AREAS OF INTEREST: BREATHING, JUMPING ROPE, DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING, FOOTWORK, RELAXATION.
by: Tom Seabourne Ph. D
Jumping rope is a superb warm-up exercise and cardiovascular activity. You can do it almost anywhere. And vary the intensity by altering the types and number of jumps. This keeps practice interesting while building your cardiovascular system and muscular endurance in your calves. Jumping rope improves your footwork and helps you prepare for your sport. Use your wrists to turn the rope. Hold your hands at your waist about two inches from your body. Jump low. Spin the rope so it barely touches the floor. Skip lightly on the balls of your feet with your knees bent to take the strain off your shins. Jump three, one-minute rounds with the thirty-second rest between each round. Increase your duration one minute per round each week until you can jump three, three-minute rounds.
Tips on Jumping Rope:
1. To measure your rope, stand in the middle of the rope, holding an end in each hand. Both ends should reach your armpits.
2. Cotton ropes swing slow and leather ropes wear out. Plastic is my favorite.
3. Jump rope on wood floors, rubber floors, or rubber tiles.
The last detail an athlete considers is breathing. That is until he is gasping after running a mile. Ancient warriors filled their mouths with water and ran through deserts. Upon arrival at their destinations, they had not swallowed an ounce. Breathe through your nose before and during training. It helps to decrease anxiety and stay focused. Nose breathing prevents you from gulping air so you pace yourself. Develop an inhalation-exhalation pattern while jumping rope. Take complete breaths from your nose during the competition. Each respiratory perfusion becomes longer, deeper, and slower, allowing your body to remain relaxed even under extreme stress.
Infants breathe from their noses into their diaphragms. Only when they cry do their mouths breathe, huffing and puffing from their upper chests. Scared rabbits and nervous competitors do the same. Most novice athletes breathe through their mouths. They rarely use their full lung capacity. Some don’t breathe at all when they are anxious. This creates unnecessary tension. Because they were not taught about breathing, they use a small percentage of their lungs.
Train your lungs the same way you train your muscles. Take a deep breath and hold it. Stretch your lungs to their limit. Lungs may lose flexibility similar to an unstretched muscle. To relax, the nose breathes deeply to fill your five lobes. If you get rattled, concentrate on your inhalation-exhalation cycle. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm to eliminate other stimuli. Without regular deep breaths from your diaphragm, your ribs will feel as if they are squeezing an overfilled balloon. Focused breathing builds lung capacity, eases stress, energizes, and prepares your body/mind for competition.
Learn to breathe from your diaphragm instead of your chest. To accomplish this, lie on your back. Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your stomach. Inhale from your nose deeply and slowly for five seconds, focusing on lowering your diaphragm. Let the air fill your lower, central, and upper chest in that order. Then take about seven seconds to exhale slowly through your mouth by raising your diaphragm. Only your right hand should move as you breathe deeply from your abdomen. Diaphragmatic breathing allows you to get more oxygen to your working muscles. Notice how muscles in your body spontaneously relax. Use focused breathing to increase your energy. Exhale each time you throw or hit a ball. Exhaling forcefully increases your power.