Skipping – Not just for girls in the Playground

Skipping is often overlooked, yet provides one of the easiest and most effective cardio workouts possible. Used by boxers, endurance athletes and many tennis stars, “jumping rope” is a great way to improve your stamina and endurance.

Read our guide on how to get the most from this challenging exercise.

So – just how effective is skipping?

  •  10 Minutes of Skipping is the equivalent to running a mile in 8 minutes
  •  You can burn up to 700 calories an hour
  • Skipping is less likely to cause injury than running as the impact is absorbed by both legs and you are landing on the balls of your feet, not your heels.
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders

You can use a rope as part of a gym session, or as a complete routine outside or at home. There are different types of ropes available to buy, normal, speed and weighted, each offering a more intense workout than the previous. The speed and weighted ropes are designed to work the shoulders and upper arms harder to improve muscle development. See our recommendations below.

Having a rope at home is much more likely to motivate you to work out. On days when you don´t make it to the gym, you have a fully accessible workout within reach. Try our workout routine and start to understand why Muhammad Ali was able to float like a butterfly but sting like a bee.

Techniques:

1. Bounce Step

- Keep your elbows tucked in with your hands 25cm to 30cm from your body, just below your waist. Keep your feet together and jump as the rope passes eye level.

Top Tip: “Keep a slight bend in your knees and land on the balls of your feet”

Best for: Burning fat

2. The Ski

- Imagine each foot is crossing a line with each hop. Stay on the same spot but alternate your feet so with each jump the other foot is in front.

Top Tip: “Keep your upper body straight and feet pointing forwards”

Best For: Obliques, inner thighs and glutes.

3. Knees Up

- Start with a bounce step to gain a rhythm. Then as the rope comes around, lift one knee and bounce on one foot,then repeat with the other.

Top Tip: “Raise your knee as close to your chest as possible, holding it up for one hop to really work your abs”

Best For: Balance and explosive power.

4. The Cross

- Do the bounce. And as the rope passes your face, cross your arms and jump through the loop. Then straighten your arms quickly before the rope comes back over your head

Top Tip: Be decisive in your movement and cross your arms as wide as possible to begin. As you improve you can narrow the loop to jump through so that the move is more fluid.

Best For: Shoulders and biceps.

5. Double spin

- Do three bounce jumps, and bend both knees lift them up as far as you can on the
fourth. At the same time spin the rope twice before landing your feet

Top Tip: Increase the speed on the fourth jump to achieve the double. Lift knees as high as possible.

Best For: Abs and hamstrings.

First you will need to buy a rope – We recommend the following for value and quality – Click the link below now to see it this floor slapping spinner:

To begin, we recommend you practice each of the techniques until you are comfortable and can perform each without tripping over or hitting the back of your head with the rope.

A simple workout could consist of the following:

  • Complete 3 x 3 minutes rounds with a 1 minute rest in between each round.
  • Each session begin with a different technique so that you start each one on fresh legs regularly.

Or for a serious and more complete workout that includes a range of simple but extremely effective exercises, Click here to see our Full Rope Workout

Full Rope Workout – For Home or Gym

When you think of Skipping, try to forget memories of 8 year old girls in your class chanting songs while in the playground jumping with a rope. Think of tough, hard, fierce men who are strong, agile, fast and mean. Skipping is not just for girls.

Boxers use a rope for many exercises to improve strength, cardio, endurance and coordination. It is an easy way to quickly increase your level of fitness and can be used at the gym, in the garden, at home and anywhere else you can think of. If you are still thinking of the 8 year old girls in the playground or have never used a rope, Check out our beginners introduction guide here.

Army Fitness Test have reviewed and used many different ropes and recommend the Authentic RDX Professional Ultra 200 RPM Speed Rope - Check it out here:

 Full Workout using a rope

This workout is intended for all levels of fitness and can be tweaked and made more difficult as you progress and become fitter. Start at the beginning and try to complete the whole session. Take a 1 minute rest if necessary between any exercise but aim to complete the full workout with as few as you can manage.

This workout uses four simple exercises and a rope. As your fitness level rises, increase each rope stage to four minutes, and then 5 when you feel you can still complete the whole workout.

1. 3 minutes jump rope
Keeping your feet together and your legs straight, jump with both legs at the same time.

2. Stretch lightly

3. 15 regular push-ups
Start in push-up position with your feet together and your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your nose almost touches the ground, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.

4.  3 minutes jump rope
Once again, keep your feet together and jump with both legs at the same time.

5. 10 regular push-ups
Start in push-up position with your feet together and your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your nose almost touches the ground, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.

6. 10 dips
Sit down on a chair or bench and cup your hands on the edge on either side of your thighs. Walk your legs out until you’re no longer sitting and are supporting yourself on your hands. Using your arms, lower yourself in front of the chair or bench, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.

