Jump rope for cardio, conditioning, and full body strength to be a better hunter

schwaf

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Joined
May 9, 2019
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56
Location
CO
That's right, it's not just for school girls. I started using weighted jump ropes around July to start conditioning myself for the September archery hunt. The pandemic was starting to show its effects around my gut, and sitting around all day and eating was making me fat, sore and weak. I would roll out of bed aching from inactivity, and I knew my body's condition would not hold up well in high alpine Colorado with a heavy pack.

While looking around for options (I hate running and most cardio), I found a weighted jump rope system that I really liked. Jumping rope, I read, had a plethora of health benefits beyond simple cardio. It was said that JR is the most efficient and fat burning cardio available, but also works stability muscles, increase bone density, trains footwork, and even has cognitive and spatial awareness benefits. Crossropes (no affiliation) allow use of multiple ropes, weights, and handles. They're pricey, yes, but those who appreciate quality will no doubt appreciate these. The benefit to using heavy ropes is that it engages every muscle in the body including back, shoulders, bi/triceps, forearm, core, hams, quads, calves, and your heart.

I made a pact with myself and my niece (a teen who is also starting to get fat) - 5 minutes a day for 2 months. If I couldn't take the time to jump rope for 5 minutes a day, it's not because I was "too busy" or "didn't have the time", it was because I was a lazy piece of s***. If I skipped a day for any reason, per my "contract", I would have to do 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 50 pull ups, 100 squats, and run 5 laps around the park (roughly 4 miles, and I HATE running) as incentive to not miss a day. If I skipped 2 days in a row, I'd lose $500 that I put in an envelope. My niece, something similar, with cold hard cash and a contract stored in a bible for good measure. Our personal failure would benefit the one who put in the work. Succeed, we don't lose any money, but gain health and fitness and achieve a goal. Isn't that reward enough?

What I found over the next two months is not only did I have the motivation to work out, but I REALLY enjoyed it. After the initial learning curve and conditioning, which yeah, 5 minutes when you first start out will kick your ass guaranteed. I'd regularly bathe in a puddle of my own sweat after only 10 minutes and got a way more intense workout than I've ever had at a gym. The more I trained, the better I got, the more endurance I gained. I can now skip rope for an hour without getting tired.

I'm a pretty athletic guy and have done extreme sports for a long time, but I didn't realize quite how bad my footwork was until I started. Or rather, how much improvement I could gain. The ability to bounce and shift my weight or foot positioning effortlessly is a tremendous skill. Since I work out at home in front of a television, I need to be aware of my surroundings. I cant just swing it around without thought. Spatial awareness in a small space becomes something you're constantly aware of until it becomes subconscious. It's not a slog the way running on a treadmill is. The variation of footwork and ropes that you can alternate between always makes it interesting. It helps that you can do it anywhere and any time.

So... what happened? I was highly motivated not to lose money, or do the "hard" workout (mostly didn't want to run). Well, I did miss a day or two later in the weeks. Yeah, I made up for it and it was dreadful. Except something strange happened. I didn't hate running as much? In fact, running never felt so good. My cardio health and endurance was better than ever. For the first time ever, I felt a runners high. I ran those 4 miles without stopping. Since jumping rope was so good for conditioning and warming up, I actually wanted to do the body weight exercises too. My muscles became strong and tight. Abs got strong and I got a solid core. I lost a lot of fat. I was feeling good.

About 4 days before the season started, I decided to go pretty hard on a training day. Everything, including sprints. And boy, did I sprint. Hard enough to jack up my ankle bad. Did running injure me? Sure did. Do I still hate running? Sure do.


It took me 2 weeks to recover from that injury, and archery season was well on its way. I took it easy for a while, but when I was able to bear some weight on my ankle and do some light JR, I decided it was time to go out. I spent 20 consecutive days in the field, solo, back country backpacking. Not the first time, but wow, did it feel different. I covered over 120 miles that month, and while I did get tired occasionally, I never burnt out. I always had reserve energy in the tank that night. My spatial awareness was always on alert, and I feel I spotted more game than I would otherwise, also thanks to my increased stamina. My footwork and stability climbing around dead timber was strong, and I was able to tread so lightly that the sounds of my steps were whisper-like.

Did I kill anything this year? No, because hunting elk is still f***ing hard. But dang did I get into lots of places most people did not want to explore, stalked in on lots of prey, and blew every opportunity I had because of bad decisions. But know what wasn't a bad decision? Jumping rope.
 
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rkcdvm

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Mar 24, 2020
Messages
107
Location
texas
Yeah they make good stuff . I have one of their speed ropes and it’s great.
 
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schwaf

Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
56
Location
CO
I highly recommend their Get Fit set. I mostly use the 1/2 lb and 1/4 lb ropes, but the 1 lb and 2 lb ropes are a no joke work out. Being able to switch from a 1 lb for strength, immediately to the 1/4 lb for stamina is a game changer.
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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11,169
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Colorado Springs
I used to jump rope every day when I was playing basketball, then before every hunting season, but now my knees just can't handle all that pounding........and barely the hunting as well.
 

bozeman

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Dec 5, 2016
Messages
1,157
Location
Alabama
I have 3 jump ropes. A whip rope for double unders, standard rope for warm up, 5lbs rope for torture. It’s a great workout

Good on you for achieving your goal.
 
