Boxing, like any other martial art, is a serious endeavor, which requires a large amount of training and preparation. And not only do you have to work hard, but you also have to work smart – you need to find the perfect training regimen that will allow you to function at your full capabilities.
If we consider this fact, the ubiquity of skipping rope in the boxing world becomes all the more impressive. If it weren’t such an effective exercise, boxers would have dropped it years, if not decades, back.
So why do boxers jump rope? Jumping rope is a key exercise for improving your speed, stamina, balance, confidence, and footwork. All of these are skills that are essential for a boxer to succeed, making jumping rope an exercise which, even when employed on its own, can give a fighter precisely what he needs to succeed in the ring.
Jumping Rope for Boxing
While the traditional method of jumping rope involves jumping and landing with both feet with every turn of the rope, boxer jumps involve switching from foot to foot while jumping. Boxers use this to mimic the footwork they will need in the ring. Most fighters even learn advanced skipping techniques because they spend so much time with the exercise.
Below, we will take a closer look at the different benefits of skipping rope and how this exercise can help you in the ring:
Jumping rope requires you to pay constant attention to what your feet are doing. Over time, this action becomes automatic, allowing you to move your feet unconsciously to enable you to perform specific maneuvers. Moving your feet correctly also allows you to throw strong, effective punches while also avoiding your opponent’s blows.
Training by jumping rope also gives you the automatic ability to move your feet instinctively throughout every round. The only way you can make your in-ring movements instinctive is by manually keeping yourself on your toes for the three minutes that normally make up a round.
As you become better and better at jumping rope, you will need to add complications to allow you to continue improving your overall fitness. The easiest way of making your workout harder is by skipping faster, which develops your ability to time your movements correctly. This ability translates to other areas in the ring, making it child’s play for you to throw a devastating punch with perfect balance and timing.
Stamina and Endurance
Boxing is not the same as fighting – a professional bout may continue for up to an hour. In this hour, not only do you have to keep trying to attack your opponent, but you also have to deal with the effects of whatever attacks your opponent may have landed on you.
Considering all this, it isn’t surprising that endurance is a vital skill for any boxer and one that jumping rope helps you hone. If you do not have enough stamina, you won’t have enough energy to last through the rounds, and you will spend all your time and energy solely to survive.
Boxers have been using jump ropes for centuries to improve their endurance and stamina. Boxing greats like Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, and Floyd Mayweather all trained (or train) using jump ropes.
Jumping rope helps achieve lower-body strength proportionality. Most people have a dominant leg (just as most people have a dominant hand), with the dominant leg being stronger and more coordinated. If you jump rope regularly and demand the same output from both your legs, you will even out your lower body over time.
If you have any doubts on the efficacy of jumping rope for boxers, the following video should lay all your doubts to rest. This video features Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest boxers of the 21st century, showing off his crazy skipping skills:
Jumping Rope for General Fitness
Aside from the primary advantages we have discussed above, jumping rope also has plenty of other benefits that will help improve your overall fitness level, whether you are a boxer or not.
Flexibility is the primary advantage you get when using a jump rope. New to exercising? Go slow. Extremely experienced? Try some tricks! Need to train for speed? Spin your arms as quickly as you can. Want to burn fat? Try a HIIT jumping rope routine.
You can also carry your jumping rope anywhere and use it at any time. Since ropes are so easy to transport, you can easily stuff one in your pocket. Since you don’t need any special equipment to jump rope, you can use it wherever and whenever you want - whether you’re going to the office, school, or even hiking through a forest (although we do admit that your boss may not take kindly to you pulling out your rope and going to town right in front of his office).
Fat loss is another area where the jump rope seems to reign supreme. First, you can easily integrate the workout into any HIIT format, framework, or program. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, a training framework where you switch between periods of high-intensity activity and low-intensity activity for a period of time.
For example, you can alternate between 30 seconds of full-speed skipping and 30 seconds of steady jogging for a total of 5 minutes. HIIT burns a tremendous amount of calories and blows traditional, steady-state exercise out of the water every time.
As we mentioned earlier, a jump rope is perfect for HIIT because:
• You can change your workout intensity on the fly, allowing you to switch between high-intensity and low-intensity exercise very quickly. You have dozens of options, each of which requires time and effort to master, which takes us to the next point.
• You can continue changing your workouts to make your training more fun and enjoyable. Jump rope variations number in the dozens, if not hundreds. With a jump rope, you can constantly attempt different variations, making your workouts less monotonous and more engaging.
• You are less likely to injure yourself jumping rope than performing other cardiovascular exercises (disregarding swimming). Skipping enforces proper form since if you land wrong, you will hurt so much that you will automatically embrace proper form the next time you skip. Furthermore, keeping your back straight and engaging your core ensures that your leg muscles, rather than your joints or bones, absorb most of the impact.
To recap, why do boxers jump rope?
Boxers love skipping because it improves their endurance, footwork, and timing in the ring, among other reasons.
While you may not want to work towards these goals when training, we have already established how useful an exercise jumping rope is, especially for general fitness.
So, if you have not worked out in a while, get yourself a jump rope (you can even get one for less than $20), pull up a workout, and go at it! Alternatively, you can create your own workouts as you get used to your new jump rope – there is no ‘best’ way to go about it.