Jumping Rope Vs Jumping Jacks: Risks, Calories,…

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Jumping rope and jumping jacks do both involve jumps but they are also very different. Find out what activity is the best for you.

First of all, both jumping rope and jumping jacks can offer benefits like improving cardiovascular health, bone density, mood, sleep, and more.

That aside, jumping rope tends to be easier to do at high speeds. This offers a bit more calorie burning and cardiovascular health training.

On the flip side, jumping jacks are likely better if you really want to engage upper body muscles like your deltoids (shoulder), and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) to warm up or improve endurance.

At the same time, keep in mind that jumping jacks can also be uncomfortable on your shoulder joints.

You want to weigh the upsides and downsides of jumping rope and jumping jacks against each other. Depending on your personal training goals and preferences one or the other can be the better choice.

DetailJumping RopeJumping Jacks
Calories Burned*293-439+ calories293+ calories
Muscles WorkedUpper And Lower BodyUpper And Lower Body
More Intensely
Injury RiskMediumMedium, Higher
Busy-Schedule-FriendlyVery GreatVery Great
Budget RequiredVery LowVery Low, A Bit Lower
Complexity To DoEasy/MediumEasy
Overview of jumping rope vs jumping jacks

*Approximation for a 155-pound person doing the exercise for 30 minutes

Jumping jacks vs jump rope skipping calories burned

One of the details most people are interested in when comparing jumping rope vs jumping jacks is how many calories each exercise burns.

Something to note first is that both jumping rope and jumping jacks help you use up more energy, aka burn more calories.

Below you can find an overview of a few predictions about these amounts for different bodyweights and intensities.

However, keep in mind that these are rough estimations. In reality, the calories you burn can vary due to differences in body composition, hormone levels, exact intensity, etc.

Additionally, the amounts below are for during the workout.

Jumping rope and doing jumping jacks at high intensities can also cause afterburn. This is where you burn more calories than usual for a certain amount of time after you stop working out.

If you compare the jumping rope vs jumping jacks; the estimations say that jumping rope has more potential for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time. How intensely you do each exercise matters a lot.

Calories burned with jumping rope

If you are interested in more in-depth estimations and how these numbers were calculated, you can check out the article on how many calories jumping rope burns.

Weight Person
Slow Rope JumpingModerate Tempo
Rope Jumping
Fast Rope Jumping
125 Pounds (56 kg)236 calories295 calories354 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)293 calories366 calories439 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)350 calories437 calories524 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)406 calories508 calories610 calories
Calories burned per 30 minutes of jumping rope at different intensities

Calories burned with jumping jacks

The calorie-burning estimations of jumping jacks are less precise in that there are no different speeds or resistances. Because of this, the table below shows more time intervals instead.

Again, you can read the article on how many calories jumping jacks burn for more details.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds
(56 kg)
8 calories118 calories236 calories354 calories473 calories
155 Pounds
(70 kg)
10 calories146 calories293 calories439 calories586 calories
185 Pounds
(83 kg)
12 calories175 calories350 calories524 calories699 calories
215 Pounds
(97 kg)
14 calories203 calories406 calories610 calories813 calories
Calories burned with jumping jacks

Jumping rope or jumping jacks for fat loss

Some people think they have to stay at specific heart rates, eat certain foods, or do specific exercise to burn fat in specific areas like their belly.

However, whether or not jumping rope and jumping jacks help you lose belly fat depends more on details like your genes and how far you are into your weight loss journey.

Your best bet for losing belly fat is losing weight overall and hoping your body decides that specific area is next.

Since jumping rope offers more calorie-burning potential, you can say it is slightly better than jumping jacks for fat loss.

Muscles worked jumping rope vs jumping jacks

Jumping rope and jumping jacks are both cardio exercises. That means that they mainly focus on your cardiovascular system.

At the same time, these activities do engage a variety of muscles.

This can help slow down degradation, making the muscles healthier, and improving muscle endurance.

Jumping rope does engage a few upper body muscles to a certain extent but the main focus will be on leg muscles like your calves, quadriceps, glutes,and hamstrings.

On the other side, jumping jacks will engage these same leg muscles but also the inner thigh, outer thigh, deltoid (shoulder), and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) muscles.

