A big part of many people’s physical fitness routines is cardio. Whether you go for runs and jogs every day or get your heart rate up and blood pumping by doing a bunch of jumping jacks or burpees, there is likely some sort of cardio in your daily routine. And a (somewhat) fun and easy way to incorporate cardio or change how you do your cardio is jumping rope.
Jumping rope uses all your muscles and is a great way to burn calories. However, the main cardio exercise that a lot of people do is running. Jumping rope is not as common as going for a run, yet there are so many benefits that it could replace going for a run and still provide you with the workout you need.
You can choose between a regular jump rope – which is the most common – light jumping ropes meant for speed and double unders, and weighted jump ropes to increase the challenge and intensity of your exercise.
Jumping rope is a great way to switch up how you are getting your cardio if you strictly run or jog every day, as doing the same workout or running the same route can get boring after a while. Jumping rope is especially great for runners as it helps improve agility, endurance, coordination, and strength and stretches the muscles in your legs, such as your calves.
All these improvements will become noticeable when you go for your next run, and maybe you will even pick up the jump rope instead of planning your running route.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of jump rope vs running, we researched and created a list that makes you want to start jumping.
Jumping Rope Is Efficient
Whether you use a weighted rope or an unweighted rope, jumping rope is not only a beneficial exercise but an efficient one. Several sources state that just 10 minutes of jumping rope constantly at your designated speed equals running for about 30 minutes. This is a great exercise to do if you are low on time since you get the same benefits in a shorter time frame without leaving your home.
If you have an open room with a high enough ceiling or a space outside you are comfortable in, you can squeeze in a quick jump. This means after listening to about three or four of your favorite songs; your cardio will be finished!
Full Body Workout
A great aspect of jumping rope is that it does not only focus on your leg muscles. When you go for a run, your body is engaged, but it is mainly your legs and feet that are doing most of the work. This means it is your legs and feet that are getting most of the strengthening. However, jumping rope requires your arms, shoulders, back, core, and leg muscles to work together and jump in the proper form.
An easy way to increase the intensity of jumping rope is by using a weighted rope instead. This will require your body to use even more muscles and strength and can essentially be an entire workout on its own.
Many runners choose to run before the rest of their workouts as cardio is often done beforehand, so jumping rope is a great exercise to do before the rest of your workouts to get your blood and endorphins pumping.
Helps Strengthen Muscles
Since we know jumping rope engages your whole body and requires you to use more than just your legs, all the muscles being used are being stretched and strengthened. The repetitive and constant bouncing leaves your calves and quads feeling tight and strong, and the constant swinging of the rope will leave your biceps also feeling the burn.
Low Impact Cardio
A big problem for a lot of runners is that running is such a high-impact exercise. You are constantly slamming your feet into the hard ground, and this can be a lot of pressure on your joints, especially your knees.
Rope jumping has a much lower impact, as you are not jumping high in the air and landing with extreme force. You are lightly jumping and bouncing over the skipping rope, which is usually thin enough that you are only jumping an inch or so off the ground.
Improves Coordination, Balance, and Posture
Along with strengthening so many of your muscles, jumping rope requires you to stand and jump in the correct form. This forces your spine to be straight and stay that way through the whole exercise, which leads to improved posture over time.
As runners get tired towards the end of their run, their form can be slightly compromised. However, skipping rope, you are improving your coordination and balance since you are in the same form the entire time. This will also be noticeable the next time you go on a run, as your body and muscles will be prepared and ready to go.
Fun and Different Exercise
Lastly, as we briefly mentioned at the beginning of the article, running the same couple of routes around your neighborhood can start to get boring. Tedious exercise can lead to less motivation, and just like at your job, you want to make exercising as fun as possible, so you forget it is actually exercise.
Jump roping is the perfect way to do that; it is an easy to learn aerobic exercise and can be adjusted to fit many different difficulty levels. Jumping rope can be fun as you can challenge yourself in so many ways and essentially turn it into an exercise game.
How to Properly Jump Rope and How You Can Increase the Difficulty
Running requires your head and shoulders up, and then you run or jog. When you are skipping rope, you want to make sure you are jumping in the correct form to gain the benefits from jumping rope and reduce the risk of pulling a muscle.
It is a fun activity; however, some people may not find it as challenging as a run can be. We have put together a few tips to help you jump rope in the correct form and have found ways to allow you to challenge yourself while jumping that increases the difficulty of your jump rope workout.
- You want to keep your knees slightly always bent. This puts less stress on your knees from the impact of constantly and quickly jumping.
- Use your wrists when turning the rope over your head, not your shoulders or elbows.
- Keep your feet close together when jumping.
- Try to keep a constant tall and straight spine; this helps your form and improves posture.
- An easy way to challenge yourself is by switching to a weighted jump rope. This instantly increases the difficulty and can be quite the challenge compared to a regular jump rope.
- Try jumping as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then 30 seconds of regular jumping or rest, and another 30 seconds of fast jumping.
- Jump for as long as you can without accidentally getting your feet caught on the jumping rope.
- Jump rope with only one foot.
- Jump with high knees.
- Try to do a double jump, where the rope goes around twice while you are still in the air.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, jumping rope can do just as much if not more for your body than going for a run or jog. Each person will have their cardio preference, so jumping rope might not be suited for everyone. However, it is a great exercise to incorporate into your exercise routine if you do not have enough time to go for a run and is very easy to learn.
It can be a fun and different physical activity that gets your blood pumping since running down the same block every day can become mundane. Jumping rope engages more muscles in the workout rather than running and is a low-impact exercise that will not make your joints, especially your knees, sore.
There are so many ways to make jumping rope more difficult, which can act as a full workout on its own. We encourage all runners and non-runners to incorporate jumping rope into their physical fitness routine.