This year, I’ve decided to trade the never-ending miles on cardio machines for a long string with two handles. Jump rope workouts are a cheap way to stay — or get — in shape since even the most expensive ropes only cost about $20. Plus, you’ll torch a ton of calories in a short period of time with this cardio workout, thanks to the way jumping raises your heart rate.
“It’s certainly good for the heart,” Peter Schulman, MD, associate professor, Cardiology/Pulmonary Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, told WebMD of the cardio benefits of jump rope workouts. “It strengthens the upper and lower body and burns a lot of calories in a short time.”
But, where do you start? First, find a spot to jump rope — you’ll need a few feet of space, plus about two feet between the top of your head and the ceiling. The surface you pick matters, too: carpet might seem like a good choice, but the fibers can “grab” your shoes and make foot or ankle injuries more likely. Instead, opt to jump on hardwood floors or a high-impact exercise mat.
Then, start jumping. You can structure your workout in a variety of ways, depending on your fitness level.
Jump Rope Workouts For Beginners
Start here if your only jump rope experience was on the playground in elementary school. Dr. Sara Solomon created this beginner’s workout that eases you into jumping rope in five minutes.
Don’t be fooled; you’ll be sweating by the end.
6-Minute Jump Rope HIIT Workout
This 6-minute jump rope workout by Fitness Blender seems so simple at first glance — jump for 25 seconds, rest for 10, repeat — but you’ll be exhausted by the end. The best part: the trainer gives a warm-up and works up to the harder moves, so it’s suitable for all levels.
Full-Body Jump Rope Workout
If the thought of jumping rope for your whole workout makes you break out in hives, try this workout from PopSugar Fitness. The 10-minute sweat drencher is more like a boot camp than a jump rope workout.
The 1,000-Rep Jump Rope Workout
Save this workout for when you’re feeling comfortable with your progression. The challenge in this short video is to get in 1,000 jumps with your rope. The way you’ll get there ranges from your standard jump on two feet, to jumps on one foot and speed work. The trainer mixes in some non-jumping moves to the workout, too.
Create Your Own Jump Rope Workouts
Videos are great motivators, but you don’t have to rely on them to get a good jump rope workout. You can create your own high-intensity interval training in a variety of ways. I love to challenge myself by seeing how many jumps I can get in 60 seconds. Then I rest and repeat nine more times for a total of 10 minutes of jump roping. I’ve managed to go from 40 jumps in one minute to almost 80 in a matter of just a few weeks — heart health for the win!
Thanks, jump rope.
Meagan Morris is the editor in chief of Celebribody. She's veteran health and wellness editor with over 15 years of experience. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Yahoo Health, Cosmopolitan, SELF, and Women's Health, among others. She spends most of her time writing, but her favorite part of the day is spent under a barbell doing squats.