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Jumping rope may seem more like a childhood pastime than an effective workout tool, but there’s a reason every gym has a bunch of them hanging by the weight rack.

The activity can help you lose fat, build muscle strength and improve motor skills and agility. Because jumping and swinging a rope requires you to call on your core for balance, a jump rope workout is a great way to work your abs, too. With the option to perform both basic jumps and more complex ones, jumping rope can also be a fun, effective and challenging workout for people of all fitness levels. Not to mention that jump ropes are an extremely affordable piece of exercise equipment that are easy to toss in a bag and take anywhere.

With warm weather upon us, now is the perfect time to bring back the recess activity. This jump rope routine will spike your heart rate, burn calories and can help you lose weight when performed consistently, if that is your goal. Each move should be performed for 60 seconds, for a total of eight minutes. If you want a longer workout, repeat the exercises for a second round.

If you are new to jumping rope or find yourself getting tangled up when performing the moves, drop the rope and perform them with an imaginary jump rope instead. You can still get a great cardio workout without using it! Once you feel like you’ve mastered the form of each move, you can try them holding the jump rope.

Forward jump

The forward jump is the most basic jump rope move, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked! It’s a great move for burning calories and it’s important to learn the basics of jumping rope before moving on to trickier moves. As you swing the rope forward, jump over it with both feet. If this seems too easy, pick up the pace. If you’re struggling, take it slow.

Single leg jump

This move is performed exactly as it sounds. For 60 seconds, jump rope with only your right foot by bending your left knee and holding it up above the ground. It’s important to make sure you don’t land with too much force. Make an effort to land lightly with a bent knee to avoid any muscle strain by really engaging your core. After 60 seconds, move on to jumping on your left foot.

Alternating jump

This more challenging jump builds on the skills learned in the previous move and helps improve coordination and agility while simultaneously burning calories and building muscle. Swing the rope forward, jumping over it with your right foot. When the rope comes around again, switch feet, jumping over it with your left foot. Continue alternating between left and right for 60 seconds. If this is too quick for you, you can perform two jumps with your right foot during one rope rotation, and then two jumps with your left during the next rotation.

High knees jump rope

This move follows a similar form to the standard forward jump. However, as you jump both feet over the rope, pull both knees up to hip height into a high knee position before lowering them to the ground again. This is a more advanced move that requires some core strength. For an easier modification, bring just one knee up into a high knee, keeping the other jumping closer to the ground, and alternate the high knees. Perform for 60 seconds.

Over and back jump rope workout

Over and back jump rope workout

Over and back

Place the jump rope on the ground in a line. Then jump over and back, side-to-side in place 30 times.

Traveling over and back jump rope workout

Traveling over and back jump rope workout

Traveling over and back

Place the jump rope on the ground in a line (like previous exercise). Then jump over and back moving up the rope. Then jump over and back moving back down the rope to your starting position. Repeat this, traveling up and down the rope, for 30 seconds.

Jump rope jacks

This is a more complicated move that improves coordination; add it to your jump rope workout after perfecting the basic jumps. When swinging the rope forward, jump over it with your feet together. As you swing the rope around jump your feet open hips-distance apart as if performing a jumping jack. Hop over the rope with your feet landing in this wider stance. Then, hop your feet back together again, jumping over the rope in this narrow position. Continue alternating between the narrow and wide stance, performing a jumping jack motion, for 60 seconds.

Double under

If you’re up for a challenge, the double under is the move for you. As you jump up, the goal is to swing the rope in two full rotations under your feet before landing. This means that your jump has to be somewhat high to give you the air time to swing the rope around twice. Focus on your form, squeezing your core and making your swing fast and powerful.

Jump Rope Workout Standing Cat & Cow

Jump Rope Workout Standing Cat & Cow

Cool down stretch: standing cat & cow

Double the rope and hold it above your head with your hands on the rope so that they’re about 4 or 5 feet apart. Round your back and tuck your chin to your chest as you bring your arms and the rope in front of you. Then bring the arms up and lift your chest up as you arch your upper back and bend the elbows to open up the chest and armpits. Repeat this 10 times for a chest and back stretch.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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