One of the most inexpensive pieces of fitness equipment is a jump rope. I got mine at Wal-Mart for less than five bucks. There are higher and lower priced versions with various features, but all you really need is the right length and preferably weighted handles.
Jumping rope is a highly effective cardiovascular activity. It works not only the legs, core, and arms, but also your balance and agility. If you don’t think you have enough coordination to jump rope- get one anyway. What a great way to improve it!
I use my jump rope to warm-up before a work out, and also for cardio bursts in between lifting sets when I want to really take up the intensity of my workout. I also sometimes finish a lift with a 4:00 Tabata (:20 on/:10 rest) using my jump rope.
Here’s a great nine minute jump rope circuit you can do if you are short on time, or repeat the serious several times for a longer workout.
Warm-Up for 5:00
1:00 Jump rope (casual pace)
1:00 Jump rope (quick pace)
1:00 Jump rope (kicks heels to glutes)
1:00 Butterfly crunches
1:00 Jump rope (stay in low squat)
1:00 Jump rope (jack the feet in/out)
Don’t have a jump rope? Do it without one! I use this in my HIIT classes all the time. Spin the arms and jump as if you had a rope. It’s just as effective as with a rope!