What’s up jump rope fam?! Today, we’re going to discuss one of the most popular topics in the JRD community:
How many calories does jumping rope burn?
The short answer is – it depends.
If you have followed us (Dan and Brandon) at Jump Rope Dudes for a while, you know that we have seen thousands of JRD community members undergo life-altering body transformations and better manage their calories with the help of jumping rope. As a full-body cardiovascular workout, jumping rope is one of the best ways to burn fat fast and get a killer workout.
You may have heard us talk about our transformations before. If not, you can watch Dan’s transformation and Brandon’s story on YouTube (along with many other incredible transformation videos that demonstrate the calorie-burning power of jumping rope). In short, Brandon lost 65 lbs., and Dan dropped 70 lbs. through a combination of fat-scorching HIIT jump rope workouts, good nutrition, and lifestyle choices.
And yet, it is important to remember that, when it comes to calorie burn, everyone is different. In today’s article, we will look at the factors that impact calorie burn when exercising to give you a better understanding of how many calories you should expect to burn while jumping rope.
Factors Affecting the Calories You Burn When Jumping Rope
Let’s be real; we are all built differently. As such, our bodies respond differently to exercise, including how many calories we burn. This is why it’s important to not compare yourself too much to others, especially fitness pros who’ve been training their whole lives.
Take us (Brandon and Dan), for example. We both come from backgrounds in university athletics and have dedicated most of our lives to training. Because of this, we burn more calories faster and more efficiently, even at rest than, say, someone with a more sedentary lifestyle.
However, if that sedentary person were to jump in (pun intended) and do a workout with us at the same intensity, they would likely burn more calories (at least initially) because their bodies are less efficient at the task of jumping rope. So, they would need to expend a lot more energy to keep up.
The point is that many factors like age, sex, fitness level, body composition, muscle mass, and the intensity of your workouts affect how many calories you burn. We’re not saying this to discourage you. We hope to inform and encourage you to focus on the things within your control, and make the most of those factors that can maximize the benefits of your workout.
Let’s look at the biggest factors that impact how many calories you will burn.
1. Body Weight
Calories are simply a unit of measuring energy in the body. The more you weigh, the more energy your body needs to use to function. If two people of different sizes do the same jump rope workout at the same intensity, the person who weighs more will burn the most calories because their body requires a significantly larger expenditure of energy.
Highlighting this point, one research study by the medical journal PLOS ONE highlights the fact that up to 43 percent of the differences in calories burned between people were attributed to the size of their internal organs. Those individuals with larger organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs required significantly more calories to function, thus contributing to a substantial increase in calories burned both when resting and during exercise.
If you’re looking to lose weight, primarily body fat, this makes things complicated because as you lose weight, your body begins to burn fewer calories as you work out. Often this is when people see their weight loss plateau.
Weight loss can trigger other physiological changes in the body like:
- Limiting fat oxidation (a process by which the body burns stored fat for energy).
- Increasing the hormone ghrelin (making you feel hungrier).
- Increasing the hormone leptin (reducing the experience of satiety after eating).
Reaching your fitness goals, especially when it comes to losing weight and breaking through plateaus, is hard work! This is why taking a deeper dive into your diet and lifestyle choices is essential. Check out our video on how to eat to lose weight to see our approach to losing pounds and keeping them off. If your diet is a serious concern or you have other health issues, consider working with a registered dietitian to ensure you have healthy and realistic goals for yourself.
It’s important to note that even if you struggle with the number on the scale, this is by no means a measure of your fitness! Jumping rope has tons of benefits linked to better health overall and a lower risk of premature death regardless of your weight.
2. Muscle Mass
Pound for pound, muscle burns more calories than fat.
If two people weigh the same, the person with more muscle mass burns more calories. Unfortunately, many claims on how many calories a pound of muscle burns are greatly exaggerated. This is why it’s important to take these claims with a grain of salt when it comes to setting realistic expectations for yourself.
We have always been big proponents of the combination of resistance training (for example, lifting weights) and jumping rope as, when combined, these two forms of exercise burn more fat than cardio alone and have substantial long-term health benefits. Remember, building muscle mass requires your body to produce more energy to support the increased rate at which your muscles are contracting. Aka it turns you into a fat-scorching machine.
