Carrie Underwood’s schedule is jam-packed these days. Having just recently been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the "Cry Pretty" singer is prepping to go on tour in May 2019, all while being pregnant with her second child. Superwoman doesn’t even compare, guys. Yet, in between balancing country music stardom and being a mama of soon-to-be two, the performer somehow finds time for fitness. A tight schedule like this probably makes it difficult for her to take five (or, more realistically, like, 50) and head to the gym, but Carrie Underwood’s jump rope workout looks so intense, that I’m almost positive she could cancel her gym membership altogether and still be fit AF.
I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of digging the elementary school vibes that exercising with a jump rope gives off. One minute, you’re 9 years old, playing rounds of double dutch while simultaneously reciting classic rhymes like Cinderella and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, and the next, you’re skipping at the mercy of a fitness trainer. It’s kind of funny how life comes full circle, isn’t it?
But the parallels between skipping on a playground and Carrie Underwood’s workout with the old-school prop begin and end at the rope. According to a breakdown of the routine that Eve Overland (Underwood's on-tour trainer) arranged for the chart-topping country singer, published in Women’s Health, the sequence requires a lot of stamina to keep up. Seriously, I'm out of breath just reading through the damn thing.
If, up until now, you’ve been picturing Carrie Underwood, dressed head to toe in her comfy-chic activewear line CALIA, hopping on one foot and then the other as a rope gently scoops under her heels, you’re way off. According to Women’s Health, Carrie Underwood’s go-to jump rope workout only takes 10 minutes from start to finish, but don’t let the routine’s short duration fool you. As per the outlet's breakdown of the workout, Underwood starts with 100 jumps, switches gears to get through 40 bodyweight squats, picks the rope back up for 75 skips, gets down on the ground for 30 mountain climbers, and continues this back-and-forth with a variation of jumps, sit-ups, pull-ups, and push-ups.
The circuit is definitely not one for the faint of heart; it’s something that beginners (to jumping and fitness alike) should gradually work toward, for sure. But what’s interesting is that Overland told Women's Health that the jump-roping portions are a form of “active recovery,” and to clarify what, exactly, active recovery is, I reached out to Ben Williamson, CEO and founder of Crush Fit, to break down the term for Elite Daily.
“Active recovery is essentially taking a day off” — or, in Underwood’s case, a few minutes — “from your normal routine and applying a different, less intense, or [less] physically demanding workout,” Williamson says. Essentially, he tells Elite Daily, the idea is that these types of activities will allow your body time to heal from your previous workouts, but will still keep you “active and exercise your cardiovascular system.”
But what is it about jump-roping specifically that has trainers like Overland and celebrities like Underwood, and even Kate Hudson, Kevin Hart, and Justin Bieber, according to E! News, so obsessed with these types of routines? According to Dr. Raj Gupta, CEO and founder of the wellness center, Soul Focus, jump-roping offers several health benefits, including improved coordination, cognitive focus, breathing efficiency, and the activity also increases bone density. Plus, he adds, it’s cheaper than a gym membership.
What's more, Dr. Gupta says jump rope workouts can improve your memory, alertness, and awareness, as they allow you to "use your left and right hemispheres of your brain," he tells Elite Daily. And aside from the physiological effects, the act of skipping can also help train your mind and body to stay calm during moments of stress, by synchronizing the actions between the brain and body, and also by releasing endorphins. "This can train your mind to stay calm in even the hardest situations," Gupta explains.
The best way to go about the workout as a beginner, Gupta explains, is to only jump about one to two inches off the floor, and make sure you aren’t tucking your knees when you’re off the ground. “Have your elbows by your side,” he instructs, stressing that the movement of the rope should only be coming from the wrists. In other words, your arms shouldn’t be flailing or flimsy throughout the movements.
This can be done for a few minutes as a warm-up, Gupta says, or in between more intense bodyweight or dumbbell exercises. It's really up to you how you choose to incorporate the workout into your routine, but just make sure, if you're new to the movements, that you take things slow. Don't worry — you'll build up to Carrie Underwood's level in no time.