Tone Up in 20 Minutes or Less

"Skipping rope annihilates more than 10 calories a minute while toning every inch of your body," says Michael Olajide Jr., owner of Aerospace gym in New York City, who created this pound-melting plan exclusively for SELF. Here, he splices jump rope intervals with strength moves to burn more than 200 calories in 20 minutes. That's a routine you won't be able to skip.

What you'll need A jump rope and a watch or clock with a second hand to time intervals

How to Do it

Alternate two minutes of jumping rope with one set of each of the strength moves in the order shown, starting and finishing with a jump rope set. Try to transition quickly between rope and strength intervals. Do the routine three times a week, every other day, to lose weight by leaps and bounds.

Find the right fit.

Step on the center of the rope with both feet: The handles should reach your armpits. If you're shorter than 5 foot 7 inches, try an 8-foot rope; 5 foot 7 to 6 foot, a 9-foot length; taller than 6 foot, a 10-foot length. Hint: As you skip, the rope should just skim the floor.

Fine-tune your form.

Always keep your arms bent with elbows at waist level, close to the body. Flick your wrists in small circles rather than swinging your arms in wide circles. Focus eyes forward, not down. Jump 1 inch off the ground, only high enough to let the rope pass under foot, and land on the balls of feet, knees soft.

Skirt this slipup.

That extra little hop between jumps, which many people take, is an unneeded impact on knee and ankle joints and ruins rhythm. To avoid it, spin the rope faster (at least 80 turns per minute) so you have only time to take one jump per turn.

Cushion the blow.

Jumping rope is half the impact of jogging. Still, wear cross-trainers with extra ankle support and padding at the ball of the foot for shock absorption. The best jumping surfaces: non-shag carpets, packed dirt, grass, thin mats and sprung floors such as those found on basketball courts.

Heel click
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes out. Fold rope in quarters; grip each end with one hand. Raise arms overhead, elbows in line with ears. Squat until thighs are parallel to ground, then spring up, bringing arms toward thighs. At height of jump, click heels together (as shown). Return to start. Do 8 to 10 reps. Jump rope for 2 minutes.

Power twist
Start in lunge position with right foot forward. Fold rope in quarters and hold one end in each hand with arms raised to chest level. Maintaining lunge, twist torso to right (as shown). Hold for a one-second count and twist back to center. Do 8 to 10 twists to right, then switch legs and repeat twists to left. Jump rope for 2 minutes.

Leap frog
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Fold rope in quarters and hold one end of rope in each hand, palms up. Squat until thighs are parallel to ground, holding rope in front of knees. Straighten legs to spring up as you bend elbows and curl rope toward chest (as shown). Land softly in squat position. Do 8 to 10 reps. Jump rope for 2 minutes.

Pick-up lunge
Start with folded rope on ground just outside of right foot. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Balance on right foot with left leg raised behind you, knee bent, left hand on hip. Keeping right knee bent, lean over and pick up rope with right hand (as shown). Return to standing. Place rope back on same spot to complete rep. Do 8 to 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Jump rope for 2 minutes.

Double hop
Stretch rope straight out on ground. Stand alongside one end with feet together, elbows bent at sides. Bend knees slightly then hop forward and diagonally to other side of rope. Land softly on balls of feet (as shown), then quickly jump forward and to other side of rope. Continue to end of rope, turn around and complete rep by repeating hops back to start. Do 8 to 10 reps. Jump rope for 2 minutes.

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