Your body loses muscle mass as it ages. After age 30, people lose around three to five percent of their muscle mass per decade. A theory on this is that our bodies become resistant to hormones that promote a protein synthesis process that helps us maintain muscle as we age. Muscle loss lowers your metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories).
However, as reported by NBC, a recent study looking at people’s energy expenditure from birth to age 95 found that metabolism may not actually decline throughout adulthood. Instead, the study shows that it plateaus between the ages of 20 to 60, and then starts its decline.
This is not to say that everyone’s calorie expenditure stays consistent through adulthood; it doesn’t.
Aging is accompanied by a plethora of physiological changes in the body, many of which can affect your metabolism and how you burn calories. While you can’t stop your body from aging, you can focus your efforts on increasing and maintaining good muscle mass to keep your metabolism high.
4. Fitness Level
Your body adapts to workouts and becomes more efficient at exercising as you become more fit. This is an adaptive evolutionary gift from our ancestors, and it’s a good thing despite the pitfalls of plateaus.
As you get fitter, your body becomes more efficient and can do the same workout while expending fewer calories. It’s up to you to challenge yourself and vary your workout routine (including intensity levels) if you want to maintain muscle mass and a healthy metabolic rate.
5. Workout Intensity
Intensity is perhaps the most important factor on this list when it comes to burning calories. Someone jumping rope at a high-intensity level (aka exercising at a rate that they can’t comfortably hold a conversation) will burn twice the calories in the same amount of time as someone exercising at a low-intensity level.
Even if two people are going through similar motions, that doesn’t mean they’re both working at the same intensity level or burning an equal amount of calories.
For example, running and walking both deliver similar benefits in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risks of chronic conditions. However, the person running is going to burn significantly more calories than walking. This is why the intensity of effort plays a big part in calories burned.
The biggest takeaway is that you shouldn’t worry too much about things you can’t control regarding metabolic rate and weight loss. Focus on things you have power over, like the intensity and duration of your workouts.
HIIT + Weighted Jump Ropes: The Secret to Scorching Fat
Want to know our secret sauce for incinerating belly fat? HIIT workouts with heavy ropes.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise process whereby periods of explosive anaerobic exercise are followed by a brief rest or low-intensity exercise. An example would be 30 seconds of all-out, heart-pounding double unders and then a minute of slow, steady single bounces.
This style of fitness training burns up to nine times more fat than steady-state cardiovascular exercise.
Benefits of HIIT:
- Burns more calories in a shorter period of time (remember, intensity matters!).
- Your metabolic rate burns faster and longer following HIIT training.
- It incinerates fat (especially belly fat).
- It’s an intense cardiovascular workout, lowering blood pressure for a healthier heart.
- Strengthens the respiratory system and oxygen consumption.
- Has been shown to not only reduce blood sugar but improve insulin resistance.
- It’s a total-body anaerobic and aerobic workout.
The next component of our secret sauce is incorporating weighted jump ropes. A heavier rope adds resistance, just like lifting weights, and activates more muscle groups, burning more calories. Weighted ropes have loads of other great benefits as well, like making it easier to learn the jump rope fundamentals.
The benefits of weighted jump ropes:
- Instantly fire up the intensity of your workout (aka more calories burned and more fat incinerated).
- Provide greater feedback (aka a heavier rope will help you to master fundamentals like timing and cadence).
- Build muscular endurance.
- Provide a more holistic, full-body workout.
The only jump ropes we use and recommend to the JRD community are from Crossrope. They provide the best quality weighted jump ropes on the market. Combining HIIT and weighted jump ropes will empower you to craft strong, effective, fat-burning workouts that can be customized to your daily needs.
The Get Strong set is our go-to for incinerating fat and driving muscular endurance. It comes with a 1 lb. and a 2 lb. rope that allows you to switch between weight intensities, leveraging your HIIT workouts for maximum effectiveness.
If you’re new to jumping rope, HIIT workouts, or if you’re petite, we recommend beginners start with the Get Lean set. It comes with both a ¼ lb. and a ½ lb. rope, which still allows you to vary the intensity of your workouts while helping you to master the basics and get acclimated.
