This Is the Perfect 30-Minute Jump-Rope Workout
Reintroducing "the most convenient, efficient and effective exercise in the game"
Establishing a fitness routine is hard as hell. Take it from me, a guy who recently claimed to have cracked the code on how to become a morning workout person but has snoozed through his 7:05 a.m. “get up and go to the gym” alarm at least three times in the last two weeks.
I’ve boiled this unfortunate Snorlax impression down to a number of factors, and one of the biggest is a lack of excitement. When I know exactly what to expect from my day, exercise-wise, I’m A) less likely to rally out of bed and B) less likely to have an inspired workout when I do. The best solution for this, which both pumps a little wonder into one’s time at the gym and shocks the body’s rustier regions, is to introduce an entirely new workout.
That search brought me, of all things, to a piece of equipment mostly associated with pro boxers and middle-school gym class: the jump rope. The most I’ve interacted with a jump rope in the last number of years was during a Rocky III rewatch, and that disassociation probably holds true for a lot of guys — especially those getting up in years. But giving up on rope-skipping in toto is foolish. It’s a cardio hero that increases elasticity and hones balance; plus, it’s perfect for a circuit workout when you’re on the go.
To better understand how to deploy the rope — and to jazz up my weekly routine — I recently caught up with Michael Oladije Jr., an erstwhile professional boxer who runs a boxing gym in NYC called Aerospace High Performance Center, trains Victoria’s Secret Angels like Adriana Lima and Doutzen Kroes, and is firmly part of the Chris Hemsworth wellness brain trust, with featured workouts and advice on Hemsworth’s app Centr.
Below, Oladije dishes on common mistakes he sees when people pick up a jump rope, explains why even aging guys with bad backs should give it a whirl, and talks us through a delightfully straightforward 30-minute workout that you should definitely add to your regimen. Spoiler alert: it involves choosing some motivational tunes. Have fun out there, and set those alarms nice and early.
Why should people add jumping rope to their fitness routine?
“Jumping rope is the most convenient, efficient and effective exercise in the game. The learning curve associated with it forces you to think and execute at the same time, and as far as cardiovascular workouts go, it’s untouchable.”
On common mistakes, and proper form …
“The biggest mistake people make with the jump rope is jumping higher than they need to. This throws them immediately into the ‘anaerobic’ zone, and they’ll quit jumping rope before realizing its benefits. Many people also tend to lead, or keep time, with their feet instead of their hands. Leading with the hands is absolutely essential to mastering the jump rope.”
The simple, 30-minute jump rope workout we should all try
“Put together a playlist of 8-10 inspirational songs that will really get you going. Jump the length of each song, and take a 60-second break it between. It’s going to be impossible at first. 30 minutes is a lot. I recommend starting with 10-15 minutes (3-5 songs) and working in other exercises. As you become more comfortable with the rope, increase your time up to the full 30.”
Is jumping rope still viable for aging guys with bad knees or backs?
“Yes! Jumping rope has less impact on the skeletal system and joints than running. Just make sure to follow what you’re taught, and learn to recognize your limits. There may be certain moves that you shouldn’t do. Listen to your body.”
On finding a great rope …
“Every boxer needs a go-to jump rope. I’m partial to the Aeroblizzard and the Aerorainmaker ropes; we sell them here. It’s a ‘work’ rope, not a ‘trick’ rope, so you’re going to get the maximum results out of your workout. Most people jump with ropes that are too light, or too long, and they won’t get the results they’re training for. Not to mention — old-school leather ropes are great for a change of pace.”
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