Jump Rope vs Running for Weight Loss and Cardio

Jump rope vs running is an ongoing debate in the fitness world.

The fact of the matter is that they are both very beneficial. But which one is more beneficial for your personal goals?

To give you a definitive answer we need to look at it from the following perspectives:

  • Do you want to improve your overall cardio?
  • Is fat loss your primary goal?
  • Are you concerned about injury prevention?
  • What’s the most practical way for you to train?
  • Are you looking to reduce training times because of your busy schedule?
  • Do you want to reduce training costs?
  • Are you looking for ways to make cardio fun?
  • Do you want to experience multiple benefits from training sessions?

For some of you, running will be a more beneficial option for your goals.

But for others, jump rope will be more beneficial.

Let’s take a look at the benefits of jump rope vs running so you can decide which is the best type of training for you!

 

 

BENEFITS OF RUNNING

 

Happy Hormones

Ever wondered why your mood improves after running?

Running releases hormones called endorphins, which relieve stress and boost happiness.

 

Improves Cardio

Running is excellent for your cardiovascular system.

It keeps your cholesterol and glucose levels under control and ensures that blood is pumped faster to your heart (maintaining blood pressure).

 

Increases Bone Strength

Running increases your bone strength over time as your legs adapt to the regular stress and load.

This is beneficial for long-term bone health.

 

Increases Muscle Strength

Your muscle strength will also increase over time as your legs adapt to being worked over long periods.

 

Weight Loss

Running for long periods burns plenty of calories.

Combine this with a calorie deficit diet and you will experience weight loss.

 

 

THE PROBLEM WITH RUNNING

While there’s no doubt that running is beneficial, there are some downsides that other types of cardio workouts don’t have.

 

Lack of Time

Most of you have busy schedules and just don’t have the time to go on 45-60 minute runs.

There are better alternatives (like jump rope) if you’re looking to burn calories in a short time frame!

 

Weather

Another problem with running is the weather.

Aside from winter weather being a huge discouragement for running, rain and very hot weather can also give you second thoughts about going out for a long run.

 

Finding a Running Route

I used to love running when I lived in the suburbs but that all changed when I moved into an urban area.

It’s hard to get into a running flow when you have to continuously cross roads and run around people in busy streets.

Finding a good running route can be quite a challenge if you live in an urban area.

 

Gym Costs

Some people pay $50 or more per month just to run on a treadmill 3 times a week at a gym.

But if all you do is cardio, why waste money on a gym every month when you could jump rope at home (and burn more calories)?!

 

Lack of Fun

A key part of staying motivated is diversifying your workouts and making them fun when possible.

But Let’s face it, running can be boring.

There are better cardio alternatives for the fun factor.

 

Stress on Your Body and Injuries

Perhaps the biggest problem with running (at least from my experience) is the stress on your body and injuries.

I used to run 5 miles a day 3-5 times a week, but after a couple of years, I had to stop running for 6 months because of wear and tear on my feet and knees.

Heel Striking, for example, is the common form of running gait, but it causes more ankle and knee injuries than a forefoot running gait (study).

This is one of the reasons why running causes more injuries and stress than other types of cardio exercises.

 

How Much Should You Run?

It goes without saying that if you’re training for a marathon, you should be clocking in tens of miles per week!

But if your goal is centered around weight loss or general health, I would honestly recommend other types of cardio.

Why?

Because while running is beneficial, there’s more risk for injury and it’s not as practical as other types of cardio workouts.

So with that being said, let’s move on and discuss jump rope benefits.

 

 

BENEFITS OF JUMP ROPE

 

Jumping Rope to Lose Weight

A Harvard study (1) looking at the number of calories burned for different types of exercises found that jumping rope for 30 minutes burns roughly 444 calories.

This is great for burning calories and losing fat compared to other exercises like weight lifting (133 calories), rowing (311 calories), and circuit training (355 calories).

Learning how to jump rope properly to lose weight is something you definitely want in your arsenal!

 

Less Time Exercising

One of the great benefits of jumping rope is the number of calories you can burn in a short time.

