Why Skipping is so Great for Tennis!
Do you know what Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fighters, Bodybuilders, Ballerinas and little kids have in common?
They all skip rope!
Many sports use rope jumping (skipping) as a warm-up exercise before their main discipline – tennis being one example. Boxers take their skipping to a different level – they are particularly famous for their skipping skills.
You can find plenty of videos online of advanced skipping routines from the likes of Floyd Mayweather to Mike Tyson all the way back to Muhammed Ali.
The benefits of jumping rope are endless for fighters from improving overall fitness to footwork and making weight for a fight.
It’s cardio that can be practised easily in the gym and it’s great for overall boxing skills, as it simulates many of the movements in a real fight, improves a fighter’s rhythm and the coordination between hands and feet.
Small steps and fast tidy footwork are also a characteristic of the best tennis players. For serious players their physical program will include a regular workout with the rope.
Let us now consider some of the benefits of a regular skipping program.
1. Skipping rope is a great cardio workout.
Skipping regularly could reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, coupled with a healthy lifestyle.
2. Skipping for weight loss is a common reason people pick up the rope – skipping burns 200 – 300 calories based on 30 mins of skipping a day.
Thirty minutes might not sound a lot, but once you get started you may find yourself out of breath sooner than you thought – don’t worry you can easily up your stamina with regular practice.
3. Skipping is a great full-body workout, using your abdominal muscles to stabilize the body, legs for jumping and shoulders and arms for turning the rope.
4. Because skipping involves so many parts of your body, the exercise will improve coordination, stamina and focus. This leads to improved performance and reduced fatigue.
5. Skipping is a good option if you need a lower-impact workout, causing less jolting on your joints than running. Running can produce up to twice the impact on knees compared to skipping.
6. Gym membership can be expensive – your only expense with skipping is the rope and you can exercise virtually anywhere.
7. For a change of cardio workout the rope is a great alternative – no treadmill or cross-trainer machine.
8. Skipping can improve your mental health by releasing endorphins, feel-good chemicals that can boost low moods.
Increasing blood circulation in your body and brain can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
9. Skipping helps to improve heart rate and blood pressure. It can also help you ”boost your immune system, balance your metabolism and improve your overall health in a short period of time,” according to the British Rope Skipping Association.
10. Jumping rope is an accessible workout for many fitness lovers, as you can control the pace you work at and how long you skip for.
Remember, building up over time and pushing yourself that little bit harder each week is what’s going to improve your overall fitness.
11. Separate leg and upper body days, like in the gym, are not necessary with skipping.
A regular skipping session improves muscle tone in both the lower and upper body. Skipping is an entire body workout. Your legs and calves will feel the burn but your arms, shoulders and core will tighten up, too.
12. Skipping is almost a way of life and can be started at any age. Jumping or plyometric (jump training) work are amazing bone-building exercises – so you are less likely to break bones or develop osteoporosis as you get older.
This is particularly important for women, making skipping a great way to future-proof your fitness.
Even if you’ve never tried skipping, it’s never too late to start!
Types of rope jumping techniques
The basic jump (also known as an easy jump) is the technique where the skipper lifts both feet slightly above the ground. It is the first jump-skipping technique ever conceived.
The second form which is very often used in competitions as part of a speed discipline is the ”alternate step” where the skipper jumps one foot at a time.
Other techniques include criss-cross, side swing, double-under, leg over, elephant, frog and many others.