Updated: January 2022
Jumping rope is one of the best workouts you can do to stay fit.
A low-cost and fun exercise tool, a jump rope can help you burn tons of fat and improve your overall cardiovascular health. And while “doing the thing” is as easy as picking up a rope and jumping, some people find the process of getting started on their jump rope journey to be rather challenging.
That’s why we (Dan and Brandon) have decided to update our ultimate jump rope guide to focus exclusively on beginners. In this revised version of our 2019 article, we’ll not only discuss the many benefits of jumping rope, but we will also go through the whole process of how to get started, from the jump rope basics to more advanced tips, tricks, and techniques.
Essentially, you can find everything you need to know about jumping rope in this guide, including links to our favorite resources, articles, and YouTube videos. So, if you’re looking for a fun, effective, and fully portable way to burn calories and get fit, this ultimate beginner’s guide is the right place to start to learn how to jump rope.
Let’s dive in.
Benefits of Jumping Rope
As we have said many times before, jumping rope has innumerable health benefits. In fact, health studies have proven time and again that jumping rope is more effective than many other common forms of cardio exercise. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of this fact and tend to overlook the jump rope in favor of treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes.
This section will cover some of the many benefits of jumping rope that you probably didn’t know.
We invite you to compare and contrast these benefits to your current workout program and see if your routine ticks all the boxes. As this list is not exhaustive, you can learn more about the many benefits of jumping rope by checking out our article on the topic, The Top 10 Benefits of Jumping Rope (Mental and Physical).
1. It Burns Calories
Jumping rope is a thermogenic workout. This type of exercise involves most of the main muscles in your body, causing your temperature to rise, which translates into energy. To obtain this energy (body fuel), your organism consumes calories.
These calories come from anything we eat or drink throughout the day. Thus, we are transforming our food into fuel in order to exercise. The longer we jump rope, the more calories we burn, preventing them from becoming fat.
2. It Improves Your Mind-Body Coordination
If you’re into sports that require mind-body coordination, jumping rope is the ideal exercise to develop this skill-set. When jumping rope, you are constantly aware of where you position the rope and how close you are to tripping or hitting your feet.
In other words, you can’t jump rope with a blank mind. Training your brain is just as important as training your body, especially with respect to coordination, and jumping rope helps you train both.
3. It Improves Your Heart Health
According to a 2018 medical study published in the National Library of Medicine, jumping rope is an amazing cardiovascular exercise.
Not only does it help prevent obesity in children (as the study points out), but it also goes a long way in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) jumpers of all ages. Essentially, picking up a jump rope today will improve your current cardiovascular health and your future heart health as well.
4. It Increases Bone Density
Research shows that jumping rope can help improve bone density (again in children, but also applicable to adults). Bone density translates into having a solid bone structure that will help prevent your bones from breaking or becoming brittle. It is essential for your overall health – especially as you age. As a medium impact exercise, jumping rope (the act of repetitively jumping and landing on two feet) is an excellent way to improve your bone density and avoid future breaks.
5. Jumping Rope Is Fun!
Although this final point may not seem like an important benefit, we all know how hard it is to stick to a workout routine that fails to inspire us. Some people don’t like running because they think it is boring. Others hate the monotonous nature of lifting weights and the routine of going to the gym.
Jumping rope is the complete opposite!
All you need is a rope and a little bit of music, and you can actually have fun while you exercise. Even better, as you start becoming an advanced jump rope ninja, you can mix in tricks and techniques that will make your experience even more fun. Take your rope wherever you go, and have fun while doing some exercise.
Best Jump Rope for Beginners
Now that you are familiar with some of the benefits of jumping rope, it’s time to take a look at which jump rope is best for beginners.
When starting out, it is essential to use a rope that can adjust to your needs as a beginner while still challenging you to learn and improve. In this respect, there are a number of factors that each dude or dudette should weigh before deciding on their ideal jump rope.
While we have covered these factors comprehensively in a previous blog post (What Jump Rope Should I Buy?), we will review them briefly here as well:
- Ideal Length: Before purchasing a rope from a specific brand, you need to know how easy it is to measure and adjust. If it is too long, you will consistently smack the floor with your rope as you jump. On the other hand, if the jump rope is too short, you may hit your feet and trip. Rope length will be based on your height, and the ideal rope should provide you with hassle-free sizing.
