Jumping rope is an act of physical exercise of the cardiovascular variety. It also promotes good posture, improves coordination, and strengthens the leg muscles. In this chapter let us explore the benefits of jump rope training.
Burning Calories and Losing Fat
Rope jumping is an excellent way to burn calories, which helps keep unhealthy stores of fat tissue off of the body.
This activity is not a compromise on exertion. Jumping rope matches energy consumption rates to that of running and high-intensity sport, multiple scientific studies have demonstrated. Indeed, jumping can outpace the cardiovascular burn from “moderate” activities such as golf, badminton, and rock climbing.
Data from Harvard health experts suggests jumping rope has a higher caloric burn rate even than cycling, rowing, and weight lifting.
Just how many calories can we burn by simply jump rope? You may be surprised.
Science Daily has estimated an energy consumption rate of 0.1 calories per skip. At 120 revolutions per minute, one would burn roughly 12 calories per minute, or about 700 per hour. According to the 2011 Adult Compendium of Physical Activities, jumping rope can burn up to an incredible 1,000 calories in an hour, depending on your body weight and the intensity of your physical output.
In the above chart we can see calorie-burn estimations calculated for three levels of jumping rope: slower than 100 skips per minute (Low Intensity), up to 120 skips per minute (Moderate Intensity), and faster than 120 skips per minute (High Intensity). There are also three different weight categories, displayed in pounds, to display further variances. These figures are calculated based on the results of published literature.
Of course, most people cannot jump rope for one straight hour, particularly at high intensities.
Adjust accordingly, cutting the calories burned in half for a 30-minute session, for example. Even doing so, you’ll find that moderate-intensity jumping burns a respectable amount of calories within a given timeframe.
Undoubtedly the jump rope is an effective tool for those seeking weight loss.
The rhythmic nature of jumping rope, combined with its cyclic action, can help improve one’s coordiation, specifically between their eyes, hands, and feet. This is important for athletes and becomes increasingly crucial as we age, as studies suggest that we tend to lose coordination in our elder years.
It is true that staying physically active fights off aging. Based on the dynamic neuromusuclar nature of rope jumping, the activity may bolster brain function in the motor cortex and cerebellum, science has suggested.
Reaping the bare minimun benefits of regular physical activity is well worth the output necessary. Especially knowing that it only takes a few moderate workouts per week (ideally a mix of resistance training and cardio).
It’s important that we emphasize the benefits of physical activity as an anti-aging mechanism are not just physical. Studies show a habit as simple as walking daily can help fight back against cognitive concerns associated with aging such as memory loss and Azlheimer’s disease.
Move often and in a variety of different ways in order to engage the brain’s command of its own body, and you will stay mentally young from doing so.
Athletics and Performance
Jumping rope “teaches players to stay on the balls of their feet, as opposed to being flat footed or on their heels,” according to the Jump Rope Institute.
It is is a widely used and nonspecific method for developing athletic conditioning, balance, and coordination in several disciplines, notes a 2015 study on Balance and Motor Coordination in young soccer players. The study, published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, found that athletes who jumped rope better improved their motor coordination than those who only performed the sport-specific drills.
Jumping rope is also an injury prevention mechanism. The exercise increases the elasticity and resiliency of lower-leg muscles, which in turn reduces risk of injury in the area, according to Pete McCall of ACE Fitness.
“Jumping rope regularly strengthens the calf muscles and improves the elasticity of the surrounding tendons and fascia,” the expert notes.
Pro Tip: To increase elasticity, McCall suggests landing on the ball of the foot first but still letting your heels go all the way down to the ground.
Jumping is not solely about muscles below the belt, either.
One study of youth in Asia found that rope jumping can contribute to an increase in upper-body strength, too. This stems from muscular tension throughout the shoulders, back, and chest to manage the rope’s centripetal and centrifugal foces.
As a longtime jump roper I can confirm this activity torches a wide range of muscles on the body—especially when performed correctly, intensely, and/or in combination with resistance training movements.
One significant benefit of regular exercise is that it helps us build and maintain bone density. Strong bones are extremely vital as they improve athletic performance, prevent injury, and deflect against osteoperosis.
Adults over 35 lose an average of 1% of their bone mass per year, but this trend can be slowed or in some cases reversed. Those who live sedentary lifestyles, void of sport or weightlifting, can begin to experience bone loss as early as age 25, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has warned.
Jumping rope can increase bone density. And it may not even require as much time or effort as you think.
One study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology saw a group of “ordinary women” boosted bone density in their leg muscles by jumping only three times per week for just 10 minutes per session. A 2018 study published in the Universal Journal of Educational Research found 10 weeks of regular rope jumping also improved leg strength and sprinting speed.
Jumping rope offers enough exercise to build bone density, muscular strength, and speed—and it does all of this while being remarkably low-impact on the body.
There is minimal movement at joints such as the knee, which are notorious for injuries among athletes such as runners and soccer players. In addition, the movement takes advantage of our body’s given mechanics, leveraging the natural eslasticity of our ankle region to cerate an efficient “bounce” effect that provides generous cushion for the small range of motion and shift of weight that occurs with each revolution. And it is easy to control the surface on which we jump, ensuring our joints’ comfort and safety.
As a result, jumping rope is an extremely safe activity when performed properly.
Highly comparable to running, jumping rope procures virtually all of the same benefits except for the risk of Runner’s knee (also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome). This overuse injury affects up to one-third of female runners and one-quarter of male runners, according to Temple Health, which makes it the most common running-related injury—though only one of several, all of which are less likely to occur while on the rope.
Jumping is truly among the best ways to build and improve cardiovascular health without any significant concern for physical injury.
In jump rope there is a strong an element of focus. While conceptually speaking the act of jumping rope is quite simple, its margin for error is nil. With practice this focus can become automatic; the activity lends itself to achieving the widely sought “Flow State,” also referred to as being “in the zone.”
No wonder jumping rope was described in The Washington Post as “moving meditation” by certified jump rope instructor Rachel Jablow. Those skilled at jumping rope tend to understand this incredible feeling, rare and elusive though it may be.
The Flow State is certainly worth striving for, and jumping rope is an excellent vessel for it. Research by one Harvard professor suggests that people possess enhanced levels of creativity, productivity, and happiness for multiple days following a Flow experience. Another way the rope can improve your life.
Jumping rope is a superb way to condition your cardiovascular system. One can jump rope at a light-to-moderate pace for an extended length of time, and both their heart rate monitor and pedometer may look like a run. Or one can jump rope intensely for short bursts with long rests, akin to a sprinter on the track. One can also jump rope in tune with music and perform complex combinations of movements with the feet and hands, like a dancer or circus performer.
Regardless, one is training their cardio system.
For the curious and the serious, we suggest using a heart rate monitor—whether a fancy Apple Watch or your local shop’s cheapest gizmo—to more accurately track effort and recovery levels as well as progress over time.
What is the proper position for jumping rope is conveniently the ideal posture for standing and walking as well.
An effective jumping stance engages the glutes and core, while benefiting from a proud chest with shoulders down and back—palms out, chin tucked, eyes forward. Relaxed yet structured.
Be cognizant of your posture on and off the rope.