Jump Rope Vs. Running: Which Is Better For You?

Cardio workout is an incredible way to burn calories, lose weight and get your heart pumping. Including these workouts in your routine will keep you fit and healthy. Luckily, many exercises will keep your mind and body in great shape. For instance, there is powerlifting, water aerobics, and so on. But if you want a low-cost cardio workout you can do anywhere, your options will narrow down to jump rope vs running!

Both running and jumping rope requires minimal space and little equipment. Yet they’re economical ways to enhance your fitness, intensity, and endurance level. There is one issue though! These workouts are almost similar in terms of targeted muscles and calories burned. So, if you were to choose, which one will you go with?

Well, that will depend on various factors. In this article, I’ll break them down one by one to determine how these cardio workouts measure up.

First, let’s check out the benefits and limitations of each workout!

1. Jump Rope

Jumping rope is a popular form of workout that’s commonly used in warm-ups, boxing, and circuit training. Yet, it’s one of the most underrated workouts out there. Also, while most people used to jump rope as kids, they don’t know how to do it effectively. Here’s how should do it!

If you’re a beginner, I’d suggest you use a beaded rope since it maintains its shape. Also, it’s easier to control as compared to a lightweight vinyl/ cloth rope. Another thing you should note is that jump rope requires coordination. So, practice your arm and foot movements separately first. More importantly, ensure you wear the right athletic shoes. Once you’ve done that, follow these steps:

  • Hold the rope handles in each hand and adjust the rope accordingly.
  • Next, swing the rope and start jumping over it for 1 minute.
  • Rest for some time, then repeat the process above for many rounds.
  • To increase the workout intensity, swing the rope at a faster rate.
  • Once you get better, try variations like alternate-legs and single-leg jumping.

The Best Jump Ropes - Our Top Picks

Our pick

Jump Ropes vs. Running

DEGOL Skipping Rope with Ball Bearings Rapid Speed Jump Rope Cable

  • Smooth and fast
  •  A great choice for cross training
  • Adjustable Length
  • Comfortable

Runner up

 WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope

WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope - Blazing Fast Jumping Ropes

  • Smart handle
  • Spin fast but last a long time
  • Great for at-home workouts too
  • For use on smooth surfaces only

Also great

XYLsports Jump Rope Adjustable for Fitness Workout

XYLsports Jump Rope Adjustable for Fitness Workout Exercise Boxing

  • Smooth Foam Handle
  • 9 feet 8 inches PVC Rope
  • Ultra-smooth high performance
  •  very durable rope

Now that you know how to jump rope, let’s assess its advantages and limitations:

Benefits of Jump Rope

Efficient cardiovascular workout

Jumping rope is an efficient workout for working out your lungs and boosting your heart rate. To increase the workout intensity, you just need to jump faster. Alternatively, you can use a weighted rope.

You’ll also find rope jumping to be time-efficient than other activities. Jumping rope for 15 min at a moderate pace provides the same results as running for 30 min at 12 min per mile. This is according to a report on Harvard Health Publications.

Enhances coordination

To jump rope successfully, your body and mind require significant communication. For instance, you should jump at the right time and land on both feet impartially. Although this may be a little difficult at first, things will change over time. Thanks to the workout ability to improve balance and timing.

Increases bone density

Jumping rope helps to strengthen your bones and work your arms and core. Moreover, it’s less stressful on the joints than other cardio activities if done correctly. You should only jump 1- 2” off the ground. More importantly, stay light on the toes and keep the knees bent while landing.

Benefits of Jump Rope

Strengthens the lower body

The other benefit of jumping rope is that it works on different muscles. Skipping off the ground continuously tones the jump rope muscles in the ankles and lower legs. This applies pressure on the body in a unique way and increases ankle stability. Best of all, this will prevent injuries while performing other activities.

Jump rope jacks will get your upper body in great shape as well. You’ll be using core muscles, backrests, shoulders, forearms, triceps, and biceps.

