If you had to chose between running vs. jump rope, what would be the rationale? Which one is better for weight loss, agility, speed, and endurance?
Obviously, both running and rope jumping will make you sweat and puff like crazy. But which is better for your general fitness? As both activities are effective calorie burners, many will reduce the running vs. jump rope debate to the simple matter of preference and convenience.
Admittedly, there is some truth to that. At the end of the day, the caloric calculus is a very effective measure. However, there is also a number of other factors that deserve careful consideration. In this article we’ll go to greater lengths hoping to elaborate if, why and when, one of these activities is better for weight loss than the other.
How much skipping is equivalent to running?
It all depends on your running pace.
If you are running at around 5 miles per hour, you will have to jump rope faster to burn the same amount of calories for the same period of time. If, however, you are a slower runner with a pace of around 7 miles per hour, you don’t have to go too fast on the rope to achieve the same caloric burn.
Translated into real numbers – running at 7 miles per hour or at a pace of 8.5-minute mile for 30 minutes will burn you somewhere between 400 – 430 calories, an amount you will burn with fast rope jumping in about half an hour.
If you are on the slower side, running at 12-minute mile pace for half an hour will burn you approximately 220 calories, equivalent to slow skipping for the same amount of time. Weight, age and other factors may render different numbers, but the “tipping point” remains the same.
If you are not really into calculations and you just want to know how much jump rope is equivalent to running a mile, the answer is –a minute of jumping rope equals running a mile in approximately 7 minutes. But this is not as straightforward as it may seem. Jumping rope at a steady pace for a longer period of time requires some serious form and endurance, but we’ll come to that later in the text.
Which is better – jump rope vs. running?
If you are in the gray area between running and rope jumping and have no particular inclination to perform either, let’s look at some differences between jump rope vs. running.
The benefits of running daily are well documented, though there is also a growing scientific literature on how skipping affects the body over the long haul. Therefore, we’ll cover several aspects which might help you make up your mind about one of these two workouts.
Jumping rope vs. running for cardio
Both running and jumping rope are high intensity workouts that allow you to burn calories by maintaining your metabolic rate high.
Although we have elaborated at the beginning how the calorie-burning rate depends on the pace of your running and jumping, the efficiently scale tips slightly in favor of skipping.
The reason is that rope jumping is generally a more intense workout and, as a result, burns more calories. Put in simpler terms, you will have to pick up you running pace quite a bit if you want to burn the same amount of calories you would with skipping. The calories that a 30-minute jog will provide can easily be burned with 10 minutes of faster rope jumping.
One study published in the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation concluded that:
…10-min. daily program of rope skipping is as efficient as a particular 30-min. daily program of jogging for improving cardiovascular efficiency as measured by the Harvard step test.Baker, A. J. (1968). Comparison of Rope Skipping and Jogging as Methods of Improving Cardiovascular Efficiency of College Men. Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. 39 (2). 240-243.
Running vs. jump rope for endurance
Running and rope jumping are the two workouts that many professional athletes in different sports practice to increase their aerobic capacity. So how do skipping vs. running compare in building endurance and strength?
Skipping is one of several conditioning exercises that improve the aerobic capacity by elevating the heart rate. It builds speed, endurance, agility and quickness in the feet.
Just like skipping, running – especially the long runs – helps in building both mental and physical endurance and stamina. The biggest benefit of running is that it can be done virtually anywhere and requires no special equipment. However, if time constraint is an issue, the choice falls on skipping.
Although running and rope jumping don’t seem like high-impact workouts, they do lead to an added damage over time due to repeated impacts. Both workouts put stress on the feet, ankles, knees and hips.
However, jumping rope has some advantages in this sense, mainly because the impact is taken through the leg muscles and there is no danger of the infamous heel-strike which is very common to running. When you are rope jumping, you land on your toes which provide shock absorption. Therefore, if done properly, skipping is lower impact that jogging. Skipping also requires erect posture and a tight core, all of which supports the torso and enables more efficient transfer of energy through the body.
One general tip for practicing the jump rope exercise is to get yourself a decent pair of running shoes with a flexible sole.
Running vs. jump rope – the verdict
Skipping has several distinct advantages to running in that it strengthens the upper body muscles more as it engages your arms, shoulders and back.
Martial art fighters and boxers use rope jumping to improve footwork, agility and coordination – benefits which you cannot get from running. Skipping also forces core activation and good posture and gives calves and legs strength and aesthetic shape.
On the minus side, you need good form to be able to reap the benefits of rope jumping. It has a much steeper learning curve and if you are a beginner, it is very unlikely that you would be able to keep up the pace for long enough to get the same benefits as running.
Although rope jumping offers numerous possibilities and variations, they take practice and skill. Having said that, the versatility and simplicity of running, does eventually tip the scale in its favor. It is a workout that can be done virtually anywhere, by everyone, and at any level of intensity.
So let’s go back to the first question – Which one is better for getting you in shape?
Having said all of the above it really depends on which activity you are most likely to stick with. The best exercise for burning calories and weight loss in the long term is the one you enjoy more – simply because it means you will be more likely to keep doing it.
If however, you are preparing for different events, you might want to consider running over jumping rope, or vice versa. Competing for a 5K will require more of the former, while agility sports might insist on the latter.
Both running and rope jumping can do wonders for your fitness and weight-loss, as long as you stick with them. You might enjoy one more than the other, but I strongly recommend you incorporate both in your workout plan.
Moreover, they are perfect types of exercise that you can use to spice up other forms of training. For example, you can make circuit training more interesting by adding jump rope intervals, or you can incorporate sprints into bodyweight exercises like lunges or push-ups. Both running and skipping will strengthen your heart, improve your metabolism, and tone your body, so it is totally up to you which activity gets to win more attention.