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A new class at Equinox promises to burn the same amount of calories as running, but in a third of the time, all while harkening back to schoolyard games.

The Cut: Jump Rope is the newest addition to Equinox's line of classes, banking on the increasing popularity of both boxing as a form of fitness and shorter, more intense workouts. The half-hour class is an extension of Equinox's already-popular cardio kickboxing class, The Cut, says Christa DiPaolo, Equinox trainer and national manager of the program.

Jump roping is often used as a training tool by boxers because it helps improve cognitive function by working eye-hand coordination. It also helps increase bone density.

"Jumping rope is one of the oldest training tools, conditioning tools," DiPaolo says. "People have been jumping rope for thousands of years."

Not to mention it's what DiPaolo calls a "calorie cooker." "Jumping rope for 10 minutes is equivalent to 30 minutes of running. You're really getting a bang for your buck."

For the class, Equinox has partnered with Crossrope, makers of super-fancy training ropes. Each class uses two ropes, and these aren't the plastic bead-covered jump ropes of your childhood. The first is a 1/2 lb agility rope that is slightly heavier than a regular jump rope. The second is a two-pound jump rope aptly named "The Fury."

"They look at the rope and you just see this sheer terror in their faces," DiPaolo jokes of her students.

But in practice, a heavier rope makes jumping easier, since the weight creates both momentum and slows down the rotation of the rope. "It gives them a hot minute to find their natural rhythm," she says. "This gives them time to perfect their form and technique and get comfortable with the rope."

Each class consists of three 7-minute rounds, first using the agility rope, then the fury rope, and finally, a freestyle round. For the first two rounds, students will jump for one minute, do 30 seconds of conditioning, jump for 2 minutes, another 30 seconds of conditioning, then finally jump for 3 minutes. The conditioning segments include a martial arts element in keeping with The Cut's theme.

In the freestyle round, students jump for 60 seconds, then do a 30-second conditioning drill. This is repeated four times before a final 60-second "burnout" round in which students are encouraged to go all out. During the freestyle round, students can choose which rope they use and can also choose skill-work like double-unders or crossovers during each jump section.

"We don't give them a minute to think," DiPaolo says. "You don't even recognize that your brain is working overtime calculating the distance, the height of your jump, the rotation, the speed."

Sounds intense, right?

"It's a difficult class, but we also wanted to bring back that schoolyard feel because at the end of the day, if you don't look forward to working out, you won't do it."

You can see the full schedule of The Cut classes at Equinox's website.

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