Jump Rope – The Best Cardiovascular Exercise

Jump Rope – The Best Cardiovascular Exercise

Blast from the Past

For many of us when we think of a jump rope, we think back to physical education class in elementary school. Pumped full of sugar, the bell rings and then we rush into the gymnasium with different stations. One being the jump rope, another the rope climb, and lastly playing basketball.  Prior to this year, that was the last time that I ever used one. Sadly, most people who want to get in shape or attend the gym look towards the treadmill or bike for their cardio fix. Usually spending upwards of 60 minutes walking, jogging, or running and only being able to burn about 200 calories for all that wasted time.

Benefits of the Jump Rope

There is a problem with all of the cardio equipment in a typical commercial gym and that is they are either too clunky or are not practical in everyday use. For example, the treadmill is good exercise but you would have to pay a lot of money in order to own one. Even if you ran outside, you would have the problem of weather preventing you from getting your workout in. The benefit of the jump rope is that it is portable, you can exercise either outdoors or indoors, and it is a low impact exercise so that it will not cause damage to your joints. Not only that but jumping rope burns 10 calories per minute which means in a 20 minute workout, you can burn 200 calories versus the 200 calories you would burn from being on the treadmill for 60 minutes.  Getting the same workout in 1/3 of the time. Typically you will find a high quality jump rope costing anywhere from $10-20 so anyone could buy one. Some people can’t afford a gym membership or to buy all this equipment for a home gym. You could easily spend more then $300 a year on a membership or over $1000 for a basic home gym. Sure you could make your own ghetto home gym but there is the issue of safety.

If this hasn’t gotten you thinking of using a jump rope, think about professional boxers like Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather. These multi-million dollar athletes utilize the power of the jump rope in order to be quick on their feet and to be able to react within milliseconds for an opening on their opponent. That could be the determining factor whether they win or lose. Jake Gyllenhaal and Scott Adkins used the jump rope as part of their routine to train to become their boxer characters.

Effect on the Body

A study was done with 24 pre-teen soccer players, half of which performed jump rope training before their training sessions and the other half performed soccer drills before training for 8 weeks.  The study showed that the jump rope group had a ‘positive impact on physiological (hearth rate and rate of perceived exertion) and performance (increase of ~9% in the final running speed test) parameters’. This test also proved that the jump rope group had ‘enhanced motor coordination and balance’. This means that as a result of the jump rope training being implemented, not only did their coordination increase, but their VO2 Max increased which made them more efficient and able to go longer lengths of time before succumbing to lactic acid build up and needing to rest. As a result this increased their speed and agility. Even though this study was done on pre-teens, adults would have similar results if another test was done.  Jumping rope has also been shown to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass.


The jump rope is one of the most versatile and most effective workouts that you can get in the shortest amount of time. For many of us, we juggle work, school, and family so time is precious. Because of the movement of jumping rope, the entire body is used during the exercise. Your abdominal are engaged to keep yourself upright, your calves are used to propel yourself off of the ground, your back is squeezed together to remain straight, your arms and shoulders are utilized to spin the jump rope, and your legs are used to control the impact. Your heart beat increases which provides blood to the needed areas and also provides more oxygen to get into your lungs to improve endurance.  Jumping rope also increases bone density which improves structural and power efficiency. It also provides for increased coordination and awareness. For a $20 dollar investment, you could workout almost anywhere. Click the link below to get your very own jump rope and start getting ready for swimsuit season today.


Buchheit M., Rabbani A., Beigi H.T. (2014) Predicting changes in high-intensity intermittent running performance with acute responses to short jump rope workouts in children. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 13, 476-482.


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