The jump rope can be a great cardio exercise if you know how to jump rope properly. Not only does jumping rope help you burn a ton of calories and improve your speed and quickness, it's also cheap and you can do it just about anywhere.
1) Jump on the Balls of your feet
When you jump rope, try to softly jump up and down on the balls on your feet. Your heels should never touch the ground, which is one reason why jumping rope is a serious calves workout!
2) Don't Jump too High, Relax
Many people who try to jump rope jump so high it's like they don't realize the rope is an eighth of inch thick. If you're trying to get in a rhythm and jump rope for more than 30 seconds without burning yourself out, keep your jumps as small as possible without tying up the jump rope. Just relax and don't worry if you trip up the rope.
3) Don't Swing your Arms/Shoulders too Much
Jumping rope is all in the wrists. Watching someone who doesn't know how to jump rope reminds me of how some people will try to swim really hard, but barely go anywhere. Then you see another swimmer who is barely trying yet flies through the water. Just as swimming is all about the efficiency of your stroke, jumping rope effectively is all about the efficiency of the revolutions. If you are using your arms and shoulders while jumping very high, jumping rope becomes a VERY difficult cardio activity. Just use your wrists in a circular motion as I describe in the video.
4) Use the Correct Rope Length
How long should the jump rope be you ask? If you bisect the jump rope by putting it under your feet, the handles should reach your sternum. Much higher, or lower will affect the rhythm and make jumping rope much harder. The jump rope should tick the ground each revolution, which also makes it easier to count reps and get in a rhythm.
5) Hands Slightly Above Waistline
Hand position is important and this is also dependent on the length of the rope you have. Your arms should be comfortably bent, hands placed about a foot from your sides and about waist level.
6) Get in a Rhythm
You can really jump rope as fast as you want, but getting in a rhythm can make jump rope easier and more fun. It’s kind of like hitting your stride as you jog, so you can do the same thing jumping rope. I like to complete a certain number of revolutions, or reps in a certain amount of time, let’s say a pace of roughly 150 reps per 60 seconds. It’s really up to you what feels comfortable and what type of workout you are doing.
7) Practice, Practice, Practice
This is by far the most important tip of all! Most of my training clients do not know how to jump rope properly at their first session. But after their 4th, or 5th session ,they are jumping rope like a pro. How is that possible? First, start out with the rope behind you, then:
a) Do one jump rope rep then stop
b) Do two jump rope reps, then stop
c) Keep on going