The Manual - How to skip like a boxer

It's great for stamina, hand/eye coordination and looks bloody impressive. Here, Jim McDonnell - trainer of Olympic gold medallist James DeGale - teaches us how to look like a contender.

Start with the right rope.
You can get a beginner’s lightweight plastic rope for under a tenner from places like Lonsdale. If you’re around 6ft, you’ll need a nine-foot rope. If you’re between 5ft7in and 5ft10in, go for an eight-foot rope.

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Find a suitable space
Avoid concrete floors, and go for more shock-absorbent surfaces such as a wood floor, gym mat or tennis court. You should also wear cross trainers to help cushion the impact.

Get into a rhythm
Without a rope, practise jumping an inch off the ground, taking off and landing on the balls of your feet with your heels barely touching the floor. If you have the opportunity, position yourself next to another skipper, and mimic their rhythm. I’ve tried this with everyone, and it always works.7

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Assume the position
Start with your hands down by your sides, three inches out from your body. Keep your upper body straight, with your elbows slightly bent and in towards your sides.

And off you go
Hold the rope handles lightly in both hands. Keep your arms still and turn your wrists in small circles to move the rope. Concentrate on keeping an even rhythm with your jumps and your rope turns. You’re doing what’s called a Double Under. Start with 20-second bursts, and build up to one minute on, one minute off, and another minute on. You’ll be ready for your title fight in no time...