For soccer players, agility is nearly as important as speed and strength. Luckily, increasing agility is not difficult. You don't need a lot of equipment or space to develop it properly.
A jump rope is all you need, believe it or not.
As simple as it may appear, jumping rope can significantly improve your agility. First, it primarily targets your leg and ankle muscles, the two most important groups for soccer players. It is also excellent for increasing aerobic endurance. Jump rope has been a staple of agility training in many different sports, from boxing to volleyball, but today, we will primarily focus on jump rope workouts for soccer training.
Why is Jump Rope Exercise so Important for Soccer?
Jump training, also known as plyometrics or plyos, builds strength and increases muscle power. Jump rope is an essential part of this training and a basis for building agility.
Players who want to improve their balance, explosive running, direction-changing speed, and jumping height will incorporate jump rope and weighted jump rope workouts into their training.
Speaking of weighted jump rope training, it increases the effectiveness of jump rope workouts and builds leg and ankle strength. Strength in these areas leads to improved explosiveness, which is one of the most important aspects of soccer.
Have You Seen Ronaldo's Jump?
We've all been guilty of admiring Ronaldo's impressive goal-scoring bounces in recent years. It has probably got you thinking too - how does he do it? If you are a soccer geek, you've probably googled some of his training and noticed a rope in his hands on many clips.
Plyometrics involved in this simple yet highly effective practice makes his whole physiognomy prepared for these intensive jumps and his sprint more explosive - making him a perfect and ruthless human goal-scoring machine.
Find the Perfect Jump Rope
You'll want to find the perfect jump rope to begin your training. Certain elements make up a quality jump rope, so you should ensure that your rope has all of them.
Adjustability is the first thing you'll want to look for in a jump rope. Look for a rope that you can adjust the length of.
The second thing you should consider is what surface are you jumping on? If you're jumping outside you'll wear through your rope quickly unless you're using a heavy pvc or beaded jump rope.
The final element to look at is going to be the weight. As we've already mentioned, a weighted rope is the best option for soccer players.
(Related: See our jump rope buyer's guide>>)
Get the Technique Down
Before you begin any serious exercises, you must first understand the proper technique for jumping rope. While jumping over a rope may appear to be a simple enough task, it can be harmful if done incorrectly. For this reason, you should try to do the following:
- Don't keep your legs too far apart when jumping
- Try to land softly
- Don't jump too high
- Make sure to bend your knees slightly
- Keep your spine neutral
- Keep your shoulders back
These six steps will ensure that you are in the best possible position to do the exercises and staysafe.
Jump Rope Exercises
If you ask pro sportspeople, most rely on CrossFit's high-intensity interval training as a great way to improve stamina and motor skills. As a crucial part of CrossFit, a jump rope workout is a simple and effective way to transform your body and, simultaneously, an essential cardio training element.
- The basic jump. Your feet should be slightly apart. Jump over the rope with both feet and land softly in the same spot
- The front to back. Start with the basic step and land in front of your starting position after the jump. After the following jump, land behind your starting position
- The alternate footstep. Switch feet as you jump over the rope. It is vital to time your jumps precisely.
- Single-foot jumps. Hop over the rope on one foot two to three times before switching the foot. The form requires hip and ankle stability, so jump only as high as needed for the rope to pass below your feet.
- The boxer step. Start with a basic jump and then transition to a short; boxer-hop from side to side as you jump over the rope.
- The cross-over. Rest your arms in front of you. To do a criss-cross jump, make a tiny figure eight with your hands by crossing them before one jump and uncrossing them before the next. Crossing and uncrossing your feet before consecutive jumps is a different take on this exercise. Alternatively, cross your feet front to back instead of left to right. Land with a different foot in front of you after each jump
- The double under. Position yourself for a basic jump. The double under form implies swinging your rope hard and fast and jumping high enough, so the rope goes under your feet twice for the duration of a single jump.
(Related: See our video tutorials on jump rope tricks & movements>>)
Perfecting some of these forms will take time, but the reward is improved footwork, balance, and coordination. However, a couple more critical pieces of advice follow jump rope workouts for soccer players.
A Few Final Tips
Both regular and CrossFit jump rope workout preparation involves choosing the right training shoes. You need to find shoes that adequately cushion the balls of your feet and absorb the jolts, saving your shins.
Finally, don't forget that correct jumping forms and patient repetition bring the best results. Ideally, a professional trainer would advise you on proper body positioning. However, if you exercise alone, master the basic jump form, so you can jump without tripping yourself.
Once you get into the jumping routine, switching forms will come more easily and naturally, and you can slowly increase the number and the duration of sets. Remember that the most successful jump rope workouts for soccer training are those that don't result in any injury.