- Durability: Rope longevity is another key factor to consider before getting your first jump rope. You will need a rope that’s durable and long-lasting – one that doesn’t break or wear out after a couple of sessions. While this may depend a lot on where you’re planning to jump rope (gym, track, local park, etc.), it also depends on the quality of the jump rope and the materials used in the manufacturing process (plastic, steel, vinyl, etc.).
- Your Goals: Every person is unique, and so are their goals when it comes to physical fitness. Consequently, you should purchase a rope that helps you meet your specific fitness objectives. Do you want to burn fat and build strength? Become more explosive and improve conditioning? Perhaps you’re looking for a rope to simply help you tone and maintain a good level of general fitness?
What Is The Best Jump Rope for Me?
There are many different types of ropes out there, and it’s totally normal for newcomers to the world of jumping rope to feel intimidated when making their first purchase.
Fortunately, after almost ten years in the jump rope game, we can say that we have tested and tried most of them. Our experience has taught us that Crossrope makes the highest quality ropes available on the market. Built for all fitness levels, Crossrope designs jump ropes that help their customers get lean, strong, and fit – anywhere.
To choose the right Crossrope jump rope, you need to focus on your goals.
If you want to burn fat and build strength, we recommend trying the Crossrope Get Strong set. This set comes with the 1 LB and 2 LB ropes and is paired with the Crossrope Power Handles. This combination is ideal for high-intensity and upper body strength training at all levels.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for the perfect combination between speed and power, we recommend the Crossrope Get Lean set. This set comes with the 1/4 LB and 1/2 LB ropes and is paired with the Crossrope Slim Handles. Ideal for beginners, this pairing will help you learn the basics while you burn fat and build strength.
Best Jump Rope Mat
Jumping rope is an activity that you can perform almost anywhere.
However, it is important to note that not all surfaces are created equal when it comes to both safety and peak jump rope performance. If a surface is too hard (concrete or gym floor) or too slippery (grass or dirt), it is not only more difficult to jump effectively, but you run the risk of injuring yourself.
At Jump Rope Dudes, we love jumping rope on the go. Our work has taken us all over the world, and, in many cases, we have been forced to jump on some pretty gnarly surfaces. To avoid injury and extend the life of our jump ropes, we tested several jump rope mats and ultimately settled on the Crossrope Jump Rope Mat.
Sturdy, responsive, and with a large surface area, this mat has become one of our go-to health and fitness investments. Again, a mat isn’t absolutely necessary to begin jumping rope, but it definitely pays off in the long run. To learn more about our thoughts on the Crossrope Jump Rope Mat, check out our detailed product review.
How To Measure Your Jump Rope
When it comes to jumping rope, size matters.
Again, if your jump rope is too long, you run the risk of hitting the ground with each rope rotation, slowing you down and making it difficult to learn the basics. If your jump rope is too short, you may trip and fall. At high speed, either scenario is likely to lead to poor performance, aggravation, and even severe injury.
To avoid these outcomes, it is important to accurately measure your jump rope. While Crossrope makes this process easy for customers with their height-based sizing chart, we believe that every dude and dudette should know how to size their jump rope. To measure your jump rope, all you need is your body and your rope.
Standing straight, place one foot in the middle of the rope and extend both handles upwards as you tighten the rope towards your chest. For an ideal fit, both handles should reach right beneath your armpits, with the meeting point between the handles and the rope resting at your sternum or lower pecs.
When measuring your rope, it is important to remember that your goal should be to select a length that produces efficient jumping mechanics (rope clearance both underfoot and overhead) and a comfortable jumping experience. We suggest tinkering with your rope length until you believe you have achieved this objective.
Jump Rope vs. Running
“Why jump rope instead of running or jogging?”
This is a typical question we receive from dudes and dudettes who are just beginning their jump rope journey. Before we move on to basic jump rope technique, we think it is important to briefly address this question. To us, the answer is pretty straightforward – jumping rope is a better workout!
As we discuss in the article linked above, experience (and science) have taught us that not only is jumping rope the most efficient way to burn calories (you can burn as much as 1074 calories in a single hour!), but we strongly believe that jumping rope actually lowers your risk of injury when compared to running.
Another major difference between jumping rope and running involves the muscles you activate as you work out. When you run, muscle activation is limited to the muscle groups used to engage in propulsion and balance movements (glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads). While these muscles are also activated when jumping rope, so too are your abs, shoulders, forearms, biceps, triceps, and delts.
