Even as a kid, I was never great at jumping rope. My friends on the playground would be happily skipping around inside their ropes, while I’d just keep thwacking myself in the shins. As an adult I’ve only gotten less coordinated and more self-conscious, so jumping rope hasn’t exactly been my go-to move when I want to get in some cardio.
But I know it’s a quick, effective way to get in a heart-pumping, full-body workout. “Jumping rope activates almost every muscle in your body which helps boost your heart rate quickly,” John Shackleton, MS, CSCS, Villanova men’s basketball head performance coach previously told Well+Good. It’s also a fantastic way to keep your bones strong. And as a runner, I know it can help me work plyometrics into my weekly routine to build my power and put some speed behind my stride.
TL;DR: I want to be the kind of person who can jump rope and actually like it enough to do it regularly. So when I heard about Crossrope, I was instantly intrigued. The high tech system lets you attach ropes of different weights to Bluetooth-connected handles that track your stats like jumps per minute, current streak, and max speed on the companion app, which comes with more than 2,000 different workouts to try.
These seemed like just the kind of features that would get me to actually pick up the rope more than once.
This set includes bluetooth-connected handles, three ropes—one-pound, 1/2-pound, and 1/4-pound—and a one-month free membership on the app ($12 per month). Crossrope also offers a ropeless set, several different bundles, and ropes or handles à la carte so you can build the exact at-home jump rope workout kit you want.
What I wasn’t expecting, and what I ended up loving the most, was the app’s whole section for beginners. Not only is there a series of “practice workouts” which slowly ramp you up, there are a number of tutorials, demonstrating exactly how to do all the jumps, as well as things like how to avoid shin splints, and how to make jumping rope a habit (yes, I feel seen).
The workouts themselves range anywhere from less than 10 minutes to more than 40, and are listed with one to three fire emojis so you know what kind of intensity you’re signing up for before you start. They mix up intervals of jumping and rest, and many include bodyweight exercises like squats and mountain climbers. Some workouts also use a kettlebell, while others are jump rope–only—a filtering system lets you search for exactly which option you want.
Once you start a workout, you see a looping video demonstrating each move as you do it, along with a countdown of how much time you have left, while a voiceover offers basic instructions. At first, I sometimes got nervous when it asked me to switch out my rope for one of a different weight, but the programs are designed to give you more than enough time, especially considering the quick release system that makes it super easy to unlatch one rope and stick on another.
Over the course of a month of testing it out, I definitely improved my form, particularly with the help of the tutorials (who knew you were supposed to keep your hands right near your hips?). Though I haven’t gotten quite good enough at it to nerd out over my stats, since I’m still just trying to make it through to the end, I do enjoy the workouts enough that I keep picking up the ropes up week after week. With the strength moves breaking up the jumping intervals, I feel less daunted than if I were just doing a free jump all by myself—I know I’m going to get breaks, and there will be some moments where I actually feel confident. And by the end, my heart is jumping out of my chest, my calves are on fire, and I’m a sweaty mess. It’s a cardio workout I can do right at home without needing to fit a massive exercise bike or treadmill into my living room. (Though you obviously do need a good amount of empty space for the workouts so you don’t, you know, thwack everything in your way.)
I can’t say that Crossrope has turned jumping rope into my favorite exercise, but it does make me enjoy it more than I ever have before. And I’m now a few steps closer to holding my own the next time you find me on a playground.
Learn the right way to jump rope: