Jumping Rope vs Running | Which One Dominates?

There is no question that running is good for your body. But it’s not the only thing you can do to get in a great cardio workout!

Did you know that jumping rope is also a great way to get in cardio? Most runners either don’t know or often overlook the powerful benefits of the simple childhood pastime of jumping rope.

There’s a reason boxers and professional fighters incorporate the jump rope into their daily workouts. But jumping rope is good for runners as well. In fact, sometimes it is even better than stepping out for your daily run.

If you’ve never jumped rope before, or haven’t done it since gym class, no worries! In this article, we’ll cover jumping rope vs running – the benefits of jumping rope for runners, when you should do it, and how to incorporate it into your daily workouts.

So, let’s jump in!

Jumping Rope vs Running

It might surprise you to learn that running and jumping rope actually produce the same cardiovascular effects: they both help you to live longer, improve your mental health, lose weight, and reduce your risk of disease.

So, how do they rate in a side by side comparison?

Comparision of Jumping Roping vs Running

Calories Burned

Jumping rope actually burns more calories than running does! Surprised?

Let’s take a look.

An average 150 pound person can burn 136 calories in just ten minutes of fast rope jumping. That same person would burn only 113 calories running one mile in ten minutes.

If it takes you longer to run that mile, then jumping rope significantly burns more calories for you than a mile run would. At a 12 minute mile pace, our 150 pound person would only burn 90 calories. That’s 46 calories less than jumping rope!

Chances of Injury

What about risk of injury? Running is hard on our knees, joints and muscles. It is a high impact sport.

You would think that jumping rope would also be high impact, because we are literally jumping up and down, over and over again. That has to be hard on our knees and joints, right?

Well, yes, jumping rope does put direct stress on our knees, ankles and hips. But, if done right, jumping rope is actually easier on our body than running is. The key is to stay high on your toes and use your body’s natural shock absorbers – the balls of your feet.

Jumping rope also builds strength and endurance, which in turn, reduces your risk of injury as well. It is a bone strengthening workout that targets your calves, quads, glutes, shoulders, back, neck and triceps.

The International Sports Conditioning Association states jumping rope also improves your speed, agility, power, balance and coordination.

Stronger muscles, greater balance, and better coordination all lead to reduced chances of injury, not only while you jump rope, but when you head out for a run as well.

Overall Cardiovascular Effectiveness

Jumping rope is certainly good for your heart, lungs and body. It strengthens both your upper and lower body in one effective workout. And it burns a lot of calories in just a short amount of time.

But, according to this study from the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, jumping rope is one of the best cardio exercises you can do – even better than running.

After just six weeks, those participants in the study who jumped rope for just 10 minutes a day had greater improvements to their overall cardiovascular health than the runners who ran for 30 minutes a day!

But it gets better: jumping rope at a moderate pace is equivalent to running an eight minute mile!

So, side by side, jumping rope comes out on top, in all three categories: most calories burned, less risk of injury, and overall cardiovascular fitness.

But don’t give up running just yet!

When You Should Instead Pick Up The Jump Rope

Those boxers and professional fighters knew it all along; jumping rope is good for you. But it doesn’t mean we have to give up running and replace it with jumping rope every day.

Instead, we can jump rope to cross train. As a runner, you can use it to build endurance and strengthen your muscles. You will be lighter on your feet if you jump rope!

It can make you a stronger, faster runner.

But when should you put down your running shoes and pick up a jump rope instead?

When you should jump rope instead of run

When You Want a Quick Calorie Burning Workout

Jumping rope revs up your metabolism and helps you to burn calories quickly (and somewhat easily). This helps you to drop pounds fast – faster than running alone can do.

You can burn a whopping 10 calories per minute of jumping rope!

And then you can crank that up by adding HIIT intervals to your workout. You can burn more than 200 calories in one 10-minute HIIT session. That’s almost 90 calories more than our ten minute mile in the above example!

So, if you are running to lose weight, you may want to consider putting down the running shoes and picking up the jump rope from time to time, for an added boost to your weight loss routine.

When You Want a Full Body Workout

Jumping rope works out so many muscles in your entire body. As we discussed earlier, it works out your:

  • Calves
  • Quads
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Glutes
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Core

So, if you are looking for a full body workout, jumping rope will be more beneficial than running.

But did you know you can also target certain muscles when jumping rope? Just changing your jumping technique will target the muscles of your choice, but still engage your entire body.

For example, if you want to build up your calves, you can try the shuffle jump, jumping side to side, or a single leg jump. If you need to target your arms, you can do double unders.

