Jumping rope has enormous conditioning benefits, but always jump on a forgiving surface. Do not skip rope on concrete or hard wood floors. They have little or no “give”. Use a rubber mat, carpet or padded surface of some type to help absorb impact. You will also get more benefit from a surface that requires effort to rebound from.
Boxing and the outcome of a fight is not always determined by the big things you do in the gym, but sometimes it is the attention you give to the details that really make the difference. One of those details is the jump rope. Aside from the obvious cardiovascular benefits, jumping rope can improve your agility, quickness, leg strength and it has the same ability to raise your heart rate and keep it elevated as roadwork does. According to information provided by the Cooper Aerobic Institute, 10 minutes of jumping rope is the cardiovascular-equivalent to running for 30 minutes. In addition to the aerobic benefits, the jump rope also helps strengthen the calves, the ankles and muscles of the legs, all of which play a crucial part in footwork and movement in the ring.
This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of articles that explore what it takes to build the perfect fighter. These articles will lead you through the processes of laying the proper groundwork in the gym through the various stages of competition. The series will touch on some of the fundamental aspects of boxing, like delivery of punches and ring generalship, but will focus primarily on the mental and philosophical aspects of the sport. The basics are the basics the world over and, although most coaches have their own way of doing things, there is also a science behind the sport and there is little room for interpreting that in any other way than the way nature intended. There is a reason boxing is called the “Sweet Science.”
Approaching this series in the same way you would when you’re building anything correctly, we’ll begin in the same way…starting from the ground up.
A Need for Speed – Proper Footwork
An underutilized resource of many fighters is their footwork. Although they realize how important it is in relation to balance and movement, they fail to understand what a vital role it plays in both offense and defense. As a fighter, quick movements can carry you within your opponents range to connect and rapidly move you out of range before your opponent is able to counter.
A small step on the inside can quickly put you in position where you can hit and not get hit. By constantly moving, this puts your opponent in a reactive mode where he is continually being forced to readjust to be in a position to mount an offensive attack. Using footwork to step to the side of your opponent, you also take away their forward momentum and can then use that against him.