Can a Smart Rope Help You Get a Good Workout?

Chances are skipping rope is a much tougher workout than you remember.

The Rookie is a Bluetooth-and-sensor-equipped skipping rope with a sleek app and, it turns out, a sense of humour—because when I first logged in, I discovered my daily goal had been pre-set to an eye-popping 2,000 jumps. That… simply wasn’t going to happen. I dialled the daily goal down to 200, reconsidered, then took it to 100. I should’ve kept dialling.

To be fair, a lot of the blame is mine. Skipping is—as should by now be abundantly clear—an enormously tough workout that makes a whole bunch of cardiovascular demands on your body. It also requires the sort of coordination that took me a while to remember from my 20th-century grade-school days. But some of the fault lies with the Rookie’s rope, which is made of a thin, polypropylene plastic. It’s good for speed but bad for tangles, leaving parts of the rope coiled back on itself and leaving me feeling like I was constantly tussling with an unruly headphone cord. At least it didn’t hurt much when the rope inevitably slammed into my legs.

The lightweight plastic handles are easy to grip—mine came in a very cheerful coral—and the length of the 300-cm rope is a snap to adjust. The app’s interface is super intuitive, but its metrics are about what you’d expect: number of jumps, time spent jumping, calories burned, percentage completed of your daily goal. While there are a couple interval programs designed around experience level, they’re pretty straightforward: jump 30 times, rest for 30 seconds, repeat twice, or jump 300 times (ha!), rest for 60 seconds, repeat thrice. It’s not especially difficult to track these metrics yourself, which is ultimately the hitch with any smart skipping rope. You can count just as well as it can.

I might feel more charitable if I were inclined to, say, compete with friends on Rookie’s app or chart my progress on its global leaderboard. But I just want to skip in peace (and maybe fudge my totals when I’m done). A dumb ol’ jump rope is perfectly up to that particular task

Rookie Smart Skipping Rope, $55,

Next: You May Want to Start Skipping Rope Again