Why Jump Rope is the Best Cardio Workout
Every Monday morning is the same. People had a rough weekend and they’re finally gonna start a new workout habit. They’re tired of carrying extra weight around and this will be the week they begin getting in shape.
So what do they do?
They pull out their phone and Google the closest gym. Then they drive across town, spend half an hour signing a stack of forms, and stumble over to the treadmills for some easy cardio.
People default to cardio workouts because they are simple and easy. You can walk into any gym and step onto a treadmill. Or you just put on a pair of sneakers and run out the door.
We’re all about making fitness accessible and simple, but how effective and sustainable is running, jogging, or elliptical machines for your cardio health? Especially if you’re not having fun.
One of the top killers of a daily exercise routine is boredom. Running can get dull after awhile and no one enjoys feeling like a hamster on a wheel going around in circles.
That’s why we love jump rope so much. You can do it anywhere, it doesn’t take up much room, and every single workout can be different. You can’t get bored when you’re having a blast AND it works.
We #dothething every day and you can get our daily jump rope workouts right here.
The Lowdown on Cardio
Before we get into how jump rope can replace your boring cardio workouts, we want to clear up what “cardio” actually means and why you should care about it.
What exactly is cardio?
Technically speaking, “cardio” is short for “cardiovascular” and involves any exercise that raises your heart rate.
Cardio exercises typically involve your large muscle groups, or you’re moving your whole body, for a sustained amount of time that keeps your heart rate at an elevated (but safe) level.
Why should you care about cardio health?
Only the muscles you use get stronger. You do this through intentional exercise and moving around every day.
Your heart is a muscle that’s pumping away 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t pay attention to it and work it out just like your arms or abs, it will get weaker over time and eventually give out on you.
Your heart health is literally life or death.
What’s the impact/value of cardio exercises?
Cardio exercises focus on sustained activity over time with the intention of strengthening your heart and lungs.
However, simple cardio exercises like running can’t be your only workout activity or you’ll neglect your other muscle groups which can lead to health risks.
There’s no point in being jacked or ripped if you can’t outrun the zombies. :)
What are the different popular types of cardio workouts?
There’s a lot of variety when it comes to cardio exercises, but they aren’t all equal. Different workouts are more effective than others. However, something is always better than nothing.
Common cardio exercises include walking, running, elliptical, swimming, rowing, and of course jump rope.
One of the best methods is high intensity interval training (or HIIT) workouts.
These routines use short intervals of high intensity activity followed by brief rest periods. This combination of extreme intensity and a quick rest is one of the most effective training methods as it burns both fat and calories.
Our jump rope workouts rely heavily on the HIIT methodology and allow you to reach your fitness goals in less than 30 minutes a day, anywhere you want.
We know working out can get lonely, even if you like to exercise by yourself. We’ve created an awesome community of jump rope fitness fanatics where you can get fresh daily workouts plus coaching and accountability.
How to Burn Calories with Jump Rope Cardio
We’re not trying to brag (ok maybe a little), but we know that jump rope works.
It’s fun plus it burns fat and calories while giving your heart a good workout.
Jump rope is the most efficient and fun way to lose body fat and get a lean muscular physique like any soccer player, football wide receiver, basketball shooting guard, or sprinter.
These athletes are lean, strong, and fast because they do cardio the right way. They’re not just trudging on a treadmill for thirty minutes. They are intense, focused, and intentional because they don’t have time to waste. Game day is coming.
So how do you do that?
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
But first, we need to address one of the most common questions we get:
How many calories does jump rope burn?
Short answer: it depends.
Long answer: Everyone's body is different, so everyone burns a different number of calories. It all depends on the intensity you put into the workout.
Jump rope is an incredibly efficient workout and you can burn about 500 calories on average in 30 minutes or less.
Grab a set of our favorite jump ropes from Crossrope right here. You’ll see them featured in ALL of our workout videos. We love them because they’re weighted AND they last a long time.
Here are the keys to killer cardio with jump rope:
1. Maximize the intensity
Jump rope helps you burn a massive amount of calories in a short amount of time. The more intense you work, the more calories you burn.
Don't focus on the number of calories you think you're burning, but instead pretend you're getting chased by a cheetah.
If you imagine you’re about the get mauled by the fastest land mammal, 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.
2. HIIT your workouts and don’t quit
One reason the jump rope workouts burn so many calories is because of the HIIT style of the routine structure.
We covered the HIIT method in more detail above, but as a reminder it’s high intensity interval training which means intense periods of exercise followed by concise periods of rest.
You’ll see a couple sample workouts below, but you can find more of our HIIT workouts here.