I’m sure you lead a very busy schedule and sometimes you just don’t have 2 hours to travel to the gym, workout, and travel home.

This is where the jump rope is king.

You can buy a jump rope matt for your garden or spare room and quickly crack out an intense 30-minute jump rope HIIT cardio workout to save time and still achieve great results!

 

Improves Cardio

Why do you think you see boxers and mixed martial artists hammering out jump rope workouts?

Jump rope for cardio is seriously one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do.

More on that though when we compare jump rope vs running for cardio later in the article!

 

Improves Cognitive Function

A study (2) found that jump rope training improves motor coordination and inter-limb coordination.

Both require more active mental engagement than running, which results in improved cognitive function.

 

Reduced Injury Risk Compared to Running

Achilles tendon rupture is a nasty injury that, unfortunately, is common amongst runners.

A prominent study (3) found that long-distance running can result in Achilles tendon ruptures because of sudden increases in interval training and fatigue.

This is just one example of an injury running can cause and it’s why choosing an alternative like jump rope would be a better option for interval training (HIIT cardio).

Jump rope increases the elasticity of tendons and strengthens lower-leg muscles without incurring the wear and tear that running does. Great for long-term injury prevention!

 

More Fun

Let’s be honest, most cardio workouts aren’t fun so staying motivated can be a constant challenge.

But what if you could have fun doing cardio?

Enter the jump rope.

I can honestly say that I lost fat a lot quicker when I started jumping rope because I genuinely looked forward to working out!

You can do various skipping patterns so it’s fun and motivating to try them out and experience progression week-on-week. 

Jump rope interval training (HIIT) can also become enjoyable because you won’t experience pain/wear and tear that many of you suffer from during running interval training.

 

Practicality and Cost

Jumping rope is also very practical and cost-effective.

You don’t have to find a running route, worry about the weather, or pay and travel to a gym.

Just buy a jump rope mat and a jump rope and you’re sorted!

Simple as that.

 

Now that we’ve gone through running and jump rope benefits, let’s conclusively settle the jump rope vs running debate!

 

 

JUMP ROPE VS RUNNING FOR FAT BURNING

Based on the Harvard study (1) I mentioned earlier:

  • Moderate intensity 30-minute jump rope exercise burns approximately 444 calories;
  • In comparison, you’d have to run at 6mph without a break for 30 minutes to burn 444 calories.

So there’s very little separating the two regarding fat burning on paper.

But what about the bigger picture?

The best type of cardio for fat burning is, without a doubt, HIIT cardio (interval training).

With that in mind, I would strongly argue that jumping rope to lose weight is better than running to lose weight.

Why?

Because you’re able to increase jump rope intensity without the injury risk that running carries, and jump rope HIIT workouts are more fun because you can incorporate various movements and challenges.

Basically, you can sustain high-intensity HIIT workouts all-year-round and maintain motivation, which would ultimately lead to better fat loss results.

 

 

JUMP ROPE VS RUNNING FOR INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)

We’ve pretty much covered this already but I’ll elaborate further.

Interval training is basically working as hard as you can for short intervals and resting for short intervals. This pattern should be repeated over a 20-30 minute period. 

Your HIIT workout, for example, might look something like this:

  • 2 minutes fast
  • 1 minute slow;
  • 2 minutes fast;
  • 1 minute slow;
  • 2 minutes fast;
  • 1 minute slow;
  • 2 minutes fast;
  • 1 minute slow;
  • 2 minutes fast;
  • 1 minute slow;
  • 2 minutes fast;
  • 1 minute slow;
  • 2 minutes fast.

Based on studies (4), HIIT cardio is better for fat burning than steady-state cardio.

So the only question remains; which type of exercise is best for HIIT cardio?

There’s honestly no right or wrong answer because it somewhat depends on personal preference.

But remember what we discussed earlier regarding injuries, progression, and the fun factor.

 

Injuries

Running at 9mph+ for 2 minutes 7-10 times puts your knees and ankles under significant stress and you run the risk of injuring yourself.

