'I Tried Skipping Every Day For 2 Weeks—Here's What Happened'

I’ve always thought the jump rope was a totally underrated piece of equipment. Sure, we all loved it when we were kids, but unless you’re a CrossFitter or regularly box your way around a ring, it’s rare to find one incorporated into a workout. Eve Overland, celebrity personal trainer, says that’s a mistake. And she would know: She helps Carrie Underwood stay in tip-top shape while on the road. 

“A jump rope is such an amazing piece of equipment, but oftentimes overlooked,” she says. “It’s affordable, portable, and you don’t need a whole lot of space to get in a great workout.”

In fact, Overland says she has Carrie use one on the reg. “Carrie is in incredible [shape] and is always up for an extra challenge,” she says. “Often, we will jump rope in between lifting sets as [a form of] active recovery.”

Jumping rope has some pretty baller benefits, too. Not only is it great for cardiovascular endurance and a major calorie burner (you can scorch between 10 and 16 cals per minute when jumping at a moderate pace, says Overland), but you can also use it to strengthen ankle and foot-stabilizer muscles, improve hand-eye coordination, and increase your power output, speed, agility, and balance.

All of these reasons are why I decided to take on a two-week challenge of jumping rope every single day, for at least 10 minutes. Whether it was part of my warmup, mixed into my routine, or the only sweat I worked up that day, I committed to hop over a rope, over and over, on the reg. Here’s what I learned.


When I first started my challenge, I told Overland that while I sporadically incorporate the tool into my workouts, I usually don’t vary how I use it much. So, the first thing I needed to do was get comfortable using a jump rope on a daily basis. To do that, Overland says choosing the right rope is key. She recommends a speed rope or thin nylon rope for beginners, as they’re lighter and require less effort with each revolution. (This will help boost confidence because you’ll see that you can, in fact, jump rope.) Size also matters. To see if yours is the right fit, Overland says to hold both handles and step in the middle of the rope. If the handles come up to your armpits, you’re good.


“Jumping rope is a great way to get your blood flowing and heart rate pumping,” says Overland. “Priming your muscles for movement is important if you want to get the most out of your training.” And since jump ropes call on your legs, arms, shoulders, and core, Overland says it’s a great way to warm up the whole body before jumping into a full-blown workout. And I have to agree—each time I used the jump rope as my sole warmup to a workout, I felt primed and ready to go.


About halfway through the first week of my challenge, I got home from a longer-than-usual day of work and found myself staring at the rope, realizing I hadn’t used it yet. Feeling mentally exhausted, I really just wanted to zone out and get it done. But I couldn’t. As I jumped, any time my thoughts started to drift, I tripped up and had to restart—something that’s frustrating even when you’re not dreaming of your bed. That’s because you have to use your brain and body simultaneously, says Overland. “It isn’t like a treadmill, where you can just jump on and hit autopilot,” she says. “You are forced to be present.” Is concentrating on jumping rope something I wanted to do right then and there? Absolutely not. But my brain is a muscle too, so I might as well let it in on the action.  


More than a week into my challenge, my body was craving a low-impact workout after a killer bootcamp routine the day prior. I considered skipping my daily jump session in favour of a gentle yoga flow, but Overland reminded me that jumping is actually a great low impact option. “Do not confuse high intensity with high impact—if done with proper form, jumping rope can be considered lower-impact cardio,” she says. “You must stay light [while you jump], and absorb the impact on the balls of your feet.” So for my 10 minutes, I honed in on my form. By the end, I was sweaty, had more motivation to take on strength work, and my knees were no worse for the wear.


When you think about your day overall, 10 minutes doesn’t seem all that long. But if you’re just jumping rope normally—single skips, feet together—going for 10 minutes straight can get boring really fast. Overland says that some people find the steady rhythm and repetitive movement to be meditative, but I was the opposite. I needed something to keep my mind entertained, so I wouldn’t focus on the sensations of my heart quickening and my muscles burning.

That’s why I asked her for a few different routines that I could turn to when I needed an extra hit of motivation. Here are a few of my faves from Overland:

Tabata Treat
Jump 20 seconds, fast paced
Rest 20 seconds
Repeat for 10 minutes

Minute By Minute
Jump 40 seconds, easy pace
Jump 20 seconds, sprint pace
Jump 40 seconds, easy pace
Jump 20 seconds, high knees
Jump 40 seconds, easy pace
Jump 20 seconds, double unders
Repeat for 10 minutes

Jump 100 revolutions forward
Jump 100 revolutions backward
Jump 150 revolutions forward
Jump 150 revolutions backward
Keep increasing by 50 until 10 minutes is up

Single-Leg Switch
Jump 20 seconds on one leg
Jump 20 seconds on other leg
Jump 20 seconds on both legs, sprint
Repeat for 10 minutes

What’s Your Number
Jump 50 seconds, counting your revolutions
Rest 10 seconds
Repeat for 10 minutes. For each round, aim to hit the same number of revolutions as you did in round one.

Want to try this for yourself? Here are a few of our fave jump ropes:

Cross-Fit Speed Skipping Rope Wire with Bearings x5 $33.95

Digital LCD Skipping Jumping Rope $10.95

Harbinger HumanX Speed Rope $24.45

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.

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