Is Jump Rope Good Cardio? A Brief JRD Guide

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JRD nation! Welcome back to the blog!

“Is jump rope good cardio?”

This is one of the most common questions we receive from JRD community members. 

We know that there’s a lot of misleading and confusing information on the internet when it comes to fitness. With so many different types of cardio exercises out there – how do you know if jumping rope is the best option for you?

Today we (Dan and Brandon) will cover the cardio basics, backing up our long-standing belief that jumping rope is the best cardio exercise you can find. And we’ve done our research!

The Cardio Basics

Here’s a quick refresher on cardio and why it’s important. 

What Is Cardio?

While many believe that cardio means steady-state exercises like running, cardio is anything that: 

  • Increases your heart and respiration rates.
  • Improves the functioning of your circulatory system, heart, and lungs.

So, do we think jumping rope is good cardio? Absolutely!

Why Is Cardiovascular Exercise Important?

Cardiovascular endurance training is one of the most indisputably healthy activities for your longevity and overall heart health. 

When you challenge your heart and lungs, you increase their efficiency and capacity to take in oxygen and quickly pump blood into your working muscles. This process clears out carbon dioxide and other waste from your system, too. 

Cardio training lowers your resting heart rate and reduces stress and signs of fatigue on this vital organ. Your heart and lungs will benefit from better function during exercise and at rest. Not to mention, better mental clarity and mood.

Types of Cardio Exercises

There are so many types of exercises considered to have cardiovascular benefits. Awesome things like the following activities:

  • Surfing 
  • Swimming
  • Running/Jogging
  • Dancing 
  • Cycling 
  • Circuit training
  • Rowing 
  • Jumping rope – our personal favorite!

Why do we think jumping rope is the king of cardio? Well…

  • Convenience: It’s widely regarded as one of the easiest, most convenient, and low-equipment workouts.
  • Preference: We find it the most fun, so it’s high on our preference list. 
  • Potency: We find the combination of HIIT and weighted ropes to be one heck of an effective and efficient workout.
  • Time: Jumping rope is time-efficient as it burns more calories than any other form of cardio in the same amount of time. Also, because you can jump literally anywhere (we’ve done it!), you won’t need to waste your time, or gas, driving to and from the gym every day.

Why Jump Rope for Cardio?

What sets the jump rope apart from other forms of cardio? Jumping rope is more beneficial to your heart. 

As we discussed in our blog detailing the many benefits of jumping rope, you can absolutely lose weight while improving your heart health by jumping rope consistently.

In this study conducted in 2018, researchers found jumping rope to be a superior cardiovascular exercise. It was shown to prevent obesity in children – think about why so many of us discovered the jump rope in grade school. It also decreases the risks of a host of scary cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in people of every age. Staving off serious conditions like coronary heart disease, strokes, peripheral arterial disease, and aortic disease.  

You’ve only got one heart, so why not give it the best exercise and care possible by jumping rope? Research indicates improved overall health and heart longevity found in people who jump rope. They’ve been linked to improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation in the body, and lower chances of developing many chronic diseases like diabetes, as well. 

Tips for a Killer Jump Rope Cardio Workout

These tips will help you prepare for a rewarding and efficient cardiovascular experience. Also, watch the video embedded above to see our preferred method for increasing cardio endurance. Some of the tips covered here are from our old-school Zen Dude Fitness days, but the information holds up! 

1. Master Proper Technique

If you’re just getting started, begin with the fundamentals. Out beginner’s blog, the Ultimate Beginners Guide to Jumping Rope, and Jump Rope Dudes TV can help! The Beginner’s Guide will walk you through the steps to get started. Things like measuring the rope to fit your body, mastering proper technique and form, and injury prevention. 

Jump Rope Dudes TV is our ultimate community forum plus a warehouse of hundreds of commercial-free workouts, and personalized coaching. As a bonus, you can signup to receive a JRD workout in your email inbox every Monday-Friday, taking all the planning (and possibly procrastination!) out of your day. 

