I've been jumping rope a lot more lately as part of crossfit-type exercises I've been doing.  I used to do it quite a bit in college as part of a similar exercise routine; when I was a junior, I took a marine ecology research class on Appledore island off the NH-ME border.  On that wonderful island, I did two forms of exercise.  First, I would jump rope in a gazebo with panoramic Atlantic ocean views. Then, avoiding aggressive nesting seaguls, I trail ran with two girls from the Cornell University XC team.  (Those seemingly kind, nerdy science girls unleashed a pace of abuse for that entire summer) What I started to realize, in rare states of lucidity on those lung-searing runs, was that I felt "springier" that summer.  It was part of a transition that I began at that time:  get off the road and onto the trails. This helped change my gait to a shorter-stride, land-beneath-your center-of-gravity, midfoot  strike.  This was done completely unconsciously; the trails forced me to make this transition.  What I didn't quite realize then was that the jumprope was making this transition easier.
    As many minimal/barefoot converts know, achilles and calf pain/strain is the top complaint when making a gait switch from heel to mid or forefoot.  Landing here turns your achilles into an effective spring, aiding in forward momentum, but if you've never used this complex of muscle and tendon in this manner, it can suffer overuse quickly.  
    This is where the jumprope comes in.  Jumping rope is like running with a mid or forefoot strike, but not actually going forward.  It helps train that gastrocnemius/soleus/achilles tendon into an effective spring.  That springy feeling on a run doesn't come unless you're using this group of muscles/tendon properly.  
    So, in addition to eccentric calf exercises, one legged stands and squats, and the other prepatory exercises mentioned before, jumping rope is ideal to help you in that transition of heel to midfoot (or forefoot) striking.  Add in double unders, one-legged skips, shuffle skips to add some variety, and have fun!!

Esther Oakley
2/12/2015 07:37:28 am

I had never known that jumping rope could help with minimalist running. I am looking at changing up the way I get cardio and I think that running would be a good way to do that. I just need to make sure that I get the right pair of shoes so I can have proper arch support.
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6/27/2015 01:36:13 am

I also have a blog on how to cure plantar fasciitis in detail.. please be sure to check it out if you are a daily runner with PF

6/27/2015 01:34:14 am

Jumping rope as lots of advantages. I have known people to suffer from plantar fasciitis to use jumping rope to cure it. I have also known jumping rope to cause Pf but to help with minimalism? I don't know its new to me but it could be true. I will definitely take this into consideration as I am a daily runner.


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