September 2006
Andy and JamieIn this month's issue, we give you a series of fat burning and skill developing jump rope techniques. You'll soon be moving like a boxer, light and fast on the feet. Injuries can knock you off your training regimen so we offer some simple tips to stay injury-free. Finally in the Ask the Trainer section, Andy and Jamie provide even more suggestions on staying motivated to achieve your fitness goals. Good Luck!

The Balazs Team - Knock Yourself Out!


Boxing Drill #34: Jumping Rope for Balance, Footwork and Endurance
Jumping or skipping rope is not just a great cardio workout; it can also improve your footwork, arm strength and endurance, as well as improve your coordination. Once you've mastered the basic two-foot jump (Review or learn basic techniques here), you can move on and vary your routine to include different types of jumps.

Here are some great jump-rope variations to try:

Basic Two-Foot Jump: (Difficulty Level 1) This is what you learned in grade school. Two feet together, jumping up and down, over the rope as you swing it up and over your head. Push off the floor with both feet jumping in the air and rotate the rope upward behind the back and over the head.

Boxer's Skip or One Foot Jump: (Difficulty Level 1) Starting with the basic two-foot jump, shift your weight from one foot to the other. Hop up and down over the rope with one foot, alternating with each revolution of the rope.

Ski Jump: (Difficulty Level 2) Start with the basic two foot jump while landing to the right side of your starting place, then land to the left side of the starting place. Back and forth as though you were a skier on a moguls course.

Stride Jumps: (Difficulty Level 3) Start with the basic two-foot jump and when in the air separate the feet about shoulder width. Land with the feet in this position, push off and bring the feet back together. Add difficulty by crossing your feet on the return.

Diamond Jump: (Difficulty Level 4) Start with the basic two foot jump, push off and imagine a diamond shape, land 6-12 inches forward and to the right, then back and to the right, then back to the left and finally forward to the left, completing the diamond shape.

Cross-Over: (Difficulty Level 5) Start with the basic two foot jump and as the rope comes up over your head, cross arms in front of the body, keeping your arms at waist level. Jump the rope, and as it comes back over your head, uncross your arms.

Double Jumps: (Difficulty Level 5) Two fast turns of the rope per jump. Start with the basic two-foot jump, but the speed of the rope must be fast to allow for two rotations with one jump, and the height of the jump must be higher to allow for extra time to get the rope around twice. A true strengthening and endurance exercise.

Remember to stay relaxed and maintain steady breathing. Try not to get frustrated when trying new moves. Try to work up to between 12 and 24 minutes of non-stop skipping.

(For a more detailed breakdown of all of these jumps check out the i-box Fitness Boxing fundamentals DVD)

Andy & Jamie's Health & Fitness Tip: Preventing Injuries
Injuries are not an uncommon occurrence during intense physical training. Safety is always a major concern. There are ways to prevent serious injuries or even the minor injuries that can set you back in your training regimen.

Most injuries can be prevented by designing a well-balanced fitness program that 1) Does not overstress any body parts, 2) Allows enough time for recovery, and 3) Includes a suitable warm-up and cool-down.

Use of strengthening exercises to enhance joint stability and muscular endurance will help prevent joint injuries. Working out on soft, level surfaces for stretching and running will also help prevent injuries due to impact and error.

If an injury does occur, it should be recognized and properly treated in a timely manner. If you suspect an injury, stop the activity and, if appropriate, seek medical help.

Many common injuries and exercise maladies are caused by overuse. People often exercise too much and too often, with too rapid an increase in the workload. Most overuse injuries can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). And the can be avoided by making sure your workouts are balanced and rest days are integrated into your regimen.

Ask the Trainer:
"I find it hard to stay motivated and stick with my fitness program. I try to hit 2-3 aerobic classes per week, mixed in with strength training in the weight room, twice week. I'll jump on the treadmill, if I must, but I get bored so quickly. Any suggestions?"

People are so hung up on the "latest exercise programs" that they forget that the mission is to simply expend energy and move. No one ever said that you had to expend energy in the gym, or by pounding out a run on the treadmill. Get out and PLAY!

Structured sports such as football, volleyball, tennis and similar activities are all great ways to burn off some extra calories. Or, to make it even more interesting, put together a little outdoor fitness session for you and some of your friends. Using nothing but bodyweight and a little bit of imagination, there is no end to the fun that you can have running, jumping, catching, pushing, pulling, hopping, sprinting, lunging, squatting, etc. The list is endless!

If you want to add a little bit of resistance, grab a 6 or 8-pound Medicine Ball and toss it around for a while. (For a great medicine ball drill check out Newsletter archives, December 2005 issue.) A personal trainer could add some spice to your weight training routine.

- Andy Dumas

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Endorsed by the World Boxing Council
Balazs fitness tips are endorsed by the World Boxing Council.