A workout weighted toward simplicity

While some in the fitness world are focused on high-tech treadmills and state-of-the-art running shoes, others are returning to childhood games for exercise inspiration. That's what Chicago-based artist and illustrator David Loew did in coming up with the Swingmaster, a jump rope with removable weights that promises to ramp up an already demanding workout.


Swingmaster: The handle-mounted, disc-shaped stacked weights come in 4.8 ounces, 7.8 ounces and 11.4 ounces.

Jumping rope can provide a "pretty challenging workout," says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise in San Diego. But he cautions that those with lower-extremity injuries -- especially to the foot or ankle -- should "approach with caution. The impact forces are appreciable." In general, workouts should mix low impact (where the feet are barely leaving the ground) and high impact (higher jumps), and it's best to avoid concrete or tile floors in favor of grass or springboard floors, like the ones found in gyms.

Price: About $60; available at www.itsverycool.com/SWINGMASTER or by calling (800) 219-1415.


Jeannine Stein

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