If the idea of skipping only brings back distant memories from the school playground, I’d say it’s time to give it another shot! If you follow my Snapchat (@fitnessontoast), you might have noticed a load of videos where I’m working on my skip, as well as in THIS video from last year. As a form of exercise, I absolutely love it! To my mind, it’s one of the most high-energy yet low-impact ways to get fit, with a bunch of broader health benefits to boot! Ahead of Sport Relief 2016 next month, which I supported last year through my Swimathon adventures, Sure has launched the world’s first Skipathon! They’re asking the Great British nation to join in and help them reach the target of 1 million skips as part of their month-long Sure Skipathon and they will donate £200,000 to Sport Relief – That’s money which will help make a difference to people living tough lives both here in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities – AND you get fitter too! Read below to find out more about this and my 5 top reasons to skip!
“HOW DO I GET INVOLVED IN THE SKIPATHON?” Visit this website & follow the easy instructions to donate your skip! (more…)
Sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym solo, especially in these cold winter months. When I feel like that, I go along to group classes, to up the motivation-factor! This week, I was invited to an all-singing, all-dancing, all-sweating, all-girl fitness class in London’s West End. With a catchy, cheeky name like ‘The Skinny Bitch Collective‘ how could I decline?! The class was held just off Baker Street, and is led weekly by the founder, Russell Bateman. Under his enthusiastic guidance (and stern yelling!) all ten girls had to put in 110% to keep up with this very demanding routine. The class is basically an intense metabolic workout including some unusual ‘primal movements’, and is set to classic Ibiza house mixes, which marks the aim and tone of the session!
WHY TO SKIP? Skipping (or ‘jump rope’ in America) is a fantastic way to get fit! 20 minutes of intense skipping can burn 4-500 calories, not to mention the thermogenic after-effects that keep you burning calories all day! Walk into a boxing gym and it’s almost certain that all the boxers there skip – it’s not just for girls! It improves footwork, speed, coordination, stamina, agility, and it strengthens the muscles in your legs as well as your abdominal, back, chest, arms and shoulders muscles. Also it’s relatively low impact on the joints, yet high intensity, which gives a fabulous cardio workout that’s less dangerous and surely less strenuous than running.
HOW TO SKIP? Beginners, have patience. Skipping is not something you learn the first time so don’t give up in frustration after 5 minutes – stick with it! If you’re new to skipping, view it as a skill to learn before using it as a tool for conditioning. Once you have learned the skill you can start using it as a full-on workout! I suggest kicking off with frequent ’20-second-then-10-second-break’ skip sessions and extend the duration from there. It helps to practice in front of a mirror, viewed front and side-on. Start with the rope behind you, arms relaxed at your sides and rope on the ground. Use your wrist to turn the rope, keeping the rest of your arms as motionless as possible. As the rope approaches your feet jump lightly (from your toes) over the rope. Stay on the balls of your feet when you jump. Keep your knees slightly bent all along. It’ll feel unnatural at the start, but with a little practise, the technique will come!
WHERE TO SKIP? I recommend a shock absorbing surface – a sprung wooden floor, a gym mat, an outdoor track, or a tennis court. Theses surfaces are kinder to your ankles and feet.
WHAT ROPE TO GET? You’re spoilt for choice! Popular ropes include the speed rope, the digital rope and weighted rope. (Whatever you get make sure the length is correct. The way to measure it is to stand in the middle of the rope, & the handles should come up to your waist, lower ribs – if it reaches your shoulders it’s too long.)
a) The Speed rope: As the name suggests it’s lightweight and great for speed, great for warm ups, it’s cheap, light to carry around, but can make it harder for advanced foot work as it’s unweighted.
b) The digital rope: Through the magic of technology, it enables you to estimate the distance, revolutions of the rope and the amount of calories burnt. It’s similar to the speed rope in the way it’s so light, & therefore harder to do advanced foot work.
c) The weighted Rope: Weighted handles are great for wrist, forearm and triceps strength.
d) Personal Favourite? I recommend the Nike weighted jump rope – it’s a bit heavier than most speed ropes & it’s great for more complicated foot work. It’s slightly more expensive, but worth the investment I think!