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What Does Jump Rope Help With: 3 Benefits for Runners

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The simple act of jumping rope boosts agility and balance, strengthens muscles in your upper and lower body, gets that heart rate pumping, and is just good old-fashioned fun. 

Whether it’s used a warmup, a quick 10-minute HIIT workout, or a full-fledged cardio session, nothing quite sheds calories and gets your heart pumping like a simple jump rope. 

Benefits of jumping rope

There are almost no muscles left behind when jumping rope. This simple movement is able to light up the muscles in your lower body like a Christmas tree, but it’s also great for your upper body as well. 

Let’s break down the muscle groups that this activity targets. 

1. Lower Body

It’s no surprise that any form of skipping rope targets your lower body. The biggest muscle groups targeted when jumping rope is your calf muscles, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Basically, all of the major players hit when going for a jog around the block. 

By working your lower body in new and different ways, you tone all of those smaller muscles that don’t get hit with a daily jog, essentially making you a more well-rounded runner. Not only does it boost strength, but increases your agility and balance as well. 

2. Upper Body

If you want to tone your upper body, jumping rope at a great way to do it! By controlling the speed and movement of the rope, this simple activity strengthens and tones the muscles in your upper body as well. 

When I first started jumping rope, I was shocked at how sore my forearms were from simply swinging the rope. 

Running vs Jumping Rope & calorie burn

If burning calories is the name of the game, you may be wondering which activity is more beneficial to overall weight loss and strength training. 

The answer to this question lies in the intensity of your workout. 

If you are engaging in a nice and easy jump rope session, the calories burned won’t be quite as high as a low-intensity run. On average, runners burn 117 calories when running for 10  minutes compared to 105 calories burned when jumping rope

However, as you amp up the intensity of your jumping, you burn calories more than while running. A high-intensity 10-minute jump rope session burns around 146 calories, while a high-intensity running session burns around 140. 

As long as you stick to a high tensity training session, the calories burned will be slightly higher than hopping on the treadmill. It’s also important to note that jumping rope activates more muscle groups in your upper body and core than running, making it a superior full-body workout. 

So, how many times do you need to jump to hop your way to the one-mile mark?

Jumping 80 times in one-minute equals running a mile in 7 minutes and 20 seconds. If you can jump to a mile in under 8 minutes, you can run a mile in under 8 minutes! 

Getting a speed goal is a great way to set little milestones to reach for every time you set time aside for jumping rope. 

3 rope jumping benefits for runners

Jumping rope is not only a ton of fun, but it crafts you into a better runner. 

Below, I wanted to take a dive into what does jumping rope help with. 

1. Smash through plateaus: The dreaded plateau is something that every runner has encountered. It seems like no matter what you do, you have hit a wall when it comes to your training, leaving you unable to push yourself farther or faster. 

This often occurs because you are locked into a certain cadence of running which doesn’t quite engage your muscles in the same way. 

By adding rope training into your weekly workout session, you can easily smash through any plateau (and have fun while doing it!) Jumping rope activates new muscle groups and essentially wakes up your body as you engage in a whole new workout. 

2. Run faster: There is a myriad of ingredients needed to increase your running speed, but strength training is one of the best ways to shave seconds off of your time. 

Jumping helps to strengthen those powerful muscles like your glutes, calves, and hamstrings to help you run faster, but it also works those tiny unsung heroes in your body. Stronger muscles equal more power. And more power translates to faster laps speeds. 

3. Clear out the cobwebs: It’s super important that you keep your muscles stimulated while running, but that same line of thinking can be applied to your brain. Lacing up your running shoes and hitting the same stretch of the trail every single day can cause a bit of a mental block. 

Jumping rope reconnects you with your playground roots where physical activity was fun and not a grueling means to an end. 

How to incorporate jump rope training into daily workouts 

Used as a low-impact warmup or a full-fledged cardiovascular session, there are tons of engaging ways to incorporate a jump rope workout into your next training session. 

Warmup: For a warmup, I suggest keeping your cadence nice and easy. Tricks and complicated movements are great for cardio sessions, but for a warm-up, it’s better to keep things simple. 

Instead of walking for 5 minutes before you pick up the pace, try reaching for a jump rope as your next warm-up. Keep the tempo nice and easy to warm up your muscles and send blood flowing through your entire body. 

When running in colder weather, there is nothing better to get your body nice and warm before stepping out in frigid temperatures than jumping rope.

HIIT: A basic cross-training routine is perfect for those that are running short on time, or for those that simply want to get their heart a great workout. 

Here’s an example of a killer HIIT workout that wakes up your heart and muscles. 

  • Jump at a high intensity for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Jump at a high intensity for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Jump at a high intensity for 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds

Note: To amp up the intensity, try alternating jumping on one foot and then shifting to another. This not only fires up those core muscles but also boosts your balance and agility. Mastered the forward motion? Try going backward! 

Cardio: For a full cardio workout, ditch the double dutch rhymes and fire up a good cadence playlist. While simply jumping is enough to light up those muscles, there are a few ways to dial up the intensity. 

Double Unders: It may take some time to work up the skill to pull off a double under, but who doesn’t love a good challenge? This movement trains your body to jump higher and move faster as long as you can pull it off!

Criss Cross: This is another one of those difficult-to-master footwork moves, but nothing hits those core muscles quite like a good criss-cross.

Backward Jumps: For improved coordination, agility, and balance, backward jumps targets all of the same muscles as a forward jump while also boosting your balance. 

Mummy Kick: By raising your legs like a mummy and keeping your toes pointed up, this is a percent movement for strengthening hamstrings and hip flexors. For runners, this jump rope exercise is one of the very best movements to build strength in your hips. 

High Knees: This movement will make you wish you were never born in all of the best ways. Ten seconds of high knee jumps boost your heart rate, and give those glutes a walkup call!

Remember, working out is supposed to be fun!

Your daily workout routine doesn’t have to be soul-sucking and monotonous. If you have hit a running plateau, or just want to inject more joy into your daily workouts, jumping rope is a great form of exercise to reconnect with your playground roots. 

When you jumped rope as a child, you didn’t do it to burn off the excess calories of a juice box or to gain an edge during dodge ball. You did it because it was fun.

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