Jumping rope may sound like something only kids do but it can offer a variety of benefits. Find out what these positive effects are.
You can get both effects that are relatively specific to jumping rope and more general health benefits that are definitely worth paying attention to.
1. Jumping rope works a few muscles
One of the facts about jumping rope is that it will mainly be a cardiovascular workout for most people. That being said, you will definitely still work a few muscles during this activity.
While you should not expect too much or any actual muscle growth, engaging your muscles can still offer benefits.
Some of these positive effects include slowing down degradation, keeping the muscles healthier, and improving muscle endurance.
Some of the muscles you engage with jumping rope include:
- Quadriceps (front thighs)
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs)
- Core muscles like your abs, obliques, and erector spinae to some extent
- Deltoids (shoulder)
If you like the idea of engaging your muscles while jumping rope you can wear a heavy backpack, a weighted vest, wrist weights, or ankle weights, or use a weighted jump rope to do this to a larger extent.
This can lead to getting the benefits mentioned above to a larger extent.
At the same time, people who are serious about building muscle do want to choose weight lifting exercises over rope jumping.
2. Jumping rope can improve coordination and balance
Your first few jump rope sessions can be somewhat humbling in the sense that you are likely getting the rope stuck behind your feet a lot.
However, as you get used to this type of workout, you will be able to go for longer and longer amounts of time.
This is because coordination and balance are fitness skills you can train.
The way you do this is by doing activities like jumping rope that are challenging but not too challenging in these areas.
Over time, through the feedback of getting the rope stuck, your body will get better at moving the way you want to.
One study looked at the impact of an 8-week jumping rope workout program on the balance and motor coordination of 24 soccer players (1).
They observed that the jumping rope program significantly improved general motor coordination and balance.
Having better coordination and balance is not just helpful for getting more benefits out of your jump rope workouts. These skills can also help you avoid accidents in daily activities like climbing stairs.
3. Jumping rope can help you lose weight
Having excess body fat increases your risk of a variety of negative conditions. Luckily, jumping rope can help you avoid and/or reduce this excess body fat.
This is because jumping rope requires more energy from your body than standard daily activities.
In turn, it becomes easier to get to a point where you are using more energy than you are getting from the foods you eat. When this happens, you start using up energy stores like body fat.
How many calories jumping rope burns is not always easy to estimate but there are still a few rough numbers.
The average person will burn around 148 to 254 calories while jumping rope at a moderate pace for 15 minutes.
An important thing to note is that whether jumping rope actually helps you lose weight also depends on your lifestyle habits in areas like the things you eat.
Additionally, jumping rope can help you burn belly fat but it will not necessarily target this or other areas like your thighs. To get these benefits, you have to lose enough weight over time.
4. Jumping rope can improve cardiovascular health
While jumping rope does work your skeletal muscles to some extent, you will likely get out of breath before your muscle fatigue.
This is because jumping rope is mainly a cardiovascular workout that works your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. These body parts will have to work a lot harder than normal.
If you do this enough (but not too much), you can actually strengthen your cardiovascular system by jumping rope.
One study looked at how adding about 10-20 minutes of jumping rope per week on top of their current workout routine influenced a few factors in 96 active individuals (2).
Among other things, the study measured a significant difference in performance on a 3 km running trial between the jumping rope group and the control group in their jump rope statistics.
Since these conditions can be very bad and relatively common, you definitely want to consider adding rope jumping or other cardiovascular workouts to your routine.
How many jump ropes you should do for this purpose depends on your current cardiovascular health.
You can start with short sessions and build up to longer and more intense ones. For example, a 20-minute HIIT jump rope workout a few times a week can offer amazing benefits.
5. You can jump rope almost anywhere
Many sports and workouts require you to be in certain places.
This tends to be a downside from an exercise standpoint because the extra trips to these places make it harder to implement the workouts in your busy routine.
Even just having to spend 10 minutes in the car per workout really adds up if you are serious about exercising consistently.
One of the benefits of jumping rope is that you can do it almost anywhere.
This includes at home when the weather is rainy outside but jump ropes are also typically outdoor-friendly exercise equipment.
In turn, all you need to do your jump rope workouts is a few minutes of your time. You could even consider dividing these workouts into short sessions of a few minutes throughout the day.
6. Your bone density can improve by jumping rope
Not everyone is aware of it but your bones can actually adapt to the way you pressure them.
In fact, because the jumps in jumping rope offer a relatively high impact, this activity is one of the more effective cardiovascular workouts for improving bone density.
One study with 176 teenage girls observed that jumping rope may improve ankle bone density but not forearm bone density (9).
This benefit of jumping rope can be helpful for avoiding breaking your bones.
To many people, especially younger individuals, this may not sound that useful yet.
However, it is important to note that improving bone density can be relatively hard for older individuals.
Strengthening your bones when you are young and then preserving this bone density tends to be easier and can save you from a lot of issues in the future.
One thing to note is that this high-impact aspect can also be a downside if you are new to exercise and/or have a few extra pounds to lose.
In situations like these, it can be smarter to start with soft jump rope alternatives like walking, using an elliptical trainer, or rowing.