Don't Sleep On The Jump Rope If You Want To Lose Weight And Get Toned

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Nope, you don’t need to go on a long run or stationary bike ride to get your heart pumping. You can get a seriously-good workout with just a jump rope.

In fact, jump rope is a great option if you’re looking for cardio that’s super low-impact and can be easily implemented into your current exercise routine, says personal trainer Kristina Earneest, AFAA, NASM. There’s much more to jump roping than recess nostalgia!

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For starters, jump rope is time efficient—jumping rope for 10 minutes per day can have a similar effect to running for 30 minutes, Earnest says. And if you’re wondering when you should be incorporating jump rope, exactly, Earnest recommends tacking on a quick session as a finisher on strength days for ankle stability, and as a preventative measure against shin splints.

You can also use jump roping when you’re coming off an injury, Earnest explains. “The lighter, repetitive movements put less pressure on your knees, which makes it a great alternative if you’re getting back into running without the impact of hitting the pavement,” she explains. Got that down?

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Jumping rope is simply a solid cardiovascular workout option overall, since jumping repetitively for a continuous amount of time requires more blood and oxygen to be pumped into your muscles. This increases your heart and respiratory rate to accommodate the increased demand, which subsequently pushes your anaerobic and aerobic thresholds. Overtime, this can result in improved athletic performance, Earnest explains. (Win.)

So, now that you’re all caught up on how jump rope can be solid exercise, it’s time to get into the specifics. The following are all the benefits of jump roping, including workout options you can try out at your next gym sesh.

The Benefits Of Jumping Rope

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From making you stronger, to helping your heart, to being a workout you can do just about anywhere, there are tons of benefits to jump rope—all of which are detailed below, according to an expert trainer and research.

  • There’s payoff for women of all ages. Jumping rope is a weight-bearing exercise that puts stress on your skeleton (which is important for strong bones). That’s why it’s especially encouraged in pubescent and postmenopausal women. During puberty, the exercise can help peak bone density, and it can help fight osteoporosis in postmenopausal women prone to it, per findings from BioMed Research International.
  • It helps you avoid injury. Yup, since jump rope is great for bone health, it’s subsequently a beneficial way to prevent injuries. Plus, it promotes ankle mobility by strengthening the muscles that support those joints, Earnest says, especially as you move up and down with each jump. (A.k.a., no more rolling ankles while you run, or play soccer in your adult sports league.)
  • As mentioned, it’s a major cardio boost. Yup, jumping rope gets your heart pumping, which makes it great for overall heart health and the cardiovascular system, Earnest says. (Which means it helps ward off chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, too.) Plus, jumping rope can increase your Vo2 max, the measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise, which helps with endurance, Earnest notes.
  • You torch calories and energy. On average, jumping rope can burn 200 to 300 calories in 15 minutes, Earnest says. Since jumping rope is considered thermogenic, it creates plenty of heat in the body. Your body needs to burn more fuel to generate this energy, so it burns calories, Earnest says.
  • It improves your coordination. Jumping rope requires you to be completely aware of how your body’s moving, so by doing it enough you can also improve your coordination and rhythm, which is especially useful for all those who consider themselves a bit clumsy. And yup, ICYMI, a boost in coordination means a lower risk of injury, Earnest says, since you’re less likely to fall or slip with a misstep.
  • It’s great for toning your calves. “Because of the repetitive jumping, your calves are some of the primary muscle movers here,” Earnest says. That’s why, yup, jumping can help you achieve leg muscles that pop. Pro tip: To effectively work your calves in jump rope exercises, focus on landing on the balls of your feet before lowering between each landing and take-off, Earnest explains.
  • …while also amping up your shoulder strength. Since you’re constantly shifting the jump rope on each revolution, you control the rotation of the rope through your shoulder stabilizer muscles, Earnest explains. While jumping, focus on firming your shoulders and pinning your scapula muscles down and back so your deltoids, rhomboids, and rotator cuffs will reap some major benefits, Earnest notes.
  • It’s accessible and affordable. One of the best benefits of taking jump rope on as a workout is probably that it’s accessible and portable. A jump rope fits into your bag, and you can practically do it anywhere. If you’re interested in progressing once you master a lighter jump rope though, you can opt for a weighted rope to up the intensity.

4 Jump Rope Workouts For Weight Loss

First things first, don’t skip your warmup. You should get in some dynamic stretches that loosen up your hips, hamstrings, and calves. One way you can do that is by tackling three rounds of standing toe touches, deep squats, and calf raises. Try doing 20 reps per move, holding each for about one to two seconds at a time.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to grab your rope. You can break up your workout into intervals, or find your rhythm with one of these workouts below:

The Fire Starter: Pick a song that’s three to six minutes long and jump along to the beat. For the final 30 seconds, add some intensity with some high-knee skips.

The Burnout: To get your heart rate going at the end of a workout, do 1,000 rotations as fast as possible, breaking them into 10 sets of 100. Take note of how long it takes you. Then, try to beat your time during your next skip session.

The Long Haul: Set an alarm for a set time like 10 minutes, and jump at a consistent pace until the buzzer sounds. Gradually build up your time until you can go for 30 minutes. straight.

The Snack: This one’s going for in-between workouts, or when you just need a break from sedentary activity. Skip for a set amount of time like 3 minutes, or keep going until you git 3 rotations.

How Many Calories You Can Burn Jumping Rope

Jumping rope can burn major calories. If you can build up to 120 skips a minute, you can burn between 667 and 990 calories an hour. And as mentioned, some research shows you can burn more calories while skipping rope than you can while running.

How To Jump Rope To Support Weight Loss

Though there are nuances to losing weight, a simplified formula for doing it is to burn more calories than what you consume within a given period, says Cordelia Carter, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at NYU Langone Health. This is known as a calorie deficit.

Given its ability to burn calories, “jumping rope may be an excellent component of an overall physical fitness regimen undertaken in an effort to lose weight, and ideally decrease fat mass or percentage of body fat rather than just lose weight,” says Dr. Carter.

But it shouldn’t be the only thing you do to lose weight, she says. While jumping rope is a fun form of calorie-burning, it should complement a larger workout routine geared toward your overall wellness goals. “Optimal physical fitness is more likely achieved through some combination of building strength through bodyweight training and/or resistance training, flexibility training, and cardiovascular fitness, including both endurance training and higher-intensity training, rather than by simply continuing to work on one of these components of fitness day after day,” says Dr. Carter.

Another reason you don’t want to make jump rope your only form of exercise is to reduce your risk of injury. “Varying one’s workout routine is essential for the prevention of overuse-type injuries such as tendonitis and even stress fracture,” adds Dr. Carter.

Bottom Line: You can totally jump rope for calorie burn and weight loss or management, but it should be part of an integrated fitness routine that includes strength, cardio, and flexibility training for overall health.

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