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.
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