When was the last time you jump roped? If it was as a kid during class recess, now’s a good time to get back into the rhythm of things. The jump rope is not only a fun workout to turn up the sweat, it’s also a key conditioning tool for athletes and boxers, like Laila Ali, to build endurance, coordination and agility.
And now, it’s the basis for the new interval-based total-body workout, The Rope, from celeb trainer Amanda Kloots. “The jump rope is one of the most underrated pieces of fitness equipment. When you’re jump roping, you’re engaging all the muscles in your body, including your heart,” Kloots says. “Each jump involves tightening your core, toning your arms and powering your legs.”
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Whether you’re crunched for time or traveling (it packs light, too), just a few minutes of jump roping can leave you breathless. Kloots’s signature jump rope workout is divided into four sections: warm-up, coordination, stamina and sprints. But before you jump in, it’s important to have the right length rope. Check by standing on top of the jump rope hip-distance apart with both hands holding each end. Bring the jump rope handles toward your shoulders. If the rope goes beyond your shoulders, it’s too long, Kloots says. Now grab your rope and hop to it!
The 30-Minute HIIT Jump Rope Workout to Build Endurance
First, it’s time to re-familiarize yourself with the basic jump. According to Kloots, proper jump rope technique starts with the feet together, shoulders pulled back and arms down by your sides with your hands the same distance away from your body. You’ll want to jump and land on the balls or midsoles of your feet (heels not touching the ground), catching at least one inch of hang time on each jump. Be sure to use your wrists to power the rope and not your elbows or shoulders. If you get tired, “Keep your shoulders over your hips, hips over your knees, and knees over your toes,” Kloots says.
1A. Jump Rope (60 sec)
1B. Plank (60 sec)
Repeat for 3 rounds.
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Next, we layer on some footwork. The goal: improving agility and drawing a stronger connection between your body and brain. To keep you from getting tripped up, “I like to remind people of different ways to think of jumps to take the pressure off the fancy footwork. For instance, when you take your legs in and out of the jump rope, I’ll say outer thighs and inner thighs. It helps people focus on the muscle groups,” Kloots says. Cue up a three-minute song and you’ll hit approximately 360 jumps — with a whole bunch of strength and core work mixed in (sequence below). Do eight reps on each side and repeat for three rounds.
1. Oblique Crunch
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Fold the jump rope in half twice so it’s shoulder-distance apart when you hold each end and lift it up overhead. Pull each end of the rope to create resistance in your arms (a). Engaging your core, crunch to your left side, while dynamically pressing the rope up overhead (b).
2. Single-Leg Forward Hinge
How to: Stand with your feet together. Lift your left leg up so your left knee is bent. Fold your jump rope in half and hold each end of the rope with your hands, pulling it tightly (a). Balancing your weight on your right leg, hinge your torso forward and bring the jump rope over your left knee to touch your shin (b). Bring the jump rope back overhead (c).
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3. In and Out Jumps
How to: Stand over the jump rope with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart (a). When you take your next jump, land with your feet together (b). Take another jump and bring your feet back out so they’re a little wider than hip distance (c). This is one rep. Repeat for seven more reps (d).
4. Scissor Jumps
How to: Stand over the jump rope with your feet together (a). When you take your next jump, scissor your feet, stepping with one foot forward and the other back (b). This is one rep. Repeat for seven more reps (c).
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5. Single-Leg Hops
How to: Stand over the jump rope with your feet together. Raise your right foot off the ground and bend your right knee (a). Balance your weight on your left leg. When you jump over the rope, turn it over your left foot and land on the ball of your foot (b). Repeat for seven more reps before switching sides (c).
Now that you’ve mastered a few coordination moves, it’s time to go the distance. “The stamina sequence challenges you to match the beat of the music and build the endurance to jump for a longer period of time,” Kloots says. Here, choose a song that’s four to five minutes, or so you hit around 700 jumps. Strength work is mixed in here too — again eight reps each for three rounds.
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1. Shoulder Fly
How to: Stand on top of the jump rope with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold onto each handle tightly with your hands close together in front of you (a). Engaging your arms and your scapula, bring your arms out into a “T” and pinch your shoulder blades together. Imagine that there’s something in between your shoulder blades and squeeze in tightly (b).
2. Upright Row
How to: Stand on top of the jump rope with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold onto each handle tightly with your arms straight out in front of you (a). Using your biceps, pull the handles to your sides as you flex your elbows. You should feel the retraction in your shoulder blades and engage your traps and lats. (b).
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3. Tricep Fly
How to: Stand with your feet about hip-distance apart with a slight bend in your knees (a). Fold your jump rope twice and hold onto each end behind you, palms facing away from you. Pull rope taut to create resistance (b). Keeping arms straight, pulse your arms up and back down, engaging your triceps (c).
4. Stationary Lunges
How to: Place your jump rope on the floor. Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, step your right foot over the jump rope (a). Lower until both knees form 90-degree angles and your left knee hovers just above the ground (b). Rise back up and repeat (c).
5. Agility Hops
How to: Place your jump rope on the floor. Standing with your feet together and hands on your hips, hop forward and back over the rope (a). Staying light on the balls of your feet, you’re aiming for quickness on this one (b).
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6. Basic Jump Rope
How to: Choose a four- to five-minute song, and get those feet jumping. Aim to match the beat of the song, and don’t let up (a).
Have more gas in the tank? Good! We saved the best for last. You’ll jump at a regular speed for 20 seconds and then jump as fast as you can for another 20 seconds — five times through. “Sprints challenge your heart rate and build on your stamina — whether you are a beginner or [more] advanced,” Kloots says. And it’s not just your lungs and legs. “For the sprint, I tighten my whole body and feel a burn in my abs.” When you’re going for speed, the key is making yourself as compact as possible and barely jumping your feet off the floor.
How many jumps should you average? Kloots says to just focus on going as fast as you can, gaining speed each time. “Sprinting is about challenging speed and heart rate so it isn’t about the jump count,” she explains. Think of it like quick feet in running, Kloots says. If you have trouble getting through, say the alphabet or count as you’re jumping. “It will force you to breathe and not hold your breath,” Kloots says.
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How to: Stand over the rope with your feet together. Do basic jumps at a moderate speed for 20 seconds (a). As you approach 20 seconds, speed up your pace before you start jumping as fast as you can for another 20 seconds (b).