By the healthiergang writer , certified personal trainer and athlete ().
Training with the Rope
In boxing gyms it is one of the practically irreplaceable conditioning practices, just as it is fundamental in the training of any other fighter; in all those sports where it is very important to develop muscle coordination, agility, speed in leg play, the cardiovascular endurance it is an indispensable tool, alas little used in traditional gyms.
I'm talking about the rope, a tool that increasingly risks becoming a new ally of our functional training: in fact, what we now call with its Anglo-Saxon term of use functional training, is nothing but the recovery (welcome to me!) of training of the past, when you did not have sophisticated machinery in the gym, and which therefore pursues the objective of returning to use and reuse various gymnastic equipment that we believed disappeared, and that some even mistakenly believe to be of the latest generation (think for example of kettlebell).
Here then is the rope and all its fun and useful exercises (which many have learned since childhood) is increasingly going beyond the boundaries of boxing gyms and combat sports, to become a very useful training tool for athletes of any other sport (think of basketball or tennis, and of course to athletics).
In gyms, machines that stimulate muscle coordination are often used; the rope can replace them and be a faithful, economical and not at all bulky training partner practically everywhere, at home on wooden floors, in the park, on the track, on the path, on the tennis court, in a ring, wherever there is the possibility of having a surface that absorbs rebounds (therefore do not use directly on floors in concrete but use a rubber tile or gym mat if necessary).
The skipping rope is super cheap, can be found in any sporting goods store or in those specialized for boxing, there are generally three types: of cotton, leather and synthetic material.
Source in cotton and pvc are the lightest in addition to being the cheapest available on the market (I bought an excellently functional 3 euro one), also suitable for beginners or to those who use them occasionally, very useful for their lightness in fast and medium-high intensity work, and are the ones I recommend (those in leather are heavier and suitable for more than experienced athletes because they allow much more complex workouts and intense and if used clumsily they can be painful if you lose control by doing the wrong exercise).
Once you have purchased the rope, you must first adjust its length, positioning yourself at the center of it with your feet and making sure that the handles reach the height of the armpits, then cut the excess cable (do some tests, do not cut it cleanly, if it became too short it would then be unusable).
Now let's move on to acquiring first the jumping technique, for those of course not already practical: it is not very easy if you do not already know how to do it, but it is not impossible and, as for cycling or swimming, once you have learned it, you will never forget how to do it. Acquiring the technique is essential.
For those who are beginners a good tip is to initially jump without the rope, on the spot, with feet together, not with the heels but with the toes, without lifting them too much from the floor. Try to acquire a cadence, a rhythm, which is what you will then need when passing the string; the second step consists in jumping with the rope in hand on one side only, in order to begin to get used to and synchronize with it; then you try to jump, a few seconds at a time.
The jumping phase sees a synchronization, which must become perfect, between arms and legs; the rope must be twisted up and around the body until it reaches the feet forward with the movement of the wrists only, letting your arms and shoulders remain low and relaxed. Start with 20 seconds of hops and then 30 to 60 seconds of rest, don't get overwhelmed by fatigue. Slowly, with practice, you will come to jump for 1, 2, 3 minutes until you are able to maintain the exercise for at least 15 minutes (with a caloric expenditure of as much as 200 calories, not indifferent I would say, as an exercise of warm-up or cool-down!)
I feet during the jump must be kept parallel, the legs together or even spread wide at the pelvis and slightly flexed to avoid negatively stressing the back, the jump should be performed not on the heel but on the forefoot, the abdominals must always be well contracted to keep the back straight.
What muscles are involved? Of course all the lower muscles, especially the quadriceps, calves and buttocks; however, as we have seen, the exercise also involves arms, abdominals and shoulders in synchrony.
Do not do it barefoot, use cross-training shoes or in any case allow good cushioning of the foot during jumps.
Exercises With the Rope
And now let's move on to illustrate some of the various esercizi that you can go for:
#1 Jump with feet together
I think it is the most suitable for beginners, the simplest; get ready to jump as soon as you see that the rope touches the floor in front of you, do not raise your knees excessively, (otherwise you will not be able to synchronize the speed of the hops with the rapid turn of the rope around your body). The ideal would be to start with 1 minute of jumping and 1 of rest up to 3 of jumping and 1 of rest, for a total of at least 15-20 minutes.
# 2 Criss-cross jump
Cross your hands as the rope passes over your head and jump with your arms crossed. Untie them as soon as the rope has passed under your feet
# 3 Movement of Ali
Movement that takes its name from the famous and unforgotten boxing champion Mohammed Alì, in which the feet are moved alternately back and forth while jumping, to a maximum width of 50 cm from each other.
Simulates the movement of skiers as the poles pass. The rope is passed diagonally while jumping, be careful not to move the body sideways too wide and unbalanced.
# 5 Double skip
Quick winding of the rope so that you jump twice with each step under your feet
# 6 Rotation
The body will rotate 90 degrees alternately left and right as the string is at the top
With your knees high, you practically run in place as the rope passes under you.
These exercises can be performed individually or in combination, of course when the degree of execution has become very high: it could be interesting to combine, for example, the basic hops (15 seconds) with the criss-cross (15 seconds;) then in quick succession the movement of Ali (15 seconds) with the double skip (15 seconds); and still other combinations, such as race (15 seconds) e double skip (15 seconds), before recovering from a standstill for 60 seconds.
The variations are practically infinite and adjustable according to the confidence reached with the tool; however, whichever circuit you choose, the important thing is that the execution technique is perfect, this is the only way to develop the proprioception of the lower limbs in an optimal way and to improve one's cardiovascular capacities.