Beginners will benefit from JRD TV as they learn a little more skill and technique every day while having fun! You’ll never be bored or have to plan a comprehensive, full-body workout on your own.  

2. Establish a Baseline

How do you know if you’re actually improving your cardiovascular endurance?

Well, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. And to measure anything, you’ve gotta have a starting point. Creating a baseline gives you a spot to build from. 

To discover what your endurance is like right now:

  • Stop reading this article.
  • Grab your jump rope.
  • Start a timer on your phone.
  • Jump rope for as long as you can.
  • Quit when you feel like you can’t do one more jump.
  • Stop your timer.

This is your baseline.

NOTE: Do not stop the timer before you get exhausted. If you mess up or get tangled in your rope, that’s totally fine. Keep jumping.

3. Maximize the Intensity

Jumping rope helps you burn a massive amount of calories in a short amount of time. The more intensely you work, the more calories you’ll burn.

Don’t focus on the number of calories you think you’re burning. Instead, pretend you’re getting chased by a cheetah.

If you imagine you’re about to get mauled by the fastest land mammal on Earth, you’re gonna get your butt in gear. Go all out with maximum intensity. That’s the best way to ensure you’re working toward a lean body.

NOTE: Remember to stay hydrated, warm-up, and stretch to avoid injury.

4. Focus on Fat Burning Movements

Intense, high-energy output movements, like the examples below, will ramp up your heart rate, increasing cardiovascular endurance and strength. Once you get used to these moves, you’ll understand your threshold for nearly max effort and be able to create your own moves and combinations to make it fun. 

  • Double unders is an awesome trick that requires explosive jumps. You’ll be rotating the rope around your body twice during a single jump, meaning you will need to jump a good 4-6 inches off the ground.
  • Running in place is another surefire move to get your heart rate up. In the video linked, Dan kicks up the intensity even more by sprinting in place to crank up his internal fat-burning furnace. 
  • High knees engage the core and hip flexors and will have your legs fired up fast. In this video, you can see how Dan incorporates high knees into his fat-blasting weight loss workout. 

5. Get Yourself a Heavy Rope

If you are familiar with JRD, then you know we love heavy jump ropes. And if you’re new, then we’re about to tell you why!

There is simply no other tool that gives you the same intense, high-energy, full-body muscular aerobic and anaerobic workout as a HIIT session with heavy jump ropes. 

Jumping rope activates a ton of muscles throughout the body – see our blog on What Muscles Does Jumping Rope Work to get the nitty-gritty on the subject. Jumping with heavy ropes requires much more energy output from those muscles than a lighter rope. Studies like this one show that training with weighted jump ropes significantly increased athletes’ strength and endurance during and following exercise. 

In our videos and workouts, you’ll only see us jumping with weighted jump ropes from Crossrope because they’re the best in the game. And we’re not just saying that; over 19,600 reviews agree with us. 

We like to rotate between the Get Strong and the Get Lean jump rope sets. Here’s how to decide which set is for you:

Experienced jumpers looking to get stronger, lean out, or seriously challenge themselves will enjoy the Get Strong set. You’ll receive both the 1 LB and 2 LB ropes, paired with thick Crossrope Power Handles. The handles have a great fast-clip system, allowing you to switch between ropes in just a few seconds. 

If you’re a beginner or don’t have a solid athletic foundation yet, you might prefer the Get Lean set. This set comes with a ¼ LB and a ½ LB rope and the same fast-clip system, but with slim, comfort handles. The Get Lean set is great for working on speed, agility, fat burning, and mastering the fundamentals. Even experienced jumpers who might be used to heavy ropes already, enjoy using lighter ropes to work on speed and setting personal records.  

How Often Should You Jump Rope for Cardio?

There’s no one size fits all rule for how often, or how long, you should jump rope for. Clearly, there are some factors to consider. 

