Well, the ideas are coming at me hard and fast today. Just finished my strength training workout. Maybe that's why. Strength training has a way of cleansing the body and the mind of impurity.
Anyways, I have a pretty elaborate warm-up that lasts for about 20 minutes before I even slap a plate on the bar. Part of that warm-up includes jumping rope. I am slowly working my way towards 15 minutes non-stop of rope jumping. I have a long way to go though but I am making progress and I like it. At my best cycling and triathlon fitness levels I don't believe I could have even jumped rope for 1 minute straight without having issues. Mainly with breathing but also with foot strength, coordination/balance and the common muscle pains found in most triathletes.
I have read different opinions on jumping rope. It isn't for everyone, but it is hard to argue with an activity that has stood the true test of time. People have been jumping rope in one form or another since 1600B.C.. In modern times it has been used as a method to improve muscular endurance, speed, agility, coordination and aerobic capacity mainly in the sports of boxing, wrestling, and mixed martial arts.
Jumping rope is not an easy activity as most athletes come to find out. You may think you are in excellent shape but I challenge you to try to jump rope for 10 minutes straight. It is not an easy activity. However, jumping rope can be very beneficial to the endurance athlete just as it is to those in power sports. In my opinion jumping rope is a form of plyometric training. If done correctly there is limited stress to the lower limbs (not much more than performing a jumping jack). It can be done just about anywhere. It only requires about a $5.00 investment to join the jump roping club. It improves foot speed, foot strength, coordination, eccentric and concentric muscle reaction and is the single best way for runners to improve their foot strike. After all, it is hard to jump rope with a heel strike. It is pretty much impossible to jump rope if your legs are not directly under your center of gravity.
All in all, jumping rope rules. Not sure why more athletes (endurance or otherwise) don't do it. Might be because it is really really really hard and let's us know what kind of shape we really are in...