It’s a prevailing stereotype that has fitness expert Brett Stewart at the end of his rope.
His skipping rope, that is.
“The first thing people think of when they think of jumping rope is usually a kids game or girls playing double dutch,” he tells Sun Media in a phone interview from Phoenix.
“Shortly thereafter, they’ll have the image of a boxer doing it. But usually the very first image is of a kids game.”
However, Stewart — ultra-marathoner, triathlete and co-author of Ultimate Jump Rope Workouts — says skipping isn’t child’s play.
“The thing is, you can definitely chuckle at the thought of jumping rope as a workout — until you actually do it,” notes the uber-fit 41-year-old personal trainer and fitness coach who weighs 159 pounds at 5-foot-8.
And, he adds, boxers aren’t the only athletes who can benefit from what he and co-author Jason Warner refer to as a “kick-ass workout” and “one of the top calorie burners on the planet.”
In terms of calories burned per minute, Stewart compares skipping to a “vigorous basketball game, a six-minute-mile run and a 20-miles-per-hour bike ride.”
Of course, the intensity of a good ol’ rope-jumping throwdown can be scaled back for beginners.
“We have some advanced moves — some double-leg tucks and some double-unders,” he notes. “But for the beginner starting out, it’s just easy enough to grab a rope and start out slowly with a single jump and move up to the bell and the skier, and all the different ones we cover.”
And really, how difficult is it to get your hands on a skipping rope? This is a classic exercise that is accessible and affordable. No fancy-schmancy equipment required.
“You don’t need to spend any money,” Stewart says. “I’ve used a few different things while goofing around. I’ve jumped rope with a chain. … You can pick up a piece of twine and do it if you really wanted to.”
Long before they collaborated on the book, Stewart and Warner worked together at a software company.
During their lunch breaks, the fitness-conscious duo would go to a local park for an intense workout that always involved jumping rope.
“We would trade off between other exercises,” recalls Stewart, a graphic designer. “Like any two guys working out, we would begin to challenge each other — who could jump rope for longer before they tripped up, who could do double-jumps longer? We would go back and forth. It was a great part of our exercise routine.”
Along with bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups, the innovative workout buddies also used a few other pieces of fitness equipment that they left in the trunks of their cars, including kettlebells and medicine balls.
Their workouts would sometimes get downright unconventional.
Unconventional, as in pushing cars through the company parking lot.
“If it was just the two of us, one would push and one would steer with it in neutral,” laughs Stewart, who has written several other fitness books, including 7 Weeks to 50 Pull-Ups, 7 Weeks to a Triathlon and 7 Weeks to 300 Sit-Ups.
Other times, the whole work crew would join them in the parking lot.
“We’d have 12 or 15 engineers out there,” he recalls. “We’d do different relay races where two or three people would push the car and one would steer.”
The parking lot was sloped and there were four speed bumps on the “course,” which provided some extra work, Stewart adds.
“It was a lot of fun.”
And that’s the key. Whether he’s jumping rope, lifting weights or pushing cars, Stewart has fun.
Much like kids playing double dutch in a schoolyard.
“At the end of the day, you’re sore and you’ve got a good workout,” he notes. “But if you didn’t laugh during it, it’s not worth it.”
Visit 7WeekstoFitness.com for more information on Stewart’s books.