High Interval Training with a Jump Rope Routine

Monday October 21, 2013

Interval training is an effective way to burn the same amount of calories that steady-state exercises burn in a shorter amount of time. This is done by alternating periods of high- and low-intensity exercise. Intervals typically last between three to five minutes and follow a 1-to-1 or 1-to-3 ratio of work to rest. High intensity interval training typically lasts 20 to 25 minutes. However, depending on the work-to-rest ratio and individual fitness level, these workouts can last up to 60 minutes. Jumping rope is a total body cardiovascular exercise that can be used for interval training. Due to its portability and ease of use, jumping rope can be done practically anywhere and by anyone.

Jump-rope Techniques
The first step toward successful rope jumping is choosing the correct rope. Ropes come in speed, beaded and cloth styles. Choose one that feels comfortable in your hands and that isn’t too heavy. Make sure the rope is the proper length by stepping on the middle of it and bringing the handles to chest level. The rope should be straight and taut. Some ropes can be customized to individual height levels by shortening the rope length.

Once the correct rope is chosen, your jump-rope technique needs to be perfected. Your hands should be at your sides, with your wrists and forearms making small circles when turning the rope. Try not to let the arms extend too far from the body or create tension in the upper body. Your shoulders should remain down and relaxed. When jumping, the goal is to have one jump per turn. A small extra hop can be used in the beginning while getting used to the jump rope. As time progresses and technique improves, try to remove this extra hop.

Beginner Routine
Beginning jump ropers should have a short work period with a longer rest period. Keeping with a 1-to-3 ratio is recommended. For example, jump rope for 30 seconds and then walk in place for 90 seconds. As your fitness level increases, the work period could be extended to 60 seconds with a rest period of two to three minutes. These intervals can be repeated for a total amount of time or for a specific number of intervals. For instance, the intervals could continue for 20 minutes or for 10 complete intervals. That decision should be made before the workout begins and based on your individual fitness level.

Intermediate Routine
As your fitness level increases, the work-to-rest ratio can be shortened to 1-to-1. With most intermediate interval workouts, this can mean jumping rope for 30 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds. As long as the ratio remains 1-to-1, the periods of work and rest could be up to two minutes each. Repeat this sequence for the pre-determined amount of time or intervals.

Advanced Tabata Routine
Advanced interval routines are made of up longer work times than rest times. Tabata interval training is common among advanced exercisers. The Tabata Protocol is a four-minute interval workout, with intervals that consist of 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest. The work to rest ratio is now 2-to-1. During the 20 seconds of work, try to jump rope as fast as possible with a controlled motion. There should be no extra hops between turns. This is repeated for a total of eight sets in four minutes. More sets of Tabata can be done in one workout session if full recovery is reached.

General Recommendations
Before beginning any exercise program, see your personal physician. Perform a five- to 10-minute warm-up before any of the workouts mentioned above. Follow them by cooling down and performing stretches for at least five minutes.