Skipping Rope Jumping To Increase Your Vertical
One of the more frequently asked questions I get about vertical jump training is can rope jumping increase your vertical jumping ability? The short answer is yes it can, but as usual, it isn't necessarily that simple.
You see jumping rope by itself won't actually do much to develop your muscular power. This is best done by hitting the weights and doing some high intensity plyo's and jumping drills. However, what rope jumping can do is help build you into a better athlete that will be able to APPLY that muscular power more efficiently.
HOW CAN ROPE JUMPING INCREASE YOUR VERTICAL JUMPRope jumping can help improve your vertical jump in a whole bunch of different ways. The first couple to look at relates to its value as a great cardio-vascular activity with two direct jumping benefits. The first is that it improves your work capacity so that you can train harder and recovery quicker between sets. This leads to more intense efforts and better results.
The second cardio-vascular related benefit is that skipping rope work is an awesome fat burning exercise. This is important as any excess body fat really does nothing to help you jump high. If you are packing a few extra pounds some high intensity rope jumping intervals work wonders.
I like to do 10-20 minutes of 30 seconds on 30 seconds rest. During your 30 second work periods try and count the number of revolutions you do and then aim to beat that number. By constantly challenging yourself like this you will maintain a higher intensity and burn more calories.
Strong ankles serve a number of purposes including decreasing the likelihood of injury, increasing your agility, and from a vertical jump stand point strong ankles help you more efficiently transfer force into the ground which ultimately will help you jump higher.
This strength of the ankles is sometimes also referred to by various coaches as ankle stiffness. Sometimes you hear coaches talk about ankle stiffness as having almost mythical qualities when it comes to improving your ability to jump and prescribe all sorts of activities to help develop it.
Essentially good ankle strength helps prevent energy leaks, especially for single leg jumpers, or people who do a lot of running and jumping, and especially at the crucial point of takeoff. Strong ankles won't collapse under the downward forces of the jump and will be able to transfer your power much more efficiently than weaker ankles.
A good analogy is that ankle strength/stiffness is like the suspension in a race car. No matter how powerful the engine of the car is, if it has soft, or weak springs in the suspension it won't go around corners very vast because there will be too much body roll and lost power. In other words, the weak suspension is an energy leak for a race car. It needs strong suspension to be able to apply its power to the road efficiently. Likewise your body needs good strong ankles and feet to jump with maximum efficiency.
Power Jumper Skipping: Just like regular skipping, only better!
While skipping rope work is great for improving ankle strength, ultimately it is a low intensity exercise and as such isn't always ideal. So in order to more effectively develop ankle strength using rope jumping there are a couple of things you can do to increase the difficulty of the exercise.
The first thing you can do is increase the speed of your revolutions. As mentioned earlier, counting the number of revolutions per work interval is a great way to maintain a high speed. High speed rope jumping forces you to movemore quickly which means more force applied to the ground through your ankles, resulting in greater improvements in strength.
The second way to increase intensity is to do single leg rope jumping (hopping). Obviously having to bear the load of your body on only the one ankle significantly increases the work it has to do and as such increases the strength gains experienced.
The last method, and one I have found to be the most effective is to add resistance via something like the Lifeline Portable Power Jumper or an X-Vest. Both are ideal for this although I prefer the Power Jumper as it also gives your core an awesome workout as the cords trying to contract force you to work extra hard to maintain an upright position.
OTHER BENEFITS of ROPE JUMPINGAside from the pure vertical jump related benefits rope jumping is also very easy to learn, helps build co-ordination, can be done just about anywhere, helps make you look good, costs less than $10 for a good rope, and on top of that, as a weight bearing activity, it can help build healthy bones.
One other benefit of rope jumping that is often overlooked is that it is usually pretty easy to recover from. Consider how sore a session of interval hill sprints leaves you and compare that to a similarly timed session of rope jumping. Obviously you might not burn the same number of calories, but the fact that the next day you can skip again without too much soreness starts to add up pretty quickly.
HOW TO INCORPORATE ROPE JUMPING INTO YOUR WORKOUTSAnybody who has read our free vertical jump training guide will no doubt know that I highly recommend incorporating rope jumping into your workouts as part of a good warm up. Often 5-10 minutes is plenty. It is a great full body exercise that gets the blood flowing nicely and warms up your joints for an optimal training session.
If you need to do extra work either for fat loss, or for ankle development it isn't difficult to find 10-15 minutes to do some high speed intervals either at the end of your workouts or at another time during the training week. Again, the Lifeline Power Jumper adds another dimension to the exercise that is great for burning extra calories.
CONCLUSIONRope jumping is a great exercise that just about any athlete can benefit from. It won't help you develop a lot of power and by itself probably won't do that much to increase your vertical jump. However when combined with a quality vertical jump training program, the increases in foot and ankle strength it develops can play an important role in maximizing not just your jump, but also your overall athletic capabilities.
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Power Jumper Review - Our review of the fantastic Lifeline Portable Power Jumper.
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