The Health Benefits of Jumping Rope

BIDMC Contributor

DECEMBER 01, 2016

health benefits

Q: I would like to mix up my routine and start cross-training. I’ve heard that jumping rope is a good activity. Can you tell me about its health benefits?

A: Jumping rope is often introduced during childhood but tends to take a back seat to other forms of physical activity as you mature. Once you’re reunited with the activity, you’ll quickly see that jumping rope is a great exercise that offers many benefits, including:

Jumping rope is a “self-limiting exercise,” meaning the only thing limiting you is a lack of technique. Truly poor technique will prevent you from being able to do the exercise, so bad movement patterns cannot be reinforced.

Jumping rope allows you to self-train effectively . You don’t have to rely on a workout partner, trainer or anyone else to get in a good exercise.

Jumping rope is portable and allows for position variations. Position variations are important because they help balance the left and right side of the body. Running, cycling, rowing and sprinting can provide a challenging workout and burn calories, but often at the expense of sacrificing technique.

Jumping rope is extremely posture-specific . It improves the ability to maintain a long spine and has far less impact than sprinting or jogging. Much of the impact is taken through your leg muscles. The upright posture and long spine force the abdominal muscles to maintain a tight midsection and work together with your back muscles to provide the same type of internal pressure that a weight belt provides.

Jumping rope is important for interval work. It’s a great way to work on breathing techniques that can help with recovering quickly or to better prepare for sports that may have time-out situations before returning to play.

Jump rope is more efficient than running. Jumping rope requires greater technique and uses muscles that both move the body and hold it stable. It requires you to use more energy, and turning the rope increases the level of intensity. An Arizona State Study showed that in college-aged men, 10 minutes of jumping rope was as effective as 30 minutes of running.

Give jumping rope a try today and diversify your exercise routine!


Baker, J.A. 1968. “Comparison of Rope Skipping and Jogging as Methods of Improving Cardiovascular Efficiency of College Men.” Research Quarterly. American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation 39(2): 240-243.

Cook, G. 2003. Athletic Body in Balance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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