How Jumping Rope Can Keep You Fit AND Trim

Thursday Apr 10 | BY |
| Comments (8)

Jump Rope

This one exercise both burns fat and firms your muscles.

Have you ever wondered if there was ONE exercise you could do to keep yourself both fit and trim?

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot convert fat into muscle. Fat and muscle are made up of different substances.

In order to lose mass or size on your body (in other words, change your body composition), you must first burn the fat through proper exercise, then build new muscle.

Aerobic-type exercises will help take that mass away if they are the correct exercises. To firm your body, anaerobic-type exercises are the solution. However, one exercise happens to do both. One exercise enables you to lose weight, lose mass, and firm at the same time. It can be done at any age and is effective for any body type.

That exercise is rope jumping.

The Best Fitness Investment You Can Make

Let’s clear up some misconceptions about rope jumping.

  1. Rope jumping is relatively easy on your knees. It has less impact than running.
  2. You do not need a lot of ceiling height. The rope comes only about 10 inches over your head when jumping.
  3. Rope jumping is not a high impact exercise. It is a low impact exercise. When done properly, your feet should not leave the ground more than an inch. Unlike running where most people land on their heels and all the stress goes to the back and knees, with jump roping, you land on the balls (front) of your feet, so the stress is more equally distributed, putting more stress on your quadriceps (front of legs).

What sets jump roping apart from other exercises is that it develops so many areas of fitness at once. You won’t get bored. You can do it for the rest of your life and still feel physically challenged.

Benefits of Jumping Rope

  • improves cardio conditioning
  • strengthens and tones all major muscle groups
  • helps fight osteoporosis
  • improves coordination, balance, agility and timing because the arms must work in perfect unison with the legs
  • excellent for weight loss—you burn more fat with jump roping than any other exercise

You can burn from 600-1000 calories per hour when jumping (120-140 jumps per minute). It is inexpensive, not dependent on weather, and can be done practically anywhere.

Your Equipment

The best ropes are plastic or vinyl. They are easier to jump with than cloth, nylon or leather ropes.

To determine the correct length of a rope, stand with one foot on the middle of the rope. The ends of the rope handles should reach and barely touch under the armpits. Quality cross-training shoes are best because they provide lateral support and have cushioning under the forefoot to absorb any impact.

The best surface on which to jump rope is a suspended wooden floor, since it’s stable yet dissipates the energy of impact by flexing a small amount. Any wooden surface is usually good because wood has a natural give to it (unless it is laid over cement). Do not jump on a rug, because your feet tend to sink and this will throw off your timing.

Getting Started

Start slowly. Begin with 2-4 sets of 100-200 jumps per set. Try to average at least 100 revolutions per minute and build up your stamina gradually.

Jump roping will give you a high. It will improve your fitness level, create a more confident you and offer you the fountain of youth!

If you can jump rope for six minutes at a relatively high intensity (140 rpm), it can be equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging. Rope jumping can strengthen weak legs, knees and ankles.

It will help you lose more weight, give you a complete body workout, and tone your upper body.

Even if you’ve never jumped rope before, it’s easy to do and learn. Once you get the feel for it, you’ll be able to increase your skill as your coordination improves. Over time, you can learn many different
movements and tricks. The key is patience and determination.

How to Jump Rope

  1. Practice swinging the rope over your head without jumping.
  2. Jump just high enough for the rope to pass under your feet. Jump with both feet at once. Jumping higher than two inches off the ground will create unnecessary stress on the legs and increase your potential for injury.
  3. Move your wrists in time with your feet.
  4. Practice jumping without the rope in your hands. When you’re comfortable with that movement, try it with the rope.
  5. Avoid double jumping because it is not as effective. After each jump, the rope should pass under your feet.

Have fun!

Shelli Stein

Shelli Stein

Shelli Stein holds a Master’s degree in exercise physiology and has completed over 12 advanced certifications in the field of health and fitness. She coaches and teaches from her home base in San Diego, California. Her specialties include hormone health for women, run coaching, and helping her clients move from pain to performance. She offers free newsletters both weekly and monthly from her websites: and


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mike D says:

    I had a hip replaced in early December. Would jumping rope put too much stress on my hip?

    • Shelli Stein Shelli Stein says:

      Good question Mike, but unfortunately I can’t answer it. I’d suggest talking to your doctor or any rehab people you might be working with. They know your health history and can offer you better guidance in this case than I can.

  2. JOHN EWING says:

    I was a basketball player and track and field athlete back in the mid ’50’s and continued these activities until I was 55 years of age and as a P.E. teacher and as a coach in a number of sports. One of the activities that was always included in the training and in the warm up in all my classes and before my athletes competed was jumping rope. I found that it always worked for me so why not for every one that I was trying to influence. And at the age of 74 I still can jump rope and believe in everything that was in the article that promoted this comment. my favorite remark is, What piece of equipment for less than $10 and you can do most any place and will work the entire body–the answer is a jump rope. GO FOR IT!!!!!

    • Shelli Stein Shelli Stein says:

      Such an enthusiastic comment, John. I love it! And how wonderful for you that you’re still jumping rope. I agree, old school ideas like jumping rope are often the best ideas. You made me set a new goal: to be jumping rope and enjoying it as much as you obviously do, when I’m 74.

  3. Sharalyn Johnson says:

    Hello. I do not have access to a wooden flood. May I jump on my tile or granite floor?

    • Shelli Stein Shelli Stein says:

      Hi Sharalyn,

      I’d say give it a try. Make sure you use good form, as I talked about in the article. If it doesn’t feel right on those surfaces, you can always go outside.

  4. Sarah Cooper says:

    Rope jumping was my favorite thing to do as a little girl, too bad I didn’t continue the habit as I grew older. I bought an adjustable jumping rope with a jump counter some time ago, but it’s so hard to get back to shape, I get tired too easily!
    Thank you for sharing anyway, I’d no clue rope jumping had to do with coordination, balance etc.

    • Shelli Stein Shelli Stein says:

      Hi Sarah,

      So many of us enjoyed rope jumping when we were young. But then I thought, so many athletes, like boxers and martial artists, use rope jumping to stay in shape so it must be great for us as adults too.
      Try not to get discouraged. Your stamina will improve over time. Instead of counting jumps maybe go for time instead. Set a timer and see how long you can jump for. At least then you’ll have a baseline to grow from.
      And because it does involve balance and coordination, we get benefits from jump roping we don’t even realize we’re getting!

    Comments are closed for this post.