Punk Rope in Maine!

Allison Kennie, who’s in her early 30s, was looking for something different to help her get back in shape after she had her daughter a few years ago. Friends suggested Punk Rope.

If you’ve never heard of Punk Rope, it’s kind of a cross between recess and boot camp. It was created by Tim Haft, a personal trainer and USA Track & Field Coach, and combines jump roping, play and music.

Perfect for Allison. “I love getting in shape, I love working out,” she says, “but it’s hard to find the motivation and something that keeps your interest, that keeps changing.”

She became so interested that now she’s teaching Punk Rope at Riverton School in Portland. “We don’t jump for an entire hour,” she explains. “It’s interval training — each interval is a few minutes long, and we do a lot of things outside of jumping.”

A typical Punk Rope Class
Cardio warm up
Lots of games
Jump roping

“One of the best parts about the class is how much we laugh,” says Allison. “It really is silly. It makes people happy.” The key, she says, is that there is no pressure to be at the same level as someone else in the class. “We try to drive home that we make modifications for everything, even jumping rope.”

And the music is fabulous! Tim Haft may prefer punk rock, but it’s whatever music gets you moving. And the playlist is always different.

A recent Punk Rope playlist from Allison
Someday – The Strokes
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song – The Flaming Lips
Dynomite – Ima Robot
Teddy Picker – Arctic Monkeys
Angelina – The Bravery
Brian Eno – MGMT
Do You Wanna – The Kooks
Dashboard – Modest Mouse
Na Na Na Na Naa – Kaiser Chiefs
Goodnight Goodnight – Hot Hot Heat
Shakin’ – Rooney
Got Nothing – Under the Influence of Giants
The Underdog – Spoon
The Mystery Zone – Spoon

Allison means it when she says punk rope is for nearly everyone. Her youngest student is five and her oldest 63. The five-year-old was in a parent and kids class she offers. “We play games, like freeze tag and blob tag and the human hurdle. Kids and parents can do it together and there just aren’t a lot of places you can take your kids and have them work out with you.”

Linda Clark has the honor of being Allison’s oldest jumper — at least, for the time being. “I started because my daughter, Lisa Bassett, brought Punk Rope to Maine,” Linda explained to me. “I just wanted to see what it was like. I’m in good shape, but I’m no athlete. I realized how much more I push myself in a group. It’s amazing. Now I take Allison’s class.”

So … what’s the secret to being a good jump roper? Like most things in life, practice, practice, practice! But, I gathered some tips from jump rope experts, including Punk Rope.

Make sure your rope is the right length

  1. Stand on the middle of the rope with one foot
  2. Pull the handles straight up making sure the rope is taut.
  3. For beginners, the top of the handles should reach close to the shoulder.
  4. For experienced jumpers, the top of the handles should reach the armpit or below.

How to jump rope

  • Hold the handles firmly and keep your elbows close to your sides
  • Turn the rope by rotating your wrists — small circles
  • Jump just high enough to clear the rope
  • The secret is to be light on the balls of your feet.

Five things not to do when you jump rope

Allison teaches at Riverton School in Portland Tuesday 6-7 PM and Saturday 10-11 AM. If you want to sign up or find out about other Punk Rope classes in Maine, visit Punk Rope Portland on Facebook or send Allison an email.

Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post, but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn.