This 20-Minute Jump Rope and Body-Weight Workout Chisels and Strengthens Your Legs

Pace yourself while during the jump rope intervals of this workout.
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Jumping rope for 20 minutes straight doesn't exactly sound like a great time — although it may be a good cardio workout. But toss in some lower-body, chiseling exercises, and you have a well-rounded strength and cardio workout.

Split into three circuits, this body-weight leg workout is the perfect way to hone your jump-rope technique, while giving your heart and lower body a brutal burn in just 20 minutes.

​​Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we've got something for everyone.

Circuit 1

Repeat this circuit for 3 rounds, and do a 60-second jump rope interval after each round. After each jump-rope interval, rest for 60 seconds, says Carolina Araujo, a New York-based certified personal trainer.

1. Body-Weight Squat

Do:​ 12 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to squat down. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as low as you can go comfortably while maintaining good form. Your knees should be over your toes and your gaze should be straight ahead.
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. On an exhale, reverse the motion by pressing through your heels to return to standing. As you stand, lower your arms back to your sides.

2. Squat Pulse

Do:​ 15 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to squat down. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as low as you can go comfortably while maintaining good form. Your knees should be over your toes and your gaze should be straight ahead.
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. On an exhale, come up halfway.
  6. Then, go back to the bottom of the squat.
  7. Press through your heels to stand back up.
  8. Continue for 15 reps.

3. Squat Hold

Do:​ Hold for 30 to 45 seconds

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to squat down. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as low as you can go comfortably while maintaining good form. Your knees should be over your toes and your gaze should be straight ahead.
  4. Pause here for the total time.

Tip

Try and hold this squat for the entire 45 seconds, Araujo says. If you need a quick break, stand, shake out your legs and get right back into it.

Circuit 2

Repeat this circuit for 3 rounds with a 30-second, jump-rope interval between each exercise. After you finish each round of jumping rope, take a 30-second rest.

1. Alternating Reverse Lunge

Do:​ 24 reps (12 reps on each leg)

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step your left foot back a few feet, keeping the right foot planted.
  3. Lower into a lunge until both knees are bent to 90 degrees. Your left knee should hover just above the ground, and your right knee should be stacked over your ankle.
  4. Hold for a beat before pushing through your right foot to return to standing.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

2. Split Squat

Do:​ 30 reps (15 reps on each leg)

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Step your left foot back a few feet, keeping the right foot planted.
  3. Lower into a lunge until both knees are bent to 90 degrees. Your left knee should hover just above the ground, and your right knee should be stacked over your ankle.
  4. Hold here for a beat.
  5. Straighten your legs, keeping the staggered position.
  6. Then, repeat the motion, dropping back into a lunge.
  7. Once you complete 15 reps, switch sides.

Tip

If you want to make this move a little more challenging, jump into the air as you straighten the legs and drop right into the next split squat.

3. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Do:​ 24 reps (12 reps on each leg)

  1. Lie on the ground with your arms at your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the ground, about a foot away from your butt.
  2. With your left heel rooted, extend your right leg a few inches off the ground.
  3. Keeping the right leg elevated, press into the left heel and raise your hips up toward the ceiling.
  4. Squeeze the glutes at the top of this motion.
  5. Slowly reverse the motion and tap your glutes to the ground before you move into the next rep.
  6. Once you complete 12 reps, switch sides.

Circuit 3

This last circuit is a scorcher, Araujo says. You'll perform 2 exercises back-to-back, followed by a 20-second speed, jump-rope interval (jump as fast as you can with good form). Repeat this circuit for 2 rounds, taking only a 15-second break between rounds.

"This is your finisher so give it all you've got," she says.

1. Jump Squat

Do:​ 12 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back to squat down. Focus on lowering your body as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as low as you can go comfortably while maintaining good form. Your knees should be over your toes and your gaze should be straight ahead.
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. On an exhale, reverse the motion and drive power through your legs to jump at the top, sweeping your arms behind you.
  6. Land right into your next squat.

2. Squat Thrust

Do:​ 12 reps

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Drop into a squat, keeping your knees over your toes, gaze straight ahead.
  3. Plant your palms outside your feet.
  4. Jump back into a high plank, keeping your hands in line with your shoulders and your entire body in a straight line from head to hips to heels.
  5. Step or hop your feet to the outside of your hands, reassuming your squat position.
  6. Stand back up and repeat.

Tip

If you feel like you have a little bit extra in the tank, turn these squat thrusts into burpees, adding a hop at the top of the motion and a push-up after your plank.

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