Motivation: Watch this trainer bring back his lost six-pack with a weeklong jump rope workout.
Why the humble jump rope is
the most unrated piece of gym equipment
There’s a reason why so many trainers swear by one of the oldest pieces of fitness equipment around—the jump rope. It's not out of nostalgia. It's because those simple ropes are a convenient way to get in some serious heart rate-revving conditioning. It's a workout that you can literally do anywhere. Carry it in your backpack or briefcase, bring it with you on vacations and work trips.
Why? Because it only takes a few well-spent minutes to get your heart rate up and metabolism firing. Not only that, but you'll also boost your coordination and agility while toning everything from your legs to your shoulders and forearms. Oh, it also builds bone density and helps prevent ankle injuries. In short, jumping rope is something that everyone should add to their workout routines. And if you hate going to the gym, all you really need to do in order to stay healthy and look good in (and out of) your clothes, is jumping rope for about ten minutes a day.
Rope-jumping is as close to a genuine fitness hack as they come. The first time it was scientifically categorized as a shortcut came by way of a popular 1968 study, which found that just ten minutes of jumping rope elicited the same calorie burn and boost to your cardiovascular health as a full 30 minutes of jogging. Jumping rope, the scientists concluded, is a much more efficient way of achieving the same results.
Of course, more recent research has revised that earlier claim, but science still finds that from an energy-expenditure perspective, jumping rope is roughly the equivalent of running at an eight-minute-mile pace (PDF), plus it still beats intense exercises like swimming and rowing in terms of calories burned. And you don't even have to leave your bedroom to do it.
Jump Rope Workout
Jump as fast as you can for two minutes, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat just three more times. Feel free to swap to one-leg or “jogging in place” style jumps to keep it interesting. Remember to keep your elbows close to your ribs, your knees soft and bent, and jump on the balls of your feet. Do this daily and you’ll feel fitter than ever before.
The Best Ropes
A perfect starter rope, it's got lightweight handles with steel ball bearings for speed and smooth motion.
Adjustable speed rope,
$10 by Survival and Cross
This rugged, easy-to-grip model is the official rope used by Team USA boxing and the US Judo team.
Black Ops rope,
$47 by Rx Smart Gear
A smart option (complete with an app) that has LED lights which display time, jump count and calories burned mid-jump.
$80 by Tangram