0

Is Crossrope’s smart jump rope worth $200?

Share

Like everybody else, my New Year’s resolution was to work out more. After moving to a new city, I fell out of my workout routine, and it didn’t help that the gym chain I belonged to was now a 30-minute drive in Los Angeles traffic. 

So I started researching workouts I could do from home. Jump roping is fun and a great, full-body cardio workout that can also improve agility and coordination. So when I heard the $199 Crossrope AMP Jump Rope Set would quantify the experience and help me incorporate strength training into my routine with its weighted ropes, I was intrigued.

After testing the set for a month, I can confirm few jump ropes are as well-made as Crossrope’s, and its workouts and community offer a lot of value for jumping enthusiasts. Yet, at $199, plus a $12 monthly subscription, it’s only for those committed to jumping consistently — not casual users.

The Crossrope AMP Jump Rope set comes with a set of Bluetooth-connected handles and three different weighted ropes. 
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The Crossrope system, which has been around since 2013, consists of interchangeable handles, ropes, and ropeless jumping attachments in a variety of weights from three ounces up to five pounds. The AMP set that I tested comes with a set of Bluetooth-connected handles plus quarter-pound, half-pound, and one-pound ropes. 

The ropes and handles are built from strong materials and connect with steel clasps. They feel made to last, but unlike most jump ropes, each rope is a fixed length — you can’t adjust them. They come in six different lengths, but I tripped a few times despite using the size Crossrope recommended for my height. While I began to trip less as I improved as a jumper, when I asked the Crossrope community for help, several members acknowledged they had had the same issue.

Crossrope’s handles feature steel clasps that make swapping out ropes really easy.
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The AMP handles are what turn this from an expensive modular jump rope system to an expensive modular smart jump rope system. The Bluetooth-enabled handles connect to iOS and Android devices, allowing you to track jumps, streaks, power output, speed, and calories burned from the companion app. If you connect it with your Apple Watch, you can also import your heart rate data. It’s difficult to judge how accurate these stats were, but Crossrope correctly counted my jumps for the most part, and the other numbers didn’t seem like a stretch.

But that information comes at a price: $11.99 per month. That’s right: along with forking out $199 for the set (or $99 for the handles if you already have Crossrope ropes), you also have to pay a monthly fee to get any value from the smart handles. Even the jump counter is paywalled. That fact was — and still is — jarring to me and is the biggest downside to the set.

Crossrope’s workouts incorporate other exercises besides jumping, like crunches for those wanting to strengthen their core.

Crossrope curates Spotify playlists by beats per minute, which was helpful for when I needed extra motivation.

That said, you’re not paying just for metrics. Along with a helpful Facebook community of nearly 100,000 people, Crossrope includes an app with over 2,500 workouts created by its personal trainers and on-demand classes taught by instructors popular in the jumping world. Jumping rope is obviously the focus, but the custom workouts also include other exercises like squats and dumbbell lifting. There are also longer programs focused on specific fitness goals, from burning fat in, say, six weeks to improving endurance. If you don’t like any of the options, you can also create your own workout, which was helpful when I required a slower pace.

I appreciated how well thought out the workouts are, with a timer included for each set and rest sessions. Crossrope’s own programs even feature Spotify playlists curated by beats per minute geared for different rope weights and speeds. Unlike, say, Apple Fitness Plus or Fitbit Premium workouts, Crossrope also displays a (weird) 3D avatar of the trainer performing the same exercise in real time, which helps with form. And unlike Apple’s and Fitbit’s programs, you can even message Crossrope’s trainers with questions for a more personalized experience.

Watching a 3D version of Crossrope’s personal trainer exercise in real-time with me was simultaneously helpful and bizarre.

But we have to address the elephant in the room: the Crossrope AMP costs two hundred dollars, plus $12 a month. It exists in a niche market with little direct competition, but it also exists in a world with a lot of cheaper jump ropes. To pull an example almost at random, the Te-Rich Smart Weighted Jump Rope I found on Amazon costs $17 and has a built-in LCD display with a timer and jump counter, while the YaoYao app also tracks jumps and time and only costs $0.99 per month (or $10 for a one-time unlock). Both also estimate calories burned, and YaoYao also lets you set the length of workouts and rest sessions and compete with others via a leaderboard. 

The Te-Rich Smart Weighted Jump Rope features a built-in LCD display with a timer and jump counter. It also comes in fun colors, like pink.
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

While YaoYao often overestimated my jumps, the Te-Rich Smart Weighted Jump Rope’s stats were consistent with Crossrope’s, and sometimes even counted my jumps more accurately. The flimsy 9.8-foot PVC rope tangles easily, but that’s forgivable at this price, especially as the rope is adjustable. The Te-Rich lacks custom workouts, on-demand video classes, and community, but you can find similar ones online. In fact, some on-demand class instructors offer their own YouTube channels. Plus, you can always use the free or paid versions of Crossrope’s app without the AMP handles if you want the workouts and don’t mind losing the jump counter, personalized targets, benchmarks, and leaderboards.

YaoYao thought I jumped 22 times when the real number was closer to 14.
Photo by Sheena Vasani / The Verge

The most effective workout is the one you’re going to stick with. If a smart jump rope with guided workouts and an encouraging community makes it easier for you to exercise consistently, Crossrope is worth it. It’s overpriced, but it’s also smaller and cheaper than other home gym equipment I considered, like treadmills. Crossrope’s 60-day return policy also means you can get your money back if you decide you’re not going to use it enough to justify the expense.

I enjoyed my time with the Crossrope. It helped put some of the fun back into fitness for me. But I don’t think jumping will replace jogging and walking as my primary cardio workout — though it’s a fun accessory — so I won’t be buying the Crossrope AMP once I send the review unit back. The Te-Rich didn’t come with a bunch of workout programs or a Facebook group or track my heart rate, but it still gave me a rough idea of jumps and calories burned and didn’t cost $200.



Source