When most people think of cardio workouts, they think of treadmills, stairmasters, and rowers. Few, however, think of jump rope workouts, and they’re missing out.

Jump rope workouts are one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do: they burn a ton of calories, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and boost your agility, power, and coordination.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of jump rope workouts, though, is their versatility. 

Jumping rope requires little space and equipment, so you can do it almost anywhere, and it’s easy to learn and infinitely scalable, making it perfect for beginners and advanced trainees alike. 

In this article you’ll learn everything you need to know about jump rope workouts, including what a jump rope workout is, the benefits of jump rope workouts, tips on what you need to get started, the best jump rope workouts for beginners, and more.

What Is a Jump Rope Workout?

A jump rope workout is a cardio workout in which you hold one end of a length of rope in each hand, use your wrists to swing it over your head, and then jump to allow the rope to pass under your feet.

You can use any type of rope or cord to perform a jump rope workout, though most people prefer a jump rope. A jump rope is a piece of exercise equipment typically composed of a length of braided cotton, nylon, or steel coated with PVC, with a handle at each end. 

The handles often contain bearings that allow the section of the handle where the cord is attached to spin quickly, which helps you to swing the rope faster and more efficiently.

Jump Rope Workouts: Benefits

1. They’re versatile.

One of the greatest benefits of jumping rope is its versatility. 

You can jump rope at a slow, steady pace if you want to do low-impact steady-state jump rope cardio workouts (provided you use correct form and don’t jump too high, jump rope is a low-impact exercise), or you can increase the intensity with techniques like “high knees” or “double-unders” if you want to use it for HIIT-style training.

In other words, jumping rope can fit into your workout routine no matter how you like to do cardio. 

What’s more, jump rope workouts are also perfect for traveling. You can throw a jump rope in your suitcase or backpack and do it at a local park, a hotel gym or parking lot, or even in your room if you have enough space. 

2. They’re fun and efficient.

Most people’s biggest bone to pick with cardio is that it’s “boring.” And if traditional forms of cardio like jogging, stairmaster, and cycling sound like about as much fun as unclogging a toilet with your hands, you may take to other activities, like jump rope. 

One of the reasons many people come to enjoy jumping rope is that you can easily “gamify” it—adding reps, variations, and so on, so you always have a new goal to chase. 

Jumping rope is also a highly efficient way to train. For example, in one study conducted by scientists at Murray State University, researchers found that men who spent 10 minutes jumping rope every day for 6 weeks improved their cardiovascular fitness as much as men who spent 30 minutes jogging every day over the same period. 

Thus, jumping rope is an excellent solution if you’re pushed for time and looking for an effective full-body workout.

3. They train most of your body.

When you jump rope with correct form, it trains almost every muscle in your body, which is why studies show it’s a fantastic way to build strength and endurance, particularly in your shoulders, grip, and abs, and boost lower-body power and speed.

4. They improve your health.

Jumping rope might not look like much, but it quickly gets your heart beating and your blood pumping, which is why several studies show that it’s a highly effective way to improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, and burn a ton of calories, all of which improve your health.

Jumping rope improves your well-being in several, more subtle ways, too. For example, studies show that regularly jumping rope improves balance, coordination, and flexibility and may help increase bone density, which is particularly important for perimenopausal women.

5. They boost running performance.

Studies show that jumping rope boosts athletic performance, particularly among long-distance runners.

For instance, in one study conducted by scientists at the University of La Frontera, runners who warmed up with 10-to-20 minutes of jump rope improved their 3K running time significantly more than those who didn’t jump rope to warm up.

Another meta-analysis of 21 studies published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that jumping rope significantly improves middle-distance running performance by boosting lower-body force development, reactive strength (the ability to absorb the force of your foot hitting the ground and use that force to propel your forward), and running economy. 

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Jump Rope Workouts: Getting Started

One of the great things about jump rope workouts is they require very little space, equipment, or know-how to get going.

That said, there are a few pointers that are important to understand before you start. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

Sizing Your Rope

To ensure the length of your rope is correct, stand on the middle of the rope with both feet, then grab a handle in each hand and lift them to chest height with your arms straight. If the ends of the rope (the part where the rope meets the handle) reach your armpits, the rope is the correct length. If the rope is too long or short, correct the length before you start your workout (check with the manufacturer for information about how to adjust the rope’s length).

