Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. She is equally enthusiastic about health and fitness and is always on the lookout for the latest workout trends. More of her at CherylTay.sg and onFacebook, Twitter or Instagram (cheryltay11).
Skipping is serious stuff.
Yes, I’m talking about that recess-time staple of primary school children.
Alternatively known as jump rope, the highly-affordable and fuss-free activity also happens to be a key component in all kinds of high-intensity workouts from grueling Muay Thai training to hardcore CrossFit sessions.
“Skipping is seen as a type of play activity for kids, but adults can actually utilise the jump rope for developing explosive strength and fitness,” said Hansen Bay, founder of The SkipFit® System, a skipping programme endorsed by the Singapore Sports Council.
“It will also improve your dynamic balance, efficiency in movement, speed and agility," he noted. “It’s an underrated strength and conditioning tool and many are not aware of how to use it to reap its workout benefits.”
Bay, a former physical education (PE) teacher and sports management lecturer, is something of an authority on the subject. He’s authored books on skipping and organises the annual national event called JumpFest.
His wife Brenda Yeo, 33, is a skipping coach who writes a blog called Skipaholic espousing the virtues of skipping as a cardio workout.
In fact, according to Bay, studies have shown that rope jumping can actually burn more calories than running.
Skipping is also more than just going fast or going as many times as you can. There are complex power manoeuvres with titles like ‘frog to push up’ or ‘roll up to double-unders’ that can be performed too.
You can even design interval programmes around a jump rope, as a cross-training alternative to sport-specific workouts.
Recently, Bay and Yeo conducted a power jump rope workshop for Singapore’s national judo squad as part of their off-season training.
The skipping helped them “engage their trunk to execute the moves, which is important in their sport”, said Bay.
He also added that skipping helps “develop fundamental skills in kids”.
In Singapore, there is a national skipping competition for primary schools every year, where students are sent by their institutions to compete in categories contesting either speed or freestyle creativity.
Bay works with 30 schools at present and hopes that more can be done to promote skipping as a genuine sport in Singapore.
“Countries like Hong Kong, Thailand and Korea are big on skipping. I have brought some students from Singapore to the Asian Rope Skipping Championships before, and we also have a good chance at winning the international title,” he said.
“But competitive skipping stops at primary school nationals and it’s a pity, especially after they’ve established their skills there,” he said, adding with pride that some of his students have been “talent-spotted for track and field by the Singapore Sports School”.