Training: Jumping Rope - Best Exercise for Your Feet and Body
Jumping rope is one of those classic, timeless exercises that crossed all borders and is favored by professional athletes as much as by kids. It is easily accessible and doable. Any rope would do, no special shoes necessary, barefoot is even better. Anyone can do it. Of course, if we want to be detailed we could mention that the quality of rope, the type of rope, or cord used as a rope, would make a difference. But that’s besides the point that is central to this article.
I recommend and use this exercise at my clinics, private lessons and consultations. Why is it so useful for running, and especially for the development of running technique? What benefits can we get from such a simple exercise? How can you use it and incorporate into your training routine?
The Benefits of Jumping Rope
To illustrate some positive aspects of this exercise, I would use boxing as an example, where jumping rope had been very popular since the beginning of this sport. When was it “invented” and by whom is not known, at least not to me, but it became one of the most easily recognizable exercises related to training in boxing.
What is so attractive and useful about this exercise for boxing? It is not all about cardiovascular training. The most obvious thing and the biggest benefit is that it teaches you to move correctly in the ring. To be more exact, it makes the feet more skillful in their interaction with the ground and thus let the boxer’s body move more fluidly and more efficiently. How important this is in boxing is very clear. A small mistake of being late or making a wrong move could wrap up the fight. Therefore your feet should be trained to interact with the ground right and allow you to move the body weight in the necessary direction in a split second.
- skillful interaction with the ground
- precision in movement
- lightness and speed of feet movement
The Necessity of Jumping Rope for Runners
While this necessity was always obvious for boxing, it was never like this for running, so runners’ feet were and still are usually neglected and left underdeveloped. The consequences of this neglect are certainly not as dramatic as in boxing, but still lead to sloppy running and consequently running injuries related to weak, uncoordinated feet.
Believe me, the fact that runners couldn’t and still can’t see it, doesn’t mean that this problem doesn’t exist. Yes, it is there, every day and in every training session. Our feet just do not know what they are doing and we do not know what to do with them or how to use them. This is a problem.
Given that runners rely on their feet and legs as much as boxers, if not more, it is only logical to utilize this classic exercise.
The Benefits of Jumping Rope for Running Technique Improvement
When running, the location of our bodyweight is critical for proper execution of the Fall. As a matter of fact, it does not matter what kind of technique or style you are running with, the ball of foot will be the final point. No matter if you are pushing off or pulling your foot from the ground, you’ll need to do that action when your body weight is on the ball of the foot. Therefore, it is important to know, or to be more exact, to feel it, when your body weight is on the ball of the foot. And the perception of this most important component of running, is usually absent.
This is when jumping with rope could come into the play and help us develop the necessary perception of the body weight on the ball of the foot. Additionally, as a byproduct, it helps to develop specific strength of the feet, their agility of interacting with the ground, etc.
Suggested Use in Training
It is better to use this exercise together with running drills or with strength conditioning exercises. A standard amount of rope jumps in one set should be at least 30 and more, with variations on two feet or one foot, with alternating support from one foot to the other and certainly with changing rhythm and cadence of jumping. I do virtually all Pose drills with a jumping rope in order to reinforce the perception of Pose, Pull, and the body weight on the ball of the foot.
Doing jumping rope drills barefoot or with some weights (belt, jacket, or ankle weights) is very good for developing strength of the feet and overall springiness of the body. If you use it for learning technique, then use a jumping rope at each session. When it comes to combination of strength and springiness, then it would be good to use it twice a week. There are almost no side effects from these jumps, just benefits, but do not overuse them, as well as anything else.
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Understanding and improving running training is part of the Pose Method Certification Course. Designed for health and fitness professionals, it is also a great starting point for anyone looking to become a coach. This seminar offers 16 CE hours towards continuing education for Physical Therapists.