Here’s a question for you: when was the last time you tried to jump? Maybe it was last week at the gym, maybe it was during one of the many *whisper* lockdowns, or, like me, maybe it was when you were 10, in school and living your best life on the playground.
Reader, I am now 30 years old. But over the years, skipping has made a comeback and when you delve into the endless list of skip the benefits, it is clear to see why. It is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to increase fitness levels, says the personal trainer and professional jumping expert, Jolene Martin, specializing in strength training and functional fitness. It targets muscles in the chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and all of the abs, adds Martin. Sounds good, right?
So in my quest to want to learn a new skill (because it’s never too late), cash in on these full body #gains and give my cardiovascular gymnastics levels a push, i decided to take on a jumping challenge. Also, if it’s good enough for Gemma AtkinsonJLo AND Halle Berry
My jumping challenge
I will aim to tick off 100 jumps a day over a 30 day period (gulp!) At home or at the gym to keep things interesting.
Personally, I generally exercise four to five mornings a week, although this can vary depending on how my body feels. While I’m completing my jump challenge, I’ll try to continue with my weekly 5k run, my once a week online run. Pilates class (I usually find a free file Lots Murphy flow) and my three strength training sessions at my local gym, but I will definitely abandon a session or workout if it’s too much. With that in mind, here’s what an ideal week would look like:
- Monday: 100 gym jumps + 45 minutes of upper body strength training (a mix of lat pull-down, dip, pull-up, chest press, row and shoulder press)
- Tuesday: 100 jumps at home + 20 minutes of Pilates online
- Wednesday: 100 jumps at home + 45 minute lower body strength training session (including squats, deadlifts, lunges, abductors and hip thrusts)
- Thursday: 100 jumps home
- Friday: 100 jumps at home + 45 minute full body strength training session (ranging from dips, pull ups, chest presses, squats, deadlifts and lunges)
- Saturday: 100 jumps home + 5km run
- Sunday: 100 jumps home
Remember this is my personal weekly workout routine. If you are thinking of tackling a jump or fitness challengetalk to a PT and adjust accordingly.
But first, what’s jumping?
Skipping is a high intensity workout that involves holding a piece of skipping rope on both sides of the body, swinging it over the head and jumping on it. Sounds easy, I know. But this dynamic and explosive form of fitness it is anything but.
In addition to challenging your aerobic (used for endurance cardio), anaerobic (used for short, intense bouts of exercise, like HIIT) and cardiovascular systems, jumping works every muscle in your body. So get a lot of hits for your jumps. And just like any other form of fitness, finding your shape is key. To perfect your technique, Martin recommends:
- Keep your shoulders relaxed
- Keep your feet together as you jump up and down
- Look forward, not down
- Keep knees soft and a neutral spine
- Jump high and land softly
This piece of kit might be small, but the benefits sure are powerful.
- Skipping can also help improve balance and coordination two things that unfortunately decrease with age. The researchers of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine studied the effects that jumping had on motor skills and body balance in young soccer players. The result? They found that those who jumped had improved overall motor coordination and balance compared to those who didn’t.
- Need speed? Runners who complete 2-5km will be happy to hear about it jumping can also help you run faster. This comes after the researchers lead to meta-analysis of 21 studies and found a link between jumping and faster running times.
While whoever avoids running like the alarm clock does: look this way. According to research published in Exercise and Sports Quarterly ResearchJumping for 10 minutes a day over the course of six weeks offers the same tremendous benefits as if you were to jog for 30 minutes every day. So with everything in life getting so busy, you can still reap the rewards in a shorter amount of time by jumping, Martin adds.
- Jump can also build and maintain bone density and lead to a healthier heart, explains Martin. The latter was proved in a Study 2019, which looked at the effect that jumping has on cardiovascular and fitness. In this experiment, a group of men was divided into two groups. Group A was asked to complete two jump workouts per day, while group B was asked to perform their normal exercise routine. After 12 weeks, group A showed a significant improvement in their VO2 max.
