Basic Jump Rope Skills -
Learn These Steps First!

Basic Jump Rope Skills There are two basic jump rope skills, the basic bounce step and the alternate foot step, that you should master first when learning how to jump rope. Once you've mastered these two skills, you'll be ready to move on to some intermediate jump rope skills, and take your routine to a whole new level.

One of the keys to not getting overly fatigued (or bored) is to be able to master a variety of jump rope skills. Working different movements into your routine keeps your muscles from getting stiff and tired from doing the same movement over and over again.

Additionally, when you add different movements you work your muscles in different ways, keeping them challenged. With each skill you add, you improve your overall fitness. Adding new skills makes routine more fun, interesting and challenging!

The Starting Position

Jump Rope Starting Position
  1. Stand tall, eyes straight ahead, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Position the rope behind you so it is against the back of your legs between your calves and your ankles.
  3. Grip the handles lightly.
  4. Hold your arms forward with a little tension on the jump rope.

The Basic Bounce Step

This is the most essential of all jump rope skills and the one you'll need to practice first until you can do it with your eyes closed.

  1. From the starting position, turn the rope over your head by rotating your wrists.
  2. Jump over the rope with both feet, landing on the balls of your feet.
  3. Only bounce once with each swing of the rope (don't double bounce).
  4. Try to clear the rope by no more than 1 to 2 inches (resist the temptation to jump too high or to pull your knees up to clear the rope).
  5. When the rope comes around the second time, jump over it again.
  6. Repeat jumping over the rope each time it comes around.

That's all there is to it! You'll need to practice this jump rope skill until it's second-nature. Work up to where you can jump over the rope 10 times without a miss. Keep adding sets of 10 until you can do 50 jumps per workout. Then try sets of 20 to 25 until you can achieve 200 jumps per workout. Once you are comfortable with the basic bounce step, it's time to learn the alternate foot step.

Watch this Training Video
on the Basic Bounce Step!

(Click the symbol on the lower right corner of the video box to view in fullscreen)

The Alternate Foot Step

This is the second basic jump rope skill you'll want to master. Once you learn the alternate foot step, you can mix it in with the basic bounce step for a more interesting jump rope routine.

  1. From the starting position, swing the rope over your head by rotating your wrists. As it is coming over your head, raise one foot off the ground (let's say the right one).
  2. Jump over the rope with the foot that has remained on the ground, in this case your left one.
  3. As the rope comes around again, lower the raised foot (your right foot) to the ground and lift your left foot, which has just jumped the rope.
  4. Jump over it this time with your right foot.
  5. Keep jumping the rope by alternating your feet with each swing of the rope, as if you were running in place.
  6. Clear the rope by no more than 1 to 2 inches (don't jump too high). Concentrate on just stepping (or bouncing) over the rope, rather than high-jumping over it.

Once again, you'll need to practice the alternate foot step until it becomes routine. Be patient and work up until you can easily perform this basic jump rope skill with few misses.

Eventually, you'll be able to easily switch back and forth between the basic bounce and the alternate foot step fluidly. It really starts to get fun when you've mastered these two basic jump rope skills and can add some more advanced skills into the mix!

Practice Good
Jump Rope Technique.

With both steps, make sure to practice good jump rope technique - arms close to your sides and small rotations of your wrists to swing the rope over your head. Remember to not turn the rope with your shoulders, and always bounce and land lightly on the balls of your feet, not your heels.

You only need to get an inch or two off the ground to clear the rope. Most of all, remember to have fun. Soon you'll be adding more advanced jump rope skills, such as straddles or the bell and skier, into your routine - that's when things really get exciting!

Check back often - I will be adding more pages on jumping rope (please be sure to check out my newest page on how to perform the side swing). I want you to learn to love this activity as much as I do. It can be a terrific addition to your exercise routine!

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RN, Certified Wellness Coach

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