Learning something new: jump rope training

The early off season is a great time of year to learn new training methods and techniques.  While the desire for results is less urgent, you can focus on form and technique.

From the posts appearing on RSD it seems that many players will be venturing into the weight room for the first time.  Fantastic!

I am going to venture into the world of jump rope training.  One of my goals this off season is to increase the endurance of my calves.  I believe that jump rope training will help.

I’ve been of the opinion that the time it would take to learn jump roping skills might not be worth the effort.  I would rather be training that learning to jump rope.   I’ve have also thought that there’s nothing that can be gained by jump rope training that can’t be done with agility drills.  I am not sure what my current opinion is on that.  We shall see…

Tonight I found the old jump rope lurking in the closet (pretty sure I asked for it for for Christmas about eight years ago).  I did ten minutes trying out a few basic moves.  I did my jumping on the track after my dynamic warmup but before my workout.

It is always best to put new exercises toward the beginning of your workouts.  Motor skills learning is optimal when there is no fatigue.  When learning a new skill, don’t even think of it as part of your workout.  There will be plenty of time for accruing fitness or strength benefits later.  However, if your movements are not controlled and joints not properly aligned when your ready for increased intensity you can put yourself at risk of injury.

I have not jumped rope since I was about six years old.  I was pleasantly surprised that it’s not actually that hard.  And by “it” I mean just jumping.  Trying any variation was …interesting.

Still, I’m sure I’ll be looking like this dude in no time:

I may revise my thoughts about the benefits of jump rope training.  I have done a lot of work with agility ladders and grid work.  I noticed in jumping rope that I was naturally keeping my torso taller since I didn’t have to look at any objects on the ground.  I do think the core may be more activated in jumping rope than in ladder and other agility work.  The coordination and movement patterns are a little different.  Maybe in a good way.

After my skills session I did 20 reps of 30 second/30 second intervals.  The running was done at about my timed mile pace.  The resting intervals were walking.  I took it easy today as I’m still recovering from a sore throat and not sure how I’ll react to the cold air.

5 comments to Learning something new: jump rope training

  • Cap

    Hey Melissa..I just move to a new city (where is really cold) and I want to start conditioning since I didnt play very much this last year. I normally did it with my friends but I dont really know anyone here and I dont know where to start. I really like lifting but the gym here is full of males and I dont feel like going there, since I am not that good and I need some one to spot me. I need some advice ( remeber it is COOOLD here).. thanks

    • Oh, this is a tough one. You want to avoid males AND the cold. hmm… I’m in the habit of using one to solve the problem of the other. (jk, I only wish!)
      Seriously, this is a great question. And I do understand the issues of the males in the weight room. Do you mind if I think about this and use your question as the topic of a blog post next week? (There are probably at least three posts worth of ideas contained in your one question!) To tide you over to next week though, are you thinking about trying jump rope training yourself? Seems like it might fit with your constraints. Where do you envision yourself doing your training? Also, what do you mean, by saying you’re “not that good” at lifting. Do you mean you’re unsure of your form? Or do you mean you’re just not strong yet? If you really like it, I’m guessing that you’re not that bad at it. We can certainly think of plenty of exercises for which you don’t need a spotter. We can also think of some strength training for which you don’t even need a weight room.

  • […] My next phase is a learning phase in which I want to learn about Olympic style lifting and jump rope training.  I am sensing this phase will not be as easy.  I guess if it were too easy, I wouldn’t be […]

  • You have Buddy Lee’s Rope Training book? He has a good progression for ropework in there. Buddy & Buddy’s buddy Gray Cook are a fan of ropework, I like it too but it does take quite a bit of time to learn, so hard to figure out the reward/investment of that.

    For interval work, cardio strength training (barbell / KB complexes), sprints, rowing, stationary bike all do pretty well and it takes a pretty high level of skill to reach anaerobic levels with ropework.

    Calf endurance, maybe? Could help with landing patterns as a low-level plyometric. Gastroc or Soleus specifically?

    I used to do and recommend eccentric calf raises for endurance/prehab. I think if you do VFF or minimal footwear work you don’t need this as much but otherwise you could think about loading eccentric calf raises (up on two feet, down on one ball of foot, increase RFD if you like on the eccentric).

    ~Leslie =)

    • I haven’t gotten Buddy Lee’s book though I have looked at his website a bit. right now I’ve just been doing whatever feels right. I have been thinking of getting the book so maybe I will now. 🙂 I like the idea of eccentric calf raises. I’ll give those a try. And what is “RFD”?

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