The most important rule is to take it slow and avoid the mistake of doing too much too soon. Remember, it’s a marathon mentality!

Also, recall that jumping rope is a progression-based activity. You have to start small as a beginner, develop the fundamentals of technique while slowly building your cardiovascular endurance and lung capacity. Your body does a lot while you’re jumping rope!

There’s no way to cheat this learning curve, and you don’t want to set yourself up for injury or burnout, either. If you’re a beginner, take it slow, schedule rest, and allow your muscles to fully recover in between workouts until you can do these exercises with greater ease. 

For some, this could mean just 5 minutes a day, and that’s great! Focus on creating the habit of jumping rope over worrying about the amount of time spent doing it. Once your body adapts, work on adding in more time per session. 

Everybody is different, and over time you will find what works best for you, we find that overall, our community loves a short and sweet 30-minute workout. In this video, Dan explains how often you should jump rope for weight loss and highlights that 30 minutes is just enough to get an effective workout without totally gassing you out for the rest of your day. 

Starting with just 5 minutes a day and working your way up allows your body to adapt and avoid common injuries like shin splints. Beginners should also check out this piece on other jump rope mistakes to watch out for. 

Jumping Rope vs. Running: Which is Better for Cardio?

We cannot talk about jumping rope as cardio without touching on one of our most frequently asked questions: jumping rope vs. running? You can read the full deep dive into the topic here, but to summarize, both are great and can be beneficial. 

When it comes to what you enjoy and will do most consistently, choose that one. We are the Jump Rope Dudes, so naturally, we prefer the incredible cardiovascular benefits of jumping rope. Keep in mind that the calorie burn and cardio benefits for each depend on the intensity of your workout and how skilled you are at the activity. 

How Many Calories Will You Burn Jumping Rope?

There are plenty of resources online to track your calories using a formula. In fact, you can read about it on our blog here. 

However, we find that even with these tools, people still tend to greatly overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise and underestimate the number of calories they consume. 

This inspired us to create the Big Mac experiment embedded above. Here, we each eat a burger and have to burn off that number of calories with a jump rope workout. It really gives you perspective on how important diet is regarding weight loss and getting the most out of your workouts. 

Jump Rope Cardio Workouts

To put our money where our mouth is, we have a collection of super quick and effective workouts, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes. You can get all the cardiovascular healthy heart training you need in just a few minutes a day if you’re consistent. 

5-Minute Cardio Workout

Dan gets straight to business in this workout using the heavy ropes in the Get Strong set. Don’t negate the impact that just 5 minutes a day can have on your mood and your health!

10-Minute Cardio Workout

This quick workout uses the Get Lean set, and you can see firsthand the difference between how Dan utilizes the different sets for various training methods and movements. For this one, speed and agility are the challenges.

15-Minute Cardio Workout

In this 15-minute set, Brandon uses light ropes (the Get Lean set) to ramp up your cardiovascular endurance training. Using intervals of Regular Bounce peppered with intense movements like Double Unders and Running in Place, this workout is tough.

20-Minute Cardio Workout

A full-body circuit and cardio workout in just 20 minutes? Yes, we can! This workout incorporates Regular Bounce with dynamic moves like Jumping Jacks, Speed Skaters, Lunges, and a Plank burner at the end. 

So, Is Jump Rope Good Cardio?

Our take on what exercise is the king of cardio? In our completely biased opinion, it’s the jump rope! 

However, you could also say the best cardio is any exercise that ramps up your heart rate and that you can’t get enough of. Because having fun will always be the most significant indicator of consistency and prolonged success in fitness. 

Make sure to take a look at our YouTube Channel. Also, our Instagram and Facebook are excellent resources to keep up with all things happening in the JRD nation. You can send us a message directly through our social media, as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your jump rope-related queries.

We hope we’ve inspired you to build a healthier heart today. Until next time, stay well and never forget…

DO THE THING! 

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