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Jumping Rope Vs Jumping Jacks: Risks, Calories,…

Jumping Jacks Vs Jumping Rope Risks, Calories,...

It’s clear that exercising can offer many health benefits. There are however a lot of options, how do jumping rope and jumping jacks compare?

The health benefits of a good workout range from weight loss to longevity and a lot in between. Jumping rope and jumping jacks are popular cardio workouts that can offer you these benefits.

If you want to burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time and you want to avoid upper body injuries at all costs jumping rope may be the best choice.

If you want to build some muscle over your entire body during your cardio workout jumping jacks can be the better choice. Do keep in mind that other bodyweight exercises can help more than jumping jacks with building muscle.

In the end you want to weigh the factors in this article against each other for your personal situation and think whether you can see yourself stick better to jumping rope or jumping jacks.

Jumping rope vs jumping jacks summary

Jumping RopeJumping Jacks
Calories Burned*293-439+ calories330+ calories
Building MuscleUpper And Lower BodyUpper And Lower Body More Intense
Injury RiskMediumMedium, Slightly Higher
Busy Schedule FriendlyVery GreatVery Great
Budget RequiredVery LowVery Low
Complexity To DoEasy/MediumEasy
*Approximation for a 155 pound person doing the exercise for 30 minutes

Jumping rope vs jumping jacks for calorie burning

The main difference most people care about when comparing jumping rope vs jumping jacks is how many calories each exercise burns.

The first thing you have to know that it is hard to make accurate predictions when it comes to calorie burning during workouts. These numbers vary a lot from person to person. Things like age, weight, activity levels, key hormone levels, and a lot more influence the actual amounts.

Another factor that makes these calorie-burning estimations less precise is that doing a workout at high intensity can also cause something called “afterburn”. This is basically having an increased metabolism for a while after you stop doing the exercise.

On top of that extra muscle mass will also benefit long-term calorie burning. If you gain more muscle mass with one exercise this can be a big benefit depending on your goals.

Another question is, what determines how many calories you can maximally burn with an exercise? For cardio workouts, this usually comes down to the capacity of your lungs and heart. This should come down to the same amount of calorie-burning for jumping rope vs jumping jacks during the workout.

That being said, there are still methods available to estimate the number of calories burned with both of the workouts. The below charts are estimations for individuals doing each workout for 30 minutes (1, 2).

If you compare the jumping rope vs jumping jacks the estimations would say that jumping rope is better when it comes to maximum calorie burning in the least amount of time. How intense you do each exercise matters a lot.

Calories burned with jumping rope

If you want more in-depth estimations and techniques to burn more calories while jumping rope make sure you read the article on how many calories jumping rope burns.

Weight Person
Slow Rope JumpingGeneral Moderate Tempo Rope JumpingFast 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
Chart of calories burned per 30 minutes of jumping rope at different intensities

Calories burned with jumping jacks

For jumping jacks there are less precise estimations available for different speeds or resistances. Because of that the below table is for different time intervals instead of different intensities like the jumping rope table above.

If you want to learn how to burn more calories while doing jumping jacks make sure you read the article on how many calories jumping jacks burn.

Weight Person
1 Minute15 Minutes30 Minutes45 Minutes60 Minutes
125 Pounds (56 kg)9 calories133 calories266 calories399 calories532 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)11 calories165 calories330 calories494 calories659 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)13 calories197 calories393 calories590 calories787 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)15 calories229 calories457 calories686 calories914 calories
Chart of calories burned with heavy and vigorous jumping jacks

Jumping rope or jumping jacks for fat loss

Some people get the impression that to burn fat you have to stay at a certain heart rate, eat certain foods, or do specific workouts.

Unfortunately, targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. To burn fat, or more specifically belly fat, you have to lose weight overall.

Since jumping rope seems to have more calorie-burning potential it would also be slightly better for fat loss than jumping jacks.

Jumping rope vs jumping jacks for building muscle

While jumping rope and jumping jacks are both cardio exercises, which means that they mainly focus on your cardiovascular system, they also help you build some muscle in other areas.

The health benefits of working out are great but building some muscle in the right places is also a nice bonus. On top of that the extra muscle mass will also help you burn extra calories after your workout is over.

With jumping rope you work out muscles in many areas of your entire body at a low intensity.

For jumping jacks you use slightly more muscles in a slightly more intense way. As an example your shoulder muscles will have to work a lot harder when doing jumping jacks vs during jumping rope.

For most muscle building goals jumping jacks will be better than jumping rope.

In any case, if you are serious about building muscle it’s better to turn to weight lifting exercises like for example squats.

People doing jumping jacks

Comparison of injury risk

Another important thing you need to look at in the jumping rope vs jumping jacks comparison is the injury risk with each of these workouts. An injury can reduce the amount of time you can exercise to 0 in the worst case.

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

That means that a workout with a smaller injury risk may burn fewer calories today but more in the long term by avoiding periods of injury in which you do no exercise at all.

Jumping jacks are generally slightly worse than jumping rope in this category. Both exercises put a relatively high amount of pressure on body parts like your knees and back. With jumping jacks you could additionally injure upper body parts like your shoulders.

While jumping jacks may be slightly worse, jumping rope isn’t eactly ideal too when talking about injuries.

If you have bad knees and a lot of pounds to lose you most likely shouldn’t go straight to either jumping jacks or jumping rope. If you are in a situation like that, walking, the elliptical trainer, or swimming are likely better workout choices.

Not everyone is as sensitive to injury so whether this factor is important depends on your personal situation.

Ease of implementation in your routine

As mentioned before, the workout that doesn’t get done doesn’t offer any benefits. How easy an exercise is to implement into your daily or weekly routine is very important.

Both jumping rope and jumping jacks can easily be done inside the comfort of your own home. You also generally don’t need that much free time, even if you just have a few spare minutes a day you can implement both exercises in your routine.

Woman jumping rope

The budget required for each workout

Money put into improving your health is generally a great investment but sometimes you can get the same effects with less. Depending on your situation this may be relevant.

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.

On the other hand, jumping jacks don’t require any budget at all. However, the difference in budget required between the two is extremely small, as good as irrelevant.

Complexity to do jumping rope vs jumping jacks

Some machines and workout almost require a university degree before you can use them optimally. For example some kettlebell workouts or something like dancing can be slightly more complicated to get started with.

When trying to stick to an exercise routine you want as little reasons as possible to not work out.

The difference between jumping rope and jumping jacks in terms of complexity to do is not super relevant. Jumping rope at a higher intensity may require some practice and coordination but likely not that much.

Which one is right for you?

Whether jumping rope or jumping jacks is the best choice for you depends on your personal situation.

If you want to burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time and you want to avoid upper body injuries at all costs, jumping rope is likely the best choice.

If you want to build some muscle over your entire body during your cardio workout jumping jacks may be the better choice. Although if building muscle is your goal you may want to choose other bodyweight exercises.

In case you are injury sensitive and carry around a lot of extra pounds you may look into workouts that are more knee and back friendly than both jumping rope and jumping jacks. Some examples include walking, the elliptical trainer, and swimming.

You also preferably want to like doing your workout. If you don’t, it becomes harder to stick to. The exercise that doesn’t get done doesn’t offer any health benefits.

Ultimately you want to weigh each of these factors versus each other for each workout and your individual situation. You can then decide which one suits you best. You can also give both a shot and find out which one works the best for you.