November 13, 2012

Gym Rats: Cal Pair Takes Jump-Roping to the Max

Cal sophomore midfielder Michaela Guerrera (left) and senior attacker Melissa Humphrey are each two-time Junior Olympics jump-roping participants.
© Gani Pinero (All)

by Matt Forman | | Twitter

Between class, practice and workouts, Cal’s Melissa Humphrey visits the on-campus student gym to unwind and decompress. She grabs her jump rope, finds a corner of open space and starts spinning. Fast.

Humphrey turns heads. Around and around, onlookers gaze in awe.

“I almost always have to stop, because eventually I’ll have 10 people looking at me while I’m jump-roping, and I’m like, ‘OK, this is weird,’” Humphrey said. “So I don’t do it too often, because it freaks people out.”

Humphrey, a senior attacker and the Bears’ top scorer, doesn’t jump-rope around her teammates much either, because “they get really mad when I’m spinning circles around them and they just keep messing it up.”

Except Michaela Guerrera.

Humphrey and Guerrera, a sophomore midfielder for Cal, have known each other since Humphrey was 8 and they were teammates on the Coronado Speed Spinners, a San Diego-area jump-roping team. They attended three-hour practices twice a week, traveled across the country to competitions and both reached the Junior Olympics twice.

Humphrey and Guerrera stopped competing nationally in eighth grade, but they haven’t lost touch with their craft. In 2009, they and former teammates acted on “Glee” as cheerleading jump-ropers. “That was kind of the cap of my jump-roping career,” Humphrey joked.

“Mel” and “Mike,” as teammates call them, said they were in the best shape of their lives when they were jump-roping competitively. The lacrosse-specific benefits: hand-eye coordination, wrist and ankle strength, foot speed, endurance and balance.

Humphrey tallied a team-high 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists) while developing her game as a feeder, and Guerrera, known for her ability to get underneath defenders, handed out four assists in 10 games as a freshman.

Jump Rope Push-Up

Works on: pecs, triceps, deltoids, legs

Helps with: core strength, foot speed, hand-eye coordination

  • Start by jumping rope. Get into a nice rhythm.
  • As the rope hits the ground in front of you, bend down toward the ground and then kick your legs out. This will put your body in the push-up position.
  • In one motion, spring back into the standing position while taking the rope underneath your feet.
  • Repeat process for 5-10 minutes.


Jump Rope Line Drill

Works on: legs, ankles, wrists

Helps with: foot speed, stability, lateral movement, hand-eye coordination, endurance

  • Straddle a straight line and start jumping rope. Get into a nice rhythm.
  • Keeping your feet together, jump side-to-side over the line.
  • Go as quickly as you can, while jumping over the line, for 60 seconds.
  • Take 30 seconds off, then repeat. Humphrey recommends 8-10 sets.
  • You can also jump forward and backward over the line.


Criss-Cross Combination

Works on: legs, ankles, wrists

Helps with: hand-eye coordination, balance

  • Start by jumping rope. Get into a nice rhythm.
  • Cross your arms by bringing them close together and then opening them.
  • Raise your left leg and quickly wrap your right arm underneath your leg, and then cross your arms.
  • After repeating the regular crossing pattern, raise your left leg, quickly wrap your left arm underneath and cross your arms.
  • Stay in a nice, athletic stance throughout the move.
  • Repeat process for 5-10 minutes.


A version of this article appears in the November issue of Lacrosse Magazine, the flagship publication of US Lacrosse. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

comments powered by Disqus

More Headlines