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Core training Cross training Training tips

Rope Jumping for Runners – The Injured Runner

Many of us haven’t touched a jump rope since school days. You may have memories of hours of fun while singing silly songs, embarrassment of your lack of coordination or fear of getting near the girls that could jump the shoes off of you.

Rope jumping can be an extremely effective supplement to your running program. With a little bit of effort you will run better, faster and with greater enjoyment. Rope jumping improves:

  • Running speed
  • Foot strength
  • Muscular balance
  • Coordination
  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness

Rope Jumping Tips

If you are one of the many people who feel uncoordinated when rope jumping try “air jumping” or jumping without a rope. Simply jump as if you were spinning a rope until you become more confident, then add the rope in for a more vigorous work out and enhanced coordination.

Rope jumping is best performed on a firm surface. A wood floor, like a basketball court, is optimal but any firm surface will work.

Wear your running shoes when you jump to cushion and protect your feet. If you are “air jumping” you can train in the grass but it doesn’t work well for rope jumping.

Initially, start by jumping with both feet 20 times, then left foot 20 times, and then right foot 20 times. Gradually increase your number of hops rotating between double and single leg hops (see “Training Program”).

When you jump think of springing with your feet – your knees should be only slightly bent. Your heels should not touch or only touch very softly.

Listen to yourself jump. Jumps should be soft and rhythmic. If your jumps are strained and loud perform fewer hops but more sets (10 sets of 5 instead of 50 consecutive jumps) focusing on fewer but high quality jumps.

Use the circular motion of your wrists to spin the rope as opposed to using your arms.

Limit your rope jumping to twice per week. Once you have reached Step 3, one workout per week will maintain your gains.

Always jump the same number of jumps on each foot. If you can do 40 jumps on your right foot and 30 on your left then limit the hops to 30. You have been over training your dominant leg for years. This is the time to balance and restore symmetry.

rope-jumping_clip_image007-4923343Train pain free! If you can’t hop on one foot because of pain you will need to use a lower impact form of cross training (swimming, cycling, elliptical, rollerblading, etc.) until you can jump without pain. If you can jump without pain but at the end of your workout your heel / Achilles is tender for less than 10 minutes you may continue jump training.

If counting drives you crazy try singing one of those silly songs.

As you feel more comfortable try some variations: deeper knee bend, torso twist, side hops, double rope spin, weighted rope, etc.

Be patient and have fun with your rope jumping!

The Training Program

This is an example program, modify it to meet your needs.

Both Feet Right Foot Left Foot
Level 1

(210 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

Level 2*

(420 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

Level 3*

(690 total jumps)

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

20 jumps

30 jumps

40 jumps

50 jumps

40 jumps

30 jumps

20 jumps

*Only progress to the next level when you have no soreness the morning after your workout.

Bryan Whitesides MPT, OCS

Physical Therapist

www.betterrunner.com

This article may be reproduced with appropriate reference.

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