Cardio doesn't necessarily have to mean going for a run or taking a cycling class. There are actually a lot of creative ways to get your heart pumping and keep your mind entertained. So if you dread treadmill workouts, ditch them, because we've got your new favorite heart-rate booster: jumping rope.

Jump rope doesn't just have to be for kids in the schoolyard, but if you apply that same idea of fun to your workout, cardio will stop being such a chore and actually become enjoyable. Not to mention, a vast array of benefits come along with the nostalgic exercise. Equinox Group Fitness instructor Kari McKillip — who teaches AK! Ropes, a fitness class created by Amanda Kloots — tells us that jumping rope burns major calories; strengthens balance and coordination; and improves lower leg joint health, bone and muscle density, cardiovascular efficiency, breathing efficiency, and even cognitive function.

"The goal of this full-body workout is to get your muscles to a point of fatigue as you continue to hold up your arms with a tight pull against the rope," she tells InStyle. "By using the jump rope and creating more time under tension for your muscles, this works them to the max."

She also warns that this fun workout will not be a piece of cake. In fact, it'll probably be one of the more challenging cardio exercises in your arsenal.

"It sounds like this would this be easy, but by the end of the reps your body is ready for that break," she says before adding that you don't need much to achieve this killer workout. "All you need is yourself and a jump rope. This mixed hi-low impact workout blends high-intensity cardio in addition to controlled movements to sculpt long lean muscles from head to toe."

How it works: "Try this full-body sequence once through (about 10-15 minutes) for a quick burn or two times (30 minutes) for a full torching session. Get ready to jump, skip, and smile!"

You will need: A jump rope and space to jump.

1. Warm-Up

A. Combine one minute of basic jump roping with a 60-second plank hold.


2. Standing Arms

A. Standing with your feet evenly on the rope, grip the top of the handles and pull up tight to create tension.

B. Keeping one arm glued to the side of the body, reach the other arm out with tension on the rope, then drive the elbow back into the side of the body. (You can also row the arms front to back squeezing the back of the shoulders blades as you row back.)

Repeat on both sides for 8 to 16 reps.

3. Coordination Jump

A. Stay in sync with the music while executing cross jacks out and in while turning the rope around the body and keeping elbows in tight and light movements in the wrists.

B. Try other feet work such as high knees, single-foot hops, or butt kickers.

Repeat for three to four minutes.

4. Plank Series

A. Create a vertical line with the rope and start in a high plank position straddling it.

B. Take one foot and tap it over the rope to meet the other. Alternating legs, keeping hips low and pulling belly button up towards your waistband.

Repeat for eight to 16 reps.

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5. Lateral Lunge

A. Keeping the rope in the vertical position on the floor, step one foot over the rope in a lateral lunge sinking back into the Glutes and heel.

B. Then push off the floor and add a push kick at the top. 

Repeat for eight to 16 reps.

HomeBODIES is our recurring column bringing you beginner-friendly workouts you can do from the comfort of home.

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