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Skipping: Why It’s My New Cardio Obsession

Skipping.  My new obsession. I love it.

I’ve become one of those people who wakes up excited for her workout. Believe me when I say I have found my cardio calling.

It was my rather…unfavourable feelings towards running that led me to discover skipping.  Ok, I really detest running and have absolutely no interest in signing up, training for and finishing a marathon. Ever. 

So, if you’re like me and would rather watch repeats of Judge Judy on repeat than go running every day, yet need your daily hit of cardio, let me tell you that skipping is legit! 

Here’s the thing about skipping

OK, my sales pitch. Wanna hear it? Skipping burns more fat than running. Yes. It’s true. Jumping rope is known to burn around 1300 calories/hour.

Actually, according to the Jump Rope Institute, skipping for a minimum of five minutes a day improves physical fitness, and when you build to ten minutes of nonstop jumping (at 120 RPMs) it can provide the same benefits as the following:

  1. 30 minutes of jogging

  2. 2 sets of tennis singles

  3. 30 minutes of racquet and handball playing

  4. 660 metres/720 yards of swimming

  5. 18 holes of golf

  6. ACRO-JUMPING (I don’t know what that is either but it sounds INTENSE)

Benefits of Skipping

Skipping helps in muscle toning as it is a body weight exercise. So it’s actually cardio + strength in one.

Plus,  it’s a full body workout. Your legs, arms, abs and your heart. It increases strength and agility. It’s a medium impact exercise so it increases bone density.

It also improves your coordination so if you’re a frequent stumbler and trip over yourself even in the flattest of shoes – skipping is your answer! Coordinating between the jump, the footwork and your arms requires serious skills.

Oh and there are even mental benefits to skipping. As your coordination improves, so does your cross-lateral ambidexterity i.e.; you work both sides of the brain and both sides of the body.

Ergo: You become fitter and smarter! I’ll take Space robotics for $600 thanks, Tony!

Here are a few other things I’ve noticed since transforming into a skipping fanatic:

  1. My breathing efficiency has improved and I can skip for longer without feeling out of breath

  2. My spacial awareness is better

  3. My face has a lovely glow to it after the workout (which is very different to the beetroot-red face I sport post run) 

The best part about it is it can be done anywhere making it the most versatile form of exercise. Indoors, outdoors, backyards and beaches. Perfect for travellers and nomads of all kinds, plus those who are time poor or don’t have a lot of space.

And speaking of research

Skipping is a based on Plyometric training techniques. Plyometrics link speed of movement and strength to produce power and enable muscles to reach maximum strength in as short amount of time as possible.

It was discovered in Eastern Europe back in the 70's. The eastern bloc was breeding wunder-athletes in track and field and gymnastics, using skipping as a training method. Once the American trainers discovered the secret they began to use it and Rocky was born.

Build your stamina

Of course, I wasn’t always floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee – it takes time to work your way up to skipping aficionado. 

Yes, you have to earn your rope stripes. I started with 6 x 30-second reps. Then gradually increased the time and the reps – 8×40 secs, 10×50 secs etc and now I’m skipping non-stop for 3 minutes with a 15 sec break x 4. 

Pair that with some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and you’ve got yourself a workout that will have you feeling like Rocky in no time!

Skipping Workout

Ok, if you’re on your phone download a tabata timer or if you have your laptop in front of you go to and pop in these timings:

  1. Prepare: 10 seconds

  2. Work: 40 seconds

  3. Rest: 10 seconds

  4. Cycles: 8

  5. Tabatas: 1

Tabata Timer for skipping

Then, whack on some Bieber (yes I’m still on THAT train), follow the below guide and you’re off to the races. (Glossary of skipping terminology below)

Round 1: 40 second warm up – skip lightly

Round 2: 

  1. 10 sec – fast skipping

  2. 10 sec – alternating legs

  3. 10 sec – high knees

  4. 10 sec – crossover

Round 3:

  1. 10 sec – fast skipping

  2. 10 sec – double jump

  3. 10 sec – ski jump

  4. 10 sec – crossover

Round 4:

  1. 10 sec – fast skipping

  2. 10 sec – alternating legs

  3. 10 sec – high knees

  4. 10 sec – crossover

Round 5:

  1. 10 sec – fast skipping

  2. 10 sec – double jumps

  3. 10 sec – ski jumps

  4. 10 sec – crossover

Round 6:

  1. 20 sec: alternating legs

  2. 20 sec: ski jumps

Round 7:

  1. 20 sec: double jumps

  2. 20 sec: crossover

Round 8:

  1. 20 sec: fast skipping

  2. 20 sec: high knees

Glossary of Skipping Styles

High knees: lift your knees high in the air one at a time – like

Alternating legs: skip on each leg, individually.

Double jump: Jump high enough in the air, or swing the rope fast enough, to get it under your feet two times while you are airborne. If you can’t get it at the start, don’t stress but for the love of god please film yourself and share it on you tube. It’s one of the best things to watch. EVER.

Ski jump: A double-footed jump – but this time, as well as jumping a few centimetres off the ground, you should also jump from side to side. Start with short sideways jumps and gradually extend the width of your jumps as you improve.

Crossover: while you are jumping rope with a standard swinging motion and lifting both feet at the same time, cross your arms in front of you and jump through the loop that you create. Do this every two or three skips.

Fast skipping: You guessed it –

Happy skipping!

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