3. Do the right tricks
Not all jump rope exercises are created equal.
If you want to get the highest calorie burn during your HIIT cardio workout, you should focus on intense jump rope tricks like double unders, triple unders, high knees, and running in place.
These movements expend a massive amount of calories when intensely applied because of the whole body coordination involved.
4. Have fun!
You’re going get the most out of your HIIT workout by having fun.
Jump to some good tunes. Whatever gets you moving. Hip hop, rap, rock, country, jazz, whatever. Put on music that inspires you and makes you want to get after it.
We know it’s not always easy (that’s why it’s called a “work” out), but if you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.
5. Get a workout buddy
They say misery loves company, but the motivated like it, too.
When you’ve got someone else skipping beside you it’s easier to stay motivated and consistent.
Jump rope with a friend and #dothething together to challenge and support each other.
You’ll even learn tricks faster and help each other to push through the hard days to stay on track.
6. Always move the bar
We keep talking about intensity, but it’s often the missing link to reaching your goals.
Push yourself to the max every time. As you get better, the max will increase over time and your body will turn into a fat-burning furnace.
Even if you're a beginner, jump rope may seem intimidating to start, with practice it's a ton of fun and allows you a bunch of freedom.
Jump Rope vs Jogging
A typical challenge people have when working out is knowing what to do.
What exercises are the most effective?
How much time do I have to workout?
Which equipment is available?
How many reps should I do?
What do I wear?
When am I done?
Jogging is an easy default for cardio since it’s so simple. Just put your shoes on, head out the door, and start shuffling down the street.
Now, that’s a perfectly fine first step because it gets your butt off the couch and moving around. Jogging is better for your heart health than Fortnite.
However, just because a workout is simple doesn’t mean it’s effective.
Think of yourself as an investor. You only have so much time and you need to decide where to invest it. Consider where your time is best spent.
We're always thinking about the return on investment (ROI) of our time. Are you getting the most out of your workout for the time and energy you invest in it?
That's why we do jump rope.
1. What burns more calories?
Jump rope can burn up to 1000-1300 calories per hour.
Jogging at a moderate pace will let you burn about 350 calories per hour. If you're going at a little bit of a higher pace you're looking at burning around 500 calories per hour.
Based on our simple math jump rope burns at least 2X the calories as jogging.
Running also burns more calories than jogging, but you can't actually run for sustained periods of time.
2. What has a lower risk of injury?
We get asked about this all the time when people are just starting out with jump rope. They want to know if they start skipping consistently if they should be worried about getting injured.
Our answer: Nope!
The reason why is because jump rope only requires you to bounce 1-2 inches high.
Advanced tricks like double unders might require you to jump 3-4 inches, but most of your jump rope workouts will only have you jumping slightly off the ground.
This minimizes the amount of impact to your body, specifically your ankle and knee joints. Proper jump rope form keeps you on the balls of your feet and focuses any stress on your muscles while maintaining good posture.
Jogging is generally considered a low impact exercise so most people don't think they'll get injured jogging because it's so chill.
Unfortunately, almost 80% of people who go jogging on a consistent basis will experience at least 1 injury every single year.
4 out of 5 people who go jogging are gonna get injured within that first year?! That's crazy!!
The reason jogging has a high likelihood of injury is because of the constant shifting of your entire body weight from foot to foot. This added impact creates greater stress on your ankles, knees, and hips which can lead to injury.
With jump rope, most of your skipping is done with both feet so your body weight is more equally distributed, lowering the impact to your joints.
3. What takes less time?
Everyone has felt like they're too busy to workout. You've got school, work, family, friends, whatever and the day just gets filled up.
Trying to squeeze in a workout on top of all of that is tough.
Time is the most quoted reason our jump rope community members have shared for not reaching their fitness goals.
Time is precious. Time is money. Once you spend it, you can't get it back.
We've already looked at the rate of calorie burning. Jump rope just burns more calories than jogging. The math don’t lie.
That's why we believe in jump rope and crank out new workout videos on our YouTube channel (JRD LINK).
No matter how busy you are, you can fit in a workout that's just 5, 10, 20, or 30 minutes long.
If you're so busy that you can't spend 5 minutes taking care of your body so you can live long and sexy, you need to reevaluate your priorities.
When it comes to jogging, time is more subjective. The longer you jog for, the more calories you'll burn, but it'll take at least twice as long as jumping rope.
Why jog for 2-3 hours when you can get the same benefits in 30-45 minutes of jump rope?
If you're strapped for time and you've only got 15-30 minutes to spare, jump rope is guaranteed to give you a higher ROI for your time.
4. What is more fun?
Ugh. Jogging is so boring.
