Tag Archives: burning calories

Best Ways to Burn Calories: Jump Rope

A long time ago, I started this series about alternate forms of “cardio” and suggested swimming. It was a pretty popular post and we got tons of questions about how to incorporate it into individual’s workouts. Now, since I have started working out a bit… again, it struck me that I should state my opinion on jumping rope.

Every discipline has its hero. Buddy Lee is that man when it comes to jump rope and as a result of watching a recent Buddy Lee video, I decided to go back to trying to get my jump rope game in its proper place. Two weeks ago, with my heavy rope, after 20 minutes of double-unders, I finally got a triple under and then stopped before my shins split in two. It’s challenging yet simple, effective yet easy, and there are tons of ways to jump rope… so let’s talk a bit about them in this introduction to jump rope.

Buddy Lee! (Image source)

Buddy Lee! (Image source)

Most people hit the machines when they need to burn calories or perform their “cardio.” In gyms, the easiest ways of doing this, keeping track of time, your heart rate and burned calories is with a machine such as a bike, treadmill or elliptical. Steppers are getting more popular although I love Jacob’s Ladder (Google it). As I mentioned before, swimming is more difficult because it is naturally more challenging and also makes it harder to really keep track of the calories you burn. Jump rope is in a similar realm which is why you don’t see it being used as a typical form of cardio.

Preparing for jumping!

Preparing for jumping!

But that’s enough of me dragging on, let’s look at some terms and what you need to consider.

1. There are different kinds of ropes. Cheap ropes. Expensive ropes. Light weight and heavy weight ropes. Ropes made of leather, sand filled rubber, cable and more. Your goals and style will dictate what kind of rope you should buy. If you are like me, you have just about every kind of jump rope. My recommendation is to buy a cheap one first before you make a bigger investment since not everyone enjoys it. Once you get serious, look at Buddy Lee’s line of jump ropes. (I’m not sponsored or paid by them, but they have served me well over the years.)

2. There are different kinds of workouts where you can jump rope. Do you want to have fun? Are you trying to get certain results? How about a little bit of both? Is it your warm up for a muscle workout? Is it a cool down or maybe even a part of a circuit? Jump rope can fit anywhere in there and whether you are a boxer, martial artist, sport athlete, or someone trying to stay in shape, it can be very beneficial to you.

3. There are different ways to jump rope. You can go for an hour straight or go in intervals. You could use a heavy rope for five minutes of single unders and then skip to a cable speed rope for a minute of triple unders. You could stay in place or move in any direction. You could stay on flat ground or integrate boxes into the workout. Any of these can help take away the monotony that is often associated with jumping rope for fitness.

4. There are different techniques. Some people at this point might not know what single, double or triple unders are. The name refers to the number of times the jump rope goes under your body. Heavier ropes make it more difficult while speed ropes typically make it easier. You can touch your toes or heels to the ground, use the full foot, alternate feet, hop laterally, high knees, kick your butt, essentially there are tons of variations and you can make your own up. Just remember to take your joints into consideration to properly distribute the impact throughout your whole body.. not just your ankles, knees, hips, spine, etc.

5. You can play with weights. I typically throw on some extra weight. When I used to jump rope every day, I would use a 40 lb weight vest, two 10 lb ankle weights, two 5 lb wrist weights and two 3 lb hand weights. That way I could jump at 306 lbs and then drop down to 225 and feel the difference. Be smart when adding weight, in terms of where and how much you add.

I am going to link a motivating Buddy Lee video below and eventually do a full YouTube video on jump rope because it is my personal favorite form of “cardio.”  Look forward to more content on jumping rope and let me know in the comment section below about specific questions referring to technique, workouts, products, and what is right for you!

OH, and how could I forget to introduce Buddy Lee, an American hero and one of the greatest individuals in the world of fitness. He is an Olympic wrestler, International motivational speaker, and trainer to US soldiers and professional MMA fighters. I’m not anywhere near as skilled as Buddy but I have my own style that focuses on power and explosiveness, which is highlighted when I do triple unders with a regular rope with 100 lbs of added weight. Jump rope to stay hungry and fit!


Caught the cuties cuddling!

Caught the cuties cuddling!

15-Minute Triceps Workout

Finding it hard to squeeze a workout in? 

In this life of ridiculous busy-ness, it’s hard to get a chance to stop, put on your workout clothes (which for some reason feel tight, perhaps because they haven’t been used in a week and a half), and get into the mode. Let alone actually drive/walk/bike/bus to a gym! Big breath, you don’t need to do huge workouts every day to stay in fit. Remember that it’s exercise AND nutrition. They’ve got to walk side by side if you want results.

And another thing before I show you some exercises, is to remember how important strength and resistance training is. This means working out your muscles. No, it’s not just for boys. It’s for us big girls too. And it’s really important for your health! Think cardio is the only way to burn calories? Think again. When you rip up those muscle fibers while pushing yourself during any muscle workout (let’s take leg press), your body has to work hard after the workout as well in order to repair those fibers. Which means your body is burning calories after the workout to try and repair those fibers as quick as possible. Quads burn after that leg press the next day? Fibers are torn so it makes it sore to walk around. So muscle workouts = more calories burned afterwards. 

Onto the 15-min workout. It could be even less. It depends on the number of reps, sets, and exercises you do. I chose to do three. I actually did them watching “The Help,” figuring it was a movie I should watch and always looked good (it was). Here’s the three I did:

1. One-Arm Triceps Extension

Pretty simple. Get a weight you’re comfortable with (I started with 12 lbs and moved up to 18 lbs for my last set) and either sit or stand. Extend the weight with one arm over your head and then lower it down (with control) towards your back. Keep everything slow and controlled until your form is good. Now do the other arm. 

Reps: 12, Sets: 4

2. Two-Arm Triceps Extension

So it’s basically the same thing (read above) but with two arms holding the weight. This allows you to use a heavier weight than the single-arm. I started with 15 lbs and ended my last set with 21 lbs. 

Sets: 4, Reps: 12

3. Skull Crushers 

English: an exercise of triceps

English: an exercise of triceps

You can either do this with a bar or weights. I chose to do it with weights (dumbbells) simply because I don’t have a bar here at the apartment. Start lying down with your weights or bar extended in front of your chest and then slowly lower until your hands are right at your forehead. Then push out again. That’s one rep. Get why it’s called a skull crusher? I went around 15 lbs for this one.

Reps: 10, Sets: 4

So there you have it. A three-exercise workout that left my triceps feeling tired. You will too if you do them properly with the right number of reps and sets. Your core will also be worked if you keep it tight and do the exercises correctly. Do what feels good for you. Never push it to the point of injury, but push yourself to get that last rep. Comment below if you have any questions. Enjoy!

PS– If you are interested in getting a free training plan and/or consultation or just have some questions, please email us at alana.ppowell@gmail.com