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If there’s one thIng you can always rely on for a serious workout, it’s the jump rope. Even CrossFit, ground zero for all things tough that create real body changes, has embraced it as a high-intensity champ—you’ll burn an impressive 13 calories per minute—which has many of us rediscovering just how effective hitting the rope can be. Each rapid-fire rep firms muscles in your shoulders, biceps, abs, butt, and calves, and makes you quick on your feet. The key is to switch up your skips with different exercises to keep things interesting—which is exactly what inspired trainer Amanda Kloots to create her wildly popular class, the Rope, at Bandier’s Studio B in New York City.
The workouts mix intervals of jumping rope with dance-inspired strength exercises. “The rope can be used as resistance, for stability, and even as a prop you can set on the floor as a target to jump over,” she says. “When you use the rope for moves other than just jumping, you get a more well-rounded workout that can boost your stamina, strength, and coordination much faster.” (Here: 28 more ways to burn fat with a jump rope)
You’ll get your heart thumping and your metabolism firing during the jumping intervals, then work muscles to exhaustion as you do the strength exercisesKloots says. And her moves probably won’t feel too familiar to you. She has tapped into her 14 years of professional dance experience to create graceful, fluid sculpting exercises that collectively work every major muscle group from multiple angles. (Not to mention, jumping rope might improve your job performance.)
Scale it up: If you’re a pro with a jump rope, push your pace. You can make a playlist with songs that are faster than 140 beats per minute and aim to jump on the beat of the music until the song is over. Scale it down: Keep the jump rope sets simple. Start with 20 revolutions and try to add reps until you make it to 100.
How it works: Warm up by jumping rope for 3 to 5 minutes. Then, do each exercise as indicated. You can do this routine 3 days a week on alternate days. As for the rope, most are 9 to 11 feet long. To make sure you’re working with the right size, stand on the center of the rope with your feet together and pull the handles up. They should hit at your shoulders. If they go higher, you can tie a knot at each end, but if they fall lower, you’ll need a longer rope. A mat is optional.