There are workouts that challenge your strength (hello, bench presses and power cleans) and workouts that challenge your cardio (see: the treadmill and the pool). And then there’s the workout that Victoria’s Secret model Megan Williams does.
A few years ago, the 23-year-old was looking for a new way to work out, and she stumbled onto the art of the jump rope, which calls for coordination, rhythm, and a lot of practice.
She’s spent the last two years integrating jump rope work into her regular training a few times a week, working with former Olympic boxer Regilio Tuur to perfect her technique. The result? A jump-roping cyborg of a Victoria’s Secret model whose rope skills would make a CrossFitter jealous—and Williams happily showed off those skills to Men’s Health at the TechnoGym in Manhattan late last month.
You’ve seen people doing double-unders at CrossFit gyms, right? Williams can push that move further, doing a double under and then immediately twisting the rope and jumping again. She works lunges and squats into her jump rope routines, and easily blends jumping jacks and jumping rope, too.
It all seems easy, partly because of the grace with which Williams moves. Yet unless you’ve practiced the skills, they can be taxing to pick up. Williams cruises through the workout in part because she’s spent two years learning it, but even the toughest guys may take a few minutes (or even longer, as Men’s Health fitness editor Ebenezer Samuel discovered) to pick up the nuances of Williams’ most challenging moves.
And everyone can benefit from the workout, even if it may seem easy when Williams does it. Since jump roping calls for tremendous timing and footwork, training this way will lead to noticeable improvements for anyone who steps onto a playground basketball court or a flag football field. Your heart rate will elevate more than you expect, too, so there’s solid metabolic value in these training sessions. (Not to mention that it’s one of the three best exercises for your calves.)
Just ask Williams herself, who can almost certainly kick your ass in a jump rope session.
By Ebenezer Samuel