One of the most inexpensive and effective ways to exercise is the jump rope. A somewhat forgotten, old school workout that is a staple for boxers and other athletes that can give you one of the best workouts out there!
It takes up no room, can be done almost anywhere and costs anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00 depending on the rope. There are so many positives about this simple little piece of equipment! When done properly, you will be getting a good lower body leg workout, particularly in your calves. I started doing this exercise again recently because I read that it can help grow the calves, which I have always lacked. In addition, it also works your upper body including shoulders, arms and chest. When you keep your core tight (as you should) during the exercise, you will also be getting a good core workout. Best of all, you are getting a fantastic cardio workout for your heart and endurance while you are toning almost your entire body.
Many people jump rope incorrectly. You should have your arms at your sides, with a hammer grip or a palms out grip (or a 45 degree combination of both). Keeping your arms at your sides, you will be using your wrists to rotate the rope around your body. Many people put a lot more movement into the rope, but all that is required is a very subtle flick of the wrist to get the jump rope going around you. The other mistake people make is jumping too high. While it will tire you out and probably give you a better cardio workout, you risk injury from the constant jolting of your body and you will not be able to do it as efficiently or for nearly as long.
I set my timer for five minutes and did as many as I could within that time. I think I got around 600-650 rotations during this time, and started getting a little fatigued in the shoulders towards the end. I used this as my warmup for chest day, and it got my heart pumping, blood flowing and my muscles nice and warmed up to start my chest routine.
The jump rope can be used for a warmup, cardio or for your whole workout. While it may get boring just doing jump rope, you may consider incorporating it into your workout routine. Substitute for your cardio, warmup with it, or just do five or ten minutes in the middle of your workout. I guarantee it will help tone your body, help your endurance and it is so good for your heart!