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5 genius ways to get a full-body workout with just a jump rope

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Photo: Wild Jay Photography
When you think of the jump rope, you probably imagine cute little girls with pigtails hopping away at recess, or maybe some short, heart-pumping session at the gym (where your main goal was to not end up in a tangled mess). But Amanda Kloots is trying to change everything you think you know about that old-school workout with her new, aptly-named class, The Rope.

Kloots (a former Rockette and Broadway dancer who knows how to tone—after all, she was previously a trainer at Body by Simone) became a jump rope genius after reading that it burns more calories than running or swimming. “I hate both of those,” she admits, “so I was like, well, I’m going to grab a jump rope. I thought it would be such a cool workout to get somebody a full-on jump rope class where you never put the rope down.”

Clearly, she was on to something—as I experienced firsthand at the preview for The Rope at Bandier’s Studio B. The class kicked off with a minute of jumping rope, followed by a one-minute plank…times four. (Intense!) But Kloots’ workout takes advantage of the rope in ways I’d never imagined, using the deceptively simple tool as a prop to target arms, glutes, and abs in an hour-long class that’s all about interval cardio training.

In other words, it’s a hardcore multi-tasker—not to mention a vacation-ready one that’s both portable and a total calorie crusher. And you don’t have to be in New York City to experience it firsthand; Kloots put together a full-body routine just for Well+Good readers.

Whether you’re traveling or just want to switch up your gym routine, grab a jump rope and prepare for a head-to-toe tone session.

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jump rope workout

The teaser

To do this ab burner correctly, hold the rope handles up high and lift your legs into a strong V, which gives your back a nice, full extension, Kloots says. “You really have to pull up out of your hips,” she explains, “so you’re stretching all of your muscles.”

Reps: One set of 10.

jump rope workout

The teaser, with a twist

Once you’re done with those, try another variation—this time twisting slightly and lowering your arms to the side. These arm extensions help target your obliques.

Reps: One set of 10, alternating between sides.


 jump rope workout

The standing abs series

Stand up tall and really reach over, almost as if you’re standing between two narrow walls (in other words, no slumping forward or back).  “I really love doing standing abs because you have to fight gravity,” says Kloots. “When you do crunches on the floor you can cheat because you don’t lift as high as you really should.” These whittle your waist and target the obliques, she explains—and make it nearly impossible to get away with putting in less than 100 percent effort.

Reps: 24 to each side.


jump rope workout

Jumping side to side

Press your legs together and jump from side to side. “You’re working your abs and obliques, but this also hits your outer and inner thighs because you’re gluing your legs together,” says Kloots.

Reps: Go for 20 jumps for your first set, then rest. Keep increasing each set by 10 until you reach 100 jumps.


jump rope workout

Crossover jumps

This advanced jump rope skill can be a bit tricky to learn (you’ve got to cross your arms and jump through the loop you make), but once you lock it down it’s super exciting, Kloots raves. “You’re working on coordination with a little added ab jolt,” she says. “You just have to get the rhythm of the rope.” Do three regular jumps, then add a crossover on your fourth.

Reps: 100 jumps, sticking to that three regular jumps/one crossover formula.

Before you start jumping, fuel up on Well+Good readers’ tried and true pre-workout snacks. And remember: Hydration is even more important for summer workouts. Good thing we’ve got this delicious spa water recipe.

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