By Kim Duke NETA & AFAA Certified Trainer

As a personal trainer, it is my job to keep my clients not only motivated but also interested in working out. This means I need to constantly stay up on all trends and be ready to integrate these trends at a moment’s notice.

The cardio warm up before a strength training session is very important and should never be ignored. It does not have to be complicated; it just needs to get your muscles warm and your heart rate up.

Recently, I started integrating the jump rope into my cardio warm ups. Simple, yet oh so efficient. Just 10 minutes of jumping rope can provide the same cardio benefits of 30 minutes of running, two sets of tennis or 45 minutes of racquetball. It also shores up the entire kinetic chain (your body’s interconnected system of muscles, joints, and tendons), starting with your feet and ankles, to build the functional strength needed for day-to-day tasks such as carrying heavy bags or children.

Size Does Matter: By standing on the center of the rope and pulling the handles up, you should be able to reach your shoulders. More advanced jumpers can choose a shorter rope where the handles extend only as high as the armpits.

Jump Softly: After each jump, land softly on the balls of the feet. Avoid using ropes with weighted handles as this can put stress on your wrists with little to no benefit.

Feel the Burn: If you have not jumped rope in many years, start out slow. Jump for 30-second intervals and work your way up to one minute. When you can sustain a steady rate of jumping for three minutes, you are well on your way to a new level of cardio and core strength.