A mini Q & A with Knockout’s very own Coach Jess on Jumping Rope
By: Nicky Sykora
No matter where you are in your boxing journey beginner through advanced members will come across questions they have regarding this complex sport. Ask the Coach! is here to give you answers to all things boxing!
Do you want to get the most out of your Knockout classes? Are you the type of person who needs to know why things are the way they are? Do you ever have questions to ask the coaches, but forget them because class just kicked your butt? If you answered yes to any of those questions this Q&A is exactly what you need because knowledge is power!
Question: It looks like jumping rope is a part of most class warm ups. I haven’t jumped rope in ages, where do I begin?
Answer: After you’ve changed into your clean gym shoes and wrapped your hands head on into the gym where the first thing you should do is grab a jump rope and find an open spot on the floor. Remember to keep your gloves and water bottle off to the side, preferably by a wall, and make sure you have enough room to jump rope, and perform other warm ups comfortably. This goes hand in hand with our Gym Rule: Be ON TIME! It can be frustrating to members who are already situated and jumping rope when people come in late and are winding their way through the crowd to find a spot. Being on time is key.
Do you need to borrow a rope? Grab one from the community jump ropes located up front by the water cooler. These ropes are hanging up by length. Make sure to put your rope back in the appropriate spot after you’ve completed the jump rope warm up. Please note the jump ropes in the back of the gym by the stereo are personal jump ropes. They are not for communal use.
Question: Shouldn’t jumping rope be easy? Why am I having trouble now?
Answer: We tell people in BOXING 101 don’t worry if you can’t get this, you probably haven’t jumped rope since you were 5 years old. Be patient! It is a skill set. It takes some time getting the rhythm, timing and mechanics right. We do have three jump rope videos on YouTube and those are useful resources for people to refer to while learning to get better at jumping rope. (Subscribe to the KOWB YouTube Channel to view these videos and more!)
The kind of rope you use is also hugely important. People starting out will use the community ropes, but we do encourage everyone to buy a jump rope that can be customized to your height. We recommend the Buddy Lee Cross Speed ropes and the Aero Speed Hyperperformance jump ropes. Both are available through our website. Go to SHOP and select Recommended Gear in the dropdown to find both ropes.
Question: OK, I’ve purchased my Buddy Lee rope and I feel comfortable with the basic skills. What’s next? How do I step up my jump roping to the next level?
Answer: When you’re using jump rope as a warm up I think it’s fine to take it at more of a lackadaisical speed. The purpose of jumping rope is to get your body temperature up and just get yourself moving. Beyond that if you do want to become a more efficient skilled jump roper, I think the next step is to really challenge your speed. You get comfortable going at a certain pace, we walk at a certain tempo or we run at a certain tempo, we punch at a certain speed and we get really comfortable in that pace and tempo. Once you get the two-foot bounce down and feel confident with your rhythm, you can increase the rate at which you spin the rope around you per minute. This is also called revolutions per minute. For optimal benefit Buddy Lee recommends 120 revolutions per minute (Source: http://www.officialbuddyleeblog.com/p/kickboxing.html). You can also set the pace with music. Jump to a song that has 120 beats per minute. Once you get comfortable with 120 beats a minute, you could work up to 130 beats per minute using a website like steadymixes.com. Almost all of their mixes are 130 beats per minute and they will reference how many beats there are. There are a couple that are 100 beats per minute and they have a few that are 150. If you try to keep up beat with 150 it is faster, you can definitely feel the difference. Music is good for the cadence and tempo you need to keep your jumping speed up.
Try new jumps and new tricks. Once you get that two-foot bounce which is your basic skill, go into your alternating foot jump and work on your straddle and criss cross jumps. For more intensity go to high knees, and then try to master the double under. Out of all of those the double under is probably the most challenging jump to master. Once you have those down, intermix the jumps, change from alternating foot to high knee to double unders to fast and slow intervals. If you’re working on endurance increase the duration for which you’re jumping. We typically do three minute increments, but if you’re doing this outside of the gym and you want to build up your endurance do four minutes for a week and see how you feel. Maybe the next week add on 5 minute increments. I probably wouldn’t go more than 10 and I definitely wouldn’t try that off the bat. Doing that amount right away will kill your shins. Don’t go from zero to 10 minutes right away, you will pay for that dearly.
If you’re a newer student, a lot of people experience calf soreness and some people even shin pain depending on their fitness level, their strength, mechanics and anatomy. It really comes down to pacing yourself. In classes we start out with three minutes, but I never tell members they have to do that. Listen to your body and if you can only do one or two minute and you need a break, take it. You need your muscles and your joints to get used to. Just like running or any other sport, add on incrementally over time.
That does it for the first round of Ask the Coach! with Coach Jess. Do you have a burning question about boxing that would also help other Knockouts? Submit a question in the comments, or email email@example.com with the subject line “Ask the Coach! Question” and your question could be featured in the next Q&A!
Jessica Storch, MA is a boxing coach, personal trainer, health coach, planner addict and owner of Knockout Women's Boxing Club in Westmont, IL as well as Knockout Print Shop. Her mission is to empower women to be their best. She promotes a health focused mentality and encourages women to let go of the diet mentality. Jessica believes weight loss doesn't equal health and works with women to support them in building healthy lifestyles and happy lives.