ICYMI, here's the main takeaway from, oh, any of Carrie Underwood's recent performances: Legs. For. Days.
“Carrie is in incredible [shape] and is always up for an extra challenge,” says Eve Overland, Carrie’s on-tour trainer. “Often, we will jump rope in between lifting sets as [a form of] active recovery.”
And she's certainly not the only celeb obsessed with the tool—fitness queens like Adriana Lima, Kate Hudson, and Khloé Kardashian are also fans. There’s a reason this simple old-school playground staple has catapulted to cult status. “I absolutely love the jump rope because of its do-anywhere convenience, packability, and allover toning effect,” says trainer Christa DiPaolo, co-creator of Equinox’s The Cut: Jump Rope class.
For Carrie, her fave way to use a jump rope is as part of a full-body routine. Steal her exact circuit below—just be ready to feel the burn when you do.
And here's how to do each of those moves:
How to: Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position. That's one rep.
How to: Get into a pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your ankles. Keeping your core tight and back flat, bend your right knee and raise it toward your chest. Reverse the movement to return to start, then repeat with your left leg. That's one rep.
How to: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Raise your torso to a sitting position. The movement should be fluid, not jerky. Slowly lower your torso back to the starting position. That's one rep.
How to: Set a bench under a pullup bar. Step up onto the bench, and grab the bar with an overhand grip that's slightly wider than shoulder width. Hang from the bar, bend your knees, and cross your ankles behind your body. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and raise your body until your shoulders are just under the bar. Lower back to the starting position. That's one rep.
How to: While jumping rope, pass the rope under your feet twice in a single jump. But don't just jump higher; keep your hands by your waist and quickly rotate your wrists to create the right rope speed.
Jump Rope Like A Pro
But before you immediately start jumping rope a la Carrie, know that proper jumping requires a bit more skill than you'd think, DiPaolo says. You're going to want to:
- Keep hops low. Most people bound too high and land too hard, placing unnecessary stress on their joints. Your feet should rise only one to two inches off the ground. And be sure to land on the balls of your feet, keeping knees soft.
- Skip the extra bounce. Eliminating that mini rebound between jumps will help you turn the rope faster to score better cardio (read: cal-zapping) benefits.
- Mind your upper body. Brace your abs—your core helps to power jumps. As for your arms, pull your elbows in toward your ribs and rotate from the wrists to save energy.
More Ways To Work Out With A Jump Rope
Our fave thing about this exercise: It blends perfectly into any routine. Give these formats from DiPaolo a shot, too.
A blood-pumping warmup
Jump for three minutes with both feet. Then fold your rope in half twice and hold it in front of you, arms extended (like a resistance band), while alternating between 10 squats, 10 lunges, and 10 jumping jacks (with just your legs), for two minutes.
A fat-blasting interval workout
Try two rounds of this circuit, resting in between. You’ll do a type of jumping for 60 seconds, then a conditioning drill for 45, holding the folded rope with arms extended.
Superset 1: Basic jumping (do your best to stay in the same spot the entire time—not easy!), followed by alternating forward lunges.
Superset 2: Side-to-side jumping plus star jumps (squat, then jump into the air, forming a star with your arms and legs out wide)
Superset 3: Forward-backward jumping (jump in front of and behind your starting position) plus alternating lateral lunges
A cardio finisher
Jump as fast as you can for 30 seconds. It’s a short time frame, so really push yourself! Advanced ropers can experiment with double-unders (swinging the rope underfoot twice per jump). You’ll have to twirl your wrists quickly to make it work.
Samantha Lefave is an experienced writer and editor covering fitness, health, and travel. She regularly interviews pro athletes, elite trainers, and nutrition experts at the top of their field; her work has appeared in Runner's World, Bicycling, Outside, Men's Health and Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and more.