If you're inside, you're jogging on a treadmill like a human hamster on a wheel. If you're outside, it's probably the same route each time and you're seeing the same stuff.
Not the mention jogging is just the same left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot movement over and over and over until you die.
Jump rope is something you can do anywhere! Beach, mountain, park, sidewalk, backyard, parking lot, gym, living room, garage, and more.
There aren't really any limits to the places you can explore when you're jumping rope.
Make your workout an adventure!
Another aspect that makes jump rope so much fun is that skipping is a skill.
It's not like you learn to jump rope in a day and that's it for the rest of your life (like jogging). There's tons of jump rope tricks you can learn and incorporate into your workout to keep it fresh.
If you need a jump rope, checkout the sets by Crossrope. They’ve got the best ropes in the industry and we use them every single day (and not just for our sweet videos).
Improve Your Cardio Endurance with Jump Rope
We’ve talked all about how jump rope is an efficient and effective cardio workout, but how do you improve your cardio endurance with jump rope?
Step 1: Master the basics
First off, you've gotta start with the basics.
Proper form is critical in order to avoid injury and minimize your chance of tripping up.
If you don't have the basics down, you can't level up your performance with intensity or more challenging tricks.
To make sure you've mastered the essentials first and perfect your jump rope form, checkout our 7-day beginner jump rope challenge here.
Step 2: Establish a baseline
How do you know if you're actually improving your cardio endurance or not?
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.
Step 3: Record your baseline
Write it down.
You can use an app on your phone, a notebook, or a spreadsheet.
Just record it somewhere you'll remember it and can easily access.
This will give you a metric to measure your progress in the coming weeks as you practice jump rope and #dothething.
Step 4: Establish a routine
The next step is to put everything you've learned into regular practice over the next 4 weeks (we think you'll be addicted to jump rope before then).
We recommend 3-5 workouts a week where you simply start the timer again and see how long you can jump rope.
Every time you exercise, try to push yourself for a little bit longer.
If your baseline was only 1 minute, try to jump for 1 minute and 1 second the next time. It's all about consistent, incremental improvement.
Always try to beat your last time and compete with yourself. You'll be amazed what you can accomplish over the next 4 weeks.
Step 5: Utilize mind hacks
There are some tactics you can use to trick your mind and improve your cardio endurance.
Most of your limitations are mental, not physical.
Something we do is focus on our breath and try to get into a meditative state. Sort of like being in the zone where you kind of lose sense of time and outside distractions melt away.
All we're focused on is the present moment and that next breath.
Another "hack" is to listen to music that inspires you.
When you listen to music it helps you easily get into the zone, you feel the beat moving through your entire body which benefits your jump rope rhythm, and it gets you amped up to workout.
Music also distracts you from pain, keeps you from getting bored, and helps you push yourself to work harder.
Step 6: Review progress
How do you know your cardio endurance is improving if you don't measure your progress after the baseline?
After 4 weeks, review the progress you've made by comparing your baseline to how far you've come in your jump rope workouts.
Commit yourself. Put in the work. Track your progress every single time you workout. Push yourself and try to beat your last time every time.
We know you'll be amazed with your results and we can't wait to celebrate with you.
Step 7: Next steps
Once you complete this 4-week challenge, we recommend continuing to work on your cardio endurance.
Jump Rope Cardio Workouts
Alright, we’ve covered the cardio benefits of jump rope and why it’s a superior exercise, but what about the actual workouts?
We’ve got dozens of jump rope workouts and trick tutorials (JRD LINK) for you. We can’t list them all on this article, but here is one of our favorites:
This routine alternates 45 seconds of jump rope movements with 15 seconds of rest and uses two of the weighted ropes from Crossrope (you can get them here).
We’ve incorporated some basic tricks to make the workout more fun, and we will provide demo videos below for each of them.
45 seconds jump rope (1/4 lb)
15 seconds regular bounce
15 seconds boxer skip
15 seconds side swipe
15 seconds rest
45 seconds jump rope (1/2 lb)
15 seconds fast skip
15 seconds single leg skip
15 seconds side swipe
15 sec rest
Repeat for 10 min (1 round)
Beginners complete 2 rounds
Advanced complete 3 rounds
Jump Rope Demo Videos
Single Leg Skip
If you #dothething each day and the best version of that for you is running, jogging, or a bodyweight HIIT routine, keep up the good work.
But if you’re bored with running in circles, tired of relying on an empty machine being available at the gym, or frustrated with the lack of results, give jump rope a try.
Jump rope helps you burn fat and calories in a fraction of the time as common cardio exercises. And it’s more fun!