It’s perhaps the most deceptively simple piece of fitness equipment you can buy, not to mention one of the cheapest and most easily stored. Jumping rope takes care of virtually all your cardio needs. You can jump at a steady pace to immitate a jog, or alternate intervals of fast jumping with slower bouts for a more intense conditioning workout. You can also integrate the rope into all kinds of other training. Try running sprints in your driveway, and then lightly skipping rope in between for an active recovery. Make up your own circuits, doing a set of pushups, pullups, and then rope jumping for a total-body blast that works your muscles as well as your heart. Yet another advantage is the quick footwork you’ll develop, which will serve you any time you play a sport.
Best of all, the rope is a hard toy to get bored by. With all the jumping variations you can do such as crossovers, one-legged jumps, and jumping with alternating legs—it’s not likely you’ll over master the rope. One downside is that jumping rope does require a certain amount of space, particularly overhead. If you don’t have a spacious room or garage (or it’s too cold to go outside), you could invest in a “ropeless” jump rope. Handles with light weights attached by a short string simulate the movement of a rope, allowing you to work out without whipping a vase off the shelf. You won’t build the same kind of coordination and cardiovascular fitness you would with a real rope, but it’s not a bad substitute, especially if you’re brand new to exercise.
Most jump ropes go for about $10; the ropeless kind (which also counts calories, jumps, and workout time) is $50 @