I'm pretty sure the last time I jumped rope for longer than five seconds was during middle school gym class. Growing up, I was much more likely to use my jump ropes to tie my wagon to the back of my bike so I could tow things around than actually skip with them down the driveway.
That said, I was admittedly a bit apprehensive when my HuffPost colleague and I decided to try a jump rope workout class at David Barton Gym. My biggest fear? That I wouldn't be able to keep up -- because really, when was the last time you jumped rope for 30 minutes?
The class was appropriately titled "Rope Burn" -- indeed, the muscles (and calories!) were burning. After the warm up (during which I was thrilled to discover that yes, I did remember how to do this and wasn't totally inept) we began a series of circuits. For about one minute we jumped rope -- just long enough to get the calves working. Then we dropped the ropes, picked up some hand weights and spent a minute with some curls, squats, lunges or presses. And so on.
For me, the circuit format made the workout, well... work. The jump rope sections got my heart pumping; during the weights circuits I was able to recover, work different muscle groups and prepare for the next burst of cardio.
The best part about this kind of workout was the high I felt when I finally mastered a jump rope move. Sure, we started with the simple stuff, like hopping on one foot... but by the end of the class our instructor had us trying all sorts of fancy moves. Criss-cross our feet between each turn of the rope (without getting all tangled up in the process)? Sure, why not! It was a brain teaser in a way, the equivalent of rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time.
And by the end of the class, we all looked like this:
Okay, not really. I wish.
In all, the class wasn't nearly as hard as I worried it would be, and it was actually pretty fun! There was no pressure involved; if you got tired, you could take a quick breather before jumping back in (yep... I just made a fitness pun). And since the class at David Barton was only 30 minutes long, it was just right for my busy schedule.
For anyone out there worried about their lack of jump rope skills, don't fret: My fellow HuffPost-er wasn't exactly a pro ("I can't even get the rope around twice without tripping up!") but still had a good time. When in doubt, just keep skipping.
Is this a workout I'd keep up with? Hard to say. If your gym offers this kind of class it's worth a try to switch things up. Though it looks like there are plenty of jump rope workout DVDs on the market, I'm not sure my neighbors would appreciate me hopping up and down on my living room floor every day. Who knows? You might just find me skipping down the NYC sidewalks.