Jumping rope to achieve good, basic running form

Difficulty: Beginner

Most running injuries come from mechanical stresses placed on the body by its own mass accelerating towards the ground thanks to the force of gravity. A simple way to reduce those mechanical stresses is to increase the body’s capability of interacting with that acceleration. And how do you train that?

Jumping rope (correctly). This exercise offers a pretty neat progression for people who want to move from heel-striking towards midfoot-striking, and for beginner runners who are trying to develop their bodies to reduce the likelihood of being hurt.

Purpose:

To increase coordination, interaction with gravity, proper running from, and tissue density to resist the mechanical stresses of running. Also, it teaches you to use more muscles to perform the same function, lessening the individual strain on each.

Components of proper form:

  • Flex your knees as your feet hit the ground.
  • Extend your legs as your feet leave the ground.
  • Let your back (especially your lower back) contract with every jump, and relax with every landing
  • Let your feet point on their own.
  • Use your thighs and butt to push off, not your calfs.
  • Swing the rope forward using your wrists, not your shoulders.
  • Look forward.

Basic progression:

  1. Increase single-under speed until you aren’t breathing hard any more.
  2. Train double-unders until you can do 20 continuously without stopping.

I’ll link a video describing these concepts at some point.

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