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The benefits of jumping rope: A fun, full-body workout

Channel your inner kid again with this super-fun and effective workout tool.

Mercey Livingston CNET Contributor
Mercey Livingston is a health and wellness writer and certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She's written about fitness and wellness for Well+Good, Women's Health, Business Insider, and Prevention.com among others. When not writing, she enjoys reading and trying out workout classes all over New York City.
Mercey Livingston
5 min read

Jumping rope is a fun and effective workout.

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Jump roping is more than just a fun activity to do as a kid -- it's also a great way to get in a full-body workout as an adult while still having fun. If you haven't done it since your younger years, you'll be surprised by just how challenging it really is. Once I even did a workout class that involved jumping rope for several minutes in between exercises, and was shocked to find that was the most challenging part of the entire circuit. But as challenging as jumping rope is, it's still fun as an adult and a great way to mix up your workouts. 

Just ask Wesley Brown, a fitness instructor at Session in New York City. "Jumping rope recruits all the muscles that strengthen your calves, quads and glutes along with engaging your shoulders, arms and core. And of course, who doesn't have fun when they have the rope swinging around?" Brown says. 

Given that you probably have not used a jump rope since you were a kid, you might be a bit rusty on the proper form (and yes -- there is a right way to do it). Below, Brown gives all of the tips you need to master jumping rope and how to get the most out of your jump rope when it comes to using it to get a full body workout.

Before you add jumping rope to your exercise routine, there are a few key things to keep in mind -- like what jump rope you want to use and if you want a simple jump rope or one with more features.


Jump ropes come in a variety of styles, colors and price ranges depending on your preference.

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Which jump rope to buy

According to Brown, making sure the rope is long enough that you can comfortably jump is important to set yourself up for success. If you are 5 feet, 3 inches or under, you will need an 8-foot jump rope and if you are between 5 feet, 3 inches and 5 feet, 9 inches, a 9-foot jump rope will work for you. If you are taller than 5 feet, 9 inches, a 10-foot jump rope will give you the length you need to jump comfortably.

"The best advice I can give is to find a resilient high-quality rope that has the right length and weight for you. This will allow you to confidently make your jumps successful and save your shins from hits that might occur with short or light ropes," Brown says.

Weighted jump ropes

Weighted jump ropes are another option to level up your jump rope workout with more of an upper body challenge. The extra weight in these jump ropes requires you to engage your upper body muscles more than a standard rope. Another benefit of using a weighted jump rope is that you can't swing the rope or jump as fast, which gives you more time to do a proper jump. 

This slower pace is also good for beginners who want to slow down and focus on form. 

Smart jump ropes

Smart jump ropes have sensors that help you track your workouts, including your speed and repetitions. They use Bluetooth pairing to connect with your phone to give you data. The specific data depends on which product you choose, and the price also varies based on how fancy you want the features.

This smart jump rope is on the less expensive side, and at $40 you get a Bluetooth-enabled jump rope that tracks your workout stats, such as how long you jumped and how many times.

Basic jump ropes

The most affordable option when it comes to jump rope is to find a basic one, without special features. These are your standard jump ropes like the ones you used as a kid, and they come in various styles, lengths and colors. This basic jump rope on Amazon is $14 and is a great choice to get started without spending much. 

How to jump rope correctly

Jumping rope seems intuitive, but there are quite a few form tips to keep in mind before you start.

  • Take gentle hops, not big jumps. Jumping rope requires you to leave the ground for half a second. Beginners tend to make explosive leaps that interrupt the flow of the rope turning. However, gentle hops will provide an inch of clearance under your feet to give you enough time to pass over the rope repeatedly with a consistent speed.
  • Let your wrists do the work of turning the rope. Your elbows and shoulders should look almost like they are staying in place close to your body.
  • Focus on the cadence of the rope and your skill will improve. Your first time with a rope might feel like you need to watch your feet, but find a spot on the wall to keep your eyes on. Once you get a feel for how the rope feels overhead and under your feet, that spot you picked will help the flow feel more natural.

Basic jump rope warm-up and workout

If you are just starting out with jump roping, ease into it with this warm up and beginner workout. "Perform a few calf raises and establish your breathing pattern before you begin jumping. Keep your body upright and keep your jumps quick and gentle. Maintain your concentration on a spot on the wall to keep jumps consistent and confident," Brown says. 

"A low strain workout could involve gentle jumping for 5 to 10 minutes of single unders (one swing per jump) while an intense session could use one minute fast-paced intervals for a few rounds," Brown says. 


Jump rope workouts are a great form of cardio and challenge multiple muscle groups.

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Try this full-body jump rope circuit workout

Once you get comfortable with jumping rope, it's time to add in some other exercises to make it a full body workout. Try the workout below which incorporates jumping rope with other equipment-free moves you can do at home. 

Do 5 rounds of the workout below with a 30 second rest in between rounds:

  • 100 jump rope single unders
  • 50 jumping jacks
  • 50 jump rope double unders
  • 10 star jumps

How to master the moves:

  • Single unders: A single under is when you pass the rope under your feet only one time per jump.
  • Double unders: A double under is when you pass the rope under your feet twice per jump. This requires you rotate the rope quickly and jump higher than you do for a single under. You can do this by using your wrists to turn the rope as fast as you can, not your entire upper body. 
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.