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It's easy to dismiss jumping rope as a recess pastime for kids or a training tool for boxers preparing for a fight, but the reality is that this simple exercise offers many health benefits to your entire body, including your abdominal muscles. Whether you're looking to shave a few inches off your stomach or sculpt and tone your abs, devotion to a regular jump rope workout will help.
Jumping rope is one of the best total-body workouts you can find, as it uses virtually all the major muscle groups in your body. Jumping rope for just a short duration helps build your muscles and burn fat. The best indicator that jumping rope works your abs is the burn you feel after skipping for a few minutes. If you don't feel a healthy burn immediately after your workout, you'll likely experience it the following day.
An added benefit to jumping rope is that it's cheaper than a gym membership and doesn't require you to leave the house. A high-ceilinged garage is ideal, but any room with 10 to 12 inches of space above your head should be adequate for skipping. Avoid soft flooring, such as carpet, as it can impede the path of the rope. Wear running shoes to lessen the impact on your feet, and try to stay on your toes.
Jumping rope in the standard method works your abdominal muscles, but adding some variations to your skipping routine gives your abs an added burn. Try such variations as sprinting while skipping, jumping on one leg while holding the other as high as possible, jumping extra high and passing the rope under your feet twice before you land, and crossing your arms as you skip. These variations can be challenging for a beginner, but provide a fun goal to aim for.
While jumping rope provides a comprehensive workout for your abs and other muscle groups in your body, adding a few other exercises to your jump rope routine will provide even more of an ab workout. Jump rope for three minutes, and then hit the floor and do 10 ab crunches. Repeat this process five times and you'll give your abs ample attention in a short period of time. For an added burn, incorporate a set of burpees between periods of jumping rope. Start in a squat position with your hands on the floor, kick your legs back to a pushup position, jump back to the squat position and then leap as high in the air as you can for one repetition.