Home Gym – Skipping Royal Navy engineer reinvents home workouts with lockdown business start-up
A Royal Navy aeronautical engineer from Cornwall has used lockdown to launch a new business that reinvents workouts – at home, in the gym or anywhere else – through skipping.
Air Engineer Technician Jonny Shapland, 22, combined his twin passions for engineering and fitness to design an innovative ‘jump rope’ system and associated workout routines that will take your skipping to new levels of fat-shredding, muscle toning, heart-pumping intensity.
With his new product the ShredRope Elite now launched onto the market – and a complete fitness workout package that can be done anywhere now designed – Jonny explained to CornwallLive the work it takes to create a new business and fitness community.
Doing all this during a global pandemic makes Jonny’s ‘jump rope’ business start-up even more remarkable, but he’s no stranger to adversity.
Jonny grew up in Penzance, apart from a period spent in Mozambique, southern Africa. When he returned to the UK he had to relearn English from scratch and adjust to the UK school system.
He overcame these adversities and soon began to excel academically. Attending Mounts Bay Academy, Jonny gained top-class GCSE grades and became deputy head boy in his final year of education.
Having spent some years training with Penzance-based The Big Dance Company, his passion for fitness and weight training became more serious when he left school.
“After secondary school I studied at Penwith College for A levels while focusing on maintaining my fitness, before enlisting as an aeronautical engineer in the Royal Navy in November, 2017,” said Jonny.
He began his training at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint, before returning to RNAS Culdrose, Helston. Since then, he has been training at HMS Sultan, Gosport, Hampshire, and is now on his way to becoming a leading air engineer technician, specialising in the mechanical trade.
With aspirations of joining a Royal Navy boxing club, his coach encouraged Jonny to start skipping as part of the training programme. Between then and the first lockdown in March, his part-time fitness activity progressed into a personal passion.
Jonny spent hours honing his skipping skills, but split and snapped ropes became an all too common an occurrence – and the limitations of sub-standard equipment began hindering his progress.
Inspired by online professionals and eager to upgrade his equipment, Jonny searched to find a durable, high quality and intelligently-designed multipurpose jump rope.
However, only being available in the US and sold at an eye-watering price of $280, he asked himself, “why isn’t this being sold in the UK…?” and thought, “someone should be designing high quality ropes for distribution here.”
And so Jonny said to himself, “why couldn’t that be me? I reckon I could do that”.
“During the first lockdown I had plenty of time on my hands so I began by enrolling on an Amazon FBA masterclass directed by [American Entrepreneur] Kevin David,” said Jonny.
The masterclass gave Jonny the skills he needed to begin communicating with a manufacturer and start negotiations on design.
He decided early on it was key that his rope would maintain the standards and specifications of a high-quality, multipurpose rope, but remain affordable. After months of prototype development, brand design and marketing strategy – and heaps of his own savings – ShredRope was born.
Jonny’s product is a result of his hard work and dedication, which is apt, given the results ‘jump rope’ can achieve – with hard work and dedication. Skipping is a great cardio exercise, engages and tones the entire body and a simple 15-minute workout can burn as many as 300 calories.
But elite skipping demands elite equipment… and ShredRope is an innovative response to the issues Jonny encountered when his jump rope skills evolved.
“First off, I used to own multiple skipping ropes for different styles of workouts and they’d always end up entangled and intertwined in the bottom of my bag,” said Jonny.
And so The ShredRope Elite, available in either Onyx Black or Sonic Silver, is an all-in-one bundle, tidily contained within a smart over-the-shoulder carry case.
The intelligently-designed interchangeable handle system enables easy switching between the three included ShredRopes. When not in use, these can be stored in the protecting carry case which can also hold other essentials while you train.
But the Shred Rope is much more than just a few cables in a fancy case – it has been meticulously engineered to deliver a smooth, slick and quick skipping experience.
Jonny explains: “I wanted to ensure the handles were optimised to allow for the best experience possible. I’d found the cheaper ropes would crack, snap and split.
“So I decided on a solid aluminium structure, inlaid with rubber grips housing a dual-bearing system and steel buckle connections.”
These features allow the ShredRope to be incredibly robust while remaining lightweight and capable of maintaining ultra-smooth rotation and speed.
“I designed the product to include three versions of jump rope, as I felt varied training really developed my abilities and allowed for a range of workout routines,” said Jonny.
First up is the speed rope: a thin black rope perfect for high-intensity training and spinning double-unders. Mastering this requires light-footedness and coordination. It’s an essential bit of kit for anyone looking to improve their footwork.
Second is the standard red rope: perfect for learning to jump with, practising new footwork manoeuvres or having a generic sustained cardio workout.
Finally is the 1/2lb, 8mm white rope – this beast forces full body muscular engagement, increasing the overall intensity.
The Shred Rope ropes, unlike other brands, are fully customisable with the bundle including a multi-tool piece for the disassembly of cable ends. This allows the user to size their rope to a length which truly fits their style.
Also included is a set of weighted handle inserts that can easily be swapped out, some extra screws for the cable ends, a user manual and some stylish ShredRope branded stickers.
“While I wanted my product to not only perform exceptionally and remain affordable, I realise that aesthetics and branding are what make the most identifiable products on the market today really remain relevant,” said Jonny.
ShredRope’s branding features the logo embellished on the handles and carry case, with carefully-coordinated colour scheme.
“Simply, I wanted to create something that’d instantly catch the eye, looking smart but sexy,” explains Jonny.
It was also important to Jonny that ShredRope is more than just a product. With a growing social media presence that features regular workout routines for its followers, interactions like user-unboxing videos and updates on their progress through hashtags, he aspires to build a community.
“Even if just one person was able to find enjoyment and make positive changes to their health through my product, I’ll have achieved one of the goals I’ve set,” said Jonny.
What are these other goals? Jonny explains: “I never intended for this to be a ‘one and done’ project. I’ve got a road plan for where I’d love to take the product and brand.
“I’m currently in talks with my manufacturer over the production of two additional rope designs – a beaded rope and a freestyle rope. These allow the user to perform more complex tricks.
“I’m also looking at introducing ShredRope floor mats as well.
“There’s plenty of physical additions I’d like to introduce, as well as expanding into the digital market – I think that would be very exciting beginning with workout plans.”
With gyms now closed again and the cold, dark, wet weather deterring all but the most dedicated outdoor athletes, ShredRope’s entry into the market is well-timed.
Providing a tool for fitness that is sometimes overlooked, skipping is a great workout – improving your general overall health with a particular focus on stamina, co-ordination, balance, agility and bone strength.
Unlike many forms of exercise, it can be done in a small space and is incredibly mobile, allowing you to set up and workout whenever and wherever takes your fancy. And, unlike other more costly cardio home workout equipment, skipping it is affordable and accessible.
“Even if someone reading this picks up a cheap rope, which’ll probably break in a week or two, I’m glad I’ve inspired someone to start something new,” says Jonny. “For those of you who have no interest in skipping but have your own ideas for a project, I hope my story gives you inspiration.”
Home Gym - Skipping Royal Navy engineer reinvents home workouts with lockdown business start-up]
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