One of the coolest things about body weight workouts is that there is no excuse not to do them. The equipment you need is right there… in you. On you. YOU! (See: Badass Burpee Variations and No Equipment Workouts.)
Jump rope workouts are next on that list of workouts that decimate excuses because all you need is a rope and a clear space, like a street or a yard or a porch or a gym floor or a tennis court.
If you’re a CrossFitter, chasing the elusive double-under can feel like you’re on a quest for the holy grail. And while I agree there is value in learning to do double-unders — and they will kick your butt in a way that not much else can — there are so many other ways to get your kicks with a jump rope. Here are some other fun foot patterns that will test your coordination and, potentially, your patience. (And if you want some pointers on double-unders, here’s my post on 7 Things I Know About Double-Unders.)
In case you’re a newbie to jump rope, here’s an excellent introductory video to teach you the basics of a jump rope hop. (From Punk Rope — what a fun idea!)
10 Jump Rope Variations
1. Wide Feet
Instead of keeping your feet together under your hips, soften your knees and take you feet into your squat width. have fun with that one, kids! It’s oddly demanding.
2. Skip, a.k.a. The Boxer
Instead of hopping with both feet together, you do that badass boxer shuffle from side to side. It’s the epitome of floating like a butterfly (M. Ali, you will always be the baddest of badasses.), if butterflies got out of breath floating. (See video below #3 for demo.)
3. Jog in Place / High Knees
Just like it sounds — only harder! Jog in place while spinning the rope beneath your feet. Once you have the pattern, you can make it more challenging by lifting your knees up high in the front and landing on your toes. (See video demo.)
4. Single-Foot Hops
Single-foot hops are great for strengthening each leg independently, and once you’ve got the knack, you can try fun patterns: three left, three right… five right, one left for 10 rounds, then switch… whatever it takes to keep you thinking and hopping.
With your knees soft and feet together, hop side to side, like you’re skiing down a mountain. With your jump rope. ‘Cause you doesn’t ski with a jump rope?!
Similar to the Slalom, but instead of jumping side to side, you hop front to back, like a bunny that can’t make up his mind. And now gratuitous giant bunny (and yes, he’s real):
7. Jumping Jack
On alternating hops, jump your feet apart and together, apart and together.
Similar to the jumping jack, but when your feet come back together, cross one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it works the inner thigh like crazytown. Plus, it’s fun.
9. Alternating Feet
Take those single-foot hops from #4 above and alternate with each spin of the rope. It’s kind of like patting your head and rubbing your tummy, but you’ll get it eventually.
10. Scissors Split
On each hop, shoot one foot back and one foot forward, kind of like a lunge. Then on your next hop, reverse your feet.
Turn it up to 11. Backwards
I’m not sure that spinning the rope backwards has a physical advantage, but it sure does feel like you’re doing something fancy, and that is totally awesome. This how-to video was inspiring because it’s clear that the dude is working hard — and he messes up just like the rest of us mortals do.
Jump Rope Workouts
Jump rope is perfect for intervals, so rather than striving for extended periods at cruising speed, think challenging work sessions with rest in between. Here a few examples, but you can make the segments whatever seems appealing to you:
10 rounds: 1:00 on / 1:00 off
6 rounds: 3:00 on / 1:00 off
10 rounds: 2:00 on / rest to full recovery
12 rounds: 1:00 on / :30 off
Or put together a foot pattern and repeat it for time, for example:
10 jumping jacks
10 single-foot hops, right
10 single-foot hops, left
10 scissor split
10 jog in place
More Jump Rope Fun
When I was searching for jump rope videos, I found this badass mashup of the Foo Fighters song “Rope” and the Black Eyed Peas “Rock That Body.” WOOT!
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