What’s up, JRD nation?!
Today we will talk about one of the most important and all too often overlooked parts of an effective jump rope fitness regime.
Of all of the lessons that we (Dan and Brandon) have learned in almost ten years of jumping rope (and there are many!), it’s that you won’t achieve your fitness goals without a proper warm-up. Warming up the body for your jump rope workout gradually ramps up your cardiovascular system, raises your core temperature, and increases blood flow to your muscles.
Warming up has been shown to reduce muscle soreness and your risk of injury. If you’ve ever wondered how to warm up for jump rope, today we are going to show you how. Keep reading to discover everything we’ve learned about warming up (and cooling down), including our favorite warm-up routine.
The Benefits of Warming Up
Let’s be honest – we have all been guilty of completely skipping our warm-up to save time. But it’s a terrible habit to get into. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. It Improves Performance
In a whopping 32 studies (that’s a lot of data!), the Department of Exercise Science at Bloomsburg University took a deep dive into the effects warming up had on training and performance. A simple warm-up can improve performance 79% of the time. While many view warming up as time-consuming, a short warm-up is actually saving you time and effort overall by providing you with a more efficient and effective training session.
2. It Decreases Your Risk of Injury
We talk about reducing the risk of injury a lot in the JRD community (check out this blog on preventing common jump rope injuries) because it’s the foundation for having a long, healthy, physically active lifestyle. Another study from Norway (note, not yet officially published) found that warming up before exercise can reduce the likelihood of a knee or ankle injury by at least 50%! That’s a considerable reduction in risk!
3. It Increases Blood Flow and Oxygen Efficiency
A quick and effective warm-up makes your workout performance better. It dramatically reduces your risk of common injuries, like the dreaded shin splints. It’s also vital for slowly increasing your heart rate, blood flow, body temperature, respiration, and perspiration rates. It lubricates and prepares the joints for impact and increases your flexibility and range of motion, allowing you to do your exercise routine with better form.
Dynamic Warm-Up vs. Static Stretching
Let’s talk about stretching as part of our warm-up routine. There are two types of stretching – static and dynamic. Static stretches are what you typically envision when you imagine stretching your muscles. You simply hold a stretching pose for a period of time, like bending over to grab your toes. Dynamic stretches are controlled movements designed to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise.
Ultimately, dynamic stretching is the best way to prepare for jump rope workouts, as you receive the most benefit for your time and effort. Benefits of dynamic warm-ups include:
- Activates your muscles: a proper warm-up increases the temperature of your muscles, promoting blood flow and oxygenating the tissues.
- Increases nerve activity: nerves play a big part in moving your muscles by sending electrical signals. In dynamic stretching, your nerves send the appropriate signals before your workout begins, training your nerves and muscles to work together.
- Uses your entire range of motion: many cardio workouts, including jumping rope, use a pretty minimal range of motion. Dynamic exercises to warm up help incorporate more complete ranges of movement, better engaging your muscles and ensuring proper form.
- Decreases your injury risk: one of the most common exercise injuries is pulling a hamstring muscle. Studies show that dynamic hamstring exercises reduce passive stiffness in the joints and increase the range of motion, reducing the risk of injury.
Research shows static stretching before your workout can have the opposite of your desired goal and increase your risk of injury. Save static stretches for after your workout to help you cool down. Note, if you’re new to jumping rope and want to learn more about the basic techniques and fundamentals before you focus on how to warm up, check out our Ultimate Guide for Beginners.
How to Warm Up for Jump Rope
What follows in this section is the classic JRD warm-up. This is the circuit that we (Dan and Brandon) have been using for almost a decade. Complete this circuit 3x, resting 30 seconds in between. Note, if you want to see the whole routine from start to finish, check out this video from our Zen Dude Fitness days.
20 Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are the quintessential dynamic warm-up exercise because they get your heart rate up, increase circulation to your muscles and connective tissues to prepare them for a more demanding exercise, and acts as a form of dynamic stretching for the hips, shoulders, and back.
10 Air Squats
For these squats, make sure to get low. Your knees should be bent past 90 degrees for a deep squat. As you press up, engage the hip flexors, and fluidly move through the greatest range of hip rotation you’re capable of.
10 Front Lunges (5 Each Way)
Alternate between legs for each lunge. Try to step your front leg out far enough so that your knees don’t extend past your toes. Aim for a nice deep lunge into the joint and the fullest rotation of the movement possible.
