This post is kindly brought to you by Max Shippee, our crossfit coach, and knower of all things fitness.
“Is there anything I can do at home that will just get my heart rate up?”
“Sure! What equipment do you have?”
“Yeah, like a jump rope, yoga mat…that sort of thing. ”
“No, I don’t have any of those. ”
“None? Nothing? Really?”
“Well, then first things first.”
At the PaleoPlan, we pride ourselves in being able to design and give your workouts that involve very, very little equipment.
That being said, there are a few staples that everyone should have around the house to help with their quest toward great fitness. In my next few blog posts, I’m going to talk about things that you can use to help maintain that great physique of yours. Here’s the first in the series.
A Jump Rope
There’s no question that jumping rope is a great way to burn off calories (as much as 20 calories a minute if going at a good clip!). The jumping up and down gets not only your blood moving & muscles active, but also gets your entire lymph system on the move as well. The plyometrics of the jump get your heart and lungs cranking and there’s even enough coordination going on with hands, feet, and rope all working together that your brain is getting a good little dose of working out as well. Really, a jump rope is just plain magic! ;-)
If you haven’t been jumping rope for a while, heed this warning. It’s a LOT on your calves and feet. It’s going to stretch your feet, and get your calves cranked up pretty quickly. This is something that you should ease into before trying to crank out 1000 reps. Build up slowly, and you can get results for the long term. At first, a couple times a week is all you need to cue changes in your body, and specifically the lower leg & foot. A little soreness is good. Too much though, and you’re doing more harm than good!
The choice of a rope is very much a personal one, and many people are quite passionate about which rope they use. You can, these days, spend upwards of $40 on a jump rope, or you can find them online for a little as $2. Some people like heavier ropes, some lighter, while others simply talk about the general feel of a rope. Regardless of the rope you choose, you’ll want to make sure you’re starting out with the right length.
If you put one foot in the middle of the rope, and pull both handles straight up, they should come to your armpit. This is the “starting length” for most people. As you get better and better, most people find they prefer a rope a little shorter (shorter = faster), but this armpit length is a good start. People of average height will want to start with an 8 foot rope. If you much taller or shorter than the average person, you’ll want to adjust your buying accordingly. If anything, you want to start a little long.
Making a rope a little shorter is as easy as tying a knot towards the handle. More knots = shorter rope. (see pic below)
At first, you’ll probably like a rope that’s got a little more weight to it, so you can feel the rope as it travels all the way over your head and around your body. Having a super light “speed rope” before you’ve developed a feel for jumping rope at a high rate of speed can lead to a LOT of whip marks on your legs and arms. Yowzers!
Work on getting a good rhythm going with the rope, so that it feels nice and smooth. Once you can do at least 100 reps/jumps unbroken, you can start looking at fancier ropes.
As you develop more skill in jumping rope, you may want to step up to a speedier rope. The great thing about jump ropes is that you only have to spend at the most $30 to have the best one that money can buy. There are a few out there that may cost more, but it’s not like skis or a bike, where you go from crazy cheap to crazy expensive. There are even places online where you can catch jump ropes on sale for less than $5. For all of the awesomeness that they offer, you really can’t beat that.
Don’t Obsess… Just Get One!
On a semi-side note, I’ve actually gone head to head with some speed rope aficionados with a rope at my gym that I got for $2. Mine is the same as the ones we all had in elementary school, with the plastic beads. We did double unders (two turns of the rope for one jump) for 1 minute straight. I got 102, and they got 115. So, provided you’ve got your coordination down, the difference between ropes isn’t super huge. If you’re competing, it could make a difference, but for the average at-home workout, I really think it’s the best piece of equipment you can easily buy for under $10.
What are you waiting for, go grab a rope and get moving!
For those of you who need a little extra nudge, here’s a link to jump ropes via Amazon.
So tell us, for reals, when was the last time you jumped rope? Grade school? Let us know!
And just for fun, here’s a sweet video featuring yours truly.