A jump rope is a simple, portable tool that lets you do a cardio workout in a small space. But if you find plain old jumping to be boring, consider treating jump rope as a skill, like dancing. We’ve put together a list of jump rope moves you can learn, with a tutorial video for each.
We’ll start with the easiest ones, but you may find you take to some tricks more easily than others, so don’t think you have to master each one before moving on.
Jump rope jacks
Let’s start with this simple footwork move. Instead of jumping up and down with your feet in the same place, take a wide stance on every other hop, like you do in a jumping jack.
The bell is another way to add some variety without learning anything too tricky. You hop forward on one jump, and backward on the next. What gives this the “bell” look is the body lean. When you hop forward, your body leans backward, and vice versa. The result looks like your body is moving back and forth, like a bell ringing.
Ready for something a little spicier? Twist your body from side to side with each jump. You can point your feet to the right, left, right, left, or go with the easier option of right, front, left, front, and so on.
Here’s our last footwork variation that keeps your feet together. Hop from side to side with each jump, like a skier slaloming down the slopes.
The boxer skip
This iconic staple of boxers’ conditioning workouts requires you to alternate feet as you hop over the rope. Once you get the rhythm, you’re basically just jogging in place.
Build on the boxer skip by picking your knees up with each step. Once you get the hang of high knees, try butt kicks as well. These moves are both common in runners’ warmup drills, since you get a bit of a dynamic stretch from the exaggerated movement. Throw them into a pre-workout jump rope session and you’ve got yourself a perfect warmup.
Criss cross feet
We’re getting a little more complex with our footwork now. Cross your feet in front of each other, then separate your feet, then cross them the other way. (You can also jump immediately from one cross to the other, if you’re quick enough.)
Once you have the hang of crossing your feet, check out the last move in this tutorial. In a string of criss-cross movements, you throw in a little surprise by clapping your feet together during a jump.
The double under is simply getting the rope under your feet twice on a single hop. It requires a powerful jump, and for that reason it’s a popular part of CrossFit workouts. It’s a tricky skill to get the hang of, but the secret is to not panic and just do everything exactly the same way as a normal (“single under”) jump. Pro tip: A very thin rope tends to help.
Single foot jumps
These are easy enough technique-wise: you just pick one foot up and keep jumping on the other. But like double unders, they’re harder than they look. You need good balance to stay on top of that one foot, and plenty of strength to give yourself a good push off the ground.
Criss cross arms
Depending on how coordinated you are, this move might deserve a higher place on the list. No matter the ranking, this one looks impressive. You hop or skip as normal, and then simply cross your arms over each other for your next jump.
Feeling good about moving the rope around? Try the side-under, where you whip the rope to either side of your body before bringing it back underneath again. Coordination is the main challenge here: Don’t stop jumping even when your arms are doing something different.
The shuffle is a slightly fancier version of the boxer skip, so this is another where the main challenge is coordination. Practice simplified versions, as in this tutorial, before putting the full move together.
This one looks like straight-up magic. I’ve watched the whole tutorial and still can’t explain it, but the basic idea is that you let go of one handle while swinging your rope to the side, and then you catch the handle in time to go back into your jumping rhythm. Good luck.
Here’s another trick where the limiting factor is strength. If you’ve ever done squat jumps, you know how exhausting they can be. Well, just do those while making sure to hop over the rope every time. Easy peasy, right?
The toad is a bit like criss-cross arms, but here you put one arm under your leg while swinging the rope over your head.
For our final trick — maybe not the hardest in the world but definitely the fanciest of the ones in this list — you’ll learn to swing the rope outside your body while spinning a full 360 degrees. It’s another test of coordination that expert jump-ropers make look easy. Now get out there and impress your friends!