Some fun activities that you used to do as a kid actually have incredible merits as workouts (as much as that might shock your childhood self that was merely horsing around). Case in point? Skipping, playing tag, and—of course—jumping rope, which has been popping up in fitness studios all over the place.
Returning to the rope may be intimidating if you haven't done it since you were at recess, but it's worth revisiting, because it's the easiest way to spike your heart rate in a flash (while also working your entire body). That's not to say it's going to be easy, though. Superstar trainer Amanda Kloots, our Trainer of the Month and creator of the AK Rope workout, says there are plenty of ways to sabotage your jump rope workout, whether it's through bad form or just not being able to get the rope all the way around you. So she highly recommends practicing everything before you even grab the rope to make sure you can really nail it like a pro.
"Practice without it and get into the proper position," she says. "Jumping rope is a rhythm—the rope hits, you jump. Your foot rhythm and your hand rhythm have to be the same." Avoid the three most common mistakes that people make jumping rope, explained by Kloots in our latest episode of The Right Way, below.
1. Jumping too high: "You never want to jump higher than the rope is thick," says Kloots, noting that it'll just waste your energy and make you really tired, really quickly.
2. Improper arm position: If you look like a dying fish, as Kloots describes it, you're doing it wrong. "A lot of the times I see people with their arms really close to their sides, which makes you lose the diameter of your circle," she says. The key is imagining a perfect circle around your entire body, which you can form with your rope if your arms are tucked in at a 90-degree angle (which will then allow you to work your arms, too).
3. Arched back: "I see people jumping rope with an arched back, which also looks like a dying fish," says Kloots. If your back is curved and your abs are protruding, you'll have problems.
For the right way to adjust your form, check out the video above, and be sure to subscribe to Well+Good's YouTube channel for more fitness tips from the pros.
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