Jump rope training is packed with benefits. Jumping over that tiny little rope can improve muscle strength and skeletal integrity (through medium ground impact force).
The calories burned while jumping rope are high compared to other activities and including jump rope training in a workout regimen is a great way to get a potent cardio training effect with the body in a standing position, versus seated cardio machines.
Lastly, jump ropes are inexpensive, versatile and simple to integrate with other training methods to increase the challenge and scope of your workouts.
Several years ago I wrote an article called: Jumping Rope: The Undeniable Negatives.
The article came off a bit, safe and cautionary. To be honest, I was a lot younger then and my writing style wasn’t as clear and to the point as it is now. Regardless, I feel some of the points made in that article are valid.
Jumping rope can be tough on the muscles and joints early on. I don’t recommend a sedentary individual reach for a jump rope to initiate their exercise regimen. If your body hasn’t been exposed to impact in a while (maybe never), jumping rope will annihilate your lower extremity muscles in the days afterward.
But cautionary tales won’t be part of this article, so let’s get into the good stuff…
… the benefits of jump rope training.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive piece of fitness equipment, jump ropes are the ticket.
The last jump rope I purchased set me back $7 on Amazon over 3 years ago.
The same rope is still kicking ass and serves as a valuable part of my pre-workout warm-ups, occasionally making appearances inside of metabolic conditioning workouts.
36 months of use divided by $7 cost-to-own equals roughly $.19/month.
Previous to my $7 jump rope, I purchased a $30+ jump rope from LifeLine Fitness which turned out to be a piece of shit for the cost.
In the early 2000’s, LifeLine was considered to be the “functional fitness” company, so I was surprised at the quality and design of their jump ropes. Durability was terrible and there was no way to adjust the length of the rope.
So, when it was time to find another rope, I went with the thinnest cable based rope I could find and I have had no issues yet.
Side-thought: One downside to jump ropes is they are a one-trick pony. In other words, you can only really jump rope with a jump rope. But hey, for $7-$15, who cares, it serves it’s purpose without breaking the bank.
Cost comparison to other popular forms of equipment-based cardio:
Jump Rope: $7-$40
Concept2 Rower: $950
Assault Airbike: $799+
Jacobs Ladder: $2500+
Non-Treadmill Running: $50+ for shoes (dependent on weather)
* To be clear, I’m not advising you to stay away from any of these machines. For machine-based cardio, each ranks high on the effectiveness list. I personally own both a Concept2 rower and the Assault Airbike and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m going to tackle this benefit in bullet point fashion.
- Jump training doesn’t require a lot of room to train.
- You can do it on the spot.
- You can pack it up and travel with it, taking it anywhere.
- You can train inside (not weather dependent)
If you’ve got a 6×6 space with a 7ft2inch high ceiling, you’re clear for jumping rope. I know this because 70% of my workouts take place in my home basement, where space is limited but adequate for twirling a rope.
Scalable for everyone
Any great piece of cardio training equipment is scalable to a wide range of skill and fitness levels. Most are, but some are not.
Beginners who are new to jump rope training can start with the basics: two-foot jumps, alternating jumps etc.
Turning up the intensity is simple: turn the rope over faster.
Don’t confuse “basics” with ineffective. Exercises are best scaled to match fitness level, the challenge is therefore proportionate no matter how fit you are.
Advanced jump rope training can include various single leg jumps, mixed medley jumping and double-unders (turning the rope under the feet twice per jump).
High knees (running in place) while jumping rope is extremely taxing when performed for intervals of 30-60 seconds per work set. A workout designed with 10-15 intervals will make you a believer in the cardio training effect of jumping rope.
Just like a beginner, if an advanced trainee wants to increase the difficulty of their training sessions all you need to do is
Duration of jumping rope can be adjusted for both beginners and advanced alike. Adding a minute to a jump rope workout every week or two can have you jumping for 15-20 minutes in no time.
However, once you hit 20 minutes of continuous jumping, I suggest adjusting the movement complexity of the jump or cranking up the tempo of the rope versus adding more time.