Push-ups are instrumental in upper body warm-ups for resistance exercises like lifting weights. Make sure to not go until you’re gassed out. You should feel tired but not too fatigued. Your muscles should feel warm and ready to work!
We need to discuss the importance of warming up and cooling down after an intense workout. Why? Because a proper cool down will:
- Allow your body to gradually return to its pre-exercise heart rate. This is especially important for competitive endurance athletes, as it helps them regulate their blood flow.
- Reduces lactic acid build-up. Our bodies can build up lots of lactic acid in intense workouts, leading to muscle cramps and stiffness. Cooling down helps release the lactic acid in our body faster, resulting in quicker muscle recovery.
- Prevents injury. Just like warming up, cooling down prevents injuries like muscle tears. Skipping the cool-down and stretching slows the muscle’s recovery and reduces the long-term benefits gained from the workout.
- Body restoration. During an intense workout, our bodies go through many physiological changes like sweating, adrenaline pumping, increased body temperature, and accelerated breathing. Cooling down helps restore the body to its normal condition as quickly and safely as possible.
- Stress relief. Exercise is just as crucial for your mental health as it is for your physical health. When you cool down, your body goes into a relaxed mood. The brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the two hormones responsible for making us feel good and less stressed.
What’s the main takeaway here? Essentially your hard work gets wasted when you’re not taking the time to cool down and repair your muscles properly after a workout. Here are some great yoga tutorials to help you master your cool down:
Recovery Yoga Part 1
In this first recovery yoga video, Brandon walks us through a quick, easy ten-minute stretching routine perfect for post-jump rope recovery or for a rest and recovery day.
Recovery Yoga Part 2
In this second recovery yoga video, Brandon takes us through another active recovery flow that is designed to be used immediately after working out. This video is a little longer more advanced than the first video.
Additional JRD Warm-Up Resources
In addition to JRD recovery yoga, you might find the next warm-up videos particularly helpful. We have Brandon’s personal warm-up and a fun boxing jump rope warm-up to try.
Brandon’s Personal Warm-Up (Advanced)
This is a more advanced version of our classic warm-up. Brandon describes the benefits of each movement and why you need to warm up your body and get the blood flowing away from your internal organs and into your muscles.
Boxing Jump Rope Warm-Up
This warm-up incorporates the jump rope (our other warm-ups are designed to prepare you to jump rope, but don’t incorporate it just yet). It was created specifically to help athletes train to box, but it can be hugely beneficial as a warm-up for any intense workout.
Many warm-up routines incorporate jumping rope, and for a good reason. It’s a quick and easy way to get your heart rate up, scale the intensity level of your workout, and heat up the body. Also, jumping rope requires a level of coordination and focus that translates well to challenging training sessions.
Remember that bit of info about how warm-ups help the nerves and muscles communicate more effectively? A short jump rope session before your workout will warm up the body and the mind. The plyometric component to jumping is also a great dynamic warm-up that aids in any type of explosive exercise.
Need a Jump Rope?
If you need a good jump rope set, you know that the only jump ropes we use and stand behind are from Crossrope. We’ve been using heavy jump ropes in the Get Strong Set for a long time, and we believe that the 1 lb. and 2 lb. ropes are perfect for those individuals looking for a high-resistance, full-body workout. If you’re new to jumping rope or on the smaller side, we recommend starting with the Get Lean Set. This set comes with a ¼ lb. and ½ lb. ropes and is ideal for jump rope novices who are still getting their bearings and getting used to the basics like proper form, timing, and the cadence of jumping.
Don’t Waste Your Workout – Warm-Up!
Today we walked you through a few ways to warm up your muscles, joints, nerves, and ligaments for a killer jump rope workout. We hope you took our message to heart and understand that if you do not adequately warm up and cool down after an intense training session, you are reaping fewer rewards from your workouts!
Let us know how these warm-ups went for you by reaching out to us on our social media. Our Instagram and Facebook are full of helpful jump rope content and you can message us with all of your jump rope questions and concerns. We love to hear from our JRD community and try to answer everyone back as quickly as possible.
Make sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss any workouts and video tutorials.
If you’re new to jumping rope or particularly short on time, we highly recommend joining our online interactive platform called the Jump Rope Dudes TV. Members can sign up for a daily workout delivered to their inbox every Monday through Friday – taking all the planning out of designing a comprehensive workout routine.
Well, that’s it for today, JRD nation! Stay well, keep crushing your goals, and, as always…
DO THE THING!