Don’t ever tell me about stupid jump ropes again
I am a big fan of gamification.
Every day I walk around my neighborhood or tour my house on phone calls to meet the daily step quota on my millennial health insurance app to get an Amazon dollar. Watching the circle on my app fill in blue as I approach my goal is incentive enough to get me off the couch almost every day. So when I saw that there was a smart jump rope that effectively rewarded me with that same digital goal tracker, but with better training, I was intrigued to see if she had any real intelligence or if it was yet another smart gadget.
The skipping rope, called the Rookie SmartRope, is one of the three versions of intelligent jump rope from the product design company Tangram Factory. At $ 40, it’s the cheapest and there are no flashing ‘up in the air’ LED backlights, which sounds great for a casual workout anyway. The SmartRope Rookie has only one job: to automatically quantify your skipping experience. And he keeps that promise.
The SmartRope recruit has a job. And that delivered on that promise.
A quick glance at Tangram website reveals a history of making “smart” products ranging from iPhone cases to remotes. The market is inundated with “smart” things these days, but I’m in the business of simplicity – get me something that’s better, not more complicated, than its dumb counterpart. I don’t want gadgets, push notifications, or some other bad habit that takes up my time. I don’t want to sacrifice my sanity, my privacy, or my productivity. “You had a job” and you did it well.
The smart part of the SmartRope Rookie is hidden in the handles – the magnetic sensors inside count your jumps, which are displayed in the accompanying app for iOS or Android; the data syncs with Apple Health and Google Fit, but there’s no Apple Watch or Wear OS support. Tangram says support for Samsung Health, Under Armor and Xiaomi’s health apps will arrive soon. There’s no power button – the SmartRope Rookie automatically turns on and starts counting when you start jumping. According to Tangram, proprietary sensors can identify a full 360 degree revolution of the string to give you an accurate count. The company says its sensors are more accurate than the gyroscopes and accelerometers found in many portable fitness devices, which respectively use Earth’s gravity and changes in acceleration to track movement.
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Alex Woo, the director of Tangram Factory, said everyone on their team has gym memberships that they don’t use and want to find an easy and effective workout. “Enter the jump rope.”
He praised the jump rope as a cardio workout, which can be done anywhere and in a short period of time. Research and experts support this sentiment, and a 2013 study found that 10 minutes of jumping a day equals 30 minutes of jogging daily for cardiovascular health.
“We wanted to make the jump rope smarter and more immersive by infusing new technology and sophisticated design,” Woo said, also noting that they had seen an increase in demand since the pandemic “as people integrate home fitness into their exercise routine.
This of course depends on whether you don’t have downstairs neighbors, outside space, or are comfortable sweating in public areas. But in a climate where trendy home fitness equipment hits the triple-digit mark, at a minimum, a $ 40 jump rope that yields a great workout and some digital incentives are a more affordable (and space-saving) option.
Correct the number of jumps
So let’s talk about the running SmartRope Rookie. The Rookie lets you adjust the 3-meter-long rope to your height (I’m all 5’2 ”!) And just twist the handle to turn on the device and sync it with the app. You hear a small beep for confirmation. And then… you jump.
I haven’t skipped in over a decade, probably. I counted my hops to make sure they matched the number of hops in my app. It was mostly accurate – when I was counting in the tens it was almost always within a few jumps. The app also tracks calories burned, time elapsed, and percentage against your daily goal, which is set at 1000 jumps by default, but you can adjust the number of daily goals in your personal settings. Fitness data is estimated based on your entered height and weight. There are also interval workouts available and a leaderboard to show your ranking. I was less interested in the latter, but if you’re particularly competitive, there were thousands of users across the world on the map that you could compete against remotely.
See “100%” on the app was a bit dopamine rush.
Like my health insurance app, the SmartRope app also has a circle that shows the percentage against my goal. And like I mentioned, gamification works on me. While at the start of the jump I got tired much faster, I was motivated to push myself a little harder to get closer or reach the daily goal. You don’t get any real rewards, but seeing “100%” on the app was a little dopamine surge. Also, when I was trying to count myself, it really knocked me out of the zone, or tripped me (literally). Being able to be sure that the sensors were accurately tracking my jumps allowed me to listen to music while I exercised. And it all took about 10 minutes cumulatively. (I’m a hobbyist, I needed a few breaks.) The handles were smooth and easy to grip, and there are two sets of metal alloy ball bearings in each for what Tangram hopes will be a “soft and smooth jump.” effortlessly”. I can confirm that each jump was quite smooth.
The rope itself is not made of braided cotton, but has a vinyl feel, which is the material used for speed ropes. You can go pretty fast with the Rookie. You will need to assemble the rope yourself by inserting it into the rope holders and adjusting it to your height. I’ve had a few instances where the rope itself needed to be smoothed out after being flared in my closet so it wouldn’t trip over kinks. To do this, I simply put my foot on the rope and pulled the handles up. It was rarely knotted or twisted. I didn’t notice any wear on the rope itself, but you can buy a replacement Rookie kit for five dollars, which does not include the handles (or, the technology).
When you’re done, you just need to put the cord away (remember, there’s no power button). The SmartRope Rookie is powered by a button cell battery, which should last up to three months with normal use, so you don’t need to plug anything in to power it up; get a SmartRope Pure ($ 60) if you want a rechargeable battery (micro USB and not USB-C, however). When you need a replacement, you can buy CR2032 button batteries online, and they cost around five dollars for a pack of four. The batteries slide into one of the handles – you don’t need any tools, just press the sides at the end of the handle to lift the center out of the battery.
Much cheaper than a Peloton
I love my SmartRope Rookie. I can exercise outdoors without having to go to a steam-infested gym or find a fancy way to fit a metal machine into my home. I keep the rope hidden in my closet when not in use, and it weighs about as much as a hockey puck (about 160 grams for the rope and handles).
It costs almost three times as much as a stupid jump rope, but it’s still affordable when it comes to exercise equipment, and it gives you a full body workout. You are effectively investing in an activity tracker that serves one purpose: counting jumps. If you don’t need any incentive to reach your daily goal and don’t mind counting manually or just believing you’ve exercised the right amount over a period of time, you’re probably okay with a rope. stupid $ 14. For me, I need a little chart tracker to push me around. If that means spending a little more on a ringing rope when I start to jump and sync with my iPhone, I’m not sweating.