Your muscles also generally have to work harder while doing jumping jacks compared to jumping rope.

So if you want to engage the most muscles to the largest extent, jumping jacks will likely be the best choice.

That being said, keep in mind that you want to turn to weight lifting exercises like for example squats, shoulder presses, and/or pull-ups if you really want to grow and strengthen the muscles mentioned.

People doing jumping jacks

Injury risk of jumping rope vs jumping jacks

Many people forget your choice of exercise should not only depend on how many calories you burn and what muscles you work.

How jumping rope and jumping jacks compare in terms of injury risk matters a lot too. When you are injured, the amount of time you can exercise can go to 0.

Consistency is an important factor when improving your health. Doing one big workout is often not as effective as three medium ones.

Workouts that may seem less effective per minute could actually offer more results in the long term by helping you avoid periods of injury in which you do no exercise at all.

Both jumping rope and jumping jacks put a relatively high amount of pressure on body parts like your ankles, knees, and back.

That being said, the injury risk in jumping jacks is generally higher than in jumping rope.

The main reason for this is the intense arm movements. Shoulder joints tend to be relatively sensitive to injuries. Especially in big and rough movements like in jumping jacks.

Additionally, because your feet move around more, jumping jacks will also involve a higher injury risk for your ankles.

If you have bad knees and a lot of pounds to lose you most likely don’t want to go straight to either jumping jacks or jumping rope.

In a situation like that, walking, the elliptical trainer, swimming, or other alternatives to jumping rope and jumping jacks are likely better workout choices.

Some people are more injury sensitive than others. How important this detail of the comparison is depends on your personal situation.

Ease of implementation in your routine

If you don’t do a workout, it will not give you any health benefits.

Something that influences whether your workouts get done is how easy it is to implement them in your daily life.

Luckily, you can easily do both jumping rope and jumping jacks basically anywhere. Including at home.

It is also possible to do these types of workouts for only a few minutes when you have some spare time.

Woman jumping rope

The budget required for each workout

Investing money into your health can be great but in some cases, you can get similar or more benefits with a smaller budget.

Jumping rope almost doesn’t require any budget at all. A quality jumping rope is not expensive at all and you don’t even need a good pair of shoes.

Jumping jacks do even better in this area. They don’t require any budget at all.

That being said, since jump ropes are so cheap, the difference in budget required is as good as irrelevant.

Complexity to do jumping rope vs jumping jacks

Some exercises, gym machines, and workouts involve a steep learning curve before you can do them to their full extents. As examples, certain kettlebell exercises and dancing styles could be a bit more complicated.

This can be suboptimal in the sense that it can make working out feel more overwhelming.

Additionally, the time you spend learning the movement is time you are not able to work out.

Jumping rope and jumping jacks are not the most challenging activities.

However, jumping rope at a higher intensity may require some practice and coordination. In that sense, jumping jacks are better in this area.

Are jumping jacks better than skipping for you?

By now, it should be clear that both jumping rope and doing jumping jacks have their upsides and downsides. You can find a quick recap of the benefits of each exercise below.

However, you still need to decide for yourself, and potentially try out each exercise, to find out whether jumping jacks is better than skipping for your personal situation or not.

Additionally, people who are relatively inactive and/or have a few extra pounds a lose likely want to start with low-impact jump rope and jumping jack alternatives instead. Some examples include walking, rowing, and swimming.

Lastly, how much you enjoy jumping rope and/or jumping jacks matters too. This can help with staying consistent with your exercise routine which is essential to get the benefits to the full extent.

Benefits of jumping rope

Some of the unique benefits of jumping rope include that it tends to be better for burning calories and training cardiovascular health.

Additionally, it tends to involve a lower injury risk, especially for your shoulder joints.

Benefits of jumping jacks

On the other hand, some of the benefits of jumping jacks come from engaging muscles all over your body. This can lead to better endurance in more different areas and could be more useful as a full-body warmup.

Additionally, you don’t need any equipment at all to do this exercise. Even if you don’t have a jump rope near, you can get your heart rate up with a few minutes of jumping jacks.

Besides these things, jumping jacks will also be easier to learn and implement at high intensities.

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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.