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Jumping rope increases cardiovascular fitness and burns mega calories. A 160-pound person can burn more than 800 calories per hour jumping rope. Don't shy away from this cross-training exercise because you are afraid all the pounding will negatively affect your knees. You incur less pounding jumping rope than with jogging as long as you incorporate proper form. ACE Fitness says that good form in the take off and landing portion of rope jumping minimizes impact. Many people jump rope with incorrect form - going too high over the rope and landing very heavily. This impact can cause strain or injury to the knees, as well as to the ankles and the feet.
Choose aerobic shoes or cross trainers to provide the most support for your rope jumping session. Look for shoes with a reinforced toe and cushioning at the ball of the foot, recommends the American Council on Exercise.
Select the right sized rope to make proper form easier to execute. Stand in the center of the rope with one foot and pull the handles up alongside your body. If the rope is the appropriate size for you, the handles should reach the top of your shoulders.
Master the bounce step. Start with the rope behind you and as you swing the rope from your wrists in an arc, jump just high enough to skim over the rope - about 1 inch. Keep your knees slightly bent and relax your shoulders. Land softly on the balls of your feet, rather than slamming down with the heels. Repeat the movement, staying on the balls of your feet.
- If you are brand new to jumping, do just one jump with proper form, pause and repeat. If you are more experienced, do five or more in quick succession. When you feel your form break, reset your position and focus and start over. Work your way up to 140 successive jumps.
- Once you have mastered the basic bounce step, you can add more creative moves, such as alternating ropes, high knee jumps and scissors. To protect your knees, you should always land on the balls of your feet and keep your knees soft, even when doing more advanced techniques.