7. 3 minutes jump rope
This time, bounce from one foot to the other, either jumping on each foot just once before alternating, or changing foot every two or three jumps.

8. 15 full sit-ups
Laying on your back with your feet on the ground and your arms crossed over your chest, sit all the way up until your elbows touch your knees. Lower yourself back until your shoulder blades touch the ground, then repeat.

9. 3 minutes jump rope
Bounce from one foot to the other, either jumping on each foot just once before alternating, or changing foot every two or three jumps.

10. 5 push-ups, 5 dips, 5 sit-ups
Use same form as above.

11. 3 minutes jump rope
This time, do “high knees,” alternating feet and bringing your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the ground on each jump.

12. 60 seconds push-ups
You’re going to be a little winded by now, but do regular push-ups with the same form as above for a full minute. The goal is to try to get 60.

13. 3 minutes jump rope
Do “high knees,” alternating feet and bringing your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the ground on each jump.

14. 60 seconds leg lifts
Lay on your back and make a diamond with your hands under your tailbone for support. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are perpendicular to the ground. Still keeping them straight, lower them until your heels lightly touch the ground. Do this as many times as you can in a minute.

15. 3 minutes jump rope
This time, run in place as you skip the rope.

16. 60 seconds dips
Using the same form as above, do as many dips as you can in a minute.

17. 3 minutes jump rope
This time side-to-side again, bouncing from one foot to the other, either jumping on each foot just once before alternating, or changing foot every two or three jumps.

18. 60 seconds decline push-ups
Start in push-up position with your feet together up on a chair, bed, or couch, and your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself with your arms until your nose is almost to the ground, then push back up until your arms are fully extended. Do as many as you can in a minute.

19. 3 minutes jump rope
Keeping your feet together and your legs straight, jump with both legs at the same time.

20. 60 seconds leg lifts
Lay on your back and make a diamond with your hands under your tailbone for support. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are perpendicular to the ground. Still keeping them straight, lower them until your heels lightly touch the ground. Do this as many times as you can in a minute.

21. 3 minutes jump rope
This time, bounce on one foot for a full minute and a half, then switch to the other foot for a minute and a half.

22. 60 seconds double crunch
Lay flat on your back with your arms back behind your head, feet on the ground, and knees bent. Bring your knees to your chest while doing a crunch at the same time. Do as many as you can in a minute.

23. 30 seconds jump rope
Do “high knees,” alternating feet and bringing your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the ground on each jump.

24. 30 seconds jump rope
This time side-to-side again, bouncing from one foot to the other, either jumping on each foot just once before alternating, or changing foot every two or three jumps.

25. 30 seconds jump rope
Keeping your feet together and your legs straight, jump with both legs at the same time.

26. 60 seconds jump rope
Do “high knees,” alternating feet and bringing your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the ground on each jump.

27. 60 seconds jump rope
This time side-to-side again, bouncing from one foot to the other, either jumping on each foot just once before alternating, or changing foot every two or three jumps.

28. 60 seconds jump rope
Keeping your feet together and your legs straight, jump with both legs at the same time.

29. 5 regular push-ups
Start in push-up position with your feet together and your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your nose almost touches the ground, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.

30. 5 decline push-ups
Start in push-up position with your feet together up on a chair, bed, or couch, and your hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself with your arms until your nose is almost to the ground, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.

 

Were you able to complete the full workout? We would like to hear your thoughts and feedback!

 

Ten tips for fast improvement

Here are ten quick and simple tips to help improve your level of fitness. Apply them to your current fitness plan or to one of our great workouts here on the Army Fitness Test website.

 

Start an Uphill battle

Don´t stick to running on a flat road or treadmill, include hills and inclines to increase the amount of calories you burn Your heart will work harder which will lead to it becoming stronger. This will also a great way to increase leg strength.

 

Train with purpose

Get one of the many available apps for tracking workouts, weights lifted and calories burned. To improve it is essential to know how good you were the session before. Set goals and targets to smash.

 

Turn it up a notch

Circuit training is fast, intense and hard. It gets quick results and is perfect for days when you have less time but still want a good full body workout. Pick between 6-8 exercises with a mixture of cardio and resistance training and work through each one with no rests in between. At the end of the circuit give yourself a few minutes rest, then start again.

 

Get some fresh air

The gym can get boring. Fact. When possible, take on new challenges and add variety to your fitness regime. Get off the smooth roads and try offroad mountain biking or trail running. This will call upon your stabilizer muscles to improve balance and all round endurance.

 

Hard and Fast, soft and slow

Interval training is one of the key ways to improve your fitness in the shortest amount of time. Combine high intensity activity with equal amounts of recovery and alternate between the two. If on the street, use lampposts as markers and sprint between two, and then walk between the next two. Repeat until your body is screaming for a rest.

 

Put the Kettle(bells) on

Kettlebell training is a great way to improve cardio and build strength. One Kettlebell session a week will improve lung capacity and increase your maximum heart rate.

