Jump rope hops the schoolyard, boxing gym

Mon Jun 6, 2011 6:06am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Low tech, inexpensive and versatile, the jump rope has long been a staple of boxers training for bouts and children chanting in schoolyards.

But fitness experts say it can also be a springboard to adult workouts as varied and inventive as any playground rhyme, even among grown-ups who will never throw a punch.

At Aerospace, a luxury fitness center in New York's trendy meatpacking district, you won't find treadmills, steppers or elliptical machines.

"We're not a machine gym. Jumping rope is our main cardio workout," said Michael Olajide, Jr., co-founder of Aerospace. "We have a ballet and boxing workout, a body sculpting workout, a shadow boxing workout. But whatever it is, we like to put a little jump rope in there."

Olajide, a former middleweight boxer, is convinced the humble jump rope is poised to become the next great cardiovascular workout.

"We're getting to the tipping point where people are discovering jump rope," he said. "It's very simple, you burn a lot of calories, it helps focus and coordination and gets your legs in shape. It really is the one exercise that covers everything."

Olajide said his advanced class, which features such jump rope maneuvers as double turns, crossovers, low motion jumps and lunges, can burn up to 1,200 calories an hour.

"Jumping Double Dutch was a lot easier," he said. "Two jumps every one turn of the rope is easier than one revolution one jump, when you really get that cardiovascular workout."   Continued...

<p>Aspiring boxer Ryan Martins jumps rope during a training session at a gymnasium under the Alcantara Machado viaduct in the Mooca neighborhood of Sao Paulo, in this March 16, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Nacho Doce</p>