All you need to skip to the beat is the simple combination of a skipping rope & music.
To skip to the beat the rope must touch the ground in time with the tempo of the music. It is a simple & effective way of keeping your pace constant & measured, whilst also adding the challenge of trying to skip all the way through a track (or part of a track) without stopping or letting the rope get caught under your feet.
The principle of skipping to the beat can be used as a simple warm up all the way through to a punishing 1 hour class. However a session lasting 25 minutes is more than sufficient for most people.
The structure of a skipping to the beat workout is to choose a selection of music with a tempo & duration that meets the desired goal of the workout.
Skipping to the beat works best with music of a tempo between 130 beats per minute to 180bpm. The workout can be varied in intensity & structure with tempo & duration changes from track to track. ‘Slower’ tracks at half the tempo (65bpm to 90bpm) are good to use as well. When using a tempo of 65bpm to 90bpm skipping in time with the percussion is good way to keep your pace steady. Doubling up your pace by using just the ‘slow’ drum & snare as a rhythm pattern to follow is a deceptively tricky challenge.
Dance music works especially well with skipping to the beat due to its drum heavy nature, but any genre of music with a rhythm will do the trick.
A tempo below 130bpm/65 bpm is pretty much too slow to maintain momentum for a good rotation of the rope, above 180bpm/90bpm tends to be a touch too manic.
The time between one track finishing & the next track starting can be used as brief recovery periods. Also if at any point during a track the beat fades away or cuts out this can be used as a recovery period, or to push the pace with a burst of intense speed.
A long track lasting for 8-10min at 130-140bpm is a very tough endurance challenge for most people.
For the veterans who have refined their technique the use of continuous dance music mixes provide a constant non-stop pace & tempo to maintain with little to no rest to be had as the tracks are mixed together. This is where the efficiency of the skipping technique heavily comes into play.
Intense interval training by skipping in time to music with a tempo of 165-180bpm provides a powerful challenge. Intense skipping intervals can be performed by skipping through sections of the track, for instance 16 bars active followed by 16 bars recovery, 8 bars on 8 bars off etc. I take my hat off to anyone who can skip through a complete drum & bass track lasting any longer than 5 minutes at anywhere above 165bpm+.
There are numerous different movement patterns to perform with a skipping rope, from jumping with both feet in time, alternately hopping from foot to foot, alternate double left foot hop to double right hop, high knees, side swings, crossovers, double unders and so on.
To further improve coordination & timing, changing between different skipping patterns in time with bars in the music adds a great challenge. Something as simple as alternate skips from left foot to right foot for 8 bars then changing straight into double left foot to a double right foot hop for 8 bars & repeating is a good pattern to follow. A simple & deceptively hard pattern to perform is to alternately hop from foot to foot & to perform a crossover every fourth skip. Once again the combinations of different skipping patterns & tempo variations are countless.
Skipping will improve & maintain co-ordination, timing, balance, speed, power, & endurance. As mentioned above the efficiency of the technique is of utmost importance so as to be able to skip without prematurely stopping and/or losing form. The benefits of skipping & how to implement a good technique will be covered in more detail a future blog.
p.s. just in case anyone is unsure, track = song!