If you want to be able to skate as long as possible, eat quality foods and fuel your body with the nutrients in fruits, veggies and quality protein sources.
– Nick Dompierre
can 10 weeks of jump roping increase your pop?!
We all know by now warming up helps our skating and we've all heard of dynamic stretching, but... what if a cheap and old tool could be used in your warm-up that could not only optimise how you skate in today's session, but behind the scenes could improve performance related to your jump height & reactivity in the long term too.
So some research was done on endurance runners where they looked at how certain performance measures were influenced by replacing a normal warmup routine with 5 minutes of jumping rope (also known as 'skipping' for my fellow Englishmen and disciples of the Queen).
At the start of the experiment, each runner went through a load of different performance tests; testing things like jump height, 3km time trial speed, reactivity, amongst other things. They were then split up into two groups - one that stuck with a normal 5 minute warm up and the other that replaced their warm up with jumping rope for 5 minutes.
At the end of the 10 weeks, they were all retested. The normal warm-up group had no changes in any of the performance measures, but the jump rope group made some pretty insane changes in all measures. All from a small amount of bouncing over a glorified piece of string. They also weren't doing a massive amount of jump roping either - they started off with just two 5 minute sessions per week (10 mins total) and across the weeks progressed to just four 5 minute sessions (20 mins total) by week 10.
what does this have to do with skating?
But how does this relate to skating? Well, I think you've probably already got some ideas given skating is pretty much non-stop jumping and explosive movements.
Jumping and popping tricks obviously involve multiple systems in your body working in harmony; from how fast your muscles can contract whilst opposing muscles relax, how much elastic energy your tendons, fascia and muscles can store and utilise, how much energy your foot can handle by it's ability to stay "stiff" and elastic at the same time (stiff, not in the sense of an uncomfortable feeling of limited range of motion), alongside many other things.
These systems can all be trained and a shit-ton of research before the one we're referring to in this article have already shown that jumping style exercises called "plyometrics" can enhance the systems involved in jumping. Considering jumping rope is a lower-intensity style of plyometrics (sometimes referred to as 'extensive plyometrics') it makes sense that doing it for 10 weeks will result in adaptations in ya bod's ability to project you away from planet Erf.
As I've already mentioned, this research was done on runners and not skaters, and like with all research, you can't be sure you'll see the same results in other groups of people (skaters) or other types of movements (popping tricks). But considering many of the mechanisms involved in things like popping tricks and quick-footedness are involved in jumping, plus the huge amount of research already backing plyometrics, we can assume there'll probably be some carryover to skaters.
However, to really lock in the carry over to skating, you need to skate. Just because you can jump 10% higher off your board doesn't necessarily mean you'll actually pop 10% higher. To increase the chance of carryover you need to actually get out there and not only skate regularly but try and actively pop higher as well.
One other benefit of getting your body more reactive is fatigue resistance. The elastic components of your bod work like springs and therefore don't use up energy in the same way your muscles do when they actively contract. The more these non-energy demanding mechanisms can contribute to you jumping and popping tricks, the less fatigue that's gunna accumulate throughout your session; and the longer you'll be able to maintain a higher level of skating within your session.
click image to zoom
how to add it to your warm up.
Although this is a lower intensity style of plyometrics you should only do it when your body is prepared. If you're not used to jump roping, skating regularly or intense exercise then you might want to start with some prep-time where you expose your body to sub-max intensity jump roping for however many weeks your body needs. On top of that, if you're rehabbing an injury or carrying around some extra weight under your skin, it's your own choice as to whether or not your body is ready for this kind of repetitive bounciness. Basically, don't be a fool.
Alright so you're sold on jump roping and you wanna get it into your warm up, but how do you do it?! Well the best way is to just copy exactly what was done in the research, which is listed in the box below.
Each 5 minute session was split into cycles of 30 secs of jumping back to back with 30 secs of rest. So for each session you'd be jumping a total of 2 mins 30 secs.
Pay attention to how the frequency of jump rope sessions per week changes, alongside double vs one foot jumping, and the cadence of your jumps.
If you want to get specific and add this into your warm up, you can download a metronome app on your phone and synchronise ya bounces.
method & progression.
30 secs of jumping, 30 secs of rest, cycled for 5 mins
Number of sessions increased across the weeks
Progress from two foot jumping to one foot over the weeks
Progress the cadence of jumps across the weeks
Landing on forefoot, slight knee flex, minimal upper body movement
Jump height maximised
Ground contact time minimised (amount of time in contact with floor for each jump)