Fit Check: Jump Rope

Think a jump rope is child’s play? Think again—here are five jump-rope exercises that can torch calories.

By: Melissa Romero

A jump rope can occupy kids for hours, but it’s more than just a child's toy. It’s serious piece of exercise equipment.

“Using a jump rope will get your heart rate up to really maximize benefits in terms of cardiovascular training,” says Katya Jafari, assistant personal training director at Fitness First DC.

It’s also a great way to burn some calories—fast. You can burn about 750 calories an hour while jumping rope, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Another plus? It’s one of the cheapest pieces of gym equipment out there, Jafari says. Plus, you can take it anywhere.

Here are five jump-rope exercises to try. Just be sure to take a one-minute break between each.

Exercise 1: Plyometrics Line Jumps
Reps: Two to three sets of two to five minutes
Lay the jump rope on the floor in a straight line. Stand to the right side at one end of the rope. Jump over the rope to the left with both feet, then jump back to the right and repeat until you reach the other end. Turn around and jump back to the other side.

Exercise 2: Jumping Rope
Reps: Two to three sets of two to five minutes
This is just the basic jumping-rope exercise. Start with the rope behind you. Holding the rope’s handles in each hand, swing the rope in front of you and jump over it as it touches the ground. Repeat in a continuous motion.

Exercise 3: Boxer’s Jump Rope
Reps: Two to three sets of two to five minutes
Start out doing the regular jumping-rope exercise. Once you get your rhythm down, kick your right foot out as you jump over the rope, while landing on your left foot. When the rope comes around again, kick your left foot out and land on your right foot. Repeat in a continuous motion.

“This is a style that a lot of boxers utilize,” Fitness First DC’s director of personal training Steve Gregory says. “It involves hand and feet coordination.”

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t get the rhythm down on your first few attempts. First try going through the motions without the jump rope.

Exercise 4: High-Knee Jumping Rope
Reps: Two to three sets of two to five minutes
Start out doing the regular jumping rope exercise. Once you get your rhythm down, start jogging on the spot as you jump over the rope. Lift your knees higher until you are doing high-knees as you jump over the rope.

Your knees should be at hip-level and your quads should be parallel to the ground as you do this exercise. Jafari says high-knee jumping rope exercise offers a greater range of motion, while burning more calories than the regular jumping rope exercise.

Exercise 5: Running Jump Rope
Reps: Two to three sets of two to five minutes
Make sure you have enough room to perform this exercise. Ideally, a 60-meter straightaway should work. This is essentially the same exercise as the high-knee jumping rope, but you’ll be running forward instead of jumping in place. Run forward about 60 meters, then back. After some practice, try running backwards and jumping rope at the same time.

Looking for more great workouts? Check out these other posts:
Posture Police
Mastering the Medicine Ball 
Kettlebells 
Bosu Balance 
Plyometrics 

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