Apr 23rd, 2015
The Number One Core Exercise
By, Mark Wine CSCS- NASM PT, CES, PES
The secret behind a six-pack is not one exercise, not a specific diet, not a specific technique or lifestyle, but rather a combination of them all. However, there is a secret that can elevate your workouts to engage numerous energy systems and numerous twitches for optimal muscular development. What is it? It is a JUMP ROPE. That’s right, this simple playground activity can be the key to developing a lean six-pack and shredded physique.
Jumping Rope engages total body muscular recruitment. For example, when you land upon the ground the impact contracts muscles throughout your entire body. It first travels through your ankle tendons and ligaments and followed by your calf musculature. The impact contractions then transfers through your knee tendons / ligaments into your quadriceps and hamstring muscular groups. This leads to recruiting the Gluteal musculature, which results in contraction throughout the entire core region (rectus abdominis, oblique’s). However, jumping rope is not limited to lower body and core musculature development because it is a great upper body developer as well. Each time you jump you are contracting your upper body, especially deltoids, traps, biceps, and forearms. You utilize your upper body through each impact and from making the jump rope spin.
If you jump rope quickly, which you will be able to accomplish the more you practice with the rope, you jump and absorb impact contractions numerous times per second. If you jump for 30 seconds (recommended length of time as a super set), you may contract up to hundreds of times in one set. This high frequency of reaction contractions can lead to greater development of type II muscle fibers, which are the muscle fibers that give you that six pack.
Incorporating a Jump Rope into your everyday workouts will elevate your workouts to engage more lean muscle and greater levels of fat loss. Super set, which means combine two exercises back to back, jump roping exercises with a total body or compound exercise. This extends your sets to a longer length of time, which is one of the greatest ways to increase fat loss and lean muscle recruitment.
One of the jump rope’s greatest assets is its versatility and ease-of-use. The jump rope can be performed and taken anywhere. There is no such thing as a restriction when it comes to Jump Roping. If you travel a lot, put it in your suitcase and perform it 10 minutes per day. This will change the way you travel and keep your fitness goals on track. You can create an entire workout with the jump rope in your home, backyard, hotel room, and anywhere else that you have an 8’ ceiling with a 6’x6’ square space.
Jumping Rope develops individuals into greater athletes. The stretch shortening cycle (SSC) is the utilization of your tendons and ligaments through a rubber band like effect, which leads to greater vertical jumping ability and faster quickness and speed. “The SSC utilizes tendons and ligaments in a spring like action, therefore limiting the amount of ground reaction force (GRF)” (The Hidden Gem in Speed & Agility Training). The SSC is required in nearly all sports. When you watch a sprinter sprint, their ankle tendons and ligaments acts as springs, propelling him/her into faster speeds. Without proper development of the SSC, or proper sprint technique for that matter, this athlete would be slower and not be able to correctly utilize the SSC.[Read The Hidden Gym in Speed & Agility Training for further insight into SSC and to gain a better perspective of what it is and how to train for it.]
Understanding the importance of Jump Roping is great, but knowing how to incorporate it correctly is gold. Here is a sample workout utilizing basic exercises, which are taken to new levels through super-setting with a jump rope:
The Elementary Total Body Workout
Exercise 1: Lunges w/ dumbbells = 3 sets of 20 reps with moderate to heavy weight
Super-Set 1: Jump Rope two feet quick = 3 sets of 30 seconds
Exercise 2: Deadlifts w/ bar or dumbbells = 4 sets of 8 reps with moderate to heavy weight
Super-Set 2: Jump Rope one foot = 4 sets of 30 seconds (split time between feet)
Exercise 3: Pull Up to Push Up = 5 sets of fail reps (minimum 8 reps of pull ups and 15 reps of push ups)
Super-Set 3: Jump Rope 3 way = 5 sets of 45 seconds (one foot, other foot, both feet, switch between all)
NOTE: the rest time between sets should be no more than 60 seconds.
This workout is very simple, but if performed 1-2 times per week can shred your physique. All exercises performed are challenging exercises, yet still elementary. There is no originality in the exercises, but that is the point. Incorporating the jump rope into your workouts, even with basic exercises, can turn each movement into a fat burning muscle shredding exercise / workout.