Circuit training is such a great option in group fitness. It is efficient and allows you to get more done in less time. A smart way to combine cardiovascular training with strength training, it also helps participants avoid boredom. In this class, for example, one movement never lasts for more than 3 minutes at a time. This cardio/strength circuit focuses on the entire body and utilizes jump ropes for cardiorespiratory training, rubber tubing for muscular-endurance training and the stability ball for core and balance training.
Why jump rope training? It’s a tried-and-true form of exercise that has been around for many, many years. Relatively easy to do, it improves cardiorespiratory fitness and overall health. It’s lower impact than many other activities, and the jump rope itself is inexpensive—even in bulk!
Jump Rope Circuit Details
TOTAL TIME: 45–60 minutes
FORMAT: circuit training
EQUIPMENT NEEDED: jump ropes, medium-resistance tubing, stability balls
MUSIC: motivating songs, 128–135 beats per minute
There are seven rounds of movement with no rest. Vary the intensity level from steady state to uncomfortable. Each round includes
- 1 minute of jumping rope;
- 1–3 minutes of strength training with resistance tubing; and
- 1–3 minutes of core and balance training with the stability ball.
Warm-Up (3–7 minutes)
Start with 3 minutes of basic jump rope training (low to moderate intensity). Use the warm-up to develop efficient jumping technique. Here are some general guidelines:
- Wear shoes and clothes that offer support. Jumping in bare feet may exacerbate foot or ankle dysfunctions.
- Make sure there is enough space to avoid hitting objects or other participants with the jump rope.
- Jump on the balls of the feet.
- Avoid jumping too high.
- Lift feet only enough to clear the rope.
- Keep movements simple until basic technique is perfected.
Exercise Block 1
Jump rope. Perform small hops with feet together (1 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do stationary lunge with oppositional shoulder press (3 minutes, 1:30 each side).
- Start with right (R) leg in front, left (L) leg back.
- Place tubing under R foot and hold each handle in L hand. Raise hand to shoulder height.
- Perform lunge and shoulder press at same time.
- Repeat on opposite side.
Stability ball training. Perform prone over-ball elbow plank (1 minute).
- Kneel behind ball.
- Place forearms close to center of ball; align ball directly under shoulders.
- Lift knees to straighten legs, and hold; draw navel to spine.
Exercise Block 2
Jump rope. Jog in place (1 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do single-arm overhead triceps extensions (1 minute each side).
- Stand on tubing with L foot, close to handle, and hold other handle with R arm extended overhead.
- Bend elbow, hand behind head. Allow no shoulder movement—move only at elbow.
Stability ball training. Perform single-leg squats with ball trapped under shin (2 minutes).
- Stand on R leg to L of ball.
- Place right shin on ball, close to center. Keep hips parallel to floor.
- Drive hips and weight back over R heel into single-leg squat.
Exercise Block 3
Jump rope. Cue lateral leaps (1 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do squats with hip abduction (3 minutes, 1:30 on each side).
- Stand on tubing with both feet (hip with apart), holding handles in each hand.
- Drive hips back over heels into squat.
- Return to standing position on R leg and simultaneously straighten L leg into hip abduction.
Stability ball training. Perform push-ups with lat pull (1 minute).
- Lie prone over ball, knees or upper legs on top.
- Place hands wider than shoulder width on floor in plank position.
- Roll back on ball to flex shoulders (allow weight to load on ball). Engage lats to extend shoulders, and return to plank position.
- Perform push-up, and then alternate lat pull with push-up.
Exercise Block 4
Jump rope. Hop forward and backward (1 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do single-leg biceps curls (2 minutes, 1 minute each side).
Stability ball training. Perform single-leg hip hinges (3 minutes, 1:30 each leg).
- Stand in front of ball on R leg with L ankle on center of ball.
- Hinge at hip (R leg focus).
- Add hip/leg extension with L leg to push ball back.
- Change sides.
Exercise Block 5
Jump rope. Do high-knee jogs (1 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do bent-over, straight-arm shoulder extensions (2 minutes)
- Hinge at hips, arms extended by sides/palms down (thumbs out).
- Lift arms forward to extend shoulders.
Stability ball training. Perform side-lying elbow plank (3 minutes, 1:30 each side).
- Lie on side with forearm under shoulder, ball between ankles.
- With legs straight, lift hips to create neutral alignment from head to toe. Bottom knee can be bent.
- Switch sides.
Exercise Block 6
Jump rope. Jump on R foot only (1:00 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do hip hinges with triceps extension (2 minutes).
- Hinge at hips with tubing under feet, elbows bent.
- Hold hinge and extend arms to engage triceps. Perform on one leg to progress.
Stability ball training. Perform side bends with rotation (2 minutes, 1 minute each side)
- Lie laterally over ball with legs in scissor position; place bottom hand on floor and top arm in single salute position (place bottom hand on lower side of ball for balance challenge).
- Lift underarm away from ball to laterally flex spine.
- Rotate spine to look up at ceiling or rotate spine to look at floor.
- Rotate back to neutral and lower down to repeat sequence.
- Switch sides.
Exercise Block 7
Jump rope. Jump on L foot only (1 minute).
Strength training with tubing. Do seated rear-deltoid flyes (2 minutes).
- Sit with tube anchored around arches of shoes, ankles slightly plantar-flexed.
- Keep arms straight and elevated slightly below shoulders.
- Horizontally adduct shoulders.
Stability ball training. Perform seated triceps dips (1 minute).
- Sit on floor with elbows bent, fingers pointed out and legs elevated, ankles straddling ball.
- Straighten arms to lift body away from floor.
- Perform dips, shoulders depressed, triceps engaged.
Cool-Down (5 minutes)
Lead participants through a cool-down that includes a series of stretches designed to target all muscle groups that have been worked. Some examples:
- standing hamstring curl with front leg on ball
- kneeling hip flexor and quadriceps stretch, leaning forward and sideways on ball
- seated oblique/torso stretch (lateral spinal flexion)
- seated lower-back stretch, rounding back and flexing spine with fingers interlocked
- active chest stretch with palms up and thumbs back, shoulder blades squeezing together