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.
|Detail||Jumping Rope||Jumping Jacks|
|Calories Burned*||293-439+ calories||293+ calories|
|Muscles Worked||Upper And Lower Body||Upper And Lower Body|
|Injury Risk||Medium||Medium, Higher|
|Busy-Schedule-Friendly||Very Great||Very Great|
|Budget Required||Very Low||Very Low, A Bit Lower|
|Complexity To Do||Easy/Medium||Easy|
*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.
|Slow Rope Jumping||Moderate Tempo|
|Fast Rope Jumping|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||236 calories||295 calories||354 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||293 calories||366 calories||439 calories|
|185 Pounds (83 kg)||350 calories||437 calories||524 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||406 calories||508 calories||610 calories|
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.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|8 calories||118 calories||236 calories||354 calories||473 calories|
|10 calories||146 calories||293 calories||439 calories||586 calories|
|12 calories||175 calories||350 calories||524 calories||699 calories|
|14 calories||203 calories||406 calories||610 calories||813 calories|
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.
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.
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.