Jump Rope Posture
As stated earlier, I love cardio equipment like rowers and airbikes, but these machines put people in a seated position to operate.
If sitting is the new smoking, and a lot of people are sitting too much throughout most days as it is, I don’t want you to come home and sit down to exercise. This would be contributing to the epidemic.
Jumping rope puts a person in a standing position with shoulders pulled back and hips forward.
It is difficult to jump rope with poor posture. Doing so will likely limit the speed you’re able to turn the rope and also the jump technique. Plus, it will be uncomfortable to hunch over and jump.
Any physical activity getting a person uncoiled from the seated posture is a great option.
Great for Pre-Workout Warm-Ups
After some basic stretching and mobility work, grab a jump rope and work through roughly 5-10 minutes of medium-intensity rhythmic jumping. Work a medley of jumps: two-foot jumps, high knees, single leg, back and forth, side to side and lower body boxer twists.
I promise you will find little else as simple and effective to get your body and mind prepared for a workout.
Again, getting the blood flowing pre-workout in a standing position is ideal.
Impressive calorie burn
Jumping rope can burn up to 700 calories per hour.
But here’s the deal, I don’t think anyone should be jumping rope for 60 minutes, it’s too much volume. If you have the attention span and endurance to turn a rope for 60 unbroken minutes, you’re a badass.
In terms of training volume and ground contacts, 60 minutes of jump rope training is sort of like running a marathon every week. There are obvious dangers associated with both (overuse, overtraining, lack of variety, etc).
I don’t recommend choosing exercises based on calorie burn, it can develop favoritism toward certain activities while and excluding others. Balance is the key.
However, jump rope training does use up an impressive amount of energy which means a larger amount of calories being burned in the same amount of time when compared to other popular activities like running, cycling and swimming.
Weight Loss/Fat Loss
Jumping rope consistently can help you look better naked. See reasons above for why.
Jumping rope burns calories. Increasing calories out compared to calories taken in is a scientifically backed strategy for both weight loss and fat loss. Calories in versus calories out. Of course, the quality of calories taken in will influence the rate of weight loss and fat burning a great deal also.
Combine a decent nutritional regimen with some quality jump rope training and you’ll see a major shift in body composition. Intermittent Fasting is hot diet pattern right now.
This is the real reason why I love jumping rope. Supplementing jump rope training in with rowing, biking, running and bodyweight metabolic conditioning workouts keeps workouts challenging and fresh.
Fact #1: If you look forward to your workouts, you’ll keep training.
Fact #2: If you despise your workouts, you’ll fade to doing nothing quickly.
Jumping rope after pre-fatiguing your body with other exercises provides a great challenge. When muscles are tired, posture degrades, so turning the rope while huffing and puffing demands an increased level of focus.
Here’s quick and dirty bodyweight and jump rope workout for you to try:
10 Push Ups
1 Minute Jump Rope
10 Body Rows or Pull Ups
1 Minute jump rope
8 Hollow Body Rocks
Complete 5 rounds as fast as possible. Record your time and re-test in a month or so.
If you completed 5 rounds, the numbers break down like this:
- 10 minutes of jumping rope
- 50 squats
- 50 push ups
- 50 lunges (per leg)
- 50 body rows/pull ups
- 40 hollow body rocks
If you’re in the market for developing work capacity and burning fat in the process, simple and effective workouts like this are essential.
Splitting up the jump rope into 1-minute bursts will make you feel like you’re hardly jumping. But as the numbers show, you actually accumulated 10 minutes worth. Not bad.
Over the course of the next few months, you’ll see an increased number of full workouts posted to this blog, and my YouTube page. If you’re interested in following along, I suggest you subscribe for updates.
I’ll be keeping things fresh for a long, long time.
If you got some value from this post, I’d like to expose you to several other popular posts my readers have enjoyed:
Now, stop reading and thinking, grab a rope and go crush a workout.
Cheers to the benefits of jump rope training,