Jumping rope isn’t just for kids — it’s also a great full-body workout for adults.
It will not only improve your cardio and muscle strength but also help burn calories to support weight loss.
Since all you need is a pair of training shoes and a jump rope, many people are ditching their usual cardio workouts for this fun exercise. Perhaps you may wonder whether you should, too.
This article reviews jumping rope, lists its benefits, and explains how it can help you become fitter and even lose weight.
Though it was once thought that weight loss was simply “calories in, calories out,” it’s more complicated and nuanced than this.
While it’s true that a person must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, achieving meaningful weight loss requires a well-rounded approach.
You can achieve a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories, expending more energy through movement and exercise, or a combination of both. However, the size of your calorie deficit depends on your body composition and calorie needs.
For instance, most research suggests that a 10–20% calorie deficit is sustainable for most people and will help promote fat loss and preserve lean muscle mass (
To illustrate, let’s say a person needs 2,200 calories per day to maintain their current weight. A deficit of 10–20% would equal around 220–440 calories per day, which can be achieved through eating less, moving more, or both.
Additionally, a person who is 5’2” (157 cm), weighs 150 pounds (68 kg), and leads a sedentary lifestyle will have very different calorie needs than a person who is 6’5” (196 cm), weighs 300 pounds (136 kg), and works a physically demanding job.
If you’re unsure how many calories your body needs in a day based on your age, sex, height, weight, and activity level, using an online calculator that uses the Harris-Benedict equation or the Mifflin-St Jeor equation can give you a rough estimate.
Along with this, as a person loses weight, they’re going to expend fewer calories and need to eat fewer calories to maintain their weight, which can make weight loss harder.
While it may be easy to dismiss failed weight loss attempts for a lack of effort, many factors are at play and can help or hinder your weight loss goals, such as (
- muscle vs. fat mass (e.g., having more muscle mass burns more calories at rest)
- sleep duration and quality
- chronic stress
- medical conditions (e.g., hypothyroidism)
- diet quality
- a history of yo-yo dieting
What’s more, losing weight may not be as important as changing your body’s composition in favor of more muscle mass and less fat mass, which is usually a better determinant of health (
Since muscle is denser than fat gram-for-gram, it takes up less space on the body yet weighs the same. Therefore, while you may not see the number on the scale change, you may observe noticeable differences in your waist circumference and muscle definition.
Instead of focusing on the scale, focus mainly on leading a healthy lifestyle that promotes exercise, following a healthy diet, reducing your stress levels, and getting good quality sleep, which will likely help you feel more energetic and support fat loss and muscle growth.
Though a calorie deficit is needed to lose weight, calorie needs vary from person to person.
Along with helping with weight loss, there are many other benefits to jumping rope.
Improves cardio fitness
Jumping rope is excellent for improving your cardiorespiratory fitness (
Jumping continuously for a period of time requires more blood and oxygen to be pumped to working muscles, which increases your heart rate and respiratory rate to accommodate the increased demand.
Over time, this can strengthen your heart and improve your lung capacity, allowing you to exercise for longer.
If you’re looking for an effective full-body workout, try jumping rope.
The act of jumping rope relies on your lower body muscles (e.g., calves, thighs, and buttocks), upper body (e.g., shoulders and biceps), and abdominal muscles (
This can not only help improve muscle strength but also your muscular endurance, which allows your muscles to exercise for longer, and increase explosive power for quick, sudden movements that are common in sports (
Builds stronger bones
Jumping rope is a high impact exercise that stresses the bones in a healthy way to make them stronger.
As a person jumps, the body responds to the temporary stress on bones caused by ground reaction forces by building them back stronger and denser.
In fact, one 22-week study including Olympic swimmers observed significant increases in bone mineral density of the lumbar spine and femoral neck (a part of the thigh bone) after participating in 20 minutes of jump rope and full-body vibration twice per week (
Other studies have also shown similar results with jumping rope and similar exercises (
May improve your coordination and balance
Adding the jump rope to your workout routine can be a great way to improve your balance and coordination.