While both are considered low-cost workout options, the cardiovascular benefits of jumping rope combined with its total body impact make it a clear winner in our opinion.
Jump Rope Techniques: The Basics
With a perfectly sized jump rope in hand, it’s time to get ready to jump! This section will cover some beginner jump rope techniques that will help get you prepared for your first skipping session.
First things first, you need to get your blood flowing!
Warming up before jumping rope goes a long way in helping prevent jump rope-related injuries. A proper warm-up will increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare your body for the repetitive stress to come. Dedicating a few minutes prior to each session to raise your body’s temperature will also help you avoid muscle soreness and increase your flexibility.
A proper warm-up, generally speaking, should be specific to the type of exercise you will be doing. As jumping rope involves your whole body, we recommend engaging in some warm-up exercises that cover every muscle group involved. This is known as a dynamic warm-up. Below are some suggestions you can apply to your warm-up routine before jumping rope.
Remember, you can also check out this popular JRD video tutorial to learn more about performing these exercises correctly.
- Jumping jacks are very easy to perform and great for raising your body’s temperature. They not only work your arms and legs but also focus on your glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, and calves.
- Air squats will quickly activate your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. They are great for injury prevention.
- High knees, if done at a lower intensity, can help prepare your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes for the jump rope routine to come.
- Finally, ending with a few push-ups before jumping will help activate your upper body, core, and glutes. This will be key for stimulating peak jump rope performance, especially when using a heavier jump rope.
Now that you are warmed up and ready for some intense cardio, we are going to take a look at some jump rope basics that you will need to master. Whether you are interested in jumping for fitness, competition, or fun, these basic tips will help lay a rock-solid foundation for your jump rope skill-set. We recommend that you practice them daily.
- Proper grip is key when looking to jump rope. The goal is to let your wrist rotate freely as you exert control over the motion of the jump rope. To achieve this delicate balance, we recommend wrapping your fingers around your handles but not your thumb. Keep your thumb positioned vertically towards the top of the handle so you can better control the speed, direction, and power of your rope.
- Hand symmetry also plays a vital role while jumping rope. Always keep both hands out, with palms facing upward, and be sure that each hand is the same distance from your hip. This way, your rope will not hit your feet or force you to try and make a positioning correction mid-jump.
- Wrist movement is how you will guide your rope as you jump. Tuck your elbows to your sides. Your shoulders should always keep still or have minimal movement. This positioning will help you move in and out of transitions as you incorporate more complex tricks and skipping patterns.
- Proper jumping height is also crucial for an effective and fun jump rope workout. While many people think that jumping rope requires consistently jumping to maximum height, the truth is that an inch or two is more than enough to allow your rope to pass under your body. Also, remember to jump on the midsoles of your feet and avoid high-impact landings that can result in shin splints.
- Feet positioning is also important to consider while jumping rope. For now, try to keep your feet together. Avoid pulling your feet back and be sure to always keep a slight bend in your knees – this too will help with injury prevention.
- Body posture should always be straight with your eyes towards the horizon. This will help you find balance. Again, keep your knees slightly bent at all times.
And there you have it!
We understand that it may seem like there is a lot to keep track of when starting out, but trust us when we say that practice makes perfect.
Take your time and focus on improving your technique gradually over the next few weeks. If you are a visual learner and would like to see us demonstrate the jump rope basics described above, we have a great technique tutorial on our YouTube channel called Jump Rope Fundamentals For Beginners.
Common Beginner Mistakes to Avoid
Now that we have covered what you should do to achieve proper form let’s quickly discuss some of the jump rope “don’ts.” There are many common jump rope mistakes you should aim to avoid as you look to improve your form and learn the basics.
Most beginner mistakes are fairly easy to correct, and doing so will help you avoid some common jump rope injuries.
- The most common mistake we see with beginners relates to jump rope weight. Light ropes are popular with beginners for two reasons. First, speed is sexy – we all want to jump like a boxer or Olympic wrestler. Second, light ropes tend to be cheaper. However, light ropes not only wear out quickly, but they are more difficult to control. A weighted rope (like the Crossrope jump ropes we linked above) will help you effectively time your jumps and give you a better feel for rope rotation.
- Next, beginners tend to have a difficult time with proper wrist and arm positioning. If you notice that you consistently trip over your rope while jumping, you may have your wrists (and arms) too far extended from the sides of your body. This extra space shortens the rope and can lead to tripping.
