Reviewed by Jordan Smith, NASM-CPT
Looking for a killer workout that builds endurance and improves cardiovascular fitness? The answer to this is only a hop, skip, and a jump away — literally.
Enter jump rope. Most of us left it behind on the school playground, which is why it's one of the most underutilized fitness tool. It's an incredible cardio workout that gets your heart pumping.
"Doing this exercise consistently will strengthen your cardiovascular system and build muscle throughout your full body," says Christine VanDoren, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist.
Before you jump in, come learn the ins and outs of this workout that you don't want to skip.
Why should you add jumping rope to your workouts?
You may have left your jump rope days behind, but we're going to convince you to change that. It's both fun and challenging. For starters, jump rope is extremely versatile. It can be used at any stage of the workout — the warm-up, finisher or as of the main course, says Jake Dickson, a Certified Personal Trainer. Regardless of when you complete it, one thing is for sure: it’s a workout powerhouse that boosts your performance in the gym.
“Whether you are looking to improve your endurance, up your general fitness or just need a fun way to get through your cardio, jumping rope a few times a week can take your fitness routine to the next level,” says Dickson.
What's more, jump rope is quick at delivering results. Unlike other cardio activities that must be performed for longer periods of time, VanDoren says that jumping rope is a quick and efficient cardio boost.
How long should I jump rope a day?
As always, this answer depends on your fitness level. Beginners should start off slow. Denise Chakoian, Owner + Founder of CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree, recommends 45 seconds to one minute with each interval. This would look like three to five intervals within a 30–45-minute workout. “I recommend starting with these shorter intervals to build the movement pattern and the muscles that jump roping is working,” she says.
Is 10 Minutes of Jump rope enough?
If you try to do too much too soon, you risk soreness in the lower legs, ankles, shoulders and lower back, adds Kate Cherichello, NYC Certified Fitness Professional and Founder of Be. By Kate. Personal Training & Coaching (not to mention, you don't want to get slapped in the face with the rope).
So, depending on your fitness and goals, 10 minutes of jumping rope may be enough, or it may be too much. And, don't feel like you need to jump for 10 minutes in a row.
Those who are more advanced can do one to five minutes at a time, adds Chakoian. "This is most beneficial when the body has had a proper dynamic warm up paired with a jump rope circuit."
What happens if I jump rope every day?
Cherichello recommends that beginners jump rope every other day, or a few times per week, but not every day. This allows enough recovery time for your body, which is essential to reduce injury risk.
You can jump rope every day if you're advanced enough and can recover sufficiently within 24 hours, adds Robert Dodds, Level 3 Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nothing Barred Fitness. But as with everything, it's important to give yourself enough time to recover and it's best to mix up your workouts, so it's not necessary to complete a jump rope workout every day.
Since you've probably outgrown the habit of jump rope, getting back into the swing of things involves a few tricks. VanDoren recommends adding it on at the end of your workouts.
While you're at it, you could make it as part of a cardio workout. "For instance, a 10-minute run, right into five minute of jump rope, into two minutes of jumping jacks, into 30 seconds of squats jumps, then repeating from the top two more times," Cherichello tells Lively. "That will be an intense and fast-moving workout!"
Beginner tips for jumping rope
Laying the groundwork for jumping rope like a pro requires a solid foundation. If you’re a beginner, use these tips to start off on the right foot.
Choose The Right Jump Rope
Bet you didn't know there are different sizes of ropes (and even weighted ones) to choose from!
To measure the correct size, Chakoian says to take a rope and grab both handles in each hand and place your feet on the jump rope. You're looking for the length of the rope to be at your shoulder height. "This will ensure the rope is the correct size for your height and will be able to hop over the rope with ease," says Chakoian.
To add to that, Dodds says to make sure you're holding the rope correctly. Both hands should be roughly the same distance apart from the centerline of your body, he says. Keep the rope rigid or "taut" in your hands, adds Chakoian.
Jump On Soft Ground
The best type of ground to jump on is stable, but has some "bounce" to it. "Hardwood floor can be harsh on the joints and ligaments," says Chakoian. She recommends sticking to a softer surface, such as grass or a track, when starting your program.
If not possible, Dodds recommends maintaining a slight bend in the knees as a way to absorb the impact of each jump. "This ensures the shock doesn't dissipate through your body and will help you avoid joint pain and problems," he says.
If you haven't picked up a rope since gym class, you might want to start by going sans rope at first to avoid getting injured by the rope. By mimicking the movements of jump rope, Cherichello assures that you'll still get a good workout. Another option is to take it one step at a time — literally. "Sometimes, you may start with one foot at a time to get used to the movement before jumping with both feet," says Chakoian.
Try This Jump Rope Workout
Ready to jump in? Try this jump rope circuit by Chakoian.
How to do it: Combine this jump rope workout with one of your typical weekly workouts, or complete it on its own. Complete the circuit twice twice. On the second round, start with Round 4 and work backward. You can do the entire workout all at once, or complete one round between sets of your workout. Rest for the recommended amount of time or as needed.
- Round 1: 45 seconds on with 20 seconds rest
- Round 2: 60 seconds on with 30 seconds rest
- Round 3: 90 seconds on with 60 seconds rest
- Round 4: 120 seconds on with 60 seconds rest
Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.