This is the final part of our interview with Martin Kirwan, a former semi-pro soccer player, who hails from Ireland. Martin has 10 grandchildren and a great grandson. How many great grandparents do you know that are jumping rope?
You’ve created your own routine blending rope jumping with the TRX. Can you give us a snapshot of the routine?
Obviously the warm-up is very important, and I stretch my whole body, with particular emphasis on my leg and groin muscles. I do 3 minutes of jump rope, starting with the basic jump, then the jogger, straddles, playground hop, the skier, the boxer, and high knees to finish. With the TRX I focus on the abs. The first set I can do with no problem, but after my second and third sets of jump rope, my strength starts to falter. This is followed by a complete leg workout, which is also intense, then arms, shoulders, back, and core. All of these are done with very little recovery time. I then take a minute’s rest before my next jump rope set, which is the same as above. I have to remember I’m not the young stallion I was when I played semi-pro soccer.
What do you enjoy most about rope jumping? What do you find most challenging?
I would never have dreamed of doing jump rope as part of my routine, but I purchased a jump rope workout download from the TRX site, which features Buddy Lee (the rope jumping star), so I tried it and was amazed at how enjoyable the jump rope is. I like to push myself to my age limit, letting my body guide me on intensity so I don’t overdo it, but I never underdo it either. My heart is pumping near its maximum for my age. The jump rope is very challenging from set two to three, but I always manage to finish my routine. I might miss a few jumps, but hey I’m a beginner.
Do you listen to music while you workout? If so, any favorite tunes?
Not really. I start about 6:30am so don’t want to annoy the neighbors or the Rottweiler, but if you want to know my taste I am a big Doobie Brothers fan. I also like Steely Dan, James Taylor, Jimi Hendrix, and at the moment when working at my PC, Ludovico Einaudi. He really calms the system down.
Tell us a bit about your semi-pro soccer career.
I played for my hometown club — Club Drogheda United — from 1976 to 1985, having been part of their successful youth team that won the F.A.I. Youth Cup. My fondest memories are signing semi-pro forms, and then captaining the club in my final season. I always wore my heart on my sleeve for the club, and no matter how bad times were, the hairs on the back of my neck always stood up when I pulled the shirt on. My one regret was when Brian Kerr (who then managed the Irish national team) offered me a contract to play for Saint Patrick’s Athletic in Dublin, but I couldn’t commit as I had a young family, didn’t drive, and travelling to Dublin four times a week for training and matches would have been too much. The following year, on the last day of the season, we played St. Pats and they won the league at our ground. So I missed out on a League of Ireland Winners’ Medal. Also when I returned to Ireland from England I lost all my memorabilia from my soccer career, so I have no newspaper cuttings or anything to show my grandchildren, however my 21-year-old grandson is always telling me that he met this person and that person (he doesn’t remember names too well) and they always tell him how good a midfielder I was.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes Tim, I was really struggling to get a momentum going with the jump rope. As much as I watched videos on YouTube they never really showed the basics — just guys showing off their skills. Then one day Punk Rope appeared on the list and I viewed some videos, and these were very helpful to me, so I purchased your downloadable DVD. It takes me through the very basics of the skill, which is what I need to perfect it, and now I am doing 3-minute sets without hardly any breaks. It’s all on account of the attention to detail on your jump rope DVD so many thanks for that.