I seriously disliked skipping back when I first started training Muay Thai. Back then, it was only just 3-5 minutes of jump rope for warming up but that was enough to murder my calves. It always felt like my whole calves were cramping up after skipping, and we haven’t even started proper training yet. I would be the guy who stops to look at the clock every minute or two, wondering when the skipping was going to end. Oh, you know what’s also really annoying about jump rope? Missing a skip and getting whipped in the toes by the thick rope. Ouch, the sting.
Now, of course, I just kept at it since the instructors made us do it every session and I gradually got better, while my calves got stronger too. I find that it’s the same with running and you just keep at it till you get conditioned. Both are really dull exercises but are essential for anyone training Muay Thai because of their direct benefits.
Benefits of Skipping
Skipping is not optional. It is a fixture at every single training session for the Thai fighters, and for several good reasons. If you have been skiving during the jump rope, you may want to reconsider putting in that extra effort to master it and reap the benefits that come with it. If you intend to get good at Muay Thai, skipping is as mandatory as roadwork. Here are some reasons why it’s one of the best exercises for you:
Ideal Warm-Up Routine
Warming up is a critical aspect of all exercises that should never be neglected. Proper warm-up helps to minimize risk of injuries and also improving performance during the actual workout. The body is prepped for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and blood circulation to the muscles. Skipping is an ideal warm-up routine that can get the heart pumping up to speed and kickstart the blood circulation.
Strengthen the Leg Muscles
Done the right way at a moderate or fast speed, skipping can really work the shin and calf muscles. Not just any muscles, mind you. We’re talking about fast-twitch calf muscles for better speed and agility, as well as tougher shins. In fact, the quadriceps and hamstrings get a good workout from jumping rope too. Strong fast-twitch leg muscles coupled with well-conditioned shins will, of course, translate to faster and more powerful kicks to smash your opponents into oblivion.
Just 15 to 20 minutes of moderate pace skipping or 7-10 minutes of fast pace skipping on a regular basis can really improve stamina and muscular endurance respectively. The best part is that you can do it in the convenience of your home, unlike roadwork.
Trains Coordination and Footwork
There is a reason the jump rope is often associated with western boxing. It’s the best tool there is for training overall coordination and footwork, both of which are so vital in ring sports. All the fancy styles like double unders, criss-cross, one-foot or reverse jumps can add swiftness to movements to out-maneuver the opponent in the ring. If you want to float like a bee, you have to skip it, skip it good!
Get a speed rope and you are all set for world domination. They take up very little space in your bag, which makes them the ideal workout equipment for travel. Plus, no more excuses for not working out during travels abroad. Wind up the ropes and they take very little space in the baggage. And they are also just about the cheapest exercise equipment that delivers plenty of benefits as you see here. Just about the best bang for the buck. The perfect travel exercise tool.
How to Jump Rope Like a Boxer
It doesn’t come naturally for some people to jump rope the right way, myself included. I would do the awkward double jump and glance in admiration those who can jump rope like a boxer. However, I refuse to accept having two left feet so I did a quick search on YouTube and up came a whole list of instructional videos on skipping. Salvation! It took me a couple of weeks before I could really jump rope the right way but perseverance really paid off. While I still can’t do fancy footwork, I am glad to be able to jump rope the right way and work on strengthening my calves and improving my stamina. Persistence is key. As is finding your rhythm. Here’s the video that I found to be the most helpful for me in learning to jump rope:
Best Jump Ropes
Okay, if you haven’t already have one at home, I hope you are now convinced to get one. There are actually a few types of jump ropes, differing mainly in the weight and material. I shall discuss the 2 main ropes that I am most familiar with, namely the Thai-style pvc plastic ropes and the Crossfit-style metal-cable speed ropes.
This is one of the most popular jump ropes used in many Muay Thai gyms in Thailand. We use these at my gym as well, so these are the ones that I use on a regular basis.
First, the cons. The downside to these PVC plastic ropes is that you can’t really adjust the length except by making a knot in the rope itself. This is obviously not the best method for adjustment. The better alternative is to hold higher up or lower down the handles accordingly. Everyone uses these ropes at the gym and no one seems to be having any problem. The other downside is that the thick rope really hurts when it hits your toes.
Now the pros. These are great for adding intensity to the arms and shoulders during the workout as they are heavier than other jump ropes. The heavy weight also gives the jumper a better feel of where the rope is. Definitely great for cardio and a full-body workout. If you want to do it like the fighters do in Thailand, just get these ropes.
This is the ideal rope for those looking to do some speedy skipping and develop some killer footwork. The length can be adjusted for the best jump rope experience and perfect for those double unders or other fancy moves to impress your gym partners. No tangling problems that can accompany the heavy jump ropes. These come with instructions on how to adjust the rope according to your height. Very thoughtful.
They are very lightweight that you can’t almost feel them and certainly won’t give your arms and shoulders the kind of workout that heavier ropes do. But that is less of kink since we are more focused on working the lower limbs with skipping. These are great value-for-money and very hardy. This is THE best-selling jump rope on Amazon with over 4000 positive reviews. If you are looking for a speed rope, google no more. Just get this and you are set for success.
Don’t skip the jump rope training. It may look like a primitive piece of equipment but it’s an important part of Muay Thai that can lead to leaps and bounds in endurance and overall performance. If you can’t yet jump rope smoothly, don’t give up on learning the right way to do it. Persist and just keep trying and I guarantee you will, someday, skip like a professional boxer. And damn, you gonna look slick enough to post a video of you jumping rope on Instagram and get lots of likes. XD