How Effective Is Jumping Rope?

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Jumping rope may look challenging and intense but is it also effective? Find out how this activity compares to alternatives.

While they are not perfect, MET values are a way to indicate how effective certain activities are for goals like burning calories and engaging your cardiovascular system.

Below, you can find a more in-depth list and a source with even more MET examples.

However, some MET values include 3.5 for walking at 3 mph, 7 for stationary rowing at a moderate effort, 10.3 for swimming breaststroke, 11.8 for moderate-pace rope jumping, and 12.3 for running at 8.6 mph.

That means you can definitely say jumping rope is effective for burning calories and engaging your cardiovascular system.

Additionally, this type of exercise is relatively good for improving bone density and coordination.

How effective is jumping rope compared to other workouts?

How effective a certain exercise is depends on what your training goal is and even then, it can be hard to measure accurately.

That being said, there are still ways to give you a rough idea about how jumping rope compares to other exercises.

MET values (metabolic equivalent of task) are a type of measurement/estimation of how much energy certain activities require. 1 MET is about how much energy you expend when sitting down quietly.

The conversion is not perfect but you can also use these as an indication of how effective exercises are for engaging your cardiovascular system.

One important thing to note before getting into these numbers for jumping rope and other workouts is that MET values are not perfect.

Sometimes they are estimations and even if they are not, your exact intensity will ultimately decide your MET. “Jumping rope at a moderate pace” is not the most specific intensity level.

With that in mind, here are some MET values for jumping rope and other workouts to get an idea of how effective each exercise is for burning calories and engaging your cardiovascular system (1):

  • Walking (3 mph = 4.8 kmh): 3.5 MET
  • Stationary rowing (moderate effort): 7 MET
  • Bicycling (12.5 mph = 20.1 kmh): 8 MET
  • Running (5 mph = 8.1 kmh): 8.3 MET
  • Rope jumping (slow pace): 8.8 MET
  • Stair climbing (fast pace): 8.8 MET
  • Swimming breaststroke (general): 10.3 MET
  • Running (6.7 mph = 10.8 kmh): 10.5 MET
  • Rope jumping (moderate pace): 11.8 MET
  • Running (8.6 mph = 13.8 kmh): 12.3 MET
  • Rope jumping (fast pace): 12.3 MET
  • Running (10 mph = 16.1 kmh): 14.5 MET

As you can see, jumping rope is relatively effective for burning calories, engaging your cardiovascular system, and in turn, typical aerobic exercise benefits. Especially if you implement it regularly and potentially every day.

How long should you jump rope to lose weight?

Besides getting a general idea of how intense a certain exercise is, MET values can also be used to estimate how many calories jumping rope burns for people with certain body weights in certain time frames.

For example, a 155-pound (70 kg) individual can burn around the following amounts of calories when jumping rope for 10 minutes at different intensities:

  • Slow pace rope jumping: 98 calories
  • Moderate pace rope jumping: 122 calories
  • Fast pace rope jumping: 146 calories

In reality, these numbers can look different for you due to differences in body weight, body composition, hormone levels, exact speed, etc.

That being said, if you know that one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat is around 3500 calories, you can start to calculate back to how long you should jump rope and how many jump ropes you need to do to lose weight.

One thing you do want to keep in mind about this is that other lifestyle habits like what you eat play a big role in whether and to what extent jumping rope will help you lose weight.

You can do this activity a lot and still not lose weight with suboptimal eating habits. Additionally, whether jumping rope burns belly fat or fat from other areas is generally not something you can significantly influence.

How effective is jumping rope for improving bone density?

This next effect of jumping rope may be surprising to some people but this activity can actually be relatively effective for improving your bone density.

Similar to many other body parts, you can strengthen your bones by putting them under enough but safe amounts of pressure, giving your body enough nutrients, and resting enough.

It is hard to put this effect into exact numbers that you can compare with other exercises.

That being said, lifting heavy weights is generally the most effective way to improve bone density.

After that, there are exercises and workouts with jumps like plyometrics, jumping rope, and running.

Next, there are land-based low-impact exercises like walking, cycling, using an elliptical machine, etc.

Lastly, things like swimming may be good for cardiovascular health but they will be less effective for improving bone density because the water takes a lot of pressure away from your bones.

Is jumping rope for improving coordination?

Something else that is easy to forget is that jumping rope can be effective for improving coordination.

Your first few skips ever were likely a bit clunky and you likely hit the rope a lot. Over time, you likely got better and better at coordinating your leg and arm movements in a way that allowed you to not hit the rope.

Additionally, there is likely still room for improvement. Potentially by implementing some of the more complicated jump rope tricks.

Compared to something like riding a stationary bike where all of your movements are decided in advance, jumping rope will be a lot better for improving coordination.

In turn, better coordination can help you avoid misstepping with your feet and avoiding bumping into things with your arms. These things can help you avoid accidents in your daily life (and improve your jump rope sessions).

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.