Working out your entire body will build endurance, stamina and coordination – everything needed to be a strong runner.

During Inclement Weather

It’s horrid outside and you can’t possibly run. And a treadmill or elliptical aren’t available. What are you going to do?

Have no fear! Your jump rope is near.

A jump rope can fold up and be carried with you no matter where you go. Even when the weather is great, but you only have a 30 minute lunch break, or you are away on business. Your jump rope goes where you go and provides an effective work out in just ten minutes.

During those cold, stormy days, just be sure to find a space indoors that has enough room for your jump rope to swing. If you can’t find a place with enough room, or you don’t have a jump rope nearby, you can still jump rope!

All you have to do is mimic the motions you would make when jumping rope, but without the rope. You can also replace the standard jump rope with light hand weights or a cordless rope.

If You are Injured But Still Want a Cardio Workout

And finally, if you are still recovering from an injury, jumping rope could be a better option than lacing up those tennies.

As we talked about above, jumping rope is easier on your body than running is. So, it will reduce your chances of reinjury.

Jumping rope puts less stress on your knees, hips and joints. It is a low impact workout that actually helps you to strengthen your core and ankles, which improves your stability and balance.

And we already saw that it is a better cardio workout than running is. So why not grab the jump rope instead? You can always hit the road when you are completely recovered.

Can Jumping Rope Make You a Better Runner? –H2

I hope I have convinced you of the powerful benefits of jumping rope! Jumping rope will definitely make you a better runner.

Jumping rope will strengthen your calves, hamstrings and glutes. These are all muscles needed to become a faster, stronger runner.

Not only do stronger muscles help you run faster, but they are also more efficient. Stronger muscles require less energy to run.

Jumping rope also builds better coordination between your upper and lower body.

Jumping Rope makes you a better runner

Jumping up and down over and over again:

  • Helps you to master hand-eye-feet coordination, increasing your timing skills, which improves your running cadence
  • Requires you to stay on the balls of your feet, which will help you to be lighter on your feet while you run
  • Forces you to learn new patterns of movement, improving communication between your muscles and your brain, even while you run

Jumping rope leads to better tempo between your legs and your feet. Timing is everything when you jump rope. Mastering your timing will help you to master your cadence while running.

Jumping rope helps with weight distribution between your left and right sides of your body as well. This is one reason why it is so popular with boxers and professional fighters.

It teaches you to maintain your balance, because you are constantly trying to keep your feet from getting tangled up in the rope.

When you head out that door for a run, you’ll have better balance and coordination from your time spent jumping rope. This will make you a lithe runner – you’ll look stronger and more graceful as you pound out that pavement!

Plus, it’ll help keep you safe from injury by making you less accident prone.

How to Incorporate Jumping Rope into your Workouts

We just talked about when you should put down your running shoes and instead, jump rope. Now let’s talk about how you can actually incorporate jumping rope into your daily runs and other workouts, such as lifting.

It doesn’t need to take the place of what you already do; you can just add it in.

Here’s how.

Warm-up & Cool-down

Grab your jump rope to warm up or cool down for your runs and lifting sessions.

Warming up with a jump rope helps to increase your heart rate and blood flow. It prepares your joints and muscles for the work ahead. This helps you to perform better.

Cooling down afterwards helps to return your body to its normal state after a workout. It not only returns your heart rate and blood pressure to its resting state, but it also helps to regulate blood flow.

Rather than slowing down to a jog or walk, you can grab your jump rope at the end of your run.

Here’s an example:

Warm Up/Cool Down

  • 10 minute warm up with jump rope
  • 30 minutes of lifting weights or running
  • 5 minutes cool down with jump rope

In Between Intervals

There are some workouts that require resting in between sets.

When lifting, rather than actually resting in between each set, you can grab your jump rope. This will keep your heart rate and body temperature up, which keeps you burning calories, while giving those specific muscles a break from lifting.

This is especially useful if you are targeting your legs or back in your lifting session.

When running intervals, you need to recuperate in between each set of intervals. Instead of slowing down to a jog, you can grab your jump rope. Again, this will keep you burning more calories and building endurance, but it will give your muscles a much needed break from running so hard.

Here’s an example of how you can incorporate jumping rope into your interval runs:

Intervals

  • Warm up (either by running or jumping rope)
  • 5 minutes of running at 5K pace
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope at medium to low intensity
  • 5 minutes of running at 5K pace
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope at medium to low intensity
  • 5 minutes of running at 5K pace
  • 2 minutes of jumping rope at medium to low intensity
  • Cool down jog for 10 minute 

Of course, this works best if you are running on a track or a treadmill, because you can easily have your jump rope handy. Still, jump ropes are pretty light weight. So, if you wanted to, you could carry it with you.

