"I would encourage virtually anyone to begin jumping rope. It's extremely
inexpensive, portable and fun. It tones and strengthens the entire body. It
improves athletic skills that are used in almost any sport you can think of,"
says Louis Garcia. Garcia is a professional jump roper.
"It's easy to learn if you're taught properly. And it is considered by
many of the world's leading authorities to be minute for minute the greatest
cross-training workout in existence."
Skipping, or jump rope, is a fun exercise activity and sport. It's a childhood
game enjoyed by kids and adults alike. You spin or twirl a rope over your
head and skip or jump over it with your feet.
Skipping is a recreation you can enjoy alone or with a group of friends.
Young people tend to skip just for the sheer fun of it. Adults often jump
rope as part of an exercise program.
Professional boxers skip to improve their timing and rhythm, as well as
their overall fitness level. Many jump ropers are involved competitively with
clubs or teams that perform in public.
Skipping has an interesting history. It's not known exactly when skipping
first became popular. Evidence suggests its roots are probably very ancient,
dating as far back as two or three centuries.
The notion that skipping has always been a game played mostly by girls
on playgrounds is a myth. Research shows that skipping was first done by boys!
Today there is a growing emphasis on skipping as a competitive and organized
sport. Some organizations are working towards Olympic status for the sport.
Did you know you could skip your way to good health? Health-related benefits
include cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength and flexibility. Skipping
can even help prevent osteoporosis by building strong and dense bones.
Skipping can also help build fitness skills like coordination, timing,
rhythm, speed, power, balance and agility. All things considered, skipping
is an excellent way to get in shape. Of course, you should always check with
your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
One of the really neat things about skipping is that you can do it virtually
anywhere. All you need is a small area and enough headspace and away you go.
If you skip rope as part of an exercise regimen, you would either do it
at home or at the fitness club. If you joined a club or a team, you would
likely find yourself skipping in all kinds of different locations. Some teams
There are no official statistics on the number of people involved in recreational
skipping. But according to the International Federation of Rope Skipping Associations,
skipping is growing worldwide as a fitness activity and a competitive sport.
People directly involved in this activity agree. Bob Picket is the executive
director of the U.S. Amateur Jump Rope Federation. He estimates there are
thousands of teams in America. He says after a recent merger, his organization
alone grew by almost 600 percent in members.
Skipping continues to grow in popularity, especially in the area of organized
teams. This is true around the world. Garcia says he's seen a large increase
in the number of stories devoted to the sport on television, major newspapers
As well, Garcia says jumping rope is also now being incorporated into classes
at gyms throughout the U.S. Skippers are also becoming stronger and better
skilled, according to Crawford. He says he also sees more boys getting involved
in the sport.
You don't have to be an athlete to enjoy skipping. You don't even need
training. But you do need to remember that skipping can be a strenuous workout.
Beginners should start slowly. Gradually increase the amount of time spent
skipping. If you do that, you will eventually increase your stamina and endurance.
"Most anyone can skip, but a sense of rhythm and balance helps," says Susan
Kalbfleisch. She is the co-founder of a rope jumping association.
Skipping rope is a very physical activity, and therefore not normally for
physically challenged people. However, Kalbfleisch says people with limited
use of their legs can turn double dutch for their teammate.
Those with upper body limitations can jump rope. Kalbfleisch adds that
the visually impaired can also skip because the rope makes a rhythmic sound
as it hits the ground.
Unlike many sports, there is no real contact in skipping. That means there
are relatively few injuries. People who skip may suffer the odd sprained ankle,
but that's usually about the worst of it.
A good pair of aerobic cross-trainers will go a long way towards helping
you prevent ankle injuries, as well as sore feet and knees.
While some recreational sports can cost a small fortune in equipment, skipping
is just the opposite. The only real equipment you need is a skipping rope.
You can buy a basic jump rope at just about any department or sporting goods
store for less than $3.
A good pair of runners would also be a good idea since your feet can take
a pounding. Of course, if you get involved with an organized team, there would
be additional costs like membership fees and travel costs. Most teams do fund-raising
to help with expenses.
While most people who skip do it for fun and exercise, there are people
who do it professionally. Garcia is such a person. Garcia and his partner
earn a living by performing and selling merchandise.
They sell jump ropes, instructional videos, mats, music and anything else
related to skipping. He also teaches classes and workshops and holds seminars.
It's also possible to get paid as a member of a rope skipping team. Teams
are often paid to perform at festivals and half-time shows at football games.
All you really need to get started is enthusiasm and a jump rope. Put on
your runners and some good rhythmic music and start jumping. If you want to
get a little more serious about it, you may want to seek out some instruction
for proper jumping technique or join a team.
If you want to begin competitive skipping at a club level, contact your
national organization for advice on a team in your area.
Jump Ropes and More
A good information site
Amateur Athletic Union U.S.A.
Find out the latest on jump rope at the AAU Junior Olympic Games
International Rope Skipping Federation
Get the history behind skipping from the IRSF