Jump Rope Cardio
to Burn the Fat Away

Does the idea of jump rope cardio call up images of dark boxing gyms, noisy school playgrounds, or dreaded high school phys-ed classes? 

This humble piece of fitness equipment has earned a reputation for being either a child's toy or a method of torture meted out by trainers whose resumes include MMA championships or a stint with the Marine Corps. But, if you have been avoiding jump rope, it's time to change your perception because this old-school way of getting physically fit really does work.

And, it doesn't have to be cruel and unusual punishment. In fact, you can get better results in less time and burn so many calories that this unassuming little tool may actually become a regular exercise in your workout regime.

Benefits Of Jump Rope Cardio

1. Cost Effective. Workout equipment or gym memberships can be expensive, but you can find a good quality jump rope for under $20. And, since they don't take a lot of abuse, you will probably have it for years to come.

2. Compact and Portable. A jump rope can easily fit into your briefcase, purse, or luggage. It is a great option if you travel a lot and can't always make it to the gym. Plus, it is possible to fit a workout in almost anywhere  - inside or outside. All you need is enough space for full rotation so the rope isn't hitting the ceiling or other objects.

3. Improved Strength. Jump rope engages all major muscle groups and will strengthen your legs, abs, glutes, shoulders, and arms. It has also been shown to improve bone density and increase explosive power while playing sports.

4. Improved Coordination. Jump rope is a lot harder than it looks, and it requires a lot of coordination, agility and flexibility to stay balanced.

jump rope cardio exercsing

5. Improved Cardiovascular Health. Jump rope cardio can increase your heart rate quickly so you can reach your target zone sooner. For best heart benefits, the American College Of Sports Medicine recommends incorporating jump rope into your routine 3-5 times a week for at least 20-30 minutes per session. But don't panic - the workout can be continuous or broken into smaller segments with rest periods or alternate exercises in between. Plus, many experts claim that you can get great results with much shorter workouts – even as little as 10 minutes a day.

Tips For Jump Rope Cardio

Like any form of exercise, to get the best results you need to focus on proper form and follow a few tips that will help you achieve maximum benefits in less time.

  • Choose a good quality jump rope. You might pay a little more, but you will get one that isn't going to break, crack, or fall apart with long-term use. You are going to want to test it to make sure the handles are comfortable and that you are getting the right length for your height. Stand on the middle of the rope and extend the handles upward. Ideally, you want the handles to reach to just below your armpits. Anything longer or shorter can affect your form and may cause injury.
  • Always wear good quality footwear. Since jump rope involves impact, you want to make sure that your shoes protect your feet and joints from injuries.

  • Pay attention to form and footwork. This is especially important if you are a beginner. If you lose your concentration, your rhythm can be affected or your feet can become tangled, increasing your risk for injury.

  • Always engage your abs. Any exercise that involves jumping will use the abs for balance and support. By making an effort to tighten and engage these muscles, you will not only improve balance and coordination, but you will also be toning this problem area.

  • Don't hold your breath. During high-intensity intervals, many people have a tendency to hold their breath; however, this can deprive the muscles of oxygen and decrease endurance. To make sure you breathe properly, try counting the reps out loud.

  • Land carefully. Like jogging, how you land can reduce the impact on your joints. Make sure that you don't pound your feet down, but concentrate on landing lightly and keeping your body in proper form with chest lifted and shoulders back.

  • Swing from the wrists, not the arms. You will be able to fit in more reps, maintain proper form, and decrease stress on your shoulders by keeping your elbows close to your side and allowing your wrists to do most of the work.

Jump Rope Cardio Footwork and Moves

To make your workout more fun, interesting, and challenging, there are several different types of jumps that you can use:

Two Foot Jump – Keep both legs and feet together as you jump. A bonus of this move is the fact that you can swing the rope forward or backward for an extra challenge to your coordination and agility.

Alternating Feet Jump – This is like jogging in place, only with a jump rope added.

Side-to-Side Jump – Some fitness trainers call this move the “slalom”. Keep both legs and feet together and jump about one foot to the left, return to center on the next swing, then jump one foot to the right. This is one rep. 

High Knee Jump – This combines the Alternating-Feet jump with a high knee lift, kind of like marching in place.

Single Foot Jump – Lift your right foot off the ground and jump on your left foot only for 15-30 seconds. Switch legs for the next interval of 15-30 seconds. As your fitness level improves, you may want to increase the duration of the intervals.

Jumping Jack Jump – Move your legs out-and-in in a jumping jack motion.

Scissor Jump – This is similar to the jumping jack except you will be moving your legs from the front to back alternately in a scissor motion.

Arm Cross Jump – To challenge your upper body coordination, cross the arms in front of you with each jump. This can be done with both the Two-Foot or Alternating-Foot jump.

jump rope cardio exercising

Sample Jump Rope Cardio Workouts

Note: Some stretches and a few jumping jacks will prepare your body for the high intensity workout that jump rope provides. To prevent injury, it is important to warm up.

Workout 1:

  • Warm up with a few stretches and 30 jumping jacks.
  • 30 reps of the two-foot jump with forward swing...15-30 seconds rest
  • 30 reps of the two-foot jump with backward swing...15-30 seconds rest
  • This is one set. Repeat for 4-8 sets. Increase the number or reps or vary the footwork as your fitness level improves.

When you want something more challenging, try the following routine:

Workout 2:

  • Warm up with a few stretches and 30 jumping jacks
  • 2 minutes of the two-foot jump
  • 1 minute of situps
  • 2 minutes of alternating-foot jump
  • 1 minute of pushups
  • 2 minutes of side-to-side jump
  • 1 minute of squats
  • 2 minutes of scissor jumps
  • 1-minute plank

You can keep this pattern going, using whatever jump variations and alternate exercises you wish until you have reached your target workout duration. For a shorter workout, do fewer exercises or use a

1 minute/30 second pattern. For more cardio challenge, increase the jump rope sections to 3 minutes each.

If you want an intense aerobic focused workout without the floor exercises you can replace the body weight moves with slower recovery cardio motions that will bring your heart rate down between high-intensity intervals. 

Workout 3:

  • Warm up with a few stretches and 30 jumping jacks
  • 1 minute of two-foot jumps
  • 30 seconds of high knee marching
  • 1 minute of alternating foot jumps
  • 30 seconds of high lunges
  • 1 minute of one-foot jumps (30 seconds per foot)
  • 30 seconds of side steps
  • 1 minute of side-to-side jumps
  • 30 seconds of leg circles

Continue the pattern for desired duration. If you are a beginner, you can reduce the jump rope sessions to 30 seconds.

Jump Rope Cardio

Jump rope cardio can give you a high intensity workout that is great for heart health and endurance, and will burn so many calories that you will be able to see the fat melting off your body.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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