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3 Jump Rope Cardio Workouts to Boost Your Running Performance

Turns out jump ropes are more than just playground toys—they might be the secret to your next PR.

curvy african american woman skipping rope in urban area
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Move over kids—adults can jump rope too.

A jump rope is an effective and portable tool to add to your arsenal of equipment because it can provide both a warmup and a serious workout. The benefits of jumping rope are many: It’s a killer cardio workout that improves coordination, boosts metabolism, and makes you sweat like crazy.

“Jumping rope can be a great warmup and an effective cross-training workout for runners,” says James Bagley, Ph.D., an assistant professor of kinesiology at San Francisco State University. “It’s been shown to increase your metabolic rate 10 to 12 times above resting, depending on your cadence, similar to jogging at 6 to 7 miles per hour.”

If you’re short on time, it’s freezing in the winter, or it’s rainy or dark outside, jumping rope is an ideal cardio alternative. “You can jump rope in a small space with minimal equipment, so it’s helpful when the weather’s bad,” Bagley says.

Much like running, the intensity of your jump rope cardio workout is what you make it. “Jumping rope can be just as challenging as running at a fast pace, but you can also slow things down and use it as a warmup,” says Arnold Gonzalez, professional boxer and trainer at EverybodyFights in New York City. In fact, Gonzalez, and lots of other boxers, use jump rope exercises as both a light warm-up and an intense cardio finisher (that’s him in the video below).

“The constant jumping will also strengthen your calves, hamstrings, and glutes,” Gonzalez says, which are all muscles that can help you run faster.

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See? Jump rope exercises are so much more than just a running alternative for rainy days—they can actually be really challenging and fun! Try one of Gonzalez’s jump rope cardio workouts below for a cardio blast that puts your last sprint session to shame.

Skipping Rope

Just as in running, your form matters, so before you get started, take this tip: “Jump straight up instead of kicking your feet back and stay light on your feet to keep your rhythm going,” Gonzalez says.

Of course, due to the high-impact nature of jumping rope, you’ll want to make sure it’s a safe option for you if you have any joint-related issues or look for softer surfaces to jump on like turf in a gym.

Workout 1: Beginner-Friendly Jump Rope Exercises

“This is a full-body jump rope workout for beginners,” Gonzalez says. “The footwork is basic, but you’ll still work your cardio, legs, arms, and core.”

    Workout 2: Single-Leg Jump Rope Exercises

    This workout challenges your balance with single-leg intervals and boosts your heart rate with high knees. Perform a quick 5 to 10 minute warmup before you get started.

    • Jump Rope: 3 minutes
    • 10 Air Squats, 10 Push-Ups, 10 Sit-Ups
    • Jump Rope With High Knees: 30 seconds
    • 10 Plyo Squats
    • Jump Rope With High Knees: 30 seconds
    • 10 Push-Ups
    • Jump Rope With High Knees: 30 seconds
    • 10 Burpees
    • Jump Rope (left foot only): 30 seconds
    • Jump Rope (right foot only): 30 seconds
    • Jump Rope (both feet): 1 minute
    • Repeat 3x

      Workout 3: Advanced Jump Rope Exercises

      The design is simple, but the moves are tough. “Double unders and burpees will really get your heart rate up,” Gonzalez says. Warm up by jumping rope for 3 minutes before you get started.

      • Double Under (swing the rope twice per jump): 30 seconds
      • Burpees: 30 seconds
      • Rest: 30 seconds
      • Repeat 10x
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