Jump Rope Variations

There are several variations that you can incorporate into your jump rope program. Each variation will challenge your coordination and agility in a unique fashion. Below I have listed several variations that I encourage you to try.

Run In Place: Run in place while jumping rope. Land on the balls of your feet and flex the lower leg to form a 90-degree angle with the back of your thigh. You can run in place with the knees up or down. By lifting the knees up to hip level, you will shift the emphasis to the quadriceps. By keeping the knees down, you will work the hamstrings.

Sprint In Place: A variation of running in place involves an all out sprint with the rope. You will remain stationary and jump rope with a "sprint" pace. For this variation, you should run in place with the knees up. This is an excellent exercise to improve anaerobic endurance.

Side-to-Side: Jump with your feet together in a side-to-side motion while skipping rope.

Side-to-Side Twists: A variation to the side-to-side jump involves a simultaneous rotation of the hips. As you jump from side-to-side, you will also rotate the hips back and forth.

Heel-Toe: Jump once to each turn of the rope, alternating your right and left feet from heel to toe. The heel and toe of opposite feet will make contact with the ground at the same time. For example, your right heel will touch the ground in sync with your left toe and vice versa.

Forward - Backward Spread: Alternate one foot forward and one foot backward as you turn the rope. The left foot lands forward and the right foot lands back on the first turn, then the right foot lands forward and the left foot lands back on the second turn. Continue in this alternating fashion. This variation is commonly referred to as the Ali Shuffle.

Front-to-Back: With your feet together, alternate jumping forward and backward while turning the rope.

Corner Jumping: Jump in the pattern of a square. You will jump to each corner of the square while turning the rope. This variation will improve your agility in all directions. You will jump forward, backward, and side-to-side.

Straddle: Start with your feet together for the first turn of the rope. Spread your feet to the sides for the second turn. Continue in this alternating fashion as if you were performing a jumping jack with the rope.

Cross Straddle: For this variation, laterally cross the right leg over the left leg, and then cross the left leg over the right leg. Continue in this alternating fashion.

Criss-Cross: Cross the arms at the elbows on the downward swing of the rope. Jump through the loop of the rope that is formed in front of your body. Uncross the arms on the next downward swing. Continue to criss-cross the rope in this alternating fashion.

Single Leg Bounce: Bounce once to each turn of the rope, using one foot at a time. Alternate between right and left foot. A sample routine involves a ladder where you start with 1 jump on the left foot, then 1 with the right, 2 with the left foot, then 2 with the right, 3 with the left foot, then 3 with the right, and so on until you reach 10. You can then start over with 1 jump per foot and continue.

Double Jumps: Make two turns of the rope for every one jump. Keep your feet together and turn the rope fast to allow for two full turns for every jump.

Double Jump - Single Leg: A more difficult variation is to perform a double jump on one leg at a time. Work 5 double jumps on the left leg, and then 5 on the right leg. Continue with this back and forth pattern.

Triple turn: This is a very difficult variation. Try to jump high and turn the rope three times for every one jump. You will need to jump high as you quickly turn the rope with your wrists.

Other Variations: If you have access to an open gymnasium floor, you can incorporate forward, backward, and side-to-side running with the jump rope. You can run forward while jumping rope, run backward, and to each side. You can also run in the pattern of an imaginary square. Run forward 5 feet, then to the right 5 feet, then backward 5 feet, and back to the left. You are only limited to your imagination. There are an infinite number of variations that you can include in your jump rope routine.

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