What It Is: Crossrope, an at-home jump rope workout
Who Tried It: Stephanie Emma Pfeffer, PEOPLE Health writer and editor
Level of Difficulty: 5
You know those people who are working out more than ever right now because they have so much extra time?
I envy them. Pre-pandemic, I worked out when my kids were at school. Now that they're with me 24/7, I've had to get creative with exercise.
Usually I run. But since this whole thing started, I've had more races canceled than opportunities to get out there. While I have made meager attempts to cruise around the neighborhood pushing my 4-year-old in the BOB stroller while simultaneously (!) pulling my 7-year-old on her scooter, it's Not. The. Same. I would give anything for a child-free, uninterrupted 12-miler these days.
For me, exercise is as much a physical thing as it is mental. It helps regulate my moods and enables me to be more patient with my kids. Unfortunately, this is a time when I need more patience than ever, but there are few ways to get it. Sure, I have done a bunch of at-home workouts, but what I was really missing was endorphin-boosting cardio.
So when I heard about Crossrope, I was intrigued. I had actually been using a speed rope at home on and off, but getting this kit made a big difference in my routine. First, the ropes are weighted — the "Get Lean" bundle comes with 1/4-lb. and 1/2-lb. ropes for $99 — which made for a smooth and fluid swing and no twisty, tangled-up ropes. There's also a "Get Strong" bundle ($139) for more muscle activation that comes with 1- and 2-lb. ropes.
What makes this convenient is that jump rope can be done in relatively small spaces. I put a yoga mat in the corner of my bedroom to protect my floor (and my neighbors), and was pleased to discover that even mid-jump, my rope cleared the ceiling.
Crossrope's free app offers a bunch of useful workouts. They range from beginner to advanced, from endurance to HIIT — and the ones I tried felt manageable and fun. My favorites incorporated bodyweight exercises into the routine; for example, 60 seconds of freestyle jump followed by 30 seconds of burpees and then 30 seconds of rest.
Other workouts alternated between jump and rest intervals, although during the rest periods I would usually grab my dumb bells or do core work. Again, my ropes were the lightest offered — I'd probably take more advantage of the rest periods if using heavier ropes that fired up even more muscle groups. There's also an active Facebook community that I found to be inspiring, supportive and full of cool tips.
One of my favorite aspects of this workout is that it allowed me to stop and start a million times for kid interruptions. The intervals were short, so I could always tell my kids "15 more seconds," or even pause mid-workout to disseminate snacks before getting back to it. But I also liked how, whenever I had just a few free minutes throughout the day, I could grab the ropes and get my heart rate up. I didn't need a 50-minute window to make it happen. In that respect, it was even a tiny bit more convenient than running.
On average I burned about 250+ calories per 25-minute workout, which helped me feel like I was not the laziest person on earth. This was just doing basic, quick jumps, so I definitely have room to improve. (And learn tricks!)
The Verdict: This is an awesome quarantine workout option. You could probably even lose a few pounds if you were not baking banana bread, eating your feelings and being crushed by two tiny humans depending on you for every homeschool lesson, meal, bath, moment of entertainment, arts-and-crafts idea, etc.
At least Crossrope will help me keep the "quarantine 15" at bay while ensuring that I don't completely lose my fitness — or my mind.
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