I used to do running HIIT workouts but after a couple of years I was left with tendonitis in my hamstrings and worn down knee cartilage.

I’m not saying for one second that running isn’t great for fat loss because it is!!

But what I am saying is that you can achieve the same fat loss results with jump rope without experiencing the injuries that running often causes.

 

Progression

Another key aspect of HIIT cardio is progression.

In order to maintain motivation, you must progress week-on-week by increasing speed or interval time.

For example:

  • In week 1, I like to go as hard as I can for 2 minutes and rest for 1 minute;
  • By week 8, I want to be going as hard as I can for 5 minutes and rest for 30 seconds.

I’ve always managed to progress week-on-week with jump rope but I sometimes struggle to progress with running.

Basically, it’s easier to progress with jump rope (which leads to more calories burned and increased motivation).

For this reason, I recommend jump rope ahead of running for interval training.

 

 

JUMP ROPE VS RUNNING FOR CARDIO ENDURANCE

I’ve been asked before “why is jumping rope is so tiring?” (because people often envision kids playfully jumping rope in a playground).

But a study (1) comparing jump rope vs running for cardiovascular efficiency found that 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of running.

I think that answers the jump rope vs running for cardio question pretty definitively!

As mentioned earlier, this is why you will see boxers and mixed martial artists working out with a jump rope.

It’s simply superior for cardio than running.

 

 

JUMP ROPE VS RUNNING FOR LEG STRENGTH

The main leg muscles involved in both running and skipping are your quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves.

The difference between the two though is that you can isolate more leg muscles with skipping.

For example, on one round you could run up and down to isolate your quads, and on another round, you could bounce up and down on your toes to isolate your calves.

Ultimately, skipping can incorporate more primary leg muscles. And for this reason, I’d give it the edge over running for overall leg strength.

 

 

JUMP ROPE VS RUNNING FOR INJURY PREVENTION

Incorrect running gait, hard and uneven road surfaces, poor-quality trainers, overloading, and inefficient warm-ups are just some of the reasons why people get injuries from running.

People simply don’t get these problems from jumping rope and it’s probably the main reason why the jump rope is a better option for cardio than running.

 

 

JUMP ROPE VS RUNNING: THE BOTTOM LINE

Simply put, the jump rope is superior to running for fat burning, interval training, leg strength, and it causes fewer injuries.

Jump rope should be your main cardio choice unless you’re a professional marathon runner!

 

 

WHAT’S THE BEST JUMP ROPE FOR BOXING, MMA, FAT LOSS, AND CARDIO?

I’ve gone through several jump ropes over the years but the best, without a doubt, is the LOMA Premium Jump Rope.

Let’s quickly examine why!

 

Jump Rope Adjustment

A common problem I’ve experienced with jump ropes over the years is that they’ve either been too long or too short.

The LOMA Premium Jump Rope solves this problem with its adjustable length.

All you have to do when you get the rope is adjust the length to your height and then you can clip off any excess rope and cap the end off.

This will save you a lot of money trying out different jump ropes, trust me!

 

Grip

Another common problem with jump ropes is grip.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to cut your jump rope exercise short because the grip keeps slipping when you get sweaty.

The LOMA Premium Jump Rope has an ergonomic grip which ensures that your grip won’t slip throughout your workout.


Speed

I once had a jump rope that was the perfect length and had a nice grip but the rope was thick and heavy, so it was rather slow and cumbersome.

The LOMA Premium Jump Rope is made out of wire so you can significantly increase rope speed over time to keep up with your cardio progression.

You can buy the LOMA Premium Jump Rope for a steal on Amazon at less than $20!

 

 

 

 

Jump Rope Mat

It’s hard to jump rope for 30 minutes if your pavement is uneven and it’s next to impossible to jump rope on grass.

I highly recommend buying a jump rope mat so you can have an even surface to jump rope on (indoors or outdoors).

Invest in eliteSRS’s specialized non-slip jump rope mat and your home HIIT cardio setup will be complete!

Jump Rope vs Running

 

JUMP ROPE WORKOUTS

There are two ways to approach jump rope workouts.

