don’t care how long it takes.
- Make sure your body is doing it right. By this I don’t mean the jumping but I mean landing and the looking. Don’t look down and instead look into the distance like a romantic heroine / hero as you work up a sweat. Make a conscious effort not to hunch your shoulders and try to keep them relaxed. And very importantly make sure you land on the balls of your feet.
- Always start with the rope behind you. It all gets a bit frenetic if you start with it in front of you unless of course you are skipping backwards.
- Spice things up. Normally when I skip my jumps are small and it feels as if I barely jump of the ground. As you’ll see from some of the pictures below I also love to cross jump and here have to lift my feet much higher. Try it but also try changing the speed you turn your arms, lifting your knees higher, jumping only on one foot and then the other, moving as you skip (if you have the room) and skipping backwards.
- Definitely do it in comfortable shoes and be prepared to sweat. This is one work out where I end up dripping!
Scroll down to read about just some of the benefits you get from skipping – and there are quite a few!
- Calories today, gone tomorrow. I have no idea what the exact number of calories you lose per 20 minutes or per hour of skipping (everyone seems to have different figures) but it is a lot. A lot, a lot. Build up to skipping more and more or with more and more intensity and you will find that after a session it feels as if you have done a HITT session in a gym.
- Skip regularly and you find so many things improve including your balance, stamina, agility, coordination, everything. With all that arm rotation you also find your shoulders and shoulder muscles become more defined too. Before writing this I did some research and found that skipping has been used to help with rehab. The constant low impact jumping (especially if you do it on a softer floor) helps with all sorts of leg injuries by building and strengthening the muscles in your thighs, calves, feet, and around the knees. Skipping is a lot more knee friendly than running however when my knees are particularly sore even skipping hurts. Listen to your body and don’t push it.
- It’s cheap. All I recommend is that you invest in a good rope and no rope should be more than £15. My rope is one my friend bought for me and I love it because it is adjustable. So I can use it one day and Sister (who is much taller than me) can use it the next. Ropes can fit in all types of bags so all you really need is a decent amount of space.
- It’s also easy. And I stand by this even if you haven’t skipped in years! Miss and step accidentally on the rope as much as you like, you’re still skipping and still working up a sweat.
- It fits in really well with other HIIT workouts. So many of us don’t have time to go to the gym (this definitely includes me) but there are workouts I do at home when I have time and skipping fits in really nicely with them. I take a ‘break’ from burpees by skipping.
Skipping also allows me to be very competitive with myself. It’s always about how many skips I can do without missing. Then it’s about how many cross jumps I can do without missing. Of course this can all get slightly ridiculous but that’s what makes it so much fun. Put your energy into it and you’ll get so much back from it in return.