How to Jump Rope

Are you revved up and ready to jump?

If it’s been a long time since you’ve jumped rope, you may be surprised to find that it is not near as easy as we all remember it being as kids. Our kids make it look easy!

It does take a little practice and coordination, but don’t give up! Running took getting used to too, and you preserved!

So, grab that rope and let’s give it a try.

Newbie Tips for Jumping Rope

First, get your form right.

  1. Put an X on the floor if you need to. You might want to practice staying in one spot while jumping.
  2. Stand tall, feet hip width apart.
  3. Keep your hands at the same level as your hips and try to keep your elbows at a 45º angle.

Next, practice without the rope.

  1. Practice jumping up and down in one spot. It’s more of a little hop than it is a jump.
  2. Keep tension throughout your entire body, or you could wind up flailing around and jump off of your X.
  3. Keep your elbows as stable as possible.

Now let’s try it with the rope!

  1. Start with your rope behind your feet.
  2. Hold your rope loosely with your fingers, not with your palms.
  3. Keep your arms pretty still; most of the movement should come from your wrists.
  4. Since you are new, try hopping twice to every swing of your rope. After you master that, move to just one hop.

Try to use a solid, flat surface, if at all possible. Concrete will be hard on your body and feet, but the carpet is too soft. Your rope will bounce on the carpet, making you swing harder and jump higher than necessary, to compensate.

If you are buying a rope, look for a simple rope. The kind you remember using as a child – either a licorice rope or a beaded rope. These ropes are slower and easier to use.

You’ll need to size your rope for your height, but generally speaking, the longer your rope, the slower you will jump. Which is good when you are just starting out!

To size, your rope, pin the middle of the rope under your shoe and pull the handles up. They should come up just below your armpits.

After you master the basics, you are ready for jump rope circuits!

Jump Rope Circuit Workouts

Circuits are great because you can start slow, jumping for just a short amount of time and then slowly building up over time. Taking a break in between each circuit helps you to slowly build endurance, reducing risk of injury.

Once you get the hang of it, you can increase your intensity, by shortening the rest period between each circuit.

Also, don’t jump every day. Give yourself time to get used to it. Every other day or three to four times a week is a great starting place (much like running). Shoot for intervals of one to five minutes in the beginning.

Here’s a few circuits to get you started:

Simple & Easy
90 Second Jump Rope:
Keep a steady rhythm at a moderate pace, and only jump when skipping over the rope
30 Second Rest: Catch your breath and do deep breathing
Repeat Previous steps 5 times

HIIT Workout
30 Second Warm Up with Jump Rope: Easy Pace not too challenging
30 Second Jump Rope: Get into a steady moderate pace
60 Second Speed Up: Jump Rope as fast as you can
30 Second Rest: Relax and catch your breath
Repeat Previous steps 3 times (including warm up)

Crazy Calorie Burnout 
60 Second Warm Up with Jump Rope: Easy pace to prepare for the circuit
60 Second Speed Up: Jump Rope as fast as you can 
30 Second Jump Rope: A steady moderate pace
90 Second Double Jump: You jump twice per rope skip (jump over the rope and 1 extra jump before it comes back around)
60 Second Single Leg Jump: You jump rope only on your left foot for 30 secs and then switch to your right for 30 secs
60-90 Second Rest:  Relax and breath this is a difficult circuit
Repeat Previous steps 3-5 times (including the warm up)

Summary

Jumping rope vs running…in the end, which is better?

Jumping rope and running both offer the same benefits: they are great cardio workouts; they increase longevity, and they reduce risks of disease.

Jumping rope, however, burns more calories faster, with less impact on your body. It puts you at less risk of injury.

Jumping rope strengthens both your bones and muscles. It is a full body workout.

You can get the same benefits from jumping for just ten minutes that you get from running an 8-minute mile. So, if you can’t run, just jump!

You don’t have to leave jumping rope just for those days that you can’t run, however. You can also use it as a warmup or a cool down for your regular workouts.

If you run intervals, jump rope in between intervals! And when you lift weights, rather than resting between sets, grab your rope and jump.

Jumping rope will help you to become a stronger runner and spice up your workout routine. Both, running and jumping are great for losing weight, gaining overall fitness, and for improving mental health.

Just like running, jumping can be a lot of fun!

They are both great forms of exercise, and at the end of the day, all that really matters is that you get out there and do something.

So, go have fun!

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