Skipping for health

Skipping for health

Skipping is not just for boxers and schoolchildren. This classic workout is enjoying a well-deserved revival. Here is all you need to know to get you grabbing that rope.


You may see it as a playground game, but skipping is actually a low impact version of a plyometric exercise. The jumps provide the effort and the landing provides the muscle stretch.

Skipping is weight-bearing, which is essential for strong bones. While the legs are providing the propulsion, the arms and shoulders are also working to turn the rope and provide balance.

A 30 minute skip will dispose of 300 calories in a fun cardio workout, so it’s a great fat burner too.


Nothing more than a rope and a good pair of trainers, although ladies will probably also want to add a good sports bra.

The way to measure the rope is the same as it was at school. Stand on the centre of the rope and pull the handles or ends up close to your body. They should reach the top of your shoulders.


As always, form and technique are essential. Now you are out of the playground, don’t try to jump high. You only need to be far enough off the ground to clear the rope. Concentrate on landing lightly on the balls of your feet, with knees kept soft. Think fairy, not elephant!

If a hard surface is too much, consider jumping on a trampoline or even on grass.


Team skipping and workouts do exist in the UK. Search with the American term ‘jump rope’ to find the active groups. Or just get a length of washing line and a couple of friends!

If you need some inspiration, look back at the 1980s ‘Double Dutch’ craze for some serious moves – and an irresistible earworm. The outfits may have changed but the exercise will still do you just as much good.

Skipping has so many benefits, so find that rope and give it a try!


The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.


Iain B.
19 May 2017

Iain B.

Skipping is a very underrated exercise. I started back recently, specifically to lose weight quickly, and it is working well. It burns loads of calories. I use a heavy leather rope, but a cheap plastic one is also good. I'd say the important things to remember are to stay on your toes, maintain an upright stance (shoulders back) and build up a rhythm (try counting how many you can do before failure).

Michael A.
17 May 2017

Michael A.

The only experience I had of skipping when I was young was charging into the girls' games! But I tried it again as a - more sensible - adult in the gym on the recommendation of my instructor and really enjoyed it.

Helen P.
16 May 2017

Helen P.

I like to skip in short bursts so couldn't manage a 30 minute workout. I use it as part of interval training so it doesn't get boring then.

Jim R.
12 May 2017

Jim R.

you're not wrong about that earworm! I thought only boxers did skipping and it was bad for the knees. Now I'm reasssured and will dig out that old piece of washing line.

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