As the pandemic locked people out of gyms and kept many in their homes, Lauren Flymen picked up a jump rope for the first time as an adult.
Flymen, who lives in Saint Albans, England, was furloughed from her sales manager position in April 2020. In her newfound free time, she discovered the jump rope community on Instagram and was inspired to give it a try.
“I stumbled across this whole world of people doing stuff I’ve never seen before, like all of the freestyle tricks,” said 29-year-old Flymen. There are nearly 1 million #jumprope posts on Instagram, and more than 896 million views on TikTok videos with the caption #jumprope.
She created her Instagram account to tap into the jump rope community and document her journey as Lauren Jumps, posting her first video on April 17.
“I started sharing videos of me learning and then that gained momentum. It picked up quite quickly and people started following me, wanting tips from me. So, I started sharing tutorials,” Flymen said.
She went from performing basic crossovers to gravity-defying freestyle moves with fast, fancy footwork, attracting more than 286,000 followers over the course of one year.
Flymen is part of a growing pandemic trend, with people who have been shut out of gyms and exercise classes looking for low-tech ways to stay fit. Unlike the jump rope fun in the schoolyard or the competitive double Dutch teams, pandemic jump rope fans had to jump alone or in their social bubbles.
Influencers like Flymen and Mimi Youss and Ghadi Abboud, however, have helped inspire and motivate the legions of new enthusiasts.
Businesses are taking note: Crossrope and Elevate Rope, two companies that sell jump ropes, reported record-breaking sales last year. An Elevate Rope spokesperson reported that revenue increased by 240% during 2020, while Crossrope told CNN it had $26 million in sales in 2020 — four times the sales of the previous year.