Do you relate to the idea of the gym as an adult playground? I know I do. Every time I’m at the gym, I feel like a kid again. My mind and body know that, in the next hour, I’m going to have so much fun climbing, sliding, swinging, hanging, and jumping. And one of my favorites is skipping rope. It reminds me of the jump rope games in the school yard during recess. I remember that it was hard and there was a lot of sweat involved but it was totally worth it because it was so much fun!
Now, in my adult days, I still enjoy jumping at the gym, not only for fun, but for the physical benefits that this simple activity offers. How so? It helps you burn calories, improve your balance and coordination, it has less impact on your joints than running and, the best part of all, a jump rope is easy to carry around and very affordable.
And finally, did you know that 10 minutes of jumping equals a 30-minute run? So don’t wait any longer. Grab your jump rope and get fit with these simple home-friendly workouts.
The 3-minute jump rope workout
For this workout, all you need is a standard jump rope and a timer. Although, I recommend using a speed jump rope; they are lighter and the handles facilitate a faster rotation of the rope and less effort from you. Good ropes can be customized to fit your body size. Personally, I love the WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope. They are durable, the handles are comfortable and the cable is coated to soften those inevitable whips on your skin when you miss a jump. The only downside is that you can only use it in smooth surfaces, which is the case with most jump ropes, but jumping on cement or asphalt isn’t ideal anyway.
This workout alternates between three-minute rounds of jumping rope and one-minute rounds of calisthenics. Adjust the jump rope round length up or down to alter the intensity.
3 minutes jump rope
Keeping your feet together and your legs straight, jump with both legs at the same time.
5 regular push-ups
Start in push-up position, feet together and hands shoulder distance apart on the ground. Keeping your body straight (plank position), lower yourself until your nose almost touches the ground, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.
3 minutes jump rope
This time, bounce from one foot to the other, either jumping on each foot just once before alternating, or changing foot every two or three jumps.
10 regular push-ups
Sit down on a chair or bench and cup your hands on the edge on either side of your thighs. Walk your legs out until you’re no longer sitting and are supporting yourself on your hands. Using your arms, lower yourself in front of the chair or bench, then push back up until your arms are fully extended.
3 minutes jump rope
This time, do “high knees” alternating feet and bringing your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the ground on each jump
15 regular push-ups
15 full sit-ups
Sit on the floor with arms over head, legs bent and knees turned out. Contract abs, sit up and bring arms over to touch your feet. You can use an ab mat to take stress off of your back
3 minutes jump rope
Keeping your feet together and your legs straight, jump with both legs at the same time
The jump rope work will keep your heart rate elevated during the slower bodyweight portions. This workout is easily adjustable to your level by changing reps or making movements more difficult. You can mix in some double unders with the rope or add some weight to your situps, and so on. Keep pushing and your body will thank you later.
Attacking Double Unders
Before starting with the workout, let me tell you about my experience with double unders. When I started practicing double unders, my coach told me that the first step was to “feel” the rope spinning to get its timing right. For that, my coach first had me practice with a heavier rope that had a solid swing, to get used to the jumping rhythm. Once I got comfortable, my coach changed it to a speed rope to really challenge my double unders’ jumping technique. This process totally worked for me, now my PR is 73 DU in a row with the goal of 100 soon!
If you want to try with this method, I suggest getting a jump rope that comes with 2 cables (one light and one heavy). For that, I recommend returning to my favorite jump rope brand and checking out the WOD Nation Attack Jump Rope. The big difference with this product is the added weight to the cable, as opposed to the handles. Research has shown that adding the weight to the cable it’s more effective for building your core, shoulders and back muscles. Plus, weighted jump-rope training results in higher improvements in explosive-reactive power and agility.
If you’re looking for a visual guide on how to break down double unders, check out this video by our friends at WodPrep.
Trainer Gabrielle Kassel suggests these Double Under progression workouts. They will fire you up and get your heart pumping. If you can’t do double unders yet, just count regular jump rope skips and have fun!
- Building up sets: Do 10 reps in a row, unbroken. Complete 10 times for 100 total reps. Note: if for example you only get 7 reps in a row, those reps don’t count. Only sets of 10 count towards the 100.
- Pacing Practice: Go from 5 slow double unders into 5 fast double-unders. Complete 50 total reps.
- WOD “Annie”: A classic benchmark, Annie consists of 5 rounds of descending reps of Double Unders and sit-ups. The rep scheme 50-40-30-20-10. Start with 50 double unders followed by 50 sit-ups. Then 40/40 and so on. Reps do not need to be unbroken. Complete for time.
For those skilled at double unders, try the surprisingly tough Flight Simulator workout.
For Time, Sets of UNBROKEN Double Unders:
Note that all sets must be unbroken and you should pause (stop the rope and reset) after each “round”. That means, if you are on your set of 40 and you break the set at 37, you have to start over on your round of 40. By the end, you’ll have completed 500 double unders, and that’s only if you do it perfect. If you don’t think your body is ready for 500+ double unders, use a smaller multiple, i.e. 3-6-9 or 4-8-12, etc. You can also rest a set amount of time (15-30 seconds) between sets if you’re just doing it for practice.
Adding jump rope movements to your fitness routine brings a lot of benefits. It improves coordination, stamina, and cardiovascular strength, and it makes you very agile. Like Muhammad Ali used to say, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” I think he meant the whip of the rope when refers to a bee sting! If you are new to this kind of exercise, you might start with a weighted rope and, later, you can use a speed rope for mastering double unders.
Remember to add a dose of fun to your hard work.
Giuliana is a yoga instructor and Crossfitter from Peru who is currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand with her Crossfit Coach (and husband) Tim.