We all have memories of skipping rope as children and probably think of it as no more than a child’s play. But in recent years, jumping rope has become a part of serious exercise programs and not only as a conditioning tool for athletes who are looking to boost endurance, but also for a variety of fitness goals. Today we will mainly focus on weight loss and how to best use jumping rope to lose weight.
However, the most important thing about jumping rope to lose weight is to understand how weight loss happens. It’s no rocket science that in order to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit. That means you have to use more calories than you consume during the day, which can be achieved by minding your food intake and by burning calories through exercising.
So, can you rely on the jumping rope to lose weight? Definitely yes, as long as you don’t lose focus of several other important aspects of weight loss such as your diet, level of activity, level of commitment and weight loss goals.
But, let’s talk about the fundamentals before covering the exact muscle groups in question, as well as the number of calories you can burn.
How to skip rope
If you haven’t skipped rope since childhood, you may find the experience quite challenging at first. It requires coordination, so if you are struggling at the beginning, try practicing arm and foot movements separately. Once you get the grip of the rhythm and the jumping itself, combine the two movements. Then, once you reach this point, follow these basic steps:
- First, adjust the length of your rope so that when you step on it by holding the handles, they reach your armpits.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart, stand straight and hold the rope behind your feet.
- Swing your rope forward with a slight upward movement of your wrists, timing your swing so that you can hop over the rope as you bend your knees. See how many times you can do this movement successfully without stopping.
- Jumping rope requires practice, but the movement will come naturally in time. Once you master it, you can start exploring all the variations and benefits that come with it.
Now, since we are mainly interested in the weight loss benefits of jumping rope, and we all want to see fast results when it comes to shedding pounds, questions like – does rope skipping reduce belly fat, or – how long should you jump rope to lose weight – must be brewing in your mind. There is no simple answer to these questions, but let’s start from somewhere.
Does jumping rope really work for losing weight?
Yes, if you do it properly!
The jump rope exercise will strengthen your calves, activate your quads and hamstrings, and engage the entire area around your lower abs (including the obliques).
One study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology concluded that the jump rope exercise can be used to improve vital capacity and body mass index.
Apart from targeting these muscle groups, the jumping rope exercise will work wonders for your cardio endurance, your acceleration, coordination, power, speed and jumping height.
Jump rope exercise tips
Here are some tips which will set you on the right path of reaping the full jumping rope benefits for weight loss.
Try using a slightly weighted rope
Once you have mastered the rope jumping movement, it might be a good idea to use a weighted rope in order to create more resistance and, consequently, better weight loss results.
Do jump rope high intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT workouts are incredibly efficient when it comes to weight loss, because they employ concentrated effort for maximum results. It is basically a technique in which you give one hundred percent effort through quick and intense intervals of exercise, followed by short periods of (sometimes active) recovery.
In our example, you can alternate between 30 seconds of maximum intensity rope jumping and 10 seconds of light rope skipping (of resting) for 5 rounds.
This type of training pushes your calorie burning and fat busting in less time compared to other forms of workouts. Have a look at the various HIIT jump rope exercises available online and choose the ones that are best suitable for your level of fitness and skill.
Add intensity to your rope jumps
Intensity is the key for getting the maximum results.
If I have to make a comparison, I’d say that light skipping is to an intense rope workout what jogging is to running a 5k – a completely different category.
Don’t overdo it in the food department
You have all heard that a bad diet cannot be out-trained. If you diet leaves you with a calorie surplus, you won’t lose weight no matter how hard and how often you train. Keep a close eye to what you eat and how much you intake in order to facilitate the weight-loss process.
Should I jump rope every day?
Daily physical activity is recommended for sustainable weight-loss. You need to keep your body active on daily basis, and you need to find ways to keep yourself motivated and consistent.
Having said that, jumping rope 3 to 5 times a week is a good starting point. If you are serious about it, and actually spend a total of 20 minutes on an exercise session, I will advise you to keep close to the lower number – that is 3 times per week – in order to give your muscles a chance to recuperate.
Your legs can easily get fatigued, preventing you from completing a proper workout for the rest of the entire week. So make sure to pace yourself.
