• Big Rick Stuart

Jumping rope is an unbeatable cardio workout—if you do it correctly

Popular Mechanics


The exercise is freakin’ hard, but a good activity regardless of where you live.


Jump ropes are more complex than you may realize. They range from the classic, nostalgia-inducing beaded ropes of playgrounds, to speed ropes equipped with a light, thin metal wire that can cost north of $100.


As the pandemic has forced people to figure out how to get exercise in new ways, a good rope will allow you to get moving within whatever space you have available. All you need is a small park or yard to fling one around in—you’ll be sweating buckets and gasping for breath in no time. Wherever you attempt it, jumping will almost definitely translate into pulse-pounding cardiovascular exercise and stronger muscles.


Because—and you know this if you’ve tried it—using a jump rope is challenging and completely exhausting. Here’s what to know to get started, if you’re a rookie like I am.


How to get started with a jump rope workout

“Jump rope is one of the oldest fitness tools,” David Newman, the CEO and founder of Rx Smart Gear—the company that makes the rope I’ve been trying—says. “It allows you to stay stationary in one spot, but really get your whole body moving for cardio.”


Picking the right rope starts with the handles. Most of these pieces of equipment have a mechanism that allows for the rope to rotate in the grips. The simplest is a rope with a knot on the end that fits into a plastic handle, which is fine for the playground. Other jump ropes use a synthetic bushing in the handle. The one I tried, a Rapid Fit, employs two stainless steel bearings in each handle to allow the grips to easily spin and the rope—in this case, it’s actually PVC-coated stainless steel wire—to rotate around you extremely quickly.



stock Wix photo

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