Jumping rope isn't just for kids anymore. In fact, it's become one of the hottest workouts at gyms across the country--and for good reason: You can burn as many as 110 calories in just ten minutes! We enlisted five-time World Skipping Champion jump-roper Ren? Bibaud to design this ten-minute circuit, which combines jumping intervals with strength-training moves. Before you start, stretch your calf and thigh muscles, then warm up for two minutes by jogging in place.
With feet together, jump just high enough to clear the rope. Land softly on the balls of your feet and keep knees slightly bent. Aim for one bounce per swing of the rope.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands on your hips. Now take a giant step backward with your right leg, bending your left knee as you drop into a deep lunge. (Be sure to keep your right knee bent and your right heel off the ground.) Hold for a count of two, then return to start position. Repeat with left leg; continue alternating legs.
With one turn of the rope, land with your feet together; then on the next turn, land with your feet far apart--as if you're doing jumping jacks.
Squat With Curl
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, double up your jump rope and hold it down in front of your thighs with palms facing out. Now bend your knees and lower your butt as if you're going to sit in a chair. (Make sure your knees don't extend past your toes.) As you squat, bend your elbows to bring the jump rope up to your shoulders. Hold for a count of two, then return to start position; repeat.
As you turn the rope, hop first on your right leg for ten seconds, then on your left. Continue alternating legs every ten seconds.
Squat With Overhead Raise
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, double up your jump rope. Keeping elbows bent, hold the rope at shoulder height with palms facing out. Repeat squat position above (see Squat With Curl), this time straightening your arms overhead. Hold for a count of two, then return to start position; repeat.
With every turn of the rope, alternate landing on your right foot, then your left--as if you're jogging in place.
Put your rope to the side for this cool-down interval. As you march in place, bring your knees up until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Keep your elbows bent, and swing your arms with each step.
Learning the Ropes
To find the right jump-rope length, follow this rule: When you stand on the middle of it with both feet, the handles should touch your armpits. This guide can help. Ropes cost between $6 and $20; order them from jumpropenet.com, jumprope.com, or buyjumpropes.net.
Copyright 2005. Reprinted with permission of Parents magazine May 2005 issue.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.