HIIS: It’s not just for Rocky
Skipping ropes were all the rage when we were at primary school. Break times were the opportunity for mass skipping challenges, seeing how many people could simultaneously jump in time to a turning rope. The cool kids could run in on an already turning rope, whilst the really cool kids could Double Dutch!
The benefits of skipping have not stopped since we have got older; we simply seem to engage in more mature forms of physical activity. The humble skipping rope should not be viewed as a child’s toy, because it is in fact a very affordable tool that can whip you into shape in more ways than one.
HIIS: High Intensity Interval Skipping
High Intensity Interval Skipping (HIIS) is the latest fitness workout. It is very similar to the popular High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but the rope dictates all movement. Skip for a duration of time (30-45 seconds), followed by a period of rest (15 seconds, up to 1 minute recovery). Repeat this for a minimum of 10 minutes and you will reap the same benefits that you get from a 45-minute moderate-intensity cardio workout.
The key is to master the Rocky Balboa, boxing- style skipping, where you are turning the rope at speed with your wrists, creating just enough ground clearance for the rope to go under your feet. We are not after the flamboyant, heels-flailing-behind-you style skipping across the school playground.
Mix up your intervals
Mix up the skipping style with each interval. Hopping from left to right foot, as well as jumping two-footed, works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles and abdominals (more commonly known as your legs, bum & tum!). Perform an interval hopping on your left foot only, following by your right foot only on the following interval, to overload the muscles. The bounding action of skipping develops explosive power in your lower legs, further sculpting your lower body.
Harriet (above) gives HIIS a go in a stylish Asics Long Sleeve Tee (£31.50) and Nike leggings, both available from GoOutdoors.co.uk.
Strengthen your core
Try to keep your upper body fairly inactive, using only your wrists to turn the rope, to work your deep core muscles and strengthen your posture. Grasping the skipping rope handles means your upper body is in a state of contraction, toning your arms, shoulders, chest and back during the skipping process.
After the outlay of the skipping rope, it is a free form of exercise that only needs a small space. So, Janes, no excuses of not enough time, space or money to keep fit this autumn!
Will you embrace the school playground activity and inject some fun into your exercise routine? Let us know – @tweetjanes.