Back to Living Better

4 reasons you should jump rope for exercise

Jumping rope is no longer child’s play. Fitness experts across the country are promoting this total body workout as a quick and easy way to get your daily dose of cardio.

“It’s an amazing total body exercise that engages all of the major muscle groups,” says Clinton Maclin, ACSM CEP-CPO, an exercise physiologist and safety coach at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center.  “You can use it to warm up or as a stand-alone exercise, and it incorporates cardiovascular exercise and resistance training.”

If getting a total body burn isn’t enough, Maclin shares four more reasons you should incorporate jumping rope into your exercise routine:

1. You burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. “You are guaranteed to burn more calories jumping rope for five minutes than you would walking on a treadmill for five minutes,” Maclin says.  “When you jump rope, you work your upper body, lower body and your core because of the resistance. Walking on a treadmill works your lower body and your core, but you don't get nearly the resistance you would by using a jump rope.”

2. It’s extremely cheap and portable. Most jump ropes are very cost-effective, ranging from $2 to $15.

And they are so lightweight, you can take them anywhere.

“I've got a client who travels all over the world,” Maclin says. “Sometimes he can't get to the gym, so he works out with his jump rope. You can jump rope anywhere that has a floor and a high enough ceiling.”

3. It can help increase the intensity of circuit training workouts. Use your jump rope as a station in high-intensity interval training.

“You could do push-ups at one station, squats at one station, calf raises at another station and then end with the jump rope at another station,” Maclin says. “It doesn't have to be used by itself. You can mix it in with other things.”

4. It can improve your coordination. Jump rope exercises improve your foot coordination and help you focus on your feet. It also strengthens the muscles surrounding your foot and ankle joints, and it can help decrease foot and ankle injuries.

How to start a jump rope routine

First, it’s important to choose a jump rope that corresponds to your height.

“If the rope is too long for you, you will have to jump higher, swing wider and potentially wrap the rope around your wrists,” Maclin explains.

He says you should follow these guidelines when choosing a jump rope:

  • The 7-foot rope: for adults 4 feet to 4 feet 9 inches tall
  • The 8-foot rope: for adults 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 3 inches tall
  • The 9-foot rope: for adults 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall
  • The 10-foot rope: for adults 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 5 inches tall
  • The 11-foot rope: for adults 6 feet 6 inches tall or higher

When you have your rope, stand with your feet together and begin to jump.

“I recommend a minimum of 25 revolutions for four sets, progressing to 50-100 revolutions of four sets,” says Maclin. “If you want to go high-intensity, go as fast as you can for 10 to 15 seconds. Then rest and repeat.”

Interested in learning more about health and fitness? Take a look at these tips from our fitness experts. 

Related Stories