So you thought skipping was just for little kids and Rocky? Well, here are some reasons why it should be part of your exercise regimen.
It Sculpts Your Legs
Hopping up and down on may not seem like hard work, but it recruits major muscle in your legs. You’ll feel your calves working and even your quads (front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs) and glutes (bum). Add variations, like the ones in the video below, and you can work even more leg muscles. The result? So long jeans, hello short-shorts!
READ MORE: How To Choose The Right Skipping Rope
It Slims You Down
Skipping is fantastic cardio and, because it’s more intense than, say, jogging at a comfortable pace, it’s ideal for a HIIT – high-intensity interval training – workout. That’s great news because HIIT has been shown to promote fat burning by revving your metabolism hours after your workout. Reap the benefits by skipping as fast as you can for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, then skipping hard and fast again and repeat that pattern for a total of eight rounds. Or use skipping as a cardio finisher to your workout – at the end of the workout, do five minutes of intense skipping using the variations in the video.
It Tones Your Arms
Hang on, what? Yes, you read that right. It’s not just your legs getting in on the action when you skip – swinging the rope works your arms, shoulders and chest muscles more than you realise! And you can increase those benefits by simply using a heavier rope. Who knew?
It Works Your Abs
When you hop up and down, your core helps maintain your balance, recruiting your abs in the process. But that’s not all it does. Your lower abs also help lift your legs – especially if you bend your knees while skipping. Work them even more by doing the high-knees variation in the video below.
It Makes You Fit
To increase your body’s oxygen uptake – a key measure of fitness – you need to push yourself to a super-high intensity (maximum effort) for a short period of time, then drop it down again and repeat. It’s that HIIT factor again. Think of it like sprinting 100 metres versus running a kilometre. You want that feeling of giving it your all as you race to the finish line, as opposed to that feeling of running fast, but holding back slightly because there’s still a fair distance to go. Because of its explosive nature, skipping naturally pushes you more towards that all-out kind of effort level.
It Trains Your Brain
And you thought exercise was all about brute physicality! The coordination required for skipping (ugh! tangled in the rope again!) builds neural pathways in your brain that will help you in other areas of life too, including memory, mental alertness, spatial awareness and mood. Bonus!
Ropes At The Ready!
These five skipping variations are part of our exclusive, do-anywhere skipping rope workout by Women’s Health Next Fitness Star 2016 finalist, Irène Scholz. Even on their own, though, they’re ace for getting your heart-rate up and hitting more muscle groups. Before you start, make sure you have the right rope for your height and the correct form. Then see how many of these skips you can do!