 

On time, Every time.

Consistency is the best way to get solid results and by getting into a routine you reach your goals quicker. Your body is able to adapt to the times that you train so even if getting up 1 hour early every morning is difficult to begin, it will get easier quickly.

 

Fist Pump

If you are using treadmills or steppers, don´t use the handrail. Pump your arms in rhythm to your leg movements to increase the effectiveness of the workout.

 

Make your ears bleed (not literally)

Listening to music that motivates you will help to improve your workout and also make it more enjoyable. Stick the Rocky soundtrack on your Ipod and visualize you goals.

 

Get a friend

Knowing that someone else is waiting for you at the gym makes it much harder to skip sessions and will also make your training more fun. Challenge each other to see who can meet their individual goals faster.

Interval training – 3 different approaches

Here are three different suggestions to create your own lung beating workout.

Interval type: Standard

Here is a typical workout using a standard interval format. You match each period of high intensity with an equal amount of time at a low intensity

1 - 5 minute warm up. (fast walk or a light job to slowly raise your heart rate.

2 - 1 minute high intensity exercise pushing yourself to the limit, followed by 1 minute low intensity to recover – Repeated for duration of workout

3 - 5 minute cool down. (light jog slowing to a walking pace by the end of 5 minutes)

 

Interval type: Pyramid

The structure of this type of training is typically good for people who are going to be taking a Beep Test. The variation of the time at high intensity requires your body to adjust quickly and will strengthen endurance.

1 - 5 minute warm up. (fast walk or a light job to slowly raise your heart rate)
2 - 30 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low (Recovery)
3 - 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low (Recovery)
4 - 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low (Recovery)
5 - 90 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low (Recovery)
6 - 60 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low (Recovery)
7 - 45 seconds high intensity, 1 minute low (Recovery)
8 - 30 seconds high intensity
9 - 5 minute cool down. (light jog slowing to a walking pace by the end of 5 minutes)

 

Interval type: Sports Conditioning

In real life (during sports or Army operations) there is not usually such a precise pattern of high intensity and recovery and so to get your body to the peak of fitness it is important to keep it guessing.

Below is an example but experiment with your own times and challenges. Remember to rest longer after the times when you use the most energy.

1 - 5 minute warm up. (fast walk or a light job to slowly raise your heart rate)

2 -  2 minute high intensity followed by 2 minutes low intensity (repeat once)

3 - 30 seconds high intensity followed by 30 seconds low intensity (repeat four times)

4 - 10 second sprints followed by 90 seconds rest (repeat 6 – 10 times)

5 - 5 minute cool down. (light jog slowing to a walking pace by the end of 5 minutes)

Whether you apply one (or all) of the above methods to your training, you are sure to improve your cardio fitness very quickly.

Train with purpose.

 

How to beat the beep test – Training guide

The Beep test is a fundamental part of the British Army Officer selection process. It is a measure of your aerobic fitness and is known to be one of the most challenging fitness tests created.

You will be required to take this test and reach a minimum of the following levels:

Men: 10.2

Women: 8.1

Here are some ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness and prepare you for the real test.

Key focus: Interval Training, Sprints, strength development

Remember: Long, steady paced running will improve your overall level of fitness but is not a good way to train for a beep test. To increase your aerobic capacity you need to focus high intensity training.

If you have access to a treadmill

Set the treadmill to 1% incline

Spend 5 minutes warming up and raising your heart rate by walking at a steady pace.

Set the treadmill to 8km/hr

Each minute, increase the speed by 0.5km/hr

Click To EnlargeClick table to enlarge

 

Keep increasing the pace every minute until you are unable to continue.

A very important factor that is often forgotten is to record your results – It is essential to track your progress and to improve.

Each time you take this test, write down the speed or the minute that you had to stop. Every 3 attempts aim to improve and progress to the next level.

Outside training

Any type of high intensity interval training (HIIT) will help you get closer to your beep test goal. This includes exercises where you sprint or push your body to its limit for short bursts and then recover and let your heart rate lower before repeating.

Here are some examples of Interval training:

Hill Sprints – Run as fast as you can to the top of a hill (or a partial way up) and then walk back down and repeat as many times as you can

Track Sprints – Run 100 metres as fast as you are able to and then walk for the next 100 metres, then repeat the sprint for 100m and so on.

Skipping – Get a rope and skip hard for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds at a slow pace. Repeat for as long as you can.

It is important to note that any type of training that raises your heart rate to near maximum levels and then followed by a recovery period before repeating will have a great effect on your fitness levels.  Avoid long, steady paced and often boring cardio exercises, keep it interesting and you will be well on your way to passing the all important Beep Test at selection.

However, probably the best way to get better at the beep test is to actually practice it. This way you can improve the level you are able to achieve and make sure you can pass the required stage on the actual day of you assessment. You can get the MP3 below and set up a two markers 20 metres apart anywhere you like.