Learning to jump rope involves the coordination of your arms, legs, and torso while also keeping a constant rhythm. Furthermore, you must have proper balance to maintain your center of gravity and allow your feet to push off of the ground in a repeated fashion (
Fortunately, you decide how fast you’re jumping and rotating the rope, meaning you can slowly build your coordination and balance based on your needs.
For many people, exercise can feel like a chore.
However, jumping rope can be a fun yet highly effective exercise that can bring joy back into your exercise routine. What’s more, you can modify your jump rope routine to add novelty and difficulty as you become better at it.
In fact, the more you enjoy your exercise, the more likely you are to stick to it long term (
Jumping rope is a fun exercise that can help strengthen your bones and muscle, enhance your cardiorespiratory fitness, and improve your coordination and balance.
The number of calories burned during exercise largely depends on the exercise duration, intensity, and a person’s weight.
For example, a 200-pound (91-kg) person can burn an impressive 362 calories from 20 minutes of jumping rope quickly, or 241 calories when jumping rope slowly (27).
Therefore, adding jump rope to your daily routine can help contribute to achieving a calorie deficit, which is needed for weight loss.
Jumping rope is an effective workout that can burn many calories in a short time frame. For example, 20 minutes of jump rope can burn up to 241 calories for a 200-pound (91-kg) person.
Though you can burn a lot of calories from jump rope, it’s not enough to support long-term weight loss.
If you solely rely on jumping rope to burn calories but continue to consume a high calorie diet that puts you in a calorie surplus, you won’t lose weight.
Instead, sustainable weight loss involves a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle, which includes eating a nutrient-dense, minimally processed diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress levels (
While jumping rope is a great form of exercise and can help with your weight loss efforts, it’s best to include other exercise modalities into your routine to maximize your fitness.
A well-rounded workout regime will include strength training (e.g., weight-bearing exercise and Pilates), cardio, and balance training (
Though jump rope can be a great way to burn extra calories and improve your fitness, you should still incorporate other exercises and healthy lifestyle habits to achieve long-term weight loss.
There are many great ways to add jumping rope to your workout program.
Depending on your experience and goals, you can make jumping rope your entire workout or add it to another workout. While you can customize your workouts to fit your preferences, below are some ideas you can try.
For this workout, the goal is to jump rope as long as possible, which will help to build your cardiorespiratory endurance. The focus should be slow, moderate intensity jumping, rather than jumping as fast as you can.
To begin, start a stopwatch and see how long you can jump at a consistent pace without needing to stop. If you’re able to, take a short break and do this again.
Over time, try to increase your jumping time, ideally aiming for up to 20–30 minutes without stopping.
If you want to use a jump rope to warm up your muscles before another workout, try jumping rope for 3–5 minutes at a moderate, consistent pace.
To finish off your workout, try to raise your heart rate as high as possible by completing a quick, burnout jump rope session.
At the end of any workout, jump at a fast pace for a count of 100 jumps. Take a short break, and continue jumping in intervals of 100 for up to 500 or more cumulative jumps.
This can also be its own workout if you’re short on time. Aim to do as many intervals as you can in 10–15 minutes.
If you’ve been sitting for a long time and want a quick break from being sedentary, grab a jump rope and skip for a few minutes. Doing this a few times during the day can add up and may give you a boost of endorphins to help you with your other tasks.
If you don’t like waiting between your sets while weight training, try skipping rope for 30–60 seconds to keep your heart rate up between sets.
You can jump rope for an entire workout or add it in throughout your day. Since you control how fast and long you jump, you can easily make adjustments based on your fitness goals and needs.
Jumping rope is a quick, affordable, and effective workout.
It can increase your cardiorespiratory fitness, build stronger bones and muscles, and improve your balance and coordination.
It also burns an impressive amount of calories in a short period of time, which can help you achieve the calorie deficit you need to lose weight.
If you’re looking to mix things up and get in a good workout, all you need is a rope and to start jumping.