Skipping – or jump rope as some call it, has a lot of benefits.
It’s an easy exercise to do . All you need is a skipping rope, some open space, and the willingness to give it a try.
Jumping rope is a whole body workout – it activates muscles in your arms, legs and your core. It can also help your co-ordination and balance.
The calories burned by skipping also takes a lot of people by surprise, and it can be a great exercise for weight loss.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of jumping rope in more detail, and the best exercises for skipping to lose weight.
What are the benefits of skipping?
It’s easy to do, if you’re willing to practice.
Learning to jump rope is a bit like learning to ride a bike – once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature and you can almost do it without thinking.
But you might need to have a bit of perseverence when you get started.
If you’re not yet able to skip, there is a great guide on how to jump rope on the Well+Good YouTube Channel.
Once you master the basics, you can start experimenting with different exercises. Did you know that TikTok star LaurenJumps only started skipping in April 2020?
It’s a low-cost exercise.
Skipping is an affordable activity to get started with. All you really need is a good pair of lightweight trainers, and a quality skipping rope.
When you’re looking at buying a skipping rope, comfort is key – you’ll want something with comfortable handles if you’re going to be jumping rope for long periods of time.
The length of rope is also important. As a general rule of thumb, for beginners you’re going to want to make sure that the length of the rope is approximately your height + 3 ft (so if you were 5’6″, around 8’6″). As you get more advanced with your skipping, you’ll want to reduce the length. The good news is that most modern jump ropes are adjustable, so adjusting the length of the rope as your experience progresses is quite easy.
You might also want to consider a rope with weighted handles and thicker cables in your skipping rope. This will enable you to build up speed more easily, and also adds to your arm workout.
A skipping rope that we’d recommend is the Reebok Premium Speed Rope, which has weighted handles, an adjustable rope length, and has a ball bearing mechanism to help you exercise smoothly.
You don’t have to go to the gym to practice.
One of the major benefits of rope jumping is that you can practice anywhere you have open space, so it’s something you can pick up whenever you’re felling like exercising.
If you’ve got plenty of space and high ceilings, this might be in your front room – but for a lot of us, the best place to practice our jump rope routine might be outside in the garden, or at a local park.
Jumping rope is a full-body workout.
Skipping is an intense, full-body workout that uses your leg muscles, core muscles and muscles in your upper body.
Are you ready for a list of all the muscles that skipping uses?
- Chest muscles
- Back muscles
- Calf muscles
So whenever you jump rope, you really are putting your whole body to work.
Jumping rope is good for your heart health.
Jumping rope is also an excellent cardiovascular exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing.
A 2019 study for the Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology found that skipping delivers improvements on cardiovascular fitness, and recommended that skipping was an exercise that anyone with a sedentary lifestyle took up.
The more intense and faster you jump, the greater the benefit on your cardiovascular health – including a reduction in blood pressure, and a decreased likelihood of developing diabetes or heart conditions.
Jump rope can improve balance and coordination.
A regular jump rope workout routine is also a great way to improve your balance and coordination.
When you’re jumping, it requires quick footwork, which can help to develop coordination between your brain and legs. Skipping also requires different muscle groups to work together in unison – such as your wrists moving in time with your jumps, so co-ordination is also built here.
You need to keep track of where you are in relation to the rope as well as what’s going on around you – so skipping can be great at improving your spatial awareness.
A study from the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine found that regular skipping was effective at improving balance and motor co-ordination in a group of young soccer players.
Skipping can help you relieve stress and tension.
When you’re skipping, you’re making a series of repetitive, rhythmic motions with your body.
This can be quite calming for your body, and it has been suggested that rhythmic motions can have a meditative benefit.
Couple this with the well-known mental health benefits that any regular exercise can bring, and it’s another reason why skipping is such a great activity.
Can jump rope exercises help me lose weight?
If you have the objective of losing weight, skipping might be just the exercise you’re looking for.
To lose weight, your body needs a calorie deficit. This means you need to be burning more calories than you consume.
One way to address this is to eat fewer calories. A healthy diet, filled with lots of fruits and vegetables is the foundation of any successful weight loss programme.
But another way to create a calorie deficit is to become more active, and take regular exercise.
Jumping rope requires all of your major muscle groups to work together to keep your momentum while you jump. This means that it burns more calories than other exercises like running or walking, because there are more muscles involved in each movement.
So adding just 10-20 minutes of skipping to your daily routine can help to deliver that calorie deficit.
How many calories does skipping burn?
There are a lot of variables here, such as the intensity of your skipping workout, the length of your session, and your weight.
But Captain Calculator estimates that the average person burns between 140 – 190 calories for every 1000 jumps of a skipping rope, at a moderate pace.
The site has a handy calculator that estimates the calories burned for different lengths of session.
For the average UK male (~14 stone) it estimates that a 30 minute skipping session at a moderate pace would burn anywhere between 411 and 552 calories.
For the average UK female (~11 stone) it’s estimated that a 30 minutes skipping session would burn between 323 and 433 calories.
What are the best skipping exercises?
When you’re first starting out skipping, we’d advise keeping things simple with basic two footed jumps.
But as you get more experienced and confident, you can mix up your workouts with different techniques that train different muscles groups, or make your workout a little more intense.
This is the best place to begin when you first start jumping rope. Stand up straight and relaxed, and swing the rope under your feet. Both of your feet jump over the rope with each swing.
Alternate foot jumps
This technique makes it look like you are jogging over the skipping rope as you exercise, and can be great for building up speed in your workout. There’s a great explainer video on the Jump Rope Mom channel.
The boxer step is a great technique to help improve your rhythm, footwork and body co-ordination. It incorporates small hopping jumps from side to side as you skip, and is best illustrated in a video by Crossrope Jump Ropes
One of the best techniques for improving your co-ordination and timing, the scissor step involves having one foot in front of the other, and switching your feet every time you jump. It’s best illustrated by the Punk Rope channel.