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A woman jumps rope.

Don’t be fooled by a jump rope’s simplicity — it’s not just for kids. It’s a great tool for challenging high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts that can be done almost anywhere.

“Many people start jumping rope and are amazed at how challenging it is just to do a regular bounce for a minute straight,” says Steve Williams, community manager of Jump Rope Dudes, an online fitness brand dedicated to jump-rope exercise.

Plus, jumping rope is just plain fun. “It doesn’t feel like a chore compared with most exercise,” he says.

By incorporating different types of jumps along with body-weight strength movements, you can create a full-body workout that will boost your endurance, burn fat, and increase coordination. Simply set a timer and go.

Jump Rope Dudes shared the following two HIIT routines. The beginner workout is a great entry point, allowing you to practice the skill without overtaxing your lower legs.

Gradually work up to the advanced routine: 20 rounds of 30-second work intervals followed by 10 seconds of rest, capped off by 50 pushups. Break up the reps and rest as needed between sets. Choose the pushup variation that allows you to maintain perfect-for-you form.

In both workouts, choose any jump variation. Beginners may feel most comfortable with a basic single-under jump. As your skills improve, mix in boxer skips, double-unders, crossovers, and traveling jumps.

Beginner Jump-Rope Workout

A schedule for a jump-rope workout

Advanced Jump-Rope Workout

  • Perform 20 rounds of jumping rope for 30 seconds each.
  • Rest for 10 seconds in between rounds.
  • After 20 rounds, rest for a full minute.
  • Finally, perform five rounds of 10 pushups, resting as needed between rounds. Elevate your hands or drop to your knees as needed to complete the pushups with great form.

As you build strength, you can increase the number of pushups.

Mastering the Jump Rope

Jumping rope takes coordination — especially if you want to try more advanced jumping techniques like double-unders, crossovers, and traveling jumps.

“If you want to learn tricks, like we say, ‘stack those bricks,’” says Steve Williams of Jump Rope Dudes. “If you can’t jump rope for one minute straight, you aren’t ready to learn double-unders.”

If you’re new to jumping rope, start with the basic jump and boxer skip.

Basic Jump: Stand tall with knees slightly bent. Keep your elbows in close to your body, arms bent 90 degrees, and hands pointing out from your hips while holding the rope handles. Jump with both feet and use your wrists to power the jump rope. Stay up on your toes and keep a slight bend in your knees.

Boxer Skip: Shift your weight from one foot to the other as the rope passes.

When you’ve got jumping and skipping down, try these:

Traveling Jump: “Skip” forward, backward, and side to side while maintaining the jump.

Double-Under: Speed up the turnover of your wrists — without jumping faster or higher — to allow the rope to pass under your feet twice for each jump.

Crossovers: Cross your arms in front of your body on each jump.

This article originally appeared in the November 2019 print issue of Experience Life, Life Time’s whole-life health and fitness magazine.

Photography by: Kelly Loverud; Styling: Shannon Darsow; Fitness Model: Anna Taylor
Lauren Bedosky

Lauren Bedosky is a Twin Cities–based health-and-fitness writer.

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