Chicago, IL

The "Rope-Less Jump Rope"

Sherry McGuinn

A goofy little gizmo that works!

When I come across something that’s really cool and innovative, I like to share. That’s just the kind of broad I am. Sharing and caring and all that sensitive shit. Most of the time, anyway.

Let me set this up for you.

When I was working, which is becoming a more distant memory by the day, I belonged to a gym that was about ten minutes from my office.

Every day, I worked out during my lunch hour. Which often stretched to an hour and a half, because the Creative Department of the marketing agency where I was employed, was kind of loose. “Free and easy,” you might say. At least, before the company was acquired by a huge corporate entity, and shit went downhill, fast.

Normally, my workouts encompassed the following: I’d run a mile on the track, lift weights, haul ass on some of the machines, and then, I’d end my routine with a strenuous and somewhat manic jump-roping session. Luckily, the gym was very spacious, with high ceilings, so no one got dinged while I played human “Jack in the Box.”

Eventually, my team was moved to another office, so I canceled the gym membership. The good news: There was an on-site workout facility at the new digs and I was still able to play with my beloved rope.

Although it’s not for the faint of heart, jumping rope is kick-ass cardio, and it helped to tone every inch of my body. Too, it’s undeniably fun. You can’t help but feel like a kid in a schoolyard, albeit one with bouncing boobs. (It doesn’t matter what size they are: Jump rope and your tits will bounce. I can’t speak for the guys.)

Yep. Jumping rope was the bomb. “Screw you, gravity,” I thought. “I got this.”

And then, I got something else: Canned. Or, to be precise, “laid-off.” As those of you who’ve been in this situation understand, when you lose your job, there’s a lot of baggage that goes along with it. A massive hit to your livelihood, and, your dignity, for starters. But then, there’s another hit that settles in after the initial shock: The hit to your routine. It sucks.

I suffer from OCD and anxiety, so, working out to me is a panacea. I need it, like a drowning person needs a life raft. If I don’t get my daily dose of exercise in, my mood takes a swift nose dive and my poor husband normally takes the brunt, although he’s learned to head for the hills.

So, I forged a new routine at home. Treadmill. Stationary bike. Hand weights. Jillian Michaels. We have a huge finished basement, so there’s plenty of room to do my thing: The only constant that was missing: Jumping rope. We live in a ranch and the ceilings are too low. I had to get my “fix,” though, so, weather permitting, I jumped rope in our garage. Back then, my husband still went into the office five days a week and there was room in our two and a half car garage for me to go to town.

Then, my husband’s schedule changed and he began working from home four days a week, so, there went the garage thing. I just wasn’t into having to pull out one of our cars, every time I wanted to jump rope.

I did the best I could with what I had, but, eventually, I started noticing changes in my body: A certain “softening,” especially in my thighs. I’d stand in front of the mirror and do a little shimmy to see if they’d jiggle, and damn it all, they did.

Now, I realize I may sound obsessive, but hell, I AM obsessive, as I pointed out, earlier. But, here’s the thing: I had breast cancer. It was detected early, because I saw a lump in my breast. You read that right. I. SAW. IT. The reason being, I’d lost a ton of weight, on purpose and the lump was so close to my skin, that it was visible. If the movie Alien comes to mind, you’re not too far off.

My radiologist pointed out that losing weight probably saved my life, so I continue to do what I need, to maintain a fit, healthy body. I eat right and I exercise. I do drink, though, so there’s that. A story for another time.

Back to the rope. A few weeks ago, I was screwing around on Google and started looking up “jumping rope with low ceilings,” like I expected to find some miraculous solution to my dilemma.

This is what I did find: There exists, a little gizmo called a “rope-less jump rope.” I shit you not, folks — this is a thing and it’s rocked my world.

There’s no need to tell you the brand, because there are several, all widely available on Amazon, as well as eBay.

The rope-less jump rope consists of two weighted handles (you can also get it sans weights), about a six-inch cord attached to each, and, at the end of each cord, a ball.

I am fully aware that this sounds utterly ridiculous, but hear me out. This goofy little giz works.

The twirling action of the cords, along with the “snap” of the balls, mimics the actual rope-jumping experience! It’s awesome! The best part: You can use it, anywhere.

You might be thinking: “Sherry, for God’s sake: Can’t you just jump up and down, without this…thing?” No. I cannot. Because the twirling action also works the muscles in the arms and you feel as if you’re actually using a real jump rope. And, you never get tangled up in the rope, itself. Even better, there’s no falling down or smacking the floor/ceiling, making this gadget especially great for apartment-dwellers.

Since I started using this baby, my thighs have tightened up and all is pretty much back to normal. And, all for less than fifteen bucks.

Except for the weights, my rope-less jump rope is fairly basic. Some models now feature LED displays that count calories burned, along with the number of jumps. I’m going to have to look into that.

Whoever dreamed this up, my hat is off to you. And, my pants. Allow me to explain.

My home workout attire is pretty dismal. A tank top and a ratty old pair of shorts that are way too baggy. Without fail, soon after I start jumping, they end up puddled around my ankles.

Because I don’t wear my “nicer” unmentionables when I exercise, often my underpants fall down, as well. Shit happens. And, you end up bare-assed.

So, there I am. Me and my rope-less jump rope. In front of the TV, jumping a mile a minute. And, naked from the waist down. Thankfully, our basement is below ground level, but, if some aimless passerby should amble over and look in one of the windows –well — they’ll see something they won’t soon forget.
“Take that with ya, buddy.”

Full disclosure: Sure, I could wear workout garb that actually fits, but I kind of like the “breeze” on my bare butt as I jump up and down, burning fat and building muscle. Makes me feel like I’m sauntering down a pier on Martha’s Vineyard, or some such bullshit.

Even though I know I look — like a bare-assed chick, who’s lost it. Hey. Whatever works.

© Sherry McGuinn, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Sherry McGuinn is a slightly-twisted, longtime Chicago-area writer and award-winning screenwriter. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and numerous other publications. Sherry’s manager is currently pitching her newest screenplay, a drama with dark, comedic overtones and inspired by a true story.

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Chicago, IL

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