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Jumping rope is a big-time calorie burning exercise.

We are talking somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 calories per hour (not that any normal person could last that long).

So… when is the last time it was part of your exercise routine?

Most people probably only have experience with jumping rope in P.E. class in Elementary school.

(If the last rope you jumped looked like this, there’s a chance several decades have passed since you have skipped-the-rope.)

We have a corner of our gym with mats and a couple of jump ropes.

Few people last more than a minute or two.

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Jumping rope as an adult is a whole different deal.

I tried jumping rope about 10-12 years ago for the first time as a full-grown adult.

I did it for about 10 minutes and could hardly walk the next day.

My calves were destroyed.

Speaking of walking?

Here’s some vintage 1983 footage of one of my favorite songs by The Cure… The Walk.

(Obvious lip-syncing and the cage dancers look like they are wearing prom dresses. Gotta love the 80’s!)

Jumping rope works your entire body and exposes weak points.

I wasn’t just sore in my calves.

I actually felt it in my obliques too (an area that I have a hard time feeling when I do normal ab workouts).

It makes sense why it is such a popular exercise for boxers.

It firms up your entire body…

…and it does make you feel lighter on your feet as you become proficient at it.

So what type of jump rope should you get?

Choosing & Adjusting Your Jump Rope

 

I recommend starting with a “speed rope”.

These are available at most sporting goods stores (or Amazon) for around $15-$20.

It will look something like this.

Almost all of these are adjustable.

Note: If you are into commercial-level advanced jump ropes, Crossrope is the premium solution in the fitness market.

Here’s how to get the correct adjustment.

  • Place your jump rope on the ground
  • Stand on the midpoint of the rope (an equal distance between the handles)
  • Grasp the handles and pull them to your chest while standing on the rope
  • The top of the handles should reach about 6 inches below the collar bone (not as high as the collar bone or as low as the upper abs)

  • If in doubt, start a bit longer than this and shorten the rope as you get more experienced.

The 15 Minute Jump Rope Routine

 

Before your tackle the 15 minute routine that I’m going to outline below you have to learn the skill of jumping rope.

The big mistake I see beginners make is a “double bounce” between rotations.

It’s actually not a mistake…

…it is that this little double bounce allows a brief rest for their core and calves.

They don’t have a high enough level of fitness to jump cleanly in between each rotation.

Here’s a video that demonstrates the proper way to jump rope, along with some tips and common mistakes.


A good 15-minute routine is pretty easy to setup.

I’ll give you three levels examples.

Jump Rope Workout 1

This one is good for maximizing speed and explosiveness. The goal is to eventually learn how to do “double unders” for at least part of the 30-second sprint portion.

  • 1-minute slow jumping warm-up
  • 1.5 minute of rest
  • 30 seconds fast jump
  • Alternate 30 seconds of fast jumping with 1.5 minutes of rest for a total of 7 times (14 minutes).

Double unders are a combo of conditioning and timing.

Here’s a video with some tips on how to get the timing down.

These take a little bit of practice to master.

Do as many as you can and finish off the 30-second rounds with “alternating foot jump” technique.

Here’s a workout using just this technique

Jump Rope Workout 2

This workout builds a bit more endurance.

It is also good if you aren’t able to do double unders well. It’s still intense and burns a good amount of calories.

  • 1-minute slow jumping warm-up
  • 1 minute of rest
  • 1 minute of fast alternating foot jump
  • Alternate 1 minute of alternating foot jump with 1 minute of rest for a total of 7 times (14 minutes).

Really challenge yourself to push the pace during the 1 minute of jumping.

Once this ceases to be a challenge, simply introduce some double unders in with alternating foot jumps.

Follow up with some walking for a little fat burning bonus.

In my cardio course, I recommend that you follow intense HIIT type of training with 15-20 minutes of walking (when time allows).

Intense exercise like HIIT is good for releasing fat from fat cells.

Slow and steady cardio like walking is good for using it for fuel once it has been released.

Here’s a diagram I made demonstrating this.


It’s a bit more complicated than my diagram shows but gives a general idea of the principle.

You could also follow the jump rope intervals with 10-15 minutes of really slow and steady jumping.

You don’t have to do either…

…but Everything Counts!

(This is my favorite Depeche Mode footage. It’s from 1983 and they all look about 16. The German audience shows ZERO enthusiasm here.)

Experiment with the 15 minutes of jump rope intervals.

There isn’t an exact work and recovery period that you must follow to get results.

The idea is to push hard during the work portion… rest… then push hard again.

If it becomes easy, simply reduce the rest portion or increase the work intensity.

You can also jump slowly instead of resting completely.

…but that is rough to maintain for 15 minutes.

One word of warning.

You may want to simply jump slowly for 5 minutes for 1-2 weeks to condition your body for this type of exercise.

5 minutes jumping rope feels like 30 minutes.

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It’s weird, but time actually does slow down as soon as you begin twirling the rope.

Give it a shot.

-Rusty Moore

Jumping rope supposedly burns 1,000 calories per hour, not that you will last that long. Here's a 15 minute workout that works well.