jumping rope vs. jumping

Jumping Rope vs. Jumping: Which is Better?

Jumping rope is better than jumping as a form of cardiovascular exercise. Though both involve lifting your body off the ground, rope jumping allows for more cadence, rhythm, and regularity. At the same time, it improves cardiovascular health, coordination, agility, and balance to a higher degree than simply jumping.

Jump Rope vs. Jumping 

You’d think that there is really no difference between rope jumping and just jumping. After all, they both require you to leave the ground. And while they are both calisthenics moves that boost your heart rate, you don’t need any equipment at all when you blast into the air without a rope. So, why go to the expense of purchasing one?

The reality is that there are a lot of benefits to jumping rope compared to just jumping. Jumping rope is a far more organized form of plyometric exercise than just jumping. Because you are having to work in unison with the rope, you are improving your balance, coordination, agility, and foot speed to a much higher degree. 

woman rope jumping in the gym

So, which is a more effective exercise for burning calories? The answer is rope jumping. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, rope jumping brings your upper body into the movement – not just your arms but also your shoulders and core muscles. 

Secondly, rope jumping also you to go longer and be more consistent so that your calorie burn is sustained for a greater length of time. 

ActivityCalories burned per minuteMuscle Worked
Rope Jumping10-12Quads, calf muscles, hamstrings, glutes, core, arms, shoulders, wrists
Jumping8Quads, calf muscles, hamstrings, glutes
jumping rope vs jump rope muscles worked 1

Pros and Cons of Rope Jumping

Rope jumping is a great calorie burner at about 12 calories per minute.You have to invest in a rope. However, you can pick up a good one for around $10.
Rope jumping is one of the effective cardio exercises that boosts your heart rate.It requires quite a bit of coordination. As a result, there is quite a learning curve to becoming proficient at skipping. 
Rope jumping brings on the EPOC effect which churns up your calorie burn for 24 hours after you finish your workout.
Rope jumping provides you with the ultimate portable workout option.
Rope jumping is a low-impact plyometric activity – there is minimal impact on joints when you skip (with proper form).
Skipping is a great complimentary exercise with weight training. Just jump rope for 30 seconds between your sets and the fat will start melting away.
Rope jumping greatly improves your body’s coordination, balance, and sense of body awareness.
Drawbacks of Rope Jumping

Pros and Cons of Jumping

It is the cheaper option.It is not an organized form of exercise. Because it is haphazard, you are unlikely to keep it up as consistently as if you were using a jump rope.
It allows you to burn quite a few calories while also improving your plyometric fitness and boosting your explosive strength, especially through the lower body. 

Getting the Right Jump Rope Size For You

Unless you get the right jump rope size for you, your jump rope session will be less than ideal. If you are buying a rope in a store, you can check the length by looping it over your foot at the middle of the rope and then pulling it up. Ideally, the rope should reach up to your armpits. Ropes that only reach your elbows are too short and could lead to missteps and resultant ankle injuries.

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If you are buying a rope online,  you cannot actually perform the shoulder height test. However, the seller will tell you the rope length, so you can follow a simple length height guide:

  • If you are up to 4’5”, then the rope should be 6 foot long.
  • If you are between 4;10 and 5’ 5”, then the rope should be 6 foot long.
  • If you are up to 5’5” to 6’, then the rope should be 6 foot long.
  • If you are over 6;”, then the rope should be 6 foot long.

3 Types of Jump Rope

1. Weighted Rope

a weighted jump rope

This version of the jump rope has weighted handles. The rope itself is usually made of PVC or leather. The added weight located in the handles is designed to add an element of extra resistance to work the upper body. It does this to a certain degree but is not an excellent option if your focus is on increasing your cardio fitness through increased speed and agility.

2. Leather Jump Rope

a leather jump rope

This type of rope will have either a wooden or plastic handle and a strip of leather. It will turn much quicker than most other types of rope. This is the type of rope that boxers use and is most preferred by elite trainers.

3. Speed Jump Rope

a speed jump rope

Speed Jump Rope – As the name implies the speed rope is the fastest rotating rope on the market. It consists of durable wooden or plastic handles connected by a thin piece of PVC rope. Included in the handles are swivel ball bearings. The ball bearings get rid of any friction or drag which you get with other types of jump rope. The speed rope is our preferred option for serious training.

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Final Thoughts

Both rope jumping and jumping are good moves to include in your exercise routine. However, jumping with the aid of a jump rope will give you more bang for your buck. Include rope jumping either as a stand-alone exercise or by super setting it with other exercises to ramp up your calorie burn. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is jumping rope actually a workout?

Yes, jumping rope is most definitely a workout. It is an awesome calorie burner for weight loss that provides you with one of the most time-efficient calorie burns you can get from any form of exercise. It can also be done anywhere at any time. Try a 10-minute jump rope workout and I’m sure you’ll agree that it actually is a workout! 

How should I incorporate jump rope into my routine?

There are several ways to add a rope jump activity to your fitness routine. You can simply add to another cardio exercise in a straight-set or circuit program. Do 3 sets of 2-minute workouts. You can also super-set skipping with resistance training. After doing a set of weight training exercises, perform 60 seconds worth of rope jumping. This is a great way to ramp up your fat burn. 

Why do boxers jump rope so much?

Boxers jump rope because it is an awesome exercise to improve stamina, cardiovascular endurance, speed, and agility. Jumping rope is also a great way to improve your wrist speed and movement. The rapid speed of foot movement also makes you faster in getting around the ring. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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