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The Skipping Workout You’ll Want To Do Again And Again

Circuit training
(Image credit: Unknown)

Photograph: Element5 Digital (opens in new tab) via Unsplash (opens in new tab)

If you want an example of the crazy, topsy-turvy world we live in, consider the jump rope, the preserve of boxers and small girls. How can one length of rope be so popular with the toughest, most merciless people in the world and… wait for it… boxers?

Of course, there’s method to the madness. Skipping is both ruddy hard and fun. Perhaps that’s why Technogym, the maker of the upscale cardio machines you’ll find in many commercial gyms, includes a skipping rope (opens in new tab) (£69) in its range of at-home exercise equipment.

Circuit training

(Image credit: Unknown)

Not just any skipping rope, of course, but one with textured handles so they don’t slip out of your soon-to-be-very-sweaty palms and ball bearings in the handles to aid the rotation of the rope.

So what better excuse to ask Technogym master trainer David Howatson for a workout that’s both ruddy hard and a little bit fun? Not too hard, though – it mixes short periods of skipping with bodyweight exercises and rest. “Jumping can be a tough activity so rest and active recovery are important,” says Howatson.

If nearly £70 for a skipping rope seems unreasonable, you can find more affordable options with our selection of the best skipping ropes.

Skipping Workout

Each stage has a pair of moves. The first is a bodyweight exercise, the second uses a skipping rope. Do each move for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds then move on to the next pair of exercises.

After the final set of exercises, rest for two minutes. Repeat the circuit three to five times.

1A Star jump

Time 30sec Rest 0sec

Start out at a slow-to-moderate speed, using the star jumps to warm up your body for impact. Stand with your feet together and hands by your sides. Lower, then explode into the air spreading your arms and legs wide. Bring your legs together and arms to your sides before you land.

1B Double-leg jump

Time 30sec Rest 30sec

The double-leg jump is an easy way to get moving with the rope – both feet leave the ground together and land together. Keep the jumps small and aim for a comfortable rhythm.

2A Mountain climber

Time 30sec Rest 0sec

This move helps you engage your core and prepare your body for lifting your knees. Get into a high plank position with your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders and arms extended, toes on the floor and your body forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Bring one knee in towards your chest, then the other, and keep alternating at pace.

2B Single-leg hop

Time 30sec Rest 30sec

The single-leg hop should mirror the height and rhythm of the double-leg jumps. Rhythm and staying light on your feet are the key to nailing the timing. Switch legs after 15 seconds.

3A Lateral lunge

Time 30sec Rest 0sec

The side lunge adds a different plane of movement and prepares the body for the next jump rope movement. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a large step to the side and bend your leading leg to lower, keeping your standing leg straight. Push through the heel of your leading leg to return to the starting position. Alternate sides with each rep.

3B Alternating high knees

Time 30sec Rest 30sec

Alternating high knees looks more like the traditional skipping action. Bring one knee up towards your chest while you pass the rope under your hopping leg twice, then change legs.

4A Push plank with rotation

Time 30sec Rest 0sec

Get into a high plank position, then bring one arm up and rotate your body towards the ceiling. Hold for three to four seconds, then lower into the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

4B Twisting jump

Time 30sec Rest 2min

This has the same action and tempo as the first skipping exercise but just before the landing, you rotate the hips so your toes point to one side. Alternate the twists so your toes land pointing first to the left and then to the right. This gets the lower back and waist working, just as with the rotation from the push plank.

Jonathan Shannon has been the editor of the Coach website since 2016, developing a wide-ranging experience of health and fitness. Jonathan took up running while editing Coach and has run a sub-40min 10K and 1hr 28min half marathon. His next ambition is to complete a marathon. He’s an advocate of cycling to work and is Coach’s e-bike reviewer, and not just because he lives up a bit of a hill. He also reviews fitness trackers and other workout gear.