With all of the ~fancy~ gym equipment out there these days, it’s easy to forget about low-tech options that can be just as effective. Time to fall in love with the jump rope again–whether you use it to warm up your muscles before a workout, in between
Celeb trainer Mark Jenkins is a big fan of the jump rope (he’s even partnered up with Smart Rope) and loves incorporating the portable, lightweight training tool with some of his big-name clients. Jumping rope is great for improving your coordination and timing, and “it works your creativity because then you make up your own tricks,” he tells SELF. “Everybody has their own different style of jumping.” Basically, it’s a great workout for your body and mind.
While Jenkins has been know to jump rope an hour at a time (!!!), this seven-minute jump rope routine he came up with for SELF is a great, quick cardio routine you can do anywhere you have your rope. “All of the moves work your timing and endurance and force you to think, as opposed to training mindlessly on a machine,” His top tips: Keep your jumping rhythm smooth, and if you mess up take a deep breath and pick it back up. (Awesome music helps, too.)
0:00-1:00: Warm up with regular jumping
Chances are, you already know how to jump rope, but make sure your form is on point: Keep your head up, your feet shoulder-width apart, and jump as you hear the rope strike the ground in front of you, says Jenkins. Seriously, don’t stare down!
1:00-2:00: Jog in place
This is just like—you guessed it—jogging in place, with the added coordination benefit of the jump rope. “The moment of your transition from foot to foot is when the rope passes under you,” explains Jenkins. Again, get a feel for the rope and don’t look at the ground. Your abs and calves are getting a workout here, too.
2:00-3:00: Jump with your left foot
Skipping rope with one foot “takes balance, and remember it’s all about the soft landing,” says Jenkins.
3:00-4:00: Jump with your right foot
You know what to do—switch legs!
4:00-5:00: Jump rope jacks
Start with regular jumping, and once you’re comfortable, “open your legs as the rope passes under you, then jump and return to normal stance on the next revolution,” says Jenkins. This move works your outer and inner thighs.
5:00-6:00: Jump rope lunges
Time to feel the burn. “Start with right foot in front of your left in a mini lunge stance,” says Jenkins. “Start your jump. When the rope hits the ground jump and switch feet mid-air. Switch feet on every revolution and focus on timing.” It takes a little practice to nail this move. If you’re feeling frustrated just switch back to regular jumping and change your tempo, speeding up and slowing down to keep your heart rate up.
6:00-7:00: Regular Jumping
Seventh verse, same as the first.
There shouldn’t be any rest in this seven-minute routine—there’s even some interval work built in because some minutes are harder than others, Jenkins explains. Of course, if you need a rest, take it!
Whether you mix this jump rope routine into your regular workout or squeeze it in alone on a busy day, the double-dutch queen in you will be thrilled.
—By Alexa Tucker