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Why Jump-Roping Will Make You a Better, Faster Boxer

Boxers improve not just their endurance but also their fancy footwork by jumping rope.

"Boxers are always jumping rope—why? Is it really such a great conditioning exercise? I’m not even sure how I’d start." — Mickey C., Los Angeles, CA

"Watch any boxer in training, and sooner or later he’ll reach for a rope,” says boxing coach Adam Colberg of Greenwich, Connecticut. “Pro boxers often do 10 to 15 minutes a day.”

Why? “Boxing is both aerobic and anaerobic,” Colberg says, “and a rope can also be used for either. The speed can be varied to reach a lower heart rate over a longer time, or higher over a shorter time.” So it’s the perfect interval workout, as a fighter can lose weight and build muscle but also improve speed, agility, and endurance.

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Plus, says Ross Enamait of “Jumping enhances footwork and rhythm, which are both key to moving gracefully in the ring.”

To start, get an adjustable plastic “speed” rope, says Colberg, and try single-unders: “Use a light swinging action, and as the rope comes over, take a little spring off the balls of your feet so it passes underneath.” Once you can do continuous jumps, learn to shuffle your feet side to side; then time yourself: When you can do a few two-or three-minute rounds, resting 30 to 60 seconds in between, that’s great progress.

Soon you can work up to more show-offy stuff—“tricks like double-unders, with two spins per jump,” he says. Way to go, Rocky.

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