Jump Rope to Burn Calories

Jumping rope sizzles 100 calories in less than 8 minutes! Use our routine and jump rope picks to hop onto this super-effective workout.

"When it comes to cardio, nothing burns better than jumping rope, and it tones head-to-toe," says Gerard Calvo, group fitness manager of Equinox in New York City and creator of its Rope Burn class. Fine-tune your form with his tips, then hop to it for up to 5 minutes for a warm-up, 20 minutes for a full cardio session, or 30 seconds between strength sets to drop pounds by leaps and bounds.

More: Why Strength Training Is Good at Any Age

Stand tall. Keep neck relaxed and gaze ahead—resist the urge to look at your feet—to keep spine aligned. Lift chest and lower shoulders to avoid hunching, which can also strain the back.

Square off. Hold elbows at sides, bent 90 degrees, with arms slightly forward, palms up. For smooth turns, it's all in the wrists. Rotate hands, not the entire arm, in small circles. Contracting shoulders, triceps and biceps throughout will help you control your revolutions and sculpt arms.

More: 6 Exercises to Tone Your Arms

Cue your core. Engage ab muscles the entire time; a tight middle helps you maintain proper posture and stability, protecting the lower back and knees. Bonus: It will tone your tummy, too!

Stick the landing. Jump on the balls of your feet (heels should never hit), bringing toes only 1 inch off floor. Shoot for a quiet landing with soft knees to ease impact. Wear crosstrainers with extra cushioning, and a sports bra to ban bounce.

More: The Best and Worst Exercises for Bad Knees

Get the best fit. Lassoing the right-sized rope is key for a smooth swing. For the ideal length (most are 9 to 11 feet long), stand on the center and pull up on the ends. Handles should hit at the armpits. Too long? Tie a knot at each end. Too short? Swap skippers.

Know the Ropes

Pinpoint the perfect type for your skill level, and jump off the jiggle.

For newbies: Plastic beads on the Harbinger rope make a sound when they hit the ground; time jumps to the clink of the links. $15; Amazon.com

For endurance: A boxer's go-to, a leather rope is heavy, so it punches up intensity. $18; Everlast.com

For tricksters: Ball bearings in the handles and slick rubber material of the Deluxe speed rope ensure that spinning it quickly is a cinch. $11; ValeoInc.com

More: 7 Items in a Great Gear Bag

Active logo Increase your metabolism and tone up faster. Find a fat-burning class.

About the Author

SELF Editors

SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.
SELF gives you great advice on being healthy, happy, slimmer, fitter and less stressed.

Discuss This Article