The simple answer to the question of whether jumping rope can help a person attain a flat stomach is "yes." The more complicated answer is that jumping rope (an aerobic activity) can lead you to a flatter tummy in a different way than doing direct abdominal work (an anaerobic activity). Both abdominal crunches and jumping rope can help get you that smaller waistline you've always wanted, but the way these exercises work their magic is different.
How Jumping Rope Burns Belly Fat
In order to burn fat and lose weight, a person needs to engage in an activity that will create a caloric deficit. When one burns more calories than they've consumed, the body responds by "tapping into the reserves" or burning stored fat produced from excess calories. The website Calorie Counter claims that jumping rope continuously for 10 minutes burns somewhere between 110 to 120 calories. Done daily, those 10 minutes with the jump rope could lead to a 12-pound weight loss after a year, as long as the individual in question follows a healthy, calorie-restricted diet.
While most would consider the abdominal crunch to be the ultimate flat-belly workout, the ab crunch--and all of its variations--is better at developing stomach muscles than flattening the stomach. The best way to lose fat around the midsection and reveal the stomach muscles that everyone has hiding underneath is to burn off that extra layer of adipose tissue through regular cardio.
A Solid Fat-Burning Routine
To gain any serious fat-burning benefits from jumping rope, you'll want to work up to a 30-minute routine. Here's what an effective 30-minute routine would look like: 1) Jump rope for three minutes 2) One minute of abdominal crunches 3) Jump rope for three minutes 4) One minute of quick, yet controlled push-ups 5) Jump rope for three minutes 6) One minute of abdominal crunches
Repeating this cycle three times would bring a person up to 36 minutes of intense cardio workout. Doing this routine is a great deal more difficult than it may sound, so remember to work up to it by doing steps 1-6 one time through, at first. Eventually, you can add the second repeat, and then the third.
Further Jump Rope Variations
To add more resistance to jump-rope exercises, light ankle weights that wrap around the ankles with a Velcro attachment are a great way to add extra muscle-building struggle to the legs, while you're burning fat through cardio. Other exercises one can do during the one-minute intervals between jumping rope are leg lunges, squats and any upper-body exercises using hand weights rather than a straight barbell. Why not a straight barbell? The reason is one of safety. Given the speed with which one has to move from exercise to exercise in a cross-training routine such as this, rushing through a barbell chest press increases the likelihood that the person in question may get sloppy with their form and wind up dropping the bar on themselves. Stick with hand weights during the one-minute intervals.