They needed to jump over the ropes to retrieve strands of hemp, which then turned into a skill. Legend has it that their kids started imitating them and inventing games using small pieces of ropes.
Since then, skipping rope has gone from being child’s play to becoming one of the most effective forms of exercise and training techniques used in boxing and cross-fit to improve speed and agility.
Jump rope is a full body workout which strengthens your legs, butt, shoulders and arms. It is one of the highest calories burning exercises around and is said to be an effective way of reducing cellulite.
For 10 minutes of moderate skipping, a 60kg person can expect to burn around 105 calories. This is equivalent to the same weighted person running for 10 minutes at a 6:13/km pace but 25% more than the 73.5 calories the same person can expect to burn for 10 moderate minutes on a stationary bike.
Skipping may not require a lot of space, or time but to do it well you need a good skipping rope.
Old fashioned ropes, like the ones you played with as a child are clunky and one sized. They tend to curl into storage position and bounce back into a loop mid-jump. Most are too long for your body, and tend to slap your arms as you jump leaving sore and red marks.
Virtuosity, the Cross-fit Fitness company and creators of the Virtuosity Games, a CrossFit competition which gives athletes an opportunity to benchmark their performance and progress, designed a skipping rope following new design principles to eliminate the above issues.
Unlike conventional jump ropes, the Virtuosity Jump rope has an external swivel bearing that eliminates drag and friction and prevents rope tangle.
This means that when you’re turning the rope you don’t have to worry about drag and are able to execute fast and smooth actions in all directions.
In addition the Virtusuosity jump rope is adjustable so you can adjust it according to height and level.
How to Skip Like a Cross-Fit Pro
According to Olympian, World Cup Medalist and skipping pro Buddy Lee there are three measurements you should know: Handles at shoulder level, under armpits and at chest level.
Beginners should start with sizing the rope so that the handles reach shoulder level which gives 10-12 inches of clearance when you jump. As you get better you can shorten the rope to armpit and then chest level. A shorter rope is a faster rope and requires you to have faster reactions.
Your best surfaces are wood, level dirt or a rubberised surface. Avoid concrete which is too hard.
Watch this clip of Buddy Lee demonstrating the perfect starting position (rope behind your knees) as well as the two basic moves which are the foundation for every other skipping technique – the basic bounce and alternative step jump.
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The Virtuosity skipping rope comes in a handy travel bag along with instructions on how to size it correctly for your body.
The rope, which retails at R200.00 is made from plastic. It has a 3m adjustable rope length and 16cm Ball-bearing handles. Its stainless steel coated cables, to a thickness of 2.4mm ensure it doesn’t get all twisted, is incredibly durable and exceptionally lightweight.
They are easily ordered through the Virtuosity website, with delivery throughout South Africa.
Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to code things, design things, and all things beauty.