- Another common beginner mistake is jumping too high. As you learn the basics, it is totally normal to try and overemphasize jump height to make sure that the rope passes cleanly beneath your feet. Remember, your rope will go as high as your body does. Excessive height can result in injury, and you are still very likely to trip. Try to keep your jump height between one and two inches while keeping your feet together and your knees slightly bent.
- Finally, newbies tend to have general posture problems, from a hunched back to flailing arms. Try to focus on aligning the top of your head with the balls of your feet as you jump, keeping your eyes in line with the horizon and your back straight.
Jump Rope Exercises for Beginners
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do while jumping rope let’s take a look at some jump rope exercises for beginners.
In this section we will cover three basic movements, starting with regular jump rope bounce. As you become more experienced and gain more confidence in your jumping, you can move on to some of the more advanced movements in our comprehensive guide, 29 Best Jump Rope Exercises For Fat Loss.
1. Regular Jump Rope Bounce
This movement is a foundational exercise for beginners. It will help you learn the fundamentals and correct any of the mistakes we just covered in the section above. To perfectly execute the “regular jump rope bounce,” you will need to keep your arms to your sides as you use your wrists to rotate the rope, jumping with both feet together and landing both at the same time.
Don’t excessively move your shoulders or elbows, and be sure to bounce on the balls of your feet. Keep your jumping height steady – between one and two inches – and control your pace, synchronizing it with your jumps. As you can see in the video below, the goal is to spin the rope over your head and jump over it each time it rotates down to your feet.
2. Feet Front to Back
The “feet front to back” exercise involves, as the name suggests, taking turns moving one foot in front of you and the other behind you with each rope rotation. Begin your routine with a regular jump rope bounce. In mid-bounce, slightly move one foot forward while moving the other one to the back. Once you complete the bounce, switch the position of your feet so that one foot is always in the front and the other in the back.
3. Feet Side to Side
Similar to the “feet front to back exercise,” the “feet side to side” technique also alternates with each rope rotation. Start with regular bounce. Once you have your rhythm under control, jump and land with your feet apart. On the next jump, bring your feet back together and continue to repeat the pattern. Your movements should resemble jumping jacks, but with less space between your feet while they are apart.
Jump Rope Tricks for Beginners
Now that you’ve mastered a few basic jump rope exercises, it’s time to move on to some more complex movements. This section will guide you through some different jump rope tricks that you can try once you feel comfortable with the basics.
A word of advice – it is very important to master the basics of jumping rope before trying these tricks!
This way, you will build your confidence, avoid injury, and steer clear of the common mistakes mentioned above. Here are some quick tips to practice before trying the tricks outlined below.
- Focusing on effectively managing your rhythm. Bounce on the midsoles of your feet and count “1, 2, 3, 4” to develop a good pace. If a trick gets too complex, try doing or mimicking the movement without the rope.
- Be in total control of your body. Remember, you decide which part of your body does the “hard” work. Focus on rotating the rope with your wrists while keeping your elbows and shoulders in their proper position.
- Understand your rope – feel it and try to focus on where it is without using your eyes. If you are having a tough time connecting with your rope in this way, you may need to try a heavier rope.
Let’s take a look at three tricks for beginners. If you need a visual aid, we have an easy-to-follow tutorial on our YouTube channel for tricks one and two, and a second tutorial for trick number three. Once you master these three tricks, you can move on to some of our favorite advanced jump rope tricks.
1. Side Straddle
To perform the side straddle, you need to imagine there’s a vertical invisible line that goes right between your feet. As you jump with both feet together, shift your feet, so you land with both feet on the right of the line. Keep rotating your jump rope with your wrists. With the following jump, shift your feet to the left and land with both feet on the left of the invisible line.
Pro tip: you don’t need to jump that far from the invisible line when performing the side straddle. Remember to always bounce on the midsoles of your feet and keep your knees slightly bent. Thus, you will always be ready for your next jump.
The run-in-place trick is very similar to the regular bounce but with a little more pep in your step. To perform this trick, you will need to alternate your body weight between each foot every time you bounce. Instead of simply jumping up and down on both feet, you are switching between your left foot and right foot, mimicking the form for “running” in place.
