A skipping rope is an extremely versatile training tool. Small enough to pack any time your traveling its the easiest way to get in work on the move. Despite this, skipping can be incredibly challenging and really push your cardio to another level. There’s a reason skipping has been a training tool for fighters for generations. Alongside developing cardio fitness it improves other aspects of your skills like footwork and rythmn. From black and white video of Muhammed Ali swinging a leather rope to 20 minute long Muay Thai warm ups you find ropes in every gym. However, like all training, not having a plan before you can set you up for a rubbish time. Thankfully Fight Quality is here to help and we’ve listed our favourite ways to utilise skipping to improve your cardio. Read on and find out our favourite ways to approach our skipping sessions.
Start out keeping it Simple
The most basic approach to using skipping to improve cardio is to not make it complicated. If you’re just starting to incorporate skipping into your training, want to use it to warm up pre-session or as an alternative to running then set yourself a timer and start swinging your rope. It’s easy to think that twenty minutes of skipping sounds easy, but if you’re pushing yourself you’ll realise that’s not the case before you’re halfway through. This is a great way to build up your aerobic fitness, general physical condition and build endurance in muscle you’ll use training, like your calves.
Use skipping to mimic the demands of your training
Our next favourite approach to skipping training is to mimic the demands of your training or competition. Typically we’d say this is best if you’re either trying to really exhaust yourself pre-training or using skipping as a separate training session. If your normal training involves doing three minute rounds with a minute rest then set yourself a timer and copy that pattern. Depending on your fitness levels when you start out you may need to do shorter work intervals to begin with – the goal is to be able to maximise your effort each ’round’.
You can make this harder on yourself, like if you’re in fight camp, by doing more rounds, or having shorter rests. Going into an interclub that’s three one and a half minute rounds with a minutes rest knowing you can do twenty two minute rounds with just thirty seconds rest will give you a significant confidence boost as well as a killer work rate.
Use skipping to push your cardio to another level
Once you’ve really got used to skipping and developed your cardio you can look to push it even harder. This is where more complex training protocols can come into play. Our favourites is the Tabata protocol, which is used by many elite athletes. There’s lots of evidence supporting the effectiveness of Tabata intervals, and we can vouch for how brutal they can be. The basics of the protocol is eight sets of twenty seconds work, ten seconds rest. Sounds simple. It’s just four minute, right? The catch is that you need to be putting maximum effort into each work period. You should be exhausted by the seventh or eighth set. What we do is treat that as one round, take a minutes rest and go again.
This has several benefits for fighter’s cardio. Firstly, it mimics how you want to perform in fights. Bursts of maximal effort followed by short rests. Just like landing a long combo and then circling away. Secondly, as above, it mimics training or fighting, but pushes you further. If you build up to doing five Tabata rounds you’ll be doing a full minute more per round than a pro Muay Thai fight. Finally, there’s a definitely psychological edge of having confidence in your cardio. You’ll know how hard you can push yourself and have the gas tank to get the most out of your training.
How do you use skipping in your training? Do you do long sessions or intervals? Let us know in the comments!