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schwaf

Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
56
Location
CO
I used to jump rope every day when I was playing basketball, then before every hunting season, but now my knees just can't handle all that pounding........and barely the hunting as well.

I had a similar issue for years. After walking for a short time, my kneecap felt like it was going to dislocate. I'd have to sit down and wait for the pain to subside just enough to move again. Doing heavy squats or long treks would exacerbate the issue. It got bad enough that I went to physical therapy to figure it out. It was a combination of things. First - my IT band, the long tendon on the outside of the leg connecting the hip to knee was extremely tight. It's a common runners injury, but also happens when you sit too much. You'll know it's the case when you roll it out on a foam roller. If it hurts like hell, it's too tight.

Second, and most importantly, I have structural imbalances and do not have a perfect natural stride. This is common with most people. Take a look at the bottom of your shoes. Are they wearing unevenly? If so, you also have structural imbalances, which leads to muscular imbalances, then to tight tendons.

What I did to fix the issue and my advice to you. First, go to a pedorthist. Surgery for bad knees should be the last resort. A certified pedorthist should be your first stop. Get some custom insoles and good shoes. Solid support under your feet is one of the most overlooked things in life. Shoes aren't really designed to give proper support, and is a large part of all the knee issues people have. Second, roll and stretch your IT band daily. If it's too tight, you may need to hire a message therapist and have them work it out until the tension releases. It may take several sessions, but you'll know exactly when it releases.

Since doing those two things, I haven't had a single leg or knee issue, even when going hard with a heavy pack. I was extremely skeptical for a long time on its benefits, but my friends who are professional level athletes all swore by them despite the cost. I went to Foothill Pedorthists in Golden, CO. Calvin does great work.
 
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schwaf

Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
56
Location
CO
I have 3 jump ropes. A whip rope for double unders, standard rope for warm up, 5lbs rope for torture. It’s a great workout

Good on you for achieving your goal.
5lbs? Oof, sounds like torture. Even the 2lb rope is brutal after a couple swings. I mostly use the 1/2lb rope and try to swing it as hard and long as I can. I love the weighted feel of it. Really give a lot of feedback and is slow enough to learn new technique. Incorporating as many variations as I can has given me a lot of confidence in my footwork. Boxer skips, fast skips, DU, heel/toe taps, side swipes, and anything else I can try.
 

bozeman

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Dec 5, 2016
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Alabama
Yes, as stated, it’s for torture. You learn REAL quick for a full rotation as hitting yourself in the back of the head is a quick ‘negative reinforcement’. Lol
 

5MilesBack

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Feb 27, 2012
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Colorado Springs
My problem is "bone on bone" all the way around on both knees. After this season my knees feel like they've broken off all the touching edges.......with every step.
 
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schwaf

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Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
56
Location
CO
My problem is "bone on bone" all the way around on both knees. After this season my knees feel like they've broken off all the touching edges.......with every step.
Ouch... maybe you do need new knees. I'd still highly recommend visiting a pedorthist. You would be amazed with the difference it makes; I think you would especially benefit from it. It's miracle like, and I don't mean that facetiously. I've witnessed friends in a near crippled state from broken bones walk normally thanks to them.
 

blacktail sniper

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Jul 31, 2017
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508
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Oakley, CA
Thaks for posting I been trying to get a quick 20 min workout in before work then weights afger before coaching this was a great reminder. I have an old leather style rope and a speed rope going to start then get this set thnx for sharing
 
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schwaf

Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
56
Location
CO
I have jump ropes but sadly haven't used them in a while. Age really starting to tell. Will start arrangements thou, no matter how small.
Just 5 minutes/day is a great way to start! Lots of great videos on Youtube for work outs and getting proper technique dialed.
 
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schwaf

Member
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
56
Location
CO
Thaks for posting I been trying to get a quick 20 min workout in before work then weights afger before coaching this was a great reminder. I have an old leather style rope and a speed rope going to start then get this set thnx for sharing
Thanks! Hope to encourage some dudes to get in better shape. Let us know how it goes!
 

young7.3

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Joined
May 16, 2017
Messages
325
So youd recommend the get fit set for someone that doesnt have any ropes but is in decent shape already? Im 28, 6’1, 195


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ScottRK

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
47
If you want to see what can be done with jump rope check out Olympic wrestler Buddy Lee on youtube.
My kids laugh when I told them I kept a jump rope journal of every jump the summer going into 7th grade. Just an old 1/2” hunk of rope with knots on the end. It helped get me from being the non athletic last pick at kickball kid, into 5 HS sports and away from a couple friends starting the weed.
54 now and have a couple ropes that mostly gather dust. Rouge speed rope works great for a few double unders.
 

Vegas03A3

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2021
Messages
14
Location
LV, NV
I dig the simplicity of this! Last year I made a couple weeks progress of body weight circuits. I enjoyed the satisfaction of improving myself but struggled to consistently carve 20 minutes because I felt like I had to hit every exercise on my menu. But if I can get a good habit of getting my ass kicked for just 5 minutes... yeah I’m interested. Will report back—
 
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