Published on May 11, 2016
I’m not coordinated enough. I'm going to embarrass myself. I haven't done this since I was a kid. Do I even have time to learn a new skill?
Is it really worth it?
Ever since I got my first set of ropes a few months ago, I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve been in the gym talking about Crossrope and heard the comments above.
Admittedly, this is exactly what I said before I hopped aboard the Crossrope train. Even though my brother owns the company, I was pretty set in my non-rope workout routine.
I often joked that I’d face plant, get tangled in the ropes or trip, and that my performance would actually discourage people from purchasing Crossrope.
Sadly, I was only half-kidding.
Before We Begin...
I just wanted to let you know that we've recently published an awesome resource for jump rope beginners - you can check it out here:
"I Was Intimidated by the Ropes"
In truth, these deflections were really just an easy ‘out’...a way to poke fun at my lack of athletic ability and casually avoid the real issue: I was, in fact, intimidated by the ropes.
Now, I wasn’t actually afraid of the ropes. I knew the many benefits of jumping with weighted ropes, and I didn’t really care about hitting myself in the shins or tripping up.
But I was afraid that I would be one of those people who just never really ‘got it’, try as I might, and would waste a lot of time and effort on something that would have no return on investment or, as some people say, “results.”
Fortunately, I decided to take the plunge - to go full-speed-ahead with my newly-acquired jump rope system. And in doing so, I discovered that a lot of my mistakes and frustrations stemmed from factors that were a product of my own self-doubt and, better yet, completely manageable.
In other words, it was all in my head.
So, while I’m no jump rope expert at this point (yup - I'm still ‘learning the ropes’), I thought I’d share some insights I gained throughout the initial learning process. Because if I can jump rope, trust me when I say that anyone can.
It really boils down to what I like to call the five P's:
Let's take a look at each individually.
Remember when you were a kid and first learning how to ride a bike?
Do you recall how exhilarating it was when you could finally take off full speed down the street with the wind in your hair (and a taste of freedom)?
It was awesome.
But very rarely did anyone just hop on a bike and take off. Usually, there was a tricycle, followed by training wheels, and then ‘guided’ bicycle lessons (aka mom and dad standing by in case you started to tip over).
Such is the case for learning any worthwhile skill: there is always a process to learn something new, and this requires a tremendous amount of time and patience.
And while there are different schools of thought as to the actual amount of time required to master a new skill (some say 20 hours, while others say 10,000 hours), you will be far less likely to throw in the towel if you accept early on that there will be an initial investment of time and energy before you start to notice an improvement.
But trust me - it’s worth it.
The second you start to feel less winded, string more jumps together, or see more muscle definition, you won’t even care about the time it took to get there.
Patience is a virtue, but it’s also an asset when it comes to learning something new.
After about the fifth time of doing 10 consecutive jumps that ended with the rope hitting my shins, I was starting to get very flustered.
"Why do I keep tripping?”
And the more frustrated I became, the harder it was for me to focus on my form, rhythm and simple ‘fixes’ that would have made me more successful (because I was so distracted by how much I sucked).
In theory, jumping rope seems like a relatively straightforward, basic exercise: Just hold the handles, swing the rope, and jump over it. Then, do it again.
How hard could it be?
Jumping rope, even at the most basic level, does require a certain amount of coordination, rhythm, and proper form (how to hold the handles, bound, etc). But all of these things can be attained with enough practice and due diligence.
Tip: This is also where the weighted jump rope benefits really come into play.
Will you trip up and hit your shins along the way? Yes. Will you get frustrated and want to throw your ropes into the neighbor’s yard? Yes. But if you persist through these minor roadblocks, you’ll feel like a million bucks when it finally clicks.
Whenever I’m at the gym, I’ll occasionally see people grab a jump rope and just go for broke - not really caring if nosy onlookers (like me) see them trip or make mistakes.
And I applaud them for not caring what others think (we should all be more like this).
But most of the time, people jumping rope at the gym (unless they’re a show-off, like my brother) try to find an obscure corner, out of the view of other gym-goers, to avoid any undue scrutiny when they trip.
I fall into the latter category.
Even though I know people most likely aren’t casting judgment (or even watching me), I tend to feel very self-conscious when attempting to learn new things in a public setting...and I certainly don’t want to draw extra attention to my mistakes.
For this reason, I love the that I’m able to practice jumping rope in the privacy of my own home - free from distractions and imagined judgments.
It’s just ‘me vs. the ropes’, and I can focus on my improving my technique without being inhibited by thoughts of embarrassing myself.
Let’s be honest - “becoming a professional jump roper” is not on most people’s bucket list, nor is it on mine. Though I enjoy the efficiency and effectiveness of jump rope workouts, I don’t plan on winning double under competitions anytime soon.
Having perspective is important when it comes to learning a new skill.
It’s not wise to compare yourself to more advanced jumpers (unless you’re just admiring them), because chances are, their goals are different than yours.
And they’ve been practicing for a really, really long time. Comparing yourself will only cause you to become discouraged early on in the game.
Regardless of skill level, however, you can still get a killer workout with basic jumps.
I was initially worried that I wouldn’t really get the maximum benefit from my ropes because I didn’t know any ‘fancy’ moves.
But truth be told, I’m sweating buckets after only 15 minutes of single-unders with the Intensity Rope from the Plus Set, so you don’t need to be a pro to get all of the benefits of jumping rope (endurance, fat burn, agility, strength, etc.).
As we learned from Billy Murray in What About Bob, sometimes it’s good to take baby steps.
It can be overwhelming to teach yourself something from scratch, especially in our brave, new world of never-ending online DIY resources (thanks a bunch, YouTube).
That’s why it’s important to have at least a rough plan/strategy in place. I found these three things to be helpful:
- Set realistic goals: What do you hope to achieve from jump rope workouts? How many hours a week/minutes per day are you willing to devote? Which workouts will you do? How many different jump rope skills do you want to acquire? Mapping out your objectives in a realistic way will help you stick to a set schedule and timeline for achieving these goals.
- Utilize available resources (but don’t go crazy): Thankfully, I didn’t need to go far to find ample information on learning jump rope (there were plenty of workouts, tips and tutorials delivered right to my inbox from Crossrope). But while it’s good to study up and prepare yourself for a new task, it’s easy to go into ‘information overload’ mode. Sometimes, the “just do it” approach is really the best way to learn.
- Visualize: It may sound silly or strange, but I find that it really helps to close your eyes and visualize yourself jumping rope. The more you do this, the more you’ll be mentally prepared to tackle new skills and gain confidence in the process.
In summary, there are a number of ways to overcome the initial ‘fear’ of jumping rope, if this is something you’re interested in learning.
Will it take time, patience and hard work? Absolutely. But in the end, you’ll not only have the satisfaction of learning a new skill - you’ll also have the ability to incorporate one of the most powerful, fat-burning tools into your exercise routine.
I'm three months in and I’m already noticing a more toned physique, and a definite increase in endurance (which helps me run better).
If you're intimidated by the rope, remember the 5 P's: patience, perseverance, privacy, perspective, and preparation. They will help you get over the fear!
I’ve shared my thoughts, now I’d love to hear yours. What are your hesitations when it comes to jumping rope? Share in the comments below!