Don't skip the skipping

November 25, 2013

images-1I can tell that some people love skipping as much as they like going to the dentist. It’s uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. As soon as they start  you can see a kind of misery cloud their eyes. They trip over the rope, they start again, they trip again. It can be demoralising and exhausting. Their shins hurt, their knees hurt and they’re frustrated.

Meanwhile others seem to skip away without a care. It looks so easy. They’ve got rhythm, they’re light on their toes. The only time they jump high is when they want to clear double rope turns. What the hell is going on? Are they gifted?

The main difference between those who can skip and those who can’t is time and practice. Many people couldn’t skip when they began. But they stuck with it, one jump at a time.  Boxing does require a certain dogged determination. And if you can apply that to skipping you can apply it to anything that follows.

Skipping is an essential part of boxing training for these reasons.

1. It’s an excellent total body warm-up

2. It improves agility

3. It connects the communication pathways between upper and lower body

4. It burns calories anywhere, anytime

So here are some tips for those who are learning.

1. Don’t try to jump too high. You’re not in the Grand National Steeple Chase. Even an Olympic athlete would struggle to do high plyometric jumps for three minutes. So relax, bounce off the balls of your feet. Bend your knees when you land and bend your ankles when you push off.

2. Don’t turn the rope with your whole arm, keep your hands at waist height and flick the rope from the wrist to get some momentum on it. If you use your arm the rope will come off the ground too much and trip you up. And if the rope turns too slowly you’d better learn to fly so you can stay airborn long enough to clear it when it eventually makes a full rotation.

3. Make sure the rope is the right length. Stand on the centre and the handles should reach your armpits.

Finally, have a look at how Floyd Mayweather Jnr skips. He’s got some tricks but he keeps the rhythm and lands on his toes. Without that control, he wouldn’t be able to do his double under cross-overs.

If you want to practice your skipping you can now buy ropes at the gym for $15.

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