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I tried Crossrope: A full-body jump rope workout you can do anywhere

This weighted jump rope system left me dripping with sweat within minutes.
Illustration of young woman jumping rope
This weighted jump rope workout combines cardio and strength training.TODAY Illustration / Brianna Steinhilber
/ Source: TMRW

I love the idea of jumping rope. You can quickly get your heart rate up without fancy equipment and it’s an activity you can do in your bedroom, backyard or a hotel room without needing very much space at all.

Unfortunately, jumping rope has never been a skill I possess. Let's put it this way: I was once encouraged to leave a gym class when I couldn’t even make it through a simple warm-up of basic jumps.

But I was still intrigued when I came across Crossrope: a weighted jump rope system and accompanying app. I was interested in seeing if it was possible to get in a strength workout (thanks to the weighted ropes) while also getting my cardio workout done. And maybe this was the program I needed to finally master the exercise.

I had my doubts, but was pleasantly surprised that I got a killer workout — even with my two left feet

Cost and equipment

The jump ropes are an investment, but there are lots of different options based on your fitness goals and budget.

A short quiz on the Crossrope website will help guide you toward the right ropes for your individual workout goals and fitness level.

Lighter ropes are meant to work on cardio, endurance and agility, while the heavier ropes work on strength, power and coordination. You can buy the ropes and handles individually or buy the ropes in bundles.

I tested the Get Fit bundle ($248). This comes with the Get Lean set ($99 on it’s own), a set of lighter ¼-pound and ½-pound ropes and interchangeable handles, the Get Strong set ($149 on it’s own), a set of heavier 1-pound and 2-pound ropes and interchangeable handles, and access to the app.

For those on a budget, it's possible to buy a single rope and handles for a lower upfront cost. The app allows you to input which ropes you own to customize the workouts to your equipment.

While there are enough free workouts and programs to get started, to open up access to a wider library of routines (more than 200 options) and be able to count your jumps, you will need a premium membership, which is $79.99/year or $11.99/month.

The Get Fit bundle comes with 4 different rope weights, ranging from 1/4-pound to 2 pounds.

Navigating the app

Once you download the app onto your device and create an account, you will be asked what equipment you have and your skill level. Based on your information, the app will set up a home feed curated for you.

I had three tabs at the top of my feed: workouts, challenges and beginner. Under the workouts tab, I found a scrolling feed of one-off routines, including a "recommended for you" section. You can filter workouts by length of time, type (HIIT, strength or endurance), difficulty level and types of exercise (jump only or jump and bodyweight). The challenges tab had programmatic content to help you work on skills or focus on a certain goal (like building strength or losing weight) for an extended period of time (either 14 or 30 days). The beginner tab had all the stuff I desperately needed: challenges geared toward beginners, video tutorials on the different types of jumps and companion content, like common mistakes and how to avoid shin splints.

Once you select a workout, you are able to see videos of every exercise you will perform plus a written version of the routine. And then during the workout, you’re given a visual demonstration and a timer for each move along with audio cues. The audio cues tell you what exercise you will complete next, when to rest and when to begin the next exercise. Once you familiarize yourself with the exercises, the audio features allow you to complete the workout without having to look at your phone at all.

There’s also an activity tab that tracks your workouts, including badges earned, progress toward your weekly goal, calories burned and jumps completed (if you pay for the app subscription).

What the workout entails

I was instantly relieved to see that most workouts include movements other than jumping rope. I opted for workouts that alternated between jump rope exercises and body-weight HIIT and strength exercises.

There were 10 workouts to choose from in the free version of the app — ranging from 10 minutes to 56 minutes. For my purposes, this was plenty of options, but if you were to do this workout long term, you would definitely want access to the larger library.

I eased in with a 10-minute workout that used the ¼-pound and ½-pound ropes. There was a little bit of everything in this short workout: jumping rope, shadowboxing and some bodyweight HIIT, like drop squats and mountain climbers.

