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These 3 Jump Rope Workouts Will Spike Your Fitness Level

This schoolyard staple upgrades your cardio and your coordination.

jump rope workout
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What’s one of the simplest, most affordable pieces of cardio equipment you can buy? A jump rope. You might’ve played with one of these as a kid, but even as an adult, you can gain the benefits of jumping rope.

Not convinced a jump rope can offer a great workout? You’re not alone. One Runner’s World reader asked on Instagram if a jump rope workout could really take the place of a run if you can’t pound the pavement that day.

We tapped experts to find out. Spoiler alert: While you won’t want to ditch a long run in favor of a jump rope circuit, it can help spike your heart rate and boost your cardio fitness on days you can’t run.

“If you can’t get in your normal run, jumping rope is an awesome and really fun alternative,” says celebrity trainer Erin Oprea, who incorporates jump ropes into the routines of her clients, along with her own sweat sessions.

To learn all the benefits of jump rope workouts, here’s what the experts and the science says.

Benefits of Jump Rope Workouts

For Oprea, jumping rope is one of her favorite cardio exercises because it can be done nearly anywhere. “When I travel, I jump rope at my gate and in my hotel room,” she tells Runner’s World.

Another benefit? It works pretty much your entire body. “A jump rope workout is a full-body workout, from your calves to your mind,” says Amanda Kloots, celebrity trainer and creator of AK! Rope. “It builds your endurance, stamina, and coordination.”

Jumping rope uses muscles all over your body, from your quads and calves to your upper body. Even though it might not feel the same as, say, a shoulder press, your shoulders, biceps, and triceps are all involved in handling the rope, Oprea says. In addition, your core and ankles—stabilizing muscles—get a great workout as you jump.

Turning the rope—and making sure you don’t get your feet tangled up in it—also helps increase your coordination, and, like any cardio exercise that gets your blood pumping, it will help decrease your resting heart rate, too, Oprea explains.

Research backs up these benefits: One study published in 2015 found that jumping rope improved children’s balance and coordination, while another published in 2019 found that jumping rope regularly improved VO2 max (a marker of fitness level) after 12 weeks. Research has also found that this activity helps increase bone density, likely due to dynamic loading, or the high impact of jumping.

How to Choose a Jump Rope

One thing to note: finding the right rope for you is important. It’ll keep you from tripping over the rope and help you create a more consistent routine.

To find the right one, check that the jump rope you use is correct length for your height. With the handles held right at your armpits, it should just touch the floor. Or a good rule of thumb is to buy a jump rope that is three feet longer than your height, Oprea suggests. So if you are 5 feet 4 inches tall, buy one that it 8 feet 4 inches long.

The rope should also be the right weight for your skill level—if you’re brand new to jumping rope, skip the weighted options and focus on building up your technique first. Finally, make sure your rope has grips that fit your hand, Oprea, who has her own line of signature jump ropes with Rx Smart Gear, explains.

Anyone not new to jumping rope can up the challenge by picking up a weighted rope, but for this, Oprea suggests trying different weights of cables until you find one that is comfortable for you.


3 Jump Rope Workouts for a Cardio Boost

On a day you can’t get a run in, or you want something to complement your current routine, Oprea suggests jumping rope for 15 to 20 minutes to get a good workout. If that seems daunting at first, you could split it up into two 10-minute sessions.

Try these jump rope workouts below to take the guesswork out of your sweat session and to mix up your current routine.

Full-Body Circuit

This workout created by Oprea can be done anywhere. It only requires a rope and your bodyweight, but it will spike your heart rate and work your biceps, triceps, quads, and abs.

  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 20 push-ups
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 40 bodyweight squats
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 30 floor dips
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 15 reverse lunges on each leg
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope
  • 1 minute plank
  • Repeat twice (once if you are just getting started)

    Jump Rope Circuit

    This jump rope circuit created by Oprea will get your heart pumping in a short amount of time—perfect for days you can’t run.

    • 1 minute slow
    • 1 minute fast
    • 30 seconds on left leg only
    • 30 seconds on right leg only
    • 1 minute of moving feet in and out in a jumping-jack motion
    • Repeat three times

      4-Song Jump Rope Workout

      By mixing up the moves in this circuit created by Kloots, you will work your coordination and stamina for a mind and body workout.

      Warmup (1st Song, 6 minutes)

      • Jump one minute
      • Plank one minute
      • Repeat three times

        Jump Rope for Coordination (2nd Song, 3 minutes)

        • Practice your footwork to connect your mind and body. Incorporate moves like feet in and outs, jumping with heels forward, skis, high knees, and butt kicks.

          Jump Rope for Endurance (3rd Song, 4-5 minutes)

          • Try to jump this whole song without stopping.

            Jump Rope for Stamina (4th Song, 2-3 minutes)

            • Work on sprints. Jump for 20 seconds at a regular tempo then 20 seconds as fast as you can. Continue for the length of the song.

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