Athletes often need additional exercises to supplement their regular workout routine. Ideally, it should be something that focuses on the same muscle groups or types of motion that are already present in their primary sport. Sometimes, that can include going to the gym and lifting weights. However, when it comes to swimming, jump rope has proven to be a fantastic form of exercise that can easily add to what you are already doing. In this article, we will take a look at the many benefits of jump rope for swimmers and why it’s so popular among athletes in general.
Why jump rope:
1. Jumping rope is easy to learn
Although there are many complex types of jump rope drills and tricks, the basic exercises are pretty easy to learn. If you don’t have any experience with jump rope, it may take a few attempts before you get into the flow. However, most people can properly execute single jumps after a few tries. If you are an experienced athlete and swimmer, you should have no trouble making multiple consecutive jumps by the end of your first session. Thankfully, even if you make a mistake, the worst thing that can happen is that you hit yourself with the rope. This makes it significantly safer than working with heavy weights or complex equipment.
2. Low barrier of entry
Honestly, certain forms of exercise aren’t suitable for everyone. Some of them might even require you to already be in pretty good shape. Thankfully, the barrier of entry for jump rope is relatively low, meaning that everyone can benefit from this type of exercise. Additionally, you don’t need to purchase expensive equipment that is large and hard to store. Jump rope is an affordable exercise tool that can easily fit in your drawer.
3. Requires very little room
In order to get the full workout benefit from jump rope, you only need a few square feet of space. This means that you can even exercise with jump rope indoors. Just make sure that you have a high enough ceiling – about 3 feet above your height should suffice. Compare that to something like a running track, which is huge, and not everyone has access to one. What’s even better is that if you have the space to jump rope indoors, you aren’t reliant on the weather conditions or the time of day. You can turn a short break around the house into a quick 15-minute workout and then get back to whatever you were doing.
Benefits of jump rope for swimmers:
1. Builds agility and explosiveness
Fast swimming requires you to be quick and able to develop explosive speed. Kick-starting off walls and swimming blocks is a must for competitive swimmers. Jump rope will help you develop fast and light footwork, which you can then translate into efficient strokes when you are in the water.
2. Amazing cardio workout
Jump rope is an aerobic exercise that can give you an amazing cardio workout in very little time. This is an excellent supplement to your swimming which relies on endurance, stamina, and proper breathing. It doesn’t impact your body with immediate strain, and you can slowly build up your speed. This means that if you have enough stamina, you can sustain your jumping session for a long time.
3. Practice your breathing
Jump rope can be a particularly good exercise to promote proper breathing habits. Prolonged workout sessions are going to be impossible without proper breathing, which you’ll quickly need to develop. Over time, you will learn to stay calm and control your breathing, even when under physical strain. The benefit of jumping rope to your swimming should be noticeable, and it will allow you to sustain high speeds for a longer time.
4. Increase bone density and ankle strength
Jumping and running are both good for improving bone density. However, the impact of running can be hard on your joints. Jump rope has a clear upper hand since you use light motions and catch your weight with both feet. The lifting motion you perform with each jump will strengthen your ankles over time. Experienced swimmers can attest to the importance of ankle strength for fast starts and creating forward propulsion by kicking underwater.
5. Improve coordination and timing
Coordinating your limbs is crucial for swimming, and getting your different muscle groups working together in harmony takes some practice. Fortunately, those same principles are required for jumping rope, and it can help coordinate what your lower body is doing in relation to your arms. Repeating the same motion multiple times lets you focus on each part of your body. This will allow you to analyze your motions and figure out what needs to happen with each jump. Proprioception (sensing movement and body position) is an important skill to develop, and it will have a massive impact on your movement in the water.
Where to start
Now that you’ve heard the benefits of jump rope for swimmers, you are surely eager to get started. Before you start jumping, there are just a few more things to consider if you are a beginner. You’ll need to find the right type and size of your rope. Once you get that sorted out, we recommend that you start slowly. Even if you are an experienced swimmer, you’ll find that jumping rope targets muscle groups that don’t get exercised through swimming. It’s okay if you find out the hard way that your calves aren’t as muscular as you think.
The bottom line
Hopefully, you’ve gained insight into the benefits of jump rope for swimmers. With a bit of practice, you’ll quickly get into shape and be able to pull off excellent exercises with the jump rope. After all - it’s a fun, efficient, and cheap way to complement your swimming training. Even just a few short jump rope sessions a week will significantly impact your swimming ability. There is no excuse not to pick up a rope and start jumping since it will make you a better swimmer.