Side note: this is my personal hopping journey and if you decide to take on a similar challenge, know that it will never be exactly the same as mine. Alright then. Either way, Martin recommends honing your practice. Like anything new, he starts slowly, learns the movement and then builds slowly, he says. Maybe he starts off by trying to jump for 2 minutes without stopping and go from there.
However, if you’re someone who has high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, or has been diagnosed clinically overweight, Martin advises: Low-impact, low-intensity activity without weight would be more suitable.
7 things I learned from my jump challenge
1. Jumping will leave your calves on fire
And that’s an understatement. Completing 100 jumps will leave you feeling like you worked everything from head to toe because, well, you did. This was great because it helped me heating before training or running. But if there was one area where I felt fire like never before, it was in my gastrocnemius and soleus, the two muscles that make up my calves.
For at least the first week, my calves hated it, but after talking with Martin, I found the solution to all my jumping-caused problems: Make sure you stretch your calves after completing your 100 jumps, he says. If not, you may find that you feel like you put on high heels after a night out. Ouch!
2. Jumping requires a supportive sports bra
We all know that A sports bra wins the award for hardest working piece suitable kit. But a fitted sports bra truly comes into its own when performing a form of high-intensity fitness like jumping. So take this as a reminder
3. Skipping is really convenient
Don’t just take my word for it: One of the best things about jumping is the fact that you can pack a jump rope and take it with you anywhere in the world, explains Martin. It’s so light and space-saving that you really have no excuse not to continue your workout routine.
I’ve seen it myself. Over the 30 days, this little pink skipping rope of mine has racked up more steps than Covent Garden tube station can offer. I took my jumping partner to Mexico, he ventured to three different gyms and was at my local park. No matter the time, place or location, all you need is a rope, enough space to swing it, and the motivation to jump.
4. Skipping is an important mental workout
Yes, experienced skippers make this form of fitness look easy. But twisting a rope around your body, jumping on cue, keeping a count and aiming for 100 jumps is just as mental training as it is physical.
In my experience, jumping requires most, if not all, of your concentration as you put your cardiovascular endurance front and center. One jump, jump and jump out of place and your jumping streak will quickly be derailed. Or worse: If your coordination slips like mine at the start of this jumping challenge, you could end up accidentally whipping your legs, arms, or any other body part with your rope. I found out the hard way.
5. It will help you break your 100 jumps into series
I find it easier and more enjoyable to exercise in the morning because it sets me up for the day and gives me an endorphin kick that no oat latte could ever do. But early on, I was struggling to find my rhythm with the rope and catch my breath. To help, I’ve decided to divide my 100 jumps into 5 sets of 20.
By day five, I found that I was able to hit about 40 jumps in a row, and in just over a week, I was racking up 60. It was day 15 when I finally managed to hit 100 jumps in a row and felt like I could keep going. .
6. Your timing and coordination will improve
Yes, really. In addition to finally finding my flow of jumps, over the course of 30 days I was also able to reduce the time it took to make 100 jumps. Initially, completing 100 jumps took me about 2 minutes.
At the end of the challenge, I halved this PB to under 60 seconds. Also, once I mastered the basic jump, I started adding some alternate step jumps.
7. Skipping is super convenient
Did I mention that this handy portable kit is cheaper than an overpriced coffee? Standing at 3.99In the current cost-of-living crisis, this is music to my ears and my bank account.
It turns out that a lot can change in 30 days. After a month of trotting, my hand-eye coordination has never been better. Do you want me to shoot 100 jumps in one go? Safe. Sprinkle in some tricks? Consider my amazing footwork perfected. You need to tick off a short warm-up first race? Jumping has become my companion. Also, as demonstrated by my recovery rate (which I measure by how out of breath I am, and for how long, after jumping) and my desire to want to count more jumps even after I hit my 100, my fitness levels cardio were boosted.
Will I complete 100 jumps every day the rest of the time? I’d be lying if I said yes. But on the days I don’t feel like going to the gym, need to find some head room or go for a run, I’ll be reaching for my jump rope to hit all major muscle groups in minutes, heating my calves and get my endorphins pumping. Boxer jumps, side swings and double unders I’m coming for you!
#Jumps #Day #Days #Heres #Happened #Body #Mind
Image Source : www.womenshealthmag.com