Social media skipping sensation, Lauren Flymen, took up jump rope in lockdown and now she inspires 417 thousand Instagram followers with what is one of the most efficient calorie-burning workouts on the planet.
We’ve seen many fitness trends come and go over the years – and especially during the pandemic. People have been buying up dumbbells, then kettlebells, followed by resistance bands. But the latest fitness trend to take the world by storm is skipping, or jump rope as it’s called in America. It’s one of the most efficient calorie-burning workouts we know of – in fact, hour-for-hour it’s even more effective than a spin class.
Even celebrities have taken it up including Katy Perry, who uses skipping for cardio fitness on tour. She told the Daily Mail: “I hate working out, but I love jumping rope. I think it’s because it’s like dancing; there’s a rhythm.”
The benefits of skipping have been known for a long time. Boxers have used it to increase their agility. Skipping also works well for our new way of working where we might still be working at home but we still want to keep fit. You don’t even have to leave the house, but if you want to you get your daily vitamin D and 10,000 steps all at the same time when you go to your courtyard or garden, then that’s a bonus.
Lauren Flymen is a woman who has changed her life by taking up skipping. She took to it with a vengeance after she was furloughed or told she had to take unpaid leave from her job as a sales manager for a business supplies company during the pandemic. The 29-year-old from St Albans in the US now uploads regular skipping tutorials to her 417,000 followers on Instagram, mixing it up between fancy footwork tutorials, beginner guidance and seriously impressive clips of her routines.
Lauren only started skipping in April 2020. She’s said it was a way to distract herself from her postponed wedding and honeymoon which were due to take place last year but were put on hold by lockdown (she finally got married in September 2021).
“Jump rope turned my life around in lockdown,” Lauren says. “Not only am I now the fittest I’ve ever been and in the best shape I’ve ever been, it gave me a reason to get out of bed when I wasn’t working, it gave me something to focus on, and it gave me the satisfaction of something to work towards with unlocking new skills. It kept me healthy, it connected me with people around the world and gave me a sense of togetherness.”
Lauren first became interested in jump rope when she saw fitness influencer Carmel Rodriguez incorporate skipping with fancy footwork into her Instagram workouts. “I then came across other accounts such as dance roper Jimmy Reynolds and jump rope champion Tori Boggs and a whole wider community of skipping/jump rope enthusiasts sharing progress with each other and helping each other to learn skills that I’d never seen before,” she explains.
“I created a separate jump rope account on Instagram within a couple of days of getting my rope so I could tap into the community and share my videos without embarrassing myself in front of my friends on my personal account,” she says. “I realised early on that by filming myself and sharing my journey, I would learn quicker and enjoy the experience more,” she adds.
When she set up her dedicated skipping Instagram account, Lauren Jumps, Lauren had no followers, but quickly amassed people who wanted to join her jump rope journey including Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson, who has her own fitness brand Pocket Sport.
“I am a sporty person,” says Lauren, and I grew up doing dance and sports such as squash, netball, lacrosse and athletics so I guess I’m quite coordinated although, that said, skipping made me feel very uncoordinated at first. It’s so much harder than it looks. I’m quite a determined person and hate being rubbish at things so I guess I do pick things up quickly due to this.”
A quick browse of Lauren’s Instagram shows off some fancy footwork that skipping novices can only dream of, such as jumping leg cross move ‘the toad’ and ‘360 turns’ where you pivot full circles while skipping, but she’s definitely put the time in. She spent several hours a day skipping at the beginning and now spends around an hour a day five days a week perfecting her skills. It took a few months to progress to the advanced level she’s at now, which has earned her brand deals with fitness names such as Hexxee Socks and TCA activewear, as well as her own range of skipping ropes with Dope Ropes, £19.
Such was a demand for tutorials on her intricate skipping skills including ‘crossovers’ and ‘side-swings’ that at the end of 2020 she quit her job to pursue skipping full time.
So, here’s a few more facts about skipping and what it can do for you…
Is skipping good for improving your cardiovascular fitness?
That’s a big yes, as Lauren’s experience bears out and not only because she said she’s the fittest she’s ever been. “My cardiovascular endurance was lacking so it was a slight shock to the system taking up skipping. At first, I couldn’t jump for very long without feeling exhausted. I find it so much easier now and my sessions are often up to an hour with little rest.”
She adds that a good level of strength was useful: “I’d steered clear of cardio for a while because I didn’t enjoy it and preferred weight lifting. Before skipping I was lifting weights four times a week so I had a level of fitness from that,” Lauren says.
How many calories do you burn when you skip?
Lauren doesn’t track her calorie burn, but when we spoke to Ryan Pickard, co-founder of 12×3 boxing gym in London, he told us that ten minutes of skipping it can have the same health benefits as 45 minutes of running and can burn up to 1200 calories per hour, almost double that of a spin class. Lauren tends to skip for an hour at a time.
What kind of jump rope is the best to use?
Lauren’s followers will have noticed that she jumps over a brightly coloured beaded rope, with beads along the length of the PVC rope, rather than the string ones you might remember from primary school, or the naked PVC ropes you’ve probably seen in the past. Lauren recommends a PVC rope for speed, but if you want to learn tricks, a beaded rope is the way to go. “Beaded ropes are heavier than traditional ropes so are easier to control,” she says. “Other ropes tend to be designed to move with little effort which is great for some tricks but not when you’re a beginner who needs to take things slowly or you actually want to manipulate the rope for tricks.”
For more from Lauren you can visit her on her Instagram page called laurenjumps here.