My Favorite Cardio Exercise

July 27, 2008 · Print This Article

One question I get asked a lot is, what is the best cardio exercise to do for losing body fat?

I usually don’t like to answer these “best exercise for X” questions because they usually get asked by someone that doesn’t understand that there is a whole process that involves a bit more than just finding a good exercise, or fitness contraption that will magically melt the fat off. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know it takes a combination of burning more calories and consuming less.

Typical resistance training causes your body to burn more calories over the long haul and doesn’t provide as much of the immediate calorie burning effect as cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is the opposite. You burn more calories in the short period of time while you are exercising but the calorie burning effect is short lasting compared to what you get from resistance training.

Both are necessary components of any good fitness program.

If you’re trying to make progress fast, cardio exercise had better be on your schedule at least 3 days a week.

Hands down, jumping rope is my favorite cardiovascular exercise for nearly every purpose. For most of the people out there, it might sound a little silly; the last time you jumped rope was likely in Elementary school.

Jumping rope requires the coordination of multiple muscle groups to sustain precisely timed, and rhythmic movement. Jumping rope increases your capacity for dynamic balance.

For an athlete dynamic balance (the ability to maintain equilibrium in a constantly changing environment while executing complex, omnidirectional movement (moving in every direction), and power (the ability to exert muscular strength quickly/rate of force production) are the biggest physical indicators of your success as an athlete. An athlete with greater dynamic balance and power is a superior athlete when compared to one with less.

For a regular person, it means increased functional efficiency, and capacity, and decreased risk of injury while navigating the slippery, crooked sidewalks of the earth.

Here’s a few different jump rope techniques you can try below. Be warned; it’s quite a bit harder than you might remember. If you haven’t been exercising at all, you might want to try building up your aerobic capacity by walking/jogging/running for at least 30 minutes 3-7 days / week for 2 weeks before trying these.

Give yourself time to build it up. An intense 30 minute jump rope session your first time out probably won’t happen.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Start with the basic 2 feet jump. Do 1 minute, rest for 20 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Try 1 minute of a jump rope exercise, rest for 20 seconds, then move on to the next. Go back to the first when you reach the last exercise. Repeat.

Try 15 reps of each exercise back to back without stopping for 1 minute. Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat.

Exercise Description:
Jump Rope (basic 2 feet)
Classification:
Aerobic/Anaerobic Conditioning
Instructions:
Start with the jump rope in each hand.
Jump off the ground and start swinging the jump rope under your feet.
Continue jumping up and down as you bring the jump rope under your feet.
Continue for the prescribed number of jumps or time.

Exercise Description:
Jump Rope (forward straddle)
Classification:
Aerobic/Anaerobic Conditioning
Instructions:
Start with the jump rope in each hand.
Jump off the ground and start swinging the jump rope under your feet.
Continue jumping up and down as you bring the jump rope under your feet.
While you are jumping split the feet so that one foot goes forward and the other foot goes backwards. Keep switching the feet back and forth.
Continue for the prescribed number of jumps or time.

Exercise Description:
Jump Rope (alternating foot)
Classification:
Aerobic/Anaerobic Conditioning
Instructions:
Start with the jump rope in each hand.
Jump off the ground and start swinging the jump rope under your feet.
Continue jumping up and down alternating your feet touching the ground as you bring the jump rope under your feet.
Continue for the prescribed number of jumps or time.

Exercise Description:
Jump Rope (1 leg 5x)
Classification:
Aerobic/Anaerobic Conditioning
Instructions:
Start with the jump rope in each hand.
Jump off the ground and start swinging the jump rope under one foot.
Continue jumping with the same foot for 5x and then shift to the other foot.
Continue for the prescribed number of jumps or time.

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