In middle school, I was the playground double dutch champion (at least... that's how I remember it). I don't know what happened between then and now, but muscle memory has not treated me kindly and I can't jump rope to save my life. So when I got the opportunity to try the new weighted rope created by Bala, which makes perhaps the most aesthetically-friendly fitness gear out there, I thought: Well, this will be humbling.
For those who haven't yet been introduced to Bala's cool-toned workout instruments, the brand crafts everything from ankle weights to power rings to foam rollers. And unlike other workout tools, which tend to be eyesores (I mean that in the most loving way), Bala improves the decor of your house while helping you slot in a killer workout.
With its new weighted jump rope, Bala has majorly upped its cardio game. So if you're looking for a way to break a sweat without ever leaving your apartment, this is it, folks. But wait, there's a twist! As if jumping rope weren't already enough of a challenge, this guy comes equipped with half-pound weighted handles to help you fuse your cardio and strength training together.
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When I unbox my Bala jump rope, I'm pleased to find that it's easy to adjust the length of the rope so you don't wind up tripping all over it. (For what it's worth, jump rope length matters: When you step on the rope, the far edges of the cord, not the handles, should be shoulder height.) That's an immediate win.
I adjust the cord, push all the furniture to the far edges of my living room, and find a Well+Good Trainer of the Month Club video to guide me. Luckily, trainer Amanda Kloots has my back. After watching a brief video on jump roping 101 (please send help), I tell myself that this will be fine. And then, I summon my middle school self.
The class kicks off with one minute of jumping "at your own pace." It turns out that, for me, that means one successful jump followed by three failed ones. Then, mercifully, Kloots cues plank position—which somehow feels effortless after such a difficult display of hopping in place.
As far as benefits go, there's a lot to love about jumping rope. It rapidly increases your heart rate, improves your endurance, increases your speed and agility, and allows you to fit in a quality workout when you have a limited quantity of time.
I try to remind myself of all these worthwhile reasons as Kloots calls out move after move. We use the jump rope for all manner of exercises—some strength-based and some cardio-based. By the end of the 12 minutes, I'm out of breath, my cat is staring at me with wide, WTF eyes, and half-pound weights have never felt so heavy.
I can't say that the Bala jump rope changed my mind about this form of indoor cardio—I still think I'm more of a running-slash-biking kind of gal—but it did break me out of my normal fitness routine and show me that, well, I'm just not that agile. And now, I have a new fitness goal to work towards.
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