We tend to think of cardio as going for a run or taking a cycling class, but there are a lot of other creative ways to get your heart pumping and keep your mind entertained if you dread the treadmill. One such fun, heart-rate boosting workout? Jumping rope.
And there happen to be a ton of benefits that come along with the nostalgic exercise. Equinox Group Fitness instructor Kari McKillip — who teaches AK! Ropes, a fitness class created by Amanda Kloots — tells us that jumping rope burns major calories; strengthens balance and coordination; and improves lower leg joint health, bone and muscle density, cardiovascular efficiency, breathing efficiency, and even cognitive function.
We tapped the trainer to create a quick and effective at-home workout based on her jump rope class. “The goal of this full-body workout is to get your muscles to a point of fatigue as you continue to hold up your arms with a tight pull against the rope,” she tells InStyle. “By using the jump rope and creating more time under tension for your muscles, this works them to the max.”
Fair warning: It’s challenging. “It sounds like this would this be easy, but by the end of the reps your body will be ready for that break,” she says before adding that you don’t need much to achieve this killer workout. “All you need is yourself and a jump rope. This mixed high-low impact workout blends high-intensity cardio in addition to controlled movements to sculpt long lean muscles from head to toe.”
How it works: “Try this full-body sequence once through (about 10-15 minutes) for a quick burn or two times (30 minutes) for a full torching session.”
A. Combine one minute of basic jump roping with a 60-second plank hold.
2. Standing Arms
A. Standing with your feet evenly on the rope, grip the top of the handles and pull up tight to create tension. B. Keeping one arm glued to the side of the body, reach the other arm out with tension on the rope, then drive the elbow back into the side of the body. (You can also row the arms front to back squeezing the back of the shoulder blades as you row back.)
Repeat on both sides for 8 to 16 reps.
3. Coordination Jump
A. Stay in sync with the music while executing cross jacks out and in while turning the rope around the body and keeping elbows in tight and light movements in the wrists. B. Try other feet work such as high knees, single-foot hops, or butt kickers.
Repeat for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Plank Series
A. Create a vertical line with the rope and start in a high plank position straddling it. B. Take one foot and tap it over the rope to meet the other. Alternating legs, keeping hips low, and pulling belly button up towards your waistband.