You want defined, sexy abs — but you might already have them! They're just hidden under a layer of fat. You can reveal them by losing this excess padding, and a jump rope can help.
A jump rope is a tool that allows you to burn calories and turn on fat-burning mechanisms, but it doesn't directly work your abs. Of course, your abs are active when you jump, as they stabilize your pelvis, but specific muscle-building activation doesn't occur.
Instead, use the rope to help you burn fat so you reveal the abs that you've strengthened with crunches, twists and anti-rotation exercises.
Jumping rope at a constant rate helps you burn calories. A 155-pound person sizzles 372 calories in 30 minutes of solid jumping; you burn a greater number of calories if you weigh more. You want to burn calories because a caloric deficit, in which you burn more calories than you consume, does lead to weight loss. Eventually, it'll help you trim down, but it may not get you as lean as you'd like.
Steady state exercise isn't the most effective at burning fat, explains Stephen Boucher of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales in a 2011 paper published in the Journal of Obesity. This is good news because 30 minutes of jumping rope alone can be dreadfully boring, even if it's a little kinder to your joints than running as both feet absorb the impact as you land.
Use the jump rope to help you burn off excess fat and reveal your abs by incorporating it into an interval training circuit that alternates short bursts of high-intensity jump roping with ab exercises. Intervals prompt your body to make skeletal adaptations that enhance the rate at which you lose fat to reveal svelte abs. The specific ab exercises hone the ab muscles specifically to help you with function and encourage a contoured appearance once you've lost the extra fat.
To do this workout, perform the jump-roping segments for 30 to 60 seconds. Rest just enough to change position so you can do the ab exercise. Repeat the entire circuit twice to fit in a quick, 20-minute workout.
Before starting, warm up for 3 to 5 minutes. Do three to four rounds of 30 seconds each of easy rope jumping, high knee lifts and plank position, as an example.
Jump rope with the basic bounce step. Simply clear the rope with both feet, but stay close to the ground. Remember, each rope jumping segment lasts 30 to 60 seconds.
Lie down on a mat with your back in the floor and knees lifted above your hips. Do 20 bicycle crunches by bringing your right knee to your left elbow as you extend the right leg; switch sides to complete one rep.
Jump rope with the alternating foot step. Hop over the rope with one foot, then the other.
Grab a weight of 5 to 10 pounds to do wood chops. Stand with feet wider than your hips, holding the weight with both hands. Bring the weight to the outside of your right foot; bend your knees to allow this to happen. Rotate it up in a straight line past your left shoulder, keeping your arms straight during this movement. Return to the outside of your foot to complete one repetition. Do 10 then switch sides.
Jump rope with the skier step. Jump you body side to side as you clear the rope.
Perform a 30-second round of slow mountain climbers by getting into the top of a push-up position and pulling one knee at a time in towards its respective elbow.
Jump rope with the bell jump. Jump forward and back a few steps as you clear the rope.
Get into side plank, with your body stacked on your right foot and forearm. Hold and lift and lower your left leg eight times. Repeat by balancing on the left side and lifting the right leg.
Jump rope with the cross step. Clear the rope with wide legs, then clear it with criss-crossed legs. Alternate for the whole 30 to 60 seconds.
Perform a single-leg V-up by lying on your back, raising your right leg and simultaneously lifting your arms, head and shoulders up to reach for the toe. Do 10 per side.
If the jump rope step variations are too challenging, stick with the standard bounce step for all the intervals at first. Gradually add in the more difficult moves as you become more confident with the rope. The fancier steps do offer benefit because they challenge your balance and stability to create greater core activation.