You can incorporate HIIT cardio into your jump rope workouts to maximize fat loss and improve cardio.

Or you can do steady-state cardio with a jump rope if you’re just looking to avoid injuries caused by running.

For steady-state cardio, bear the following in mind:

  • The jump rope equivalent to running 1 mile in 8 minutes is roughly 10 minutes of skipping;
  • The jump rope equivalent to running 2 miles in 16 minutes is roughly 20 minutes of skipping;
  • And the jump rope equivalent to running 3 miles in 24 minutes is roughly 30 minutes of skipping.

 

How to Jump Rope Like a Boxer or Mixed Martial Artist

You need to be conscious of your current level of fitness and jump rope experience before you learn how to jump rope like a boxer or mixed martial artist.

I’ve been doing mixed martial arts and boxing for over 8 years, so I can easily manage 12 x 3-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest, or sometimes I prefer 8 x 5-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest.

But if you’re starting out, you probably won’t be able to do that.

With that in mind, I’ll outline how to jump rope for beginners, intermediates, and experts.

 

Beginner Jump Rope Workout

Round 1: 30 seconds high knees / 30 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

 

High Knees

 

Butt Kicks

 

Round 2: 60 seconds basic jumps (fast)

60 seconds rest

 

Basic Jumps

 

Round 3: 30 seconds high knees / 30 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 4: 60 seconds fast mummy kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

 

Mummy Kicks

 

Round 5: 30 seconds high knees / 30 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 6: 60 seconds basic jumps (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 7: 30 seconds high knees / 30 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 8: 60 seconds fast mummy kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 9: 30 seconds high knees / 30 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 10: 60 seconds basic jumps (fast)

 

Intermediate Jump Rope Workout

Round 1: 60 seconds high knees / 60 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 2: 60 seconds basic jumps / 60 seconds fast mummy kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 3: 2 minutes single foot jumps (alternate foot every 3-5 reps)

60 seconds rest

 

Single Foot Jumps

 

Round 4: 60 seconds high knees / 60 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 5: 60 seconds basic jumps / 60 seconds fast mummy kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 6: 2 minutes single foot jumps (alternate foot every 3-5 reps)

60 seconds rest

Round 7: 60 seconds high knees / 60 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 8: 60 seconds basic jumps / 60 seconds fast mummy kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 9: 2 minutes single foot jumps (alternate foot every 3-5 reps))

60 seconds rest

Round 10: 60 seconds high knees / 60 seconds butt kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 11: 60 seconds basic jumps / 60 seconds fast mummy kicks (fast)

60 seconds rest

Round 12: 2 minutes single foot jumps (alternate foot every 3-5 reps)

 

Expert Jump Rope Workout

Round 1: 3 minutes alternating high knees with butt kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 2: 3 minutes alternating basic jumps with mummy kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 3: 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce / 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce (fast)

30 seconds rest

 

Double Bounce Jump Rope

 

Round 4: 3 minutes alternating high knees with butt kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 5: 3 minutes alternating basic jumps with mummy kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 6: 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce / 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 7: 3 minutes alternating high knees with butt kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 8: 3 minutes alternating basic jumps with mummy kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 9: 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce / 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 10: 3 minutes alternating high knees with butt kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 11: 3 minutes alternating basic jumps with mummy kicks (fast)

30 seconds rest

Round 12: 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce / 60 seconds single foot jumps / 30 seconds double bounce (fast)

 

Jump Rope Progression

Jump rope progression is very important for maximizing fat loss and increasing cardio performance.

You want to increase your cardio and burn more calories, right?

Make sure you work up to 12 rounds before you progress to intermediate if you’re a beginner.

If you’re an intermediate, reduce your rest rate to 30 seconds before you progress to expert.

If you’re an expert, work on increasing your interval times and incorporate more complex skipping patterns.

 

So there we have it!

Now you know that jump rope is superior to running for fat loss and cardio performance.

And you know how to do HIIT cardio jump rope workouts.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

 

Want to learn more about fat loss? Check out my How to Lose Fat Fast Guide.