Full disclosure: I was already out of breath after the warm-up. The first half of the workout called for the lightest rope. I struggled with the ¼-pound rope, getting tangled up quite a bit, but luckily each jumping interval was only 30 seconds before moving on to another type of exercise.

The site claims that jumping rope burns more calories an hour than swimming, jogging or cycling — and it sure felt like it.

The second half of the workout switched to the ½-pound rope. You’re given one minute to switch the handles to a new rope, but it only took me about 20 seconds. It’s super easy to pop the handles off of one rope and onto another. I did much better with the ½-pound rope — I think the extra weight made it easier for me to maneuver — and was able to complete each 30-second round without tripping over it.

I finished the routine out of breath and sweating. It is definitely a great routine to have on hand when you have no time to exercise and are only able to find 10 spare minutes in your day.

When I eventually tried the 1-pound and 2-pound ropes, I quickly learned the heavy ropes are no joke. But I really liked the 1-pound rope. I felt my arms and shoulders fire up and was able to keep the momentum going and maintain control the rope, which really got my abs working.

The 2-pound rope was a different story. I was definitely out of my league. My arms were on fire after only 30 seconds and when I tripped up, it hurt. The rope is really heavy and if it hits your feet or shins (or your head, yikes), it’s not pretty. I was relieved when we switched back to the 1-pound rope and I was back in control.

I really enjoyed the classes that mixed in other exercises, but I knew I had to try at least one class that was fully jump rope focused. I opted for a 21-minute Super Simple endurance class that used all four of the different weighted ropes. If I hadn't selected the beginner setting with basic jumps, it would have included scissor jumps, ski jumps and jumps with alternating feet.

The workout started with ¼-pound ropes and steadily increased through the different weights until the last round with the 2-pound rope. I can’t imagine how challenging this would’ve been doing a variation of jumps — maybe someday I’ll get there.

The day after my jump rope workouts, I noticed that my shoulders and calves were both sore. I liked knowing that my upper body got a workout, but i could have done without the calf pain.

What I liked

I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed this workout. I expected to hate it, feel frustrated and get bored quickly, but I actually found myself enjoying the jump rope intervals and even continuing to practice my jumps during the rest periods.

Jumping rope takes so much focus (for me, anyway) that it took my mind off how much cardio I was doing. I also liked that there's a visual demonstration of each exercise. I have used other apps that only have audio cues and I found this to be a really helpful addition to ensure I was using proper form.

The audio cues and timer function are also really helpful if you want to bang out a quick workout in the gym wearing headphones and not having to look at your phone.

The fact that you can change out the jump rope handles makes it easy to take multiple ropes with you on the go and it wouldn’t take up much room in a suitcase. I could definitely see using this workout on vacation. I liked that I could get in a solid workout without having a lot of time; even the 10-minute routine made me feel accomplished.

What I didn’t like

I ran into some technical difficulties using the app. Both times I tried to pause the workout and resume it, I had to start the workout from the beginning and then manually skip ahead to where I left off. I also wasn’t a huge fan of some of the supplemental content (like how-to videos) that force you to click out of the app and go onto YouTube or the Crossrope site. I would prefer all the content live within the app for a better user experience.

While there is a visual demonstration of each exercise, there is no explanation of how to perform the exercises or cues from an instructor during the workout. So you need to be mindful of watching your form closely, which some people may forget to do. For that reason, this workout may not be for complete beginners. I would recommend taking a few body-weight strength classes guided by an instructor to learn proper form before jumping into this workout.

I would also say that this may not be the right workout for someone who loves the vibe of group fitness classes. There’s no instructor interacting with you or leading you through the workout like you’d have in a class. It is much more of an individual workout.

Two things I wish the app provided: music (I need that for motivation and had to play my own outside of the app) and a cool down at the end of each workout.

I would recommend this workout to:

  • People who are working out at home or in a small space
  • Anyone who enjoys jumping rope and wants to create a workout routine around it
  • Those who hate running, but are looking for a cardio activity
  • People who travel a lot
  • Those who don’t have a lot of time, but want to get in a heart-pumping workout