Jump a Rope

Jumping rope is quick and effective way to workout. Here are a few adjustments.

One of the added benefits of boxing conditioning is that it's simple and portable. That makes it ideal for businesspeople who are on the road or just have time enough for a 15-minute workout. Next Monday morning, bring a jump rope to work.

"Jumping rope is the best cardiovascular workout there is," says Tom Coulter, head coach of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, which won the second-most boxing medals (eight) in Olympic history. "It gives you a maximum workout in the shortest amount of time." To jump like a contender, follow Coulter's advice:

Get an adjustable rope.

Find the correct length for your height by standing on the rope and holding the handles. Make a V-shape and adjust the rope length so the handles extend to the middle of your chest.

Stretch before you jump.

To warm up, jump without the rope. Simulate the arm and wrist movement, keeping your legs close together while pushing off the balls of your feet. Go easy on your knees — wear sneakers with a thick base.

Jump just high enough to clear the rope.

Keep your hands close to your body and power the rope with your wrists. Your feet should touch the floor once, not twice, between jumps.

Put some "rapid fire" into your jumping.

As you begin to improve, increase your speed for 30 seconds of every minute.

Coordinates: Ringside, a mail-order catalog, retails a 9 1/2-foot leather rope with weighted handles for $13.99; 913-888-1719.

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