Steal this fun childhood tool for your most serious workout yet
If there's one thIng you can always rely on for a serious workout, it's the jump rope. Even CrossFit, ground zero for all things tough that create real body changes, has embraced it as a high-intensity champ—you'll burn an impressive 13 calories per minute—which has many of us rediscovering just how effective hitting the rope can be. Each rapid-fire rep firms muscles in your shoulders, biceps, abs, butt, and calves, and makes you quick on your feet. The key is to switch up your skips with different exercises to keep things interesting—which is exactly what inspired trainer Amanda Kloots to create her wildly popular class, the Rope, at Bandier's Studio B in New York City.
The workouts mix intervals of jumping rope with dance-inspired strength exercises. "The rope can be used as resistance, for stability, and even as a prop you can set on the floor as a target to jump over," she says. "When you use the rope for moves other than just jumping, you get a more well-rounded workout that can boost your stamina, strength, and coordination much faster." (Here: 28 more ways to burn fat with a jump rope)
You'll get your heart thumping and your metabolism firing during the jumping intervals, then work muscles to exhaustion as you do the strength exercisesKloots says. And her moves probably won't feel too familiar to you. She has tapped into her 14 years of professional dance experience to create graceful, fluid sculpting exercises that collectively work every major muscle group from multiple angles. (Not to mention, jumping rope might improve your job performance.)
Scale it up: If you're a pro with a jump rope, push your pace. You can make a playlist with songs that are faster than 140 beats per minute and aim to jump on the beat of the music until the song is over. Scale it down: Keep the jump rope sets simple. Start with 20 revolutions and try to add reps until you make it to 100.
How it works: Warm up by jumping rope for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, do each exercise as indicated. You can do this routine 3 days a week on alternate days. As for the rope, most are 9 to 11 feet long. To make sure you're working with the right size, stand on the center of the rope with your feet together and pull the handles up. They should hit at your shoulders. If they go higher, you can tie a knot at each end, but if they fall lower, you'll need a longer rope. A mat is optional.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. Lean and Pull
Fold rope in half. Stand with feet wide, holding one end of rope in each hand with arms extended overhead and palms facing forward. Pull bent left arm toward left hip, reaching straight right arm and leaning torso toward left to start.
Hinge forward from hips with a flat back, pulling bent left arm up until hand is at shoulder height and extending right arm long and across body in line with left leg, palms facing backward. Reverse the movement to return to start.
2. Dancer Arms
Hold one end of rope in each hand and stand on center of rope with feet hip-width apart. Extend arms forward at shoulder height, elbows slightly bent and palms turned inward to start.
Keeping rope taut, open arms wide to sides. Return to start.
Then, bend right arm wide to right, pulling right hand toward chest. Return to start. That's 1 rep. Do 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Then, bend arms wide to sides, bringing hands together in front of chest. Return to start. That's 1 rep. Do 8 reps.
3. Rope Stabilizer
Hold one end of rope in each hand and stand on center of rope on left leg. Extend arms out to sides at shoulder height with palms facing forward and lift bent right leg to hip height with foot flexed to start. Extend right leg behind you at hip height, leaning torso slightly forward. Return to start.
Extend right leg forward at hip height. Return to start. That's 1 rep. Do 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 set.
4. Jump Rope
Do three regular jumps, then do one cross jump (where you cross your arms in front of your torso right before you jump over the rope as though you are giving yourself a big hug). Repeat this sequence of three regular jumps and one cross jump for 3 minutes.
5. Squat Lateral Jump Sequence
Fold the rope in half and place it vertically on the floor. Stand over the center of the rope with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides. Squat, bringing hands together in fists in front of chest. That's 1 rep. Do 8 reps.
Then, hop toward right, landing on right side of rope with feet together and knees soft, hands on hips. Immediately hop toward left, landing on left side of rope. That's 1 rep. Do 16 reps. That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.
6. Plank Toe Touch
Fold the rope in half and place it vertically on the floor. Start over center of rope on floor in plank on palms.
Lift right leg up and over rope toward left leg to tap toes on floor next to left foot. Reverse motion to start. That's 1 rep. Do 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.
7. Leg Extension
Lay rope long and horizontally on floor. Start facing center of rope on floor on all fours with left hand holding left rope handle and right hand on floor on top of center of rope. Pull bent left arm up (palm faces backward) until fist reaches chest height; pull bent right leg toward chest.
Without touching floor, extend left arm forward at shoulder height and right leg backward and slightly up. That's 1 rep. Do 24 reps. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.
8. Side Leg Series
Fold rope in half and place it on floor. Lie on floor on left side parallel to rope with left forearm on floor, right palm pressing into floor in front of torso, left leg bent slightly backward and right leg extended and lifted at hip height to start.
Bend right leg, bringing right knee forward to touch floor in front of rope. Return to start.
Then, keeping right leg long, rotate leg inward to bring right leg forward to touch toes to floor in front of rope. Return to start. That's 1 rep. Do 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.
9. Jump Rope
Jump rope, alternating jumping legs wide and then together, for 3 minutes.
10. Seated Jump Rope
Fold rope in half. Sit on floor with legs bent and feet flat, holding one end of rope in each hand. Pull bent knees toward chest, lifting feet about three inches above floor, and swing rope around legs until it's just below your feet.
Bring rope up, around legs, and overhead so arms are straight and palms face forward, as you straighten and extend legs up and forward at a 45-degree angle so body forms a V shape. That's 1 rep. 8 reps. That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.