Jumping rope: high intensity training at half load

Joachim Altmann 5. March 2020

According to the well-known German fascia researcher, Robert Schleip, there is no better training for improving your body’s flexibility. Jumping rope on a regular basis provides the perfect link between walking and running. It prepares your body for the running season in a targeted manner and will bring your running style to the next level. 

This article is brought to you by «Medical Running»

The best thing about jumping rope: you land on both feet - and not on one foot as with jogging. This means half as much the load than when jogging! It is the perfect way to get your feet and legs used to the specific loads of running.

Three further positive effects await you:

  1. Jumping rope on a regular basis increases the strength endurance of your foot and calf muscles.
  2. If you are in the process of changing your running style from heel striking to a fore- or midfoot running style, a skipping rope provides valuable help: when jumping rope with two legs, you automatically land on both the fore- or midfeet respectively
  3. Jumping rope on a regular basis has a positive effect on your posture.

So, let’s go! Jumping rope in three stages:


Start jumping without a rope - just hold it in your hands to start with. Your pelvis upright, your head an extension of your spine. Important: try to jump as little as possible - just above the ground! The knees should bend very slightly – or hardly at all! You will automatically land on the forefeet. The shock absorption in the legs is provided by the posterior lower leg and foot muscles.

Now adjust your skipping rope to the correct length: stand with both feet on the skipping rope with your elbows at right angles to the sides of your flanks. Take it easy. Sufficient breaks and frequent attempts to start will help you make faster progress.

Dosage: Start with 50-60 jumps with lots of breaks.

Take note:

Breaks are essential at the beginning: it’s better to do 5x10 jumps, then 3x20 jumps instead of 50 jumps in one go.
To start with, jump on a gym mat or wear shoes. Your forefeet will thank you.
And don’t overdo it at first. Jumping rope can cause discomfort in the entire body. Not because you are doing it wrong, but simply because you haven't done it for decades.


Stand in front of a mirror and observe your knees, ankles and feet as you jump. Pay particular attention to your feet. They should be parallel and roughly hip-width apart. The knees are perpendicular to your feet. The heels remain upright. The metatarsophalangeal joints have full ground contact when landing and jumping.

Dosage: Increase the jumps by 25 per unit each week – 1 x 25 jumps, then 2 x 25 jumps, 3 x 25 jumps, then do 50 jumps in one go, then 2 x 50, 3 x 50. Over time you will be able to jump 100 times and then 150 times in one go.

Take note:

Often at the moment of landing, there is an inward rotation of both knees, the so-called kneeing-in. This is often combined with knock knees, skew foot, and longitudinal arch flattening.

Don’t jump too high! Try to jump as little as possible – just above the ground, but with your legs as straight as possible. This enables the calf muscles to provide cushioning, reducing the load on the feet with each landing.


Now focus on the soles of your feet. Slowly lift both heels – in slow motion – keeping both metatarsophalangeal joints anchored to the floor. Rock your heels slowly up and down a few times. Important: while lifting your heels, do not use the outer edge of the foot. As you lift and lower the heel, the metatarsophalangeal joint bears the main load of the body. And now do the same with a skipping rope. Always make sure you don’t buckle when landing or use the small toe side when jumping.

Dosage: 4 x 25 or 2 x 50 jumps

Take note:

Check your feet in front of the mirror. Only jump for as long as you have your feet and legs under control.
Jump as “flat” as possible – only as high as necessary – so you become light-footed and fast like a boxer when warming up.
When landing, lower your heel until it is just above or almost touching the floor – to ensure you do not overburden your forefeet.

What’s next?

Gradually build up to 250 jumps – or rather the length of your favourite song. Do the entire exercise 2-3 times throughout the week – if possible, at the same time and on the same days of the week. Former world-class runner Haile Gebrselassie (26 world record runs) completed one training unit a week with the skipping rope: he jumped rope to three songs on the radio. Each with a short break in between!