Jump rope innovator Bobby Hinds promises new way to change fitness

"On the Road" classic: Bobby Hines
Bobby Hinds is known for inventing a jump rope with plastic tubing around it, which revolutionized the industry. Now, he claims he has a new device that will change the way we work out.

(CBS News) - The first thing CBS News correspondent Charles Kuralt noticed about Bobby Hinds was that he was quick with a jump rope and even quicker to smile.

"It feels really great, and when you stop it even feels better," Hinds said.

Kuralt pointed out that you'd be smiling too if you were Hinds. "If my pants don't fall down, I'll be in really great shape," Hinds said.

"If his pants fall down, it would be from the weight of all that money in his pockets," Kuralt reported in his original story. Hinds made a little discovery: If you string 65 big, plastic beads on a piece of nylon chord, what you've got is a superior jump rope.

It was so superior to anything on the market at the time that Hinds set up a jump rope factory in his backyard. It made him a millionaire, which explains why he was so tickled at the time.

That was then - and this is now: CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman caught up with Hinds in Madison, Wisc., who was still laughing just like he was in the original story.

Watch video of Charles Kuralt's original report on Bobby Hinds below:

"I'm having the best time of my life right now. I'm having more fun at my age. I couldn't think of a better time that now," Hinds said.

He's 80 now and still hopping although it's no longer a backyard business by any means and plastic jump ropes are no longer his main product. His company, called Lifeline, has extended its reach into rubber tubing, which Hinds says could and should make weight training obsolete.

"Pumping rubber is much better than pumping iron, physiologically," Hinds said.

But, it's his next invention that he says will really take your breath away. "Everything else is a dinosaur that we've seen," Hinds said.

At first, the little handl contraption looks like nothing, but the interactive wireless device could revolutionize the fitness industry. When attached to rubber tubing, it can measure how much weight you are lifting while you do your exercises.

Until now, the problem with rubber tubing is that you never knew how much you were lifting. And, that is just one application of this new device. The contraption could make exercise into a game -- a video game.

"It's a trade secret that we don't necessarily want out," the technician said, but he agreed to show a bit of the game they developed to go along with the device.

Imagine a workout that doesn't feel like work. Imagine the money Hinds could pocket. There won't be a drawstring tight enough to keep his pants up now. And, so it was with that that CBS News left Hinds, just as they originally found him - "jumping and laughing, jumping and laughing, as he becomes a millionaire by leaps and bounds" as Kuralt said.

  • Steve Hartman
    Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.