How to start a jump-rope program

If you’re open-minded enough to be reading this, then chances are you’re willing to try jump-roping as part of your fitness routine.
Jumping rope was fun for most of us as kids and it can be a great part of your workout routine, too.
Here are some tips to get you up and jumping again:

STRETCH FIRST – If you opt to jump rope at the end of the workout then you should already be well-stretched. If jumping rope is all you plan on doing that day, or it will start your workout, then make sure to stretch well first.
Get a brisk walk in or light jog and then fully stretch out, paying special attention to your leg muscles.
Jumping jacks would be a good final tune-up to do before picking up the rope.

START WITH THE BASICS – Jumping rope sounds pretty easy and it is once you get the hang of it.
But if you haven’t done it for a while, it can take some getting used to.
It takes a good deal of coordination, agility and stamina to jump for very long at first.
Make sure you do the basics right:
* Hold the rope handles in each hand and let the rope touch the back of your heels on the ground.
* Try some practice jumps, swinging the rope for full revolutions.
Once you get the hang of it, try jumping rope for no more than five minutes a day. You don’t want to get too sore early on.
* After several weeks, if the jumping rope is going OK, then bump up your time to 10-minute sessions.
* It’s OK to mix in short rest moves, such as turning the rope to a side flip without jumping and then start jumping again.
Another tip is don’t jump too high – this is an endurance workout. Turn the rope with your wrists doing the work not your arms.
* Get some fast-paced music going. This will really help.

A FULL WORKOUT – After a few weeks of the longer sessions, you should be ready to really go after it for 15 minutes or more. You may even be mixing in occasional double jumps – rotating the rope twice before your feet hit the floor – between a leap.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at