One of the most important elements of this trick is timing and rhythm. Try counting “1, 2, 3, 4” (or left, right, left, right) in your head. You don’t need to start off at a very fast pace. Instead, try finding the best pace for you before increasing your speed.
3. How to Do Double-Unders
OK, so the double-under is not technically a pure “beginners” trick.
However, the trick is very similar to regular bounce. Once you master this basic jump rhythm, it’s just a matter of increasing the speed of the rope and allowing it to pass under your feet two times. That is to say, you will do two rope rotations after a single bounce.
There are three elements to keep in mind as you look to perform the perfect double-under: jump height, wrists, and posture.
First, you will need to increase your jump height to 4-6 inches (rather than 1-2 we use for regular bounce). Next, as you jump, you will need to quickly move your wrists forward for an explosive first rotation. Important – after your first explosive rotation, allow the momentum of the rope to carry it around your body a second time right before your feet land. Avoid trying to spin the rope hard a second time as this will likely result in a nasty rope whip. Lastly, be sure to keep your posture straight – this will help you secure a soft landing and avoid injury.
To learn more about double-unders, check out our detailed blog post on the topic.
Cool Down and Recovery
Cooling down after cardiovascular exercise is just as important as warming up.
In the same way that warming up prepares your body for the stress of vigorous physical activity, stretching and cooling down help your body temperature and heart rate return to their normal levels while reducing lactic acid buildup and minimizing post-workout muscle stiffness.
Additionally, cooling down after working out is also beneficial for your mind. While we certainly love jumping rope, we also understand that our minds need to return to a place of calm once we are finished with an intense workout – we need to get back to our friends, families, and business. This dual need for mind and body recovery is why we recommend yoga as one of the best post-workout recovery exercises.
If you want to give recovery yoga a try, Brandon has a great video on our YouTube channel called At Home Jump Rope Recovery Yoga.
Jump Rope FAQs
Before we wrap up our Ultimate Beginners Guide, we wanted to share some of the most common jump rope questions we receive.
The questions below come directly from our awesome JRD community members, many of whom are new to jumping rope. Remember, if you have any questions or doubts, you can always connect with us on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, email us directly at email@example.com, or connect with us on the coaching forum via our brand new community platform, Jump Rope Dudes TV.
Is Jump Rope Good Cardio?
Yes! Jumping rope is a great cardiovascular exercise. In fact, it is the best cardio workout around. It decreases the risk of heart disease, burns calories, and works your entire body while jacking your heart rate – claims that few other exercise tools can make.
Does Jump Rope Burn Fat?
Yes. Jump rope burns fat – and a lot of it!. We (Dan and Brandon) have both transformed our lives and our bodies jumping rope. Combining the jump rope with some healthy habits results in burning fat while having fun. Don’t believe us? Check out how JRD community member Andreaa lost 100 pounds jumping rope:
How Many Calories Will I Burn Jumping Rope?
Jumping rope is great for burning calories. However, it is important to note that, just as with any type of exercise, the amount of calories you burn depends on the intensity of your workout. For example, we have proven that you can burn 500 calories in only 15 minutes if you put the pedal to the metal and DO THE THING.
What Muscles Does Jump Rope Work?
This question can get very tricky. While jumping rope is proven to work your entire body, it also depends on the type of rope you use. The heavier the rope, the more intense the workout will be for your upper body. Generally speaking, you can expect to work your glutes, hamstrings, calves, quads, abs, shoulders, forearms, biceps, triceps, and delts.
How Do I Avoid Jump Rope Injuries?
While injuries are to be expected with any workout routine, jump rope-specific injuries can be prevented by sticking to the fundamentals, including warming up and cooling down. Check out our top tips for avoiding jump rope injuries to learn more.
And there you have it – the only beginner’s guide you will ever need for jumping rope. We know that we just covered a lot of material, but trust us when we tell you that you got this. Take it slow, go at your own pace, focus on mastering the fundamentals, and, most importantly, have fun!
Whether you are a beginner or advanced jumper, if you need any additional guidance or workout routines, be sure to check out the JRD YouTube channel. We have hundreds of videos covering everything from advanced tips and tricks to transformations and product reviews. Remember, we are here to help you develop a healthy lifestyle and have fun while doing it.
Lastly, if you are interested in testing out your jump rope skills and getting to know our awesome JRD community, we encourage you to check out our upcoming (and entirely free!) 7-day jump rope beginner challenge.
Until next time fam – keep doing the thing!