Skipping challenges to boost cardio fitness

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The warm-up of choice for boxers the world over, skipping is also one of the ultimate exercises for improving your cardio fitness. Pick up a rope and master these different techniques to add a new challenge and some variety to your training programme.

Adding skipping to your workout will keep your mind focused and your feet busy – not to mention making you look like the next Muhammad Ali. Developing a variety of moves with the ropes also builds your coordination, balance and a strong core. Start off simple with the basic rope jumps. That’s both feet together and your hands to the side while maintaining a straight posture. Once you’ve mastered this it’s time to try some more advanced techniques.

360s

How? Make sure you have plenty of room to perform this technique and avoid injuring yourself or anyone foolish enough to be near you. Do the standard skipping motion and add a 360 turn at a consistent pace to really get your feet thinking. Try to complete one full turn to the left and then to the right before carrying on normally.

Why? Improves flexibility and strengthens your hip-flexors

Alternate feet

How? Start with your standard skipping pattern before busting into what looks like a dodgy dance move. Simply spring from one foot to the other alternating from left to right. Ensure only one foot hits the floor between each skip. If you’re finding it hard you probably need to speed up your arm rotations.  

Why? Strengthens bone density and burns more calories

One leg

How? This is a great exercise for your calves as it isolates those muscles each time you interchange legs. Aim to keep a steady pace throughout rather than burning out too quickly. Set a target between 50-100 jumps on one leg at a time. Each time you stop simply take a quick breather and carry on.

Why? Tones your calves, improves balance and ensures both legs get an even workout

Criss-cross

How? Once you start having a little more confidence use this move to show off how much you’ve learnt. It takes a steady degree of coordination and a good rhythm to master. Once in the standard skipping motion cross your feet in the middle so that they overlap before uncrossing them with the next swing of the rope and repeat. The faster you skip the easier it is.

Why? Develops coordination and boosts your heart rate

Ali shuffle

How? This technique is by far the most difficult to grasp but when you nail it the sense of achievement makes it worthwhile. Named after Muhammad Ali, the technique has you firing one foot in front of the other in a short field of motion. At first it may seem awkward and unnatural but repetition will help coordinate your legs.

Why? Improves coordination and builds core strength, plus it’ll make you look like The Greatest himself

Practice makes perfect so remember to take it slow and build up your range of skipping techniques over weeks not days. Skipping for 20 minutes will burn around 250 calories, strengthen your core and help improve your motor skills. It won’t be long until you’ve mastered all the techniques and are floating like a butterfly (bee stinging optional).