Finding a Suitable Place to Jump Rope

Avoid surfaces like grass, sand, or gravel since the rope won’t glide over them evenly, and you’ll have trouble keeping a rhythm as you jump. Solid surfaces like concrete or asphalt can work, but they can also batter your joints if your sessions are long or you have ankle, knee, hip, or lower-back problems. 

Ideally, do your workouts on a dense rubber or hard wooden surface, the kind you usually find in a gym, playground, or basketball or tennis court. 

How to Jump Rope With Proper Form

Concentrate on keeping your shoulders back and down, chest up, and gaze straight ahead. Your elbows should be about 2-to-3 inches from your sides and bent at 90 degrees, with your forearms pointing almost directly out to the sides. Keep your abs tight and a slight bend in your knees at all times.

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make while jumping rope is turning the rope over using their arms. All the power should come from your wrists, which you move in small circular motions. 

Another common error is jumping too high. Remember to stay on the balls of your feet and only jump about an inch off the floor each time. This makes the movement more efficient, protects your joints, and allows you to jump rope for longer. 

Start Simple

Learning to jump rope can be frustrating because hitting your straps takes practice. The best thing to do is start simple: Begin with the basic bounce (a single two-footed jump every time the rope swings toward your feet) or, if that’s too difficult, the double bounce (a technique that involves an extra little jump between each normal bounce to help you establish a rhythm). Jumping to music can also help learn the timing, just don’t choose any tracks that are too fast-paced to start.

Keep your workouts short in the beginning. For your first few workouts, stick with a 10-minute jump rope workout. Once you feel more comfortable, extend this to 20-minutes, but don’t go longer than this in the first 2-or-3 weeks. This will give your feet, calves, and knees time to adjust to the new stimulus, so you don’t get too sore (or develop a repetitive strain injury). 

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The 3 Best Jump Rope Workouts for Beginners

Beginner Jump Rope Workout #1

  • Basic bounce for 15 seconds
  • Rest for 15 seconds

Repeat 20 times.

Beginner Jump Rope Workout #2:

  • Basic bounce for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds

Repeat 20 times.

Beginner Jump Rope Workout #3:

  • Basic bounce for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Bodyweight squat for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Basic bounce for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Push-up for 20 seconds 
  • Rest for 10 seconds

Repeat 10 times.

FAQ #1: Is jump rope a good workout?

Yes.

Jumping rope is an effective way to boost cardiovascular fitness and endurance; burn calories; increase lower-body power and speed; strengthen muscle across your entire body, particularly your shoulders, grip, and abs; and develop balance, coordination, and flexibility.

FAQ #2: What’s the best jump rope workout for weight loss?

You can use any of the beginner jump rope workouts above to lose weight. Or, if you want to kick the intensity up a notch, here’s an example of a good jump rope weight-loss workout for people who are more experienced with jumping rope:

  • Basic bounce for 1 minute
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Bodyweight squat for 1 minute
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Basic bounce for 1 minute 
  • Rest for 30 seconds
  • Push-up for 1 minute 
  • Rest for 30 seconds

Repeat 4 times.

That said, if you want to lose weight quickly and healthily, doing cardio workouts like jumping rope is only part of the solution—you have to get a handle on diet, strength training, and recovery, too.

If you want an exercise program and diet plan that works synergistically to help you gain muscle, lose fat, and get healthy fast, then check out my best-selling fitness books Bigger Leaner Stronger for men, and Thinner Leaner Stronger for women.

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FAQ #3: Is jump rope a full body workout?

Almost.

Jumping rope trains your entire lower body, core, and shoulders, but it doesn’t train your back, chest, or arms to a significant degree. 

FAQ #4: Can you do a “ropeless jump rope workout?”

Yes.

If you don’t have a jump rope, you can do a ropeless jump rope workout by jumping on the spot with your arms out to the sides and turning your wrists like you’re swinging a rope over your head and under your feet.

While ropeless jump rope workouts are viable in a bind, using a jump rope is better for training your grip and shoulders and developing coordination.

FAQ #5: What’s the best 10-minute jump rope workout?

If you’d prefer to do a low-intensity, steady-state 10-minute jump rope workout, simply jump rope continuously for 10 minutes.

If you’d prefer to add intervals to your 10-minute jump rope workout, do the following:

  • Basic bounce for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 seconds

Repeat 10 times.

+ Scientific References