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THE JUMP ROPE isn’t just for elementary school gym class.

The classic tool has so much to offer to your fitness routine, especially if you have the bad habit of skipping out on cardio training. Even so, you probably haven’t reached for a rope since your days on the playground. As many athletes can tell you—particularly in the martial arts and combat sports world—you’ve been missing out on a heck of a workout.

“The jump rope is one of the most under-utilized, yet effective pieces of equipment that should be in every fitness enthusiast’s gym bag,” says Tommy Reardon, C.S.C.S., of Reardon Strength Training.

Turns out, the gym teachers knew what they were talking about. Jump roping has proven to be one of the most effective cardio exercises. In one study, a group of participants who jumped rope for 10 minutes a day showed the same cardiovascular improvements as a group who jogged for 30 minutes a day. Jump roping can help “increase athletic endurance and develop short term burst and power,” Reardon says.

There are more benefits of jump rope workouts than just the basic physiological effects. They’re inexpensive tools, and as long as you have the room to swing the rope, you can do a workout just about anywhere. Skip around for 10 minutes between work meetings on a break, or use it as a warm up to your leg day. Replace your jog around the park with a quick skipping session and you never need to worry about your running route again. Watch the excuses fall away with this simple piece of equipment.

Plus, there’s a reason you enjoyed it so much when you were a kid— skipping rope is engaging, and dare we say it, fun. If you haven’t tried to skip since elementary school, there are a few things to remember when picking up the rope. Here,Gideon Akande, Men’s Health Top Trainer and Golden Gloves Champ, lays out the basics.

preview for Jump Rope Like a Boxer

Once you have the basics of the jump rope down, use it in your training as a warm up or a stand in for the cardio routine you’ve found yourself skipping most often. Even though the rope is more engaging than logging miles on the treadmill, you should still keep yourself focused by doing more than just a set period of time or a fixed number of skips, so check out this countdown workout to get started.

The Jump Rope Workouts

preview for Jump Rope Countdown Workout

Skip on both feet for 10 skips, then shift to your right foot for 10 skips, then your left for 10 skips. Go back to both feet for 9 skips, then right and left for 9 each. Keep dropping a rep until you hit zero.

Why You Should Add Jump Ropes to HIIT Workouts

Once you’re really a rope pro, add a jump rope to high intensity interval training (HIIT), and you’re in for a hell of a workout. It’ll be quick, too—you won’t have to spend the hours on the treadmill you might have for otherwise similar results.

“Finding time to get a workout in on a day to day basis is a challenge,” says Reardon. “HIIT workouts can be as short as 15 to 20 minutes, but it will provide the individual with a good caloric burn.”

Just don’t overdo it. Too much HIIT can cause a build up of stress hormones in the body, which can have adverse effects. To be safe, tackle a HIIT workout about once a week— especially if you’re adding onto a weight training program.

Check out this helpful video from Bloom to Fit to learn some new HIIT moves to add to your jump rope playbook. There’s way more to do than just boring skipping in place, so spice up your routines with these variations.

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These HIIT workouts use a jump rope and body weight moves that will push your cardio to the next level. Skip as many times as possible using proper form in the allotted time. Repeat each circuit three to five times, unless otherwise noted.

The Basic – Easy

  • Standard jumps – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Right foot hops – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Left foot hops – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • High knee jumps – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Standard jumps – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Rest one minute.

The Jack and Squat – Medium

  • Jump rope jacks – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Body weight squats – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Side to side jumps – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Alternating bodyweight lunges – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Jump rope jack – 20 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Rest one minute.

The Tabata Burn – Medium

Do the following series for 8 total rounds

  • Pushups – 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Double Leg Hops – 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Body Weight Squat – 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Single leg hops (alternate between right and left side per round) – 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Burpee – 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds

The Fighter – Hard

  • Boxer step – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Off step jump – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Criss cross jump – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • High knee jumps – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Boxer step – 30 seconds
  • Rest – 10 seconds
  • Rest one minute.

The AMRAP – Hard

Set a timer for 20 minutes. Complete as many rounds of the following circuit as you can during that time.

Skipmaggedon – Intense

  • Criss cross jump – 45 seconds
  • Rest – 15 seconds
  • Backwards jump – 45 seconds
  • Rest – 15 seconds
  • Alternate foot criss cross – 45 seconds
  • Rest – 15 seconds
  • Mummy kicks – 45 seconds
  • Rest – 15 seconds
  • Double under – 45 seconds
  • Rest- 15 seconds
  • Rest 2 minutes

Need a rope? Check out these options.

Survival and Cross Jump Rope

Survival and Cross Jump Rope

WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope

WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope

Now 28% Off

Onnit High-Performance Speed Rope

Onnit High-Performance Speed Rope

RopeFit Heavy Jump Rope

RopeFit Heavy Jump Rope
Credit: Ropefit

Crossrope Get Lean Jump Rope Set

Crossrope Get Lean Jump Rope Set
Headshot of Brett Williams, NASM

Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.

Headshot of Cori Ritchey

Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is an Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. You can find more of her work in HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self, and others.

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