This workout is effective, offers a huge number of variations (alternate foot jumps, high knees, side swings, double-unders, etc.) which reduce the risk of you getting stuck in a workout rut and won’t take up much of your time. And most importantly, it works.
I have spoken to a number of people who had a much better rate of progress with the jump rope, as opposed to other tools and machines that directly target the calves and thighs, such as step machines.
Now, if you have started warming up to the idea of jumping rope to lose weight, let’s have a quick look at the other jumping rope benefits.
Good for your heart. It is an excellent workout for aerobic conditioning and much more fun than the ever-so-boring treadmill.
Improves coordination. Rope jumping improves your coordination by making you focus on your feet. Even if you are not thinking about them, you are unconsciously teaching your brain to pay attention. And once you master the skill and start learning new tricks with the rope, the more conscious and coordinated you’ll become.
Great for burning fat. Rope jumping actually burns more calories than jogging. Especially with the HIIT type of workouts, you can easily burn 250 calories in 15 minutes. So, once again, should you be jumping rope to lose weight? Definitely!
Decreases ankle and foot injuries. Jumping rope brings added value if you are active in other sports. Many tennis, football and basketball players often suffer ankle and foot injuries from running, especially as a result of quick stops and turns. Rope jumping increases the muscles strength around your foot and ankle joints, thus decreasing the risk of injury in those areas. It teaches athletes to stay on the balls of their feet, instead on their heels or flat footed.
Increases bone density. Studies have shown that there is nothing better for bone density than jumping up and down. Should we say more?
Good for your brain. Rope jumping impacts your cognitive functioning as it engages you both mentally and physically. The best brain health workouts involve rhythm, coordination and strategy. Challenge your brain further by constantly learning new rope tricks.
Affordable and portable. Needless to say, a jumping rope is a relatively cheap piece of equipment and, depending on the surface you use it on, it can last you a while. And what more to say than… you can use it anywhere and anytime. Disadvantages of jumping rope
Disadvantages of jumping rope
At this point you must be thinking that it all sounds too good to be true and that there must be some disadvantages of jumping rope. Well, not really.
Though often categorized as a high impact workout, rope jumping, when done properly, exerts much less excessive strain on the joints compared to, let’s say, running. Proper form involves landing softly on the balls of the feet, which absorbs the shock and provides for a cushioned and controlled landing. Also, choosing a soft surface and wearing appropriate shoes are an additional factor when it comes to increasing the support and stability, and preventing injury.
It is perhaps a noisy workout if your neighbors below tend to complain, but proper padding on the floor, shoes with soft soles, and light movements will make a huge difference.
One of the main disadvantages I’ve noticed in beginners is that jumping rope can easily drain the enthusiasm around fitness, since the movement is hard to master. If you are in this predicament, it is better to throw away the rope and mimic the movement with your hands, instead of fumbling helplessly over it until you lose interest and throw in the towel.
In our fitness program, for example, we have incorporated a number of jumping rope exercises only without the actual rope – at the end we made sure that there is plenty of footwork so you can actively engage the entire abdominal area. This way you won’t stumble with coordination but double down on cardio and lower ab strength.
If you want to take a better look, check the Fitness Updated platform, where you can start working on losing weight right away from any device at any time. You’ll have access to dozens of recipes, a completely customized bodyweight fitness program, daily tips and much more.
Here is one advanced full body workout at home without equipment from the program that you can stream for free, so you get to see how high the level of intensity can go. Most of our users tend to get there (able to complete most of the movements) in about one month.
But do note that there are also beginner friendly workouts included as part of the program!
Jumping rope for weight loss – yey or nay?
Definitely go for it!
You can introduce small 30-seconds sets before or after your main workout, or push the jumping rope session somewhere in between other sets.
But even if you want to do nothing else but jump rope, the results can be noticeable in terms of weight loss. You have to, however, be serious about it, and actually endure 15-20 minute sessions with plenty of sets and reps, as well as different varieties that target your muscles from several angles.
You’ll agree that there is basically no reason not to start jumping rope today. Stick to it, grow to love it, explore it, and the results will amaze you.