Jumping rope as a kid and jumping rope as an adult are two decidedly different things.
Skipping rope up and down the block or during recess at school used to be easy play. We could jump for hours, remember? Some days, it was the best mode of transportation between the driveway and the 7-11 up the road where all the Big League Chew was sold.
But somewhere between age 8 and present day, that effortless ability went the same way as Garbage Pail Kids and TVs “Small Wonder.” Nothing left but the fond memories of what used to be.
Except we CAN still jump rope as (taller, heavier, slightly less coordinated) grownups. Only now, we have the pleasure of sweating and panting our brains out in the process.
The Punk Rope class at Body By John in Portland is a challenging 45 minutes of rope jumping to loud music in a cool warehouse-like gym. It’s not straight-up jumping the whole time, though. In between the jumping, instructor Kathryn Foley leads the class in burpees, high knees, and butt kicks.
For folks who haven’t jumped rope in ages, it might take some practice to get the hang of it again (mastering the timing so you’re not whacking yourself in the shins with the jump rope or tripping over it all the time). It also takes practice to be able to jump rope for more than 45 seconds at a time without feeling like you’re going to keel over. (It’s cool – you’ll get there. In the meantime, take breaks, catch your breath, then get back to it.)
And sure, it’s not as easy-breezy as it was when we were kids (I will not be jumping rope all the way to the grocery store, just for the hell of it), but the fun is still there. It’s just a sweatier, more exhausting fun.
During the Punk Rope class I attended recently, my heart rate was on high the whole time. And midway through class, my calves were already shouting (something along the lines of “Whaaaaaaa?!). They were sore for days afterward. Half the class was new to Punk Rope that night, and while we all tossed each other looks of “Wow, jumping rope ain’t no joke,” everyone was getting the hang of it in pretty short order. But if the rope is literally tripping you up during class, there’s an easy modification: Jump without the rope (put it down entirely or swing it in one hand to practice the timing).
As you might recall from your rope-jumping childhood, there are variations on the jump. There’s the basic jump (bouncing on the balls of your feet, with equal weight on both feet), but the Punk Rope class will guide you through other jumps, too, like the boxer jump (alternating weight from foot to foot), high knee jumping, butt-kick jumping, toe-touch and heel-touch jumping).
There’s plenty of more advance options, too (remember criss-cross and double under jumps?). No need to worry about those jumps now, although they are something to look forward to as you grow into rope-jumping mastery.
The Punk Rope class is held Thursday nights from 6:15-7 p.m. It’s $10 drop-in or $60 for a 10-class pass. All levels welcome (like I said, modifications are available) and if you haven’t worked those calves in a while, be prepared for the kind of calf soreness that makes it awkward to walk down stairs for a few days. Jump ropes provided!
6:15 p.m. Thursdays at Body By John, 190 Riverside St Unit #5A, Portland
$10 drop-in, $60 for a 10-class pass
Body By John also has spin, kettlebell, step, and strength classes. See them all: bodybyjohn.com/classes