By A.C. Shilton for Men’s Journal
Forget any association you had with jump ropes and gym class. The jump rope is a powerful workout tool. It builds cardio fitness, balance, agility and bone strength. It’s also one of the best go-anywhere fitness accessories, fitting easily into even a crammed carry-on.
“It requires a lot of coordination and really works your cardiovascular system,” says Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, the women’s 2014 CrossFit Games winner. She likes to train with double unders, a common CrossFit move that requires you to jump explosively and spin the rope faster to pass it beneath your feet twice. This works your muscles harder and pushes your cardiovascular system towards its upper limit.
To get the most from your workout, make sure your rope is the right size. CrossFit HQ trainer Dave Lipson says that when you hold the rope under one foot, the handles should just reach your armpits. To maximize results, practice good form. “Hold your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock and at waist height. Revolve the rope from the wrists, not the shoulders,” says Lipson.
And if you’re shooting for double unders, we recommend buying a speed rope with bearings. Speed ropes start around $20 and spin faster than inexpensive licorice and beaded ropes.
Now here are seven jump rope workouts — most of which can be completed in a half hour or less — that will have you burning calories and building strength.
Fitness competitor, former ballerina and coach Dom Spain teaches outdoor bootcamp classes in Miami. She calls jump rope workouts the “no excuses” workout because, “if I have clients that say they don’t have time or don’t have the money for a gym membership, they can always do this.”
This workout is designed to give you just enough rest to keep pushing through all of the exercises, but not enough to let things get easy. It can be done in 30 minutes and requires only a jump rope.
- Warm up by doing 30 seconds of jumping rope, 30 seconds of air squats, then a 1 minute plank hold. Repeat four times.
- 1 minute of jumping and 30 seconds of push-ups.
- 1 minute of backward jumping and 30 seconds of tricep bench dips.
- 1 minute of side to side jumping (imagine your feet are bound together, and jump rope while hopping from side to side) and 30 seconds of lunges.
- 1 minute of skipping rope (one foot lands as the other takes off) and 30 seconds of jumping squats.
- 1 minute of single leg jumping (30 seconds on one leg, then switch), and 30 seconds of mountain climbers.
- 1 minute of alternating high knee jumps (like the skipping rope move, but pull your knees up as high as you can), and 30 seconds of flutter kicks.
Take one minute of rest, then repeat the entire circuit. Cool down and stretch after two rounds.