- Benefits of jumping rope include cardio endurance, strength-building, and stress relief.
- By diversifying your workout routine, jumping rope can help boost mood and keep exercise fresh.
- Jumping rope only requires one piece of equipment and can be done almost anywhere.
Jumping rope is one of the most underrated types of exercise — and it may even be more effective than other forms of cardio.
In fact, a 2013 study found that college men who spent 10 minutes of jumping rope daily for six weeks improved their cardiovascular fitness just as much as college men who spent 30 minutes of jogging for the same time period.
Plus, jumping rope burns lots of calories, strengthens coordination and bone density, and can reduce your risk of injuries and heart disease. Here are 10 science-backed benefits of jumping rope:
1. Burns calories
Jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories in 15 minutes. That is more than some other continuous cardio exercises.
"It burns more calories than any steady state cardio — from rowing or jogging to cycling and swimming," says celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, creator of The Jillian Michaels Fitness App.
Since most of your major muscle groups are working when you jump rope, the exercise is considered thermogenic — it creates a lot of heat in the body. Your body needs to burn more fuel to produce this energy, so it burns lots of calories.
"You will notice quickly that if you jump rope for two minutes straight as a beginner, it will heavily challenge your cardiovascular capabilities," says personal trainer Morgan Rees. "Your heart rate will rise immediately and have to maintain the amount of energy produced for the muscles. This increases caloric burn as well as challenges the body's different energy systems."
2. Improves coordination
Jumping rope requires top-notch coordination, especially as you advance to more skilled moves, such as quickly swinging the rope twice within each jump.
"Jump rope improves coordination by requiring several body parts to communicate in order to complete one movement," Rees says. "The feet must jump in time with the wrists rotating in order to create a continuous jumping motion."
For example, a 2017 study found that jumping rope helped improve motor coordination among autistic children, who often struggle with balance and coordination.
Another 2015 study found that pre-teen soccer players who jumped rope exhibited better motor skills after eight weeks than those who just did soccer drills.
3. Reduces injury risk
With your improved coordination from jumping rope, you'll be less likely to get hurt either during exercise or in day-to-day activities, Michaels says.
"Jumping rope forces you to coordinate your upper and lower body movements so you are more agile and your body awareness is improved tremendously," she says. "This makes you less injury prone."
4. Improves heart health
Since jumping rope gets your heart pumping, it's great for your cardiovascular system and heart health. For example, jump roping can increase your V02 Max, the measure of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during exercise. The higher someone's VO2 max, the more cardiovascular endurance they have.
A 2019 study of college-aged men found that those who did two daily sessions of jump rope per day for 12 weeks improved their V02 max and functional movement compared with those who did their fitness routines as usual.
Jumping rope is also beneficial for people who are already at risk for cardiovascular disease. A 2018 study found that a 12-week jump rope regimen reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors in teen girls who had prehypertension, or borderline high blood pressure. At the end of the study, the girls who jumped rope had lower overall body fat, less body fat on the abdomen, and a better pulse rate — all of which can contribute to heart health.
5. Strengthens bone density
Jumping rope can make your bones stronger. Bone density measures the strength of your bones — if you have more minerals, like calcium, in your bones, they are less fragile and less likely to break. A higher bone density can also reduce risk for osteoporosis later in life, particularly for girls and women.
A 2017 study found that girls aged 11 to 14 who participated in weekly jump roping had higher bone density than those who did not jump rope. In 2019, the Korean Society for Bone and Mineral Research also recommended that people jump rope for 10 minutes a day to improve bone strength.
"Jumping rope builds bone density through impact training," Michaels says. "When we train with impact we are stressing the bone more aggressively than most forms of training. The body responds to this stress by remodeling the bone to become stronger and more dense."
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, jumping rope can be beneficial for people with weak bones, but you should talk to your doctor before starting this exercise.
6. Increases agility
Jumping rope helps keep you agile as you have to quickly jump up and down and adjust your body to the rope's swinging.
A 2020 study followed seniors doing agility-based training, which was at least as effective as traditional strength and balance training in affecting physical performance, especially lower body explosive strength. The agility work included numerous jumping exercises, similar to jumping rope.
The benefits of increased agility extend beyond your workouts. When you're more agile, you're better able to maintain good posture and alignment in your body. Plus, quick reflexes and the ability to change direction and movement quickly is incredibly helpful to help stave off injury.
7. Diversifies workout routine
Besides boredom and lack of motivation, when you stick to the same workout routine your body gets used to things and stops working as hard. By diversifying your workout, you keep your body guessing and reap more physical benefits. Jumping rope offers a great way to mix things up.
A 2014 study found that participants who followed a diverse workout routine of resistance training, sprint intervals, endurance exercise like jumping rope, and ate whey protein lost more weight, lost more fat mass, and gained more lean body mass than those who followed a resistance-only strength training or only consumed the protein.
Jumping rope offers the full range of exercise perks — from cardio to strength benefits — in just one move. It also keeps your muscles guessing and working in new, different ways.
8. Offers a full-body workout
Beyond the cardio benefits, jumping rope is a great strengthening exercise that works your entire body.
While you're jumping, you're strengthening muscles in your lower body, like your calves, glutes, and quads. But you're also engaging your core, shoulders, and arms at the same time. It takes a lot of effort, from head to toe, to stay stabilized as you jump rope.
Jumping rope gives you a full-body workout with just one piece of equipment and one move. Plus, in addition to the physical effects of working your muscles and boosting your endurance, there are great mental benefits to jumping rope.
9. Reduces stress
According to a 2021 study, jumping rope significantly reduced anxiety levels in participants. Exercise imitates the effects of stress, like the flight-or-fight response, and helps your body practice working through those effects. This can help protect your body from harmful effects of stress in the future.
Further, after just a few minutes of jumping rope, you can find yourself in the zone. There's a meditative effect to the exercise, when you forget the stresses of your day and are just focused on the movement. Exercise helps you shed your daily tensions, and you may find that this singular focus and the resulting energy and optimism helps you stay calm, clear, and focused in everything you do.
10. Boosts mood
You may not have jumped rope since you were a kid, but the health and mood benefits apply at any age. Put simply: it's fun! Exercise releases endorphins, which boost your mood.
The act of jumping rope is a fun way to mix up your workout and add some playfulness to your routine. Jump along to some music, or take your workout to a nearby park to increase the fun.
Jumping rope offers major health benefits like calorie-burning, strength-building, increased agility, and improved cardio fitness.
Another major benefit of jumping rope is that it can be done almost anywhere, as long as you have a jump rope, which is relatively inexpensive.
Overall, Michaels recommends the following routine to integrate jumping rope into your workout regimen:
- Jump rope for 10 minutes to warm up before any exercise
- Complete three minutes of jump rope between rounds of resistance training
- Do 60 seconds of speed jump roping between exercises like push-ups or sit-ups