Jumping rope is the perfect solo winter workout - and you can do it anywhere!

Try this 20-Minute Easy Jump Rope Workout

What does one of the hottest new workout trends have in common with elementary school recess? Both center on jumping rope, which is as fun – and as sweat-inducing – as you remember from elementary school. Not only can you do it anywhere, including grandma’s guest room, jumping rope burns 130 calories in just 10 minutes. Here’s how to enjoy one of the best and easiest 20-minute workouts around.

Jump Rope Basics

In case your memories of third grade aren’t that great, here’s how to get started jumping rope.

  • Choose a rope with non-slip handles and grip the rope loosely in each hand.
  • Check that the rope fits your height by placing one foot in the center of the rope and lifting the handles — they shouldn’t go past your armpits.
  • Don’t try to jump too high – one or two inches off the floor gives the rope enough space to slip under your feet without risk of tripping.
  • Press from the balls of your feet, keeping heels off the floor.
  • Keep elbows close to sides as you turn the rope, letting the movement come from the wrists and forearms, not the shoulders.
  • Focus on rhythm and timing before trying to get fancy.
  • If your arms get too tired before the full time allotted, drop the rope, but keep arms and legs going. You can work up to using the rope the whole time.

As you get more comfortable, try these variations to up the level of your workout.

1. High knees

Turn the rope as usual but lift each leg high towards your chest as you step over the rope. This is easier to learn if you practice it without the rope first.

2. Jumping jacks

Step your legs wide apart and then close together over the rope, as if you are doing jumping jacks. Your arms continue turning the rope from the elbow in the usual motion.

3. Criss Cross

Every other jump, cross your arms – and the rope – in front of you and jump through it that way.

4. Shuffle

Start with with one foot forward and the other behind in split stance then alternate sides over the rope as you jump. Keep your upper body facing forwards and arms turning as per usual.

5. Twist

Keep your legs together, stay on the balls of your feet, and rotate your lower body from side to side with each jump. Upper body should continue to face forward, while just the lower body twists.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.