Imagine, if you will, someone jumping rope. Most of us tend to picture either grade school children jumping double-dutch at recess or professional boxers training for a big fight. Rarely do we imagine anything in between. However, jumping rope can be extremely beneficial for any young athletes looking to improve their jumping ability, speed or agility. These are crucial skills for everything from tennis to basketball.
Here are five jump rope exercises professional trainer Shelby Turcotte shared with USA Basketball that coaches and young athletes can add to their speed and power training programs:
- Quick feet: While simple, this exercise is equally beneficial for both jump rope beginners and experts. Start with both feet on the ground, jumping with them together as you turn the rope as fast as you can. These quick, small jumps can help improve agility.
- Lateral quick feet: Almost identical to the previous one, this exercise adds a twist that will improve lateral stability while still promoting quickness. In addition to jumping up and down, add some side-to-side motion with each jump, keeping your feet relatively close together as you do so.
- Ali shuffle: This drill starts with your feet staggered. As you jump, switch the position of your feet, placing the one that was in front in back, and vice-versa. As you improve with this exercise, work on moving your feet simultaneously so they contact and leave the ground at the same time.
- Hurdle step: Hold one leg off the ground, with the knee at about waist-height, then jump with the other leg. Make sure you start with shorter times or fewer reps when jumping on just one leg, as it places more stress on the lower leg than jumping and landing off of both legs.
- Lateral hurdle: You guessed it! This exercise looks almost like the standard hurdle step, with an added side-to-side motion.
Start out performing each exercise for between 10-30 seconds, with a 15 second rest in between sets. As you improve, ramp up your time to the full 30 seconds, then add reps or reduce your rest time.