How to Calculate the Number of Calories Burned When Jumping Rope
We estimate calories burned using a technical formula called “MET,” short for metabolic equivalence. The formula is:
Calories burned per minute = (Met X body weight in kilograms X 3.5) ÷ 200.
A MET is a measurement of the energy cost of physical activity for a period of time. Jumping rope at a vigorous pace is about 12.3 METS.
Using this formula, research has shown that most people jumping rope at a moderate pace will burn around 140-190 calories for every 1,000 skips.
It’s important to consider that this formula does not account for factors such as differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex, and the geographical and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure can vary and this formula should merely act as a guide.
So, How Many Calories Does Jumping Rope Burn?
Over the years, we’ve conducted many experiments to determine the calorie-burning power of jumping rope.
In the video embedded above, Dan showed us that in an hour and twenty minutes of moderate-intensity jump rope training, he burned over 1,000 calories. In another experiment, he burned 800 calories in just under an hour of jumping rope (again, at moderate intensity). These are just a sample of dozens of similar experiments detailing the calorie-burning potential of jumping rope.
This experiment, in particular, is a great example of how Dan and Brandon burned different amounts of calories in the same period of time. As Dan explains, several factors played into this: they used different weights of ropes, have different body sizes, and their training and endurance levels are different. This reiterates our point – everyone is different, and even from one day to another, the total amount of calories you burn will vary.
We encourage you to focus on the fundamentals and HIIT workouts. This will be the key to achieving similar results to ours with practice.
A Few Calorie Crushing Workouts
When you have been jumping rope for as long as we have, you know how to craft a jump rope workout for just about every fitness goal. The workouts below are focused on hitting specific calorie burn goals. In addition to these, you can find even more (for free!) on our Youtube channel.
We also highly recommend trying Jump Rope Dudes TV if you need guided coaching to help you advance more quickly on your jump rope journey. Not only does JRDTV offer a catalog of hundreds of pre-recorded and live workouts, but members also have access to the community forum and individual coaching.
JRDTV is all about community, accountability, and simplicity! For busy JRD community members, you can sign up for a daily workout that’s sent straight to your email inbox every Monday through Friday. No planning, stressing, or guessing; we’ve crafted comprehensive workouts for you from start to finish through our unique, interactive workout platform.
Also, if you’re new to jumping rope and struggling to master the basics, we recommend that you start with our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
250 Calorie Burn Workout
An excellent workout for beginners, combining quick spurts of jumping rope with fifteen-second rest intervals. A great way to get accustomed to HIIT workouts.
400 Calorie Burn Workout
This 400-calorie burn is the perfect 30-minute midday, pick-me-up workout or can be squeezed in after work.
500 Calorie Burn Workout
If fat loss is your intention, setting a goal of a minimum of 500 calories burned per workout is ideal.
600 Calorie Burn Workout
This workout amplifies the intensity by incorporating a number of different weighted jump ropes. Here you will see our “secret sauce” in action.
700 Calorie Burn Workout
This workout is guaranteed to leave you tired and give you a full-body muscular burn. Again, Dan utilizes HIIT incorporating different weighted ropes, resulting in a sweat-drenched, killer workout.
The Real Secret to Burning a Ton of Calories
BOOM! All done for the day!
It’s important to remember that while calorie burn is nice to know, it’s simply a tool to help you achieve your fitness goals. The real secret to success – the most essential component to burning a ton of calories and getting lean, is… TO HAVE FUN!
Seems silly? Not at all! We’ve seen so many amazing transformations throughout the JRD community because jumping rope is fun. We come back to it day after day because we love it. We crave it. We can’t get enough of it.
When you enjoy working out, it doesn’t feel like a chore. No amount of scientific formulas or strategies can make up for a dull workout you don’t like doing. Consistency is key, but the key to consistency is enjoying your workouts.
We encourage you to join the JRD conversation happening on our social media, where you can message us with questions or comments about anything jump rope-related (Instagram and Facebook). We appreciate all of your feedback and try to answer messages ASAP.
Until next time, jump rope dudes and dudettes, keep moving, and as always…
DO THE THING!