With gym memberships and group classes on hold throughout most of the country, retro at-home workouts such as rollerblading and jump-roping are making quite the resurgence this quarantine.
According to Google Trends data, searches for “jump rope workout” have been on a steady climb since early April, with a variety of next-gen ropes simultaneously hitting digital shelves everywhere.
Meanwhile back on Instagram, countless men and women have been sharing the life-changing results of jump-roping, filling our feeds with jaw-dropping #jumpropetransformation photos that, quite frankly, do all of the convincing. (More on that later.)
It’s no secret that jumping rope is great for torching calories and building muscle—it’s rumored to be the secret behind Khloé Kardashian’s lean bod—but to see exactly what the exercise can do for us (and how newbies can get started) we chatted with fitness and wellness expert Julia Kasha, whose clients include Kerry Washington and Karlie Kloss, for the scoop.
The Benefits of Jump-Roping
“Jump-roping is an inexpensive and effective workout for burning away excess weight and toning arms, abs and legs,” says Kaska.
Along with blasting calories and toning the body, additional jumping benefits include refining coordination and balance, improving cardiovascular health, and because it is weight-bearing, Kaska explains the exercise is also great for improving bone density.
When to Jump Rope
Skipping rope definitely gets your heart rate up and the fat burning, so the duration of jumping sessions will depend on your goals and fitness level. 30 seconds of jumping can absolutely leave you feeling winded, so attempting an hour-long workout might not be in the books until muscles are acclimated with the new workout.
It’s the same reason why Kaska explains that most of clients don’t want to stick to jump-roping for a full cardio session. “I like to use jump-roping as a warmup before a ‘traditional cardio’ workout like a run—or I put it in multiple times during a circuit-style session to push the heart rate up throughout the workout.”
If you’re new to jump-roping, Kaska recommends starting with an “air jump,” or jumping without a rope, for your first week or so. “By starting this way, you will begin to train your mind and body without getting distracted by getting caught and tangled in the rope,” adds Kaska, noting that you’ll also have more time to work on your form, rhythm and technique this way.
Practice Proper Form
When it comes to reaping all of the benefits, proper form is everything. Kaska stresses to focus on landing on the balls of your feet, not flat on your feet, when jumping, and says that quality footwear is crucial here. “Look for a good, supportive sneaker to help absorb the impact of the landing,” she says.
How to Choose a Rope
Kaska assures us that there are many different jump-ropes available, and it can be difficult to navigate. “As a beginner, start with a heavier rope,” she instructs, adding that a lightweight rope is more difficult to manage, so you’ll want a little weight if you’re just starting out.
Along with selecting the proper weight, the size of the rope matters, too. “The rope—not the handles—should come up to the mid-chest area,” explains Kaska. “Measure this by standing with one foot in the middle of the rope and pull both sides straight up. The rope should come up to roughly your nipple line.”
Ropes to Try: Crossrope offer jump-ropes with customizable weighted handles to match your fitness goals; Tander’s Smart Rope ($60) syncs to your smart phone to track workout metrics; and the ever-popular AK! Jump Rope ($40) is currently sold out but is as chic—and positive—as they come.
Does Jump-Roping Actually Work?
We’ll let these inspiring photos do all of the talking.
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