Jump Rope Drawbacks

Requires Practice

Skipping feels unenjoyable, especially for beginners, since it’s not simple to master. However, you’ll eventually get better over time by practicing regularly.

Can feel monotonous

Another drawback of this workout is that it can be boring, particularly if you do it for a long time. To prevent, stick to a full 10-min workout or short cardio intervals.

2. Running

Running is a high-intensity, aerobic activity that supports both heart and lung health. Better still, you can either do it outside or indoors through treadmill running. Running is also good for building lower-body muscles, provided you run with proper form.

However, considering running is a high-intensity activity, be careful while doing it. Otherwise, you can easily end up being injured if you overdo it. To keep your workout safe while running, follow these steps:

  • Wear proper gear, that is, workout clothing and running shoes. This will increase comfort and help to prevent injuries. As for the footwear, you can either wear cushioned running shows or sneakers. On the other hand, the workout clothes should be made up of sweat-wicking materials.
  • Start slow. You can end up being injured if you try to do half-marathon training on a treadmill on the first day. In other words, always set attainable goals. This will allow you to reach a certain distance at a reasonable pace. More notably, ease into a regular running routine.
  • Walk for 4 min, then run for 1-2 min. Repeat the workout until you reach 30 min.
  • As you get comfortable, increase your running time by 1 min, and decrease the walking time by 1 min. Continue adjusting the walking to running ratio until your body gets used to the demands.

Benefits of Running

Burns calories

Treadmill running and other running forms burn a considerable amount of calories. According to a certain report, running at a pace of 8.5 miles/ min burns the same calories as jumping rope.

Good for heart and lung health

Running is an incredible cardiovascular workout. Therefore, it has several benefits, both to your lungs and heart. Even better, it doesn’t matter the pace you’re running at. So, even if you’re running slowly, it will be beneficial to your health.

Running is an incredible cardiovascular workout. Therefore, it has several benefits, both to your lungs and heart. Studies have established that running can make a significant difference in mental health. For that reason, it is an excellent stress reliever. Unlike jumping rope, you don’t need specific skills to start running.

Boosts your mood

Studies have established that running can make a significant difference in mental health. For that reason, it is an excellent stress reliever.

Moreover, it’s a great workout for working your core, glutes, and legs. Better still, it’s ideal for maintaining healthy bones and increasing longevity. According to research, runners live about 3 years longer than non-runners.

No special skills are required

Unlike jumping rope, you don’t need specific skills to start running. Everyone naturally knows how to run. Don’t get it wrong though; running isn’t simple. However, I’m certain you can run on the budget treadmills  without stumbling over, even if you’re a novice.

Running Drawbacks

Adjusting to the workout takes time

Getting into a running routine requires a lot of dedication and consistency. Otherwise, running for the first time will feel pretty exhausting. That feeling may last for some time before you get used to running. But once you do, running will feel good and enjoyable.

May cause injury

Yale Medicine claims that more than 50% of regular runners get injured annually. These injuries mainly occur because of overuse. Consequently, various body parts, including muscles, nerves, and tendons are exposed to stress.

Running is also known to put a lot of impact on the knee joints. However, running may not be the only cause of treadmill knee pain. Sometimes, people run but fail to supplement it with other workouts like cross-training. Such activities prepare your body for the impact and strengthen the involved muscles. Also, if you’re planning to run, make sure you perform strength training as well as stretching.

Jump Rope Vs. Running: Which is Better? 

Both jump rope and running are intense, accessible, and effective cardio exercises. However, they’ve got some notable differences. Understanding these differences will help you determine the best workout for you. Note, this will mainly depend on the circumstance and personal needs. That said, here are the key factors that come into play when comparing these workouts:

Calories burned

If you’re planning to start a weight-loss journey, both jump rope and running will provide results. Thanks to their ability to burn a considerable amount of body fat. Calories burned by each exercise will depend on workout duration and intensity. This will also be influenced by; your size, age as well as current fitness level.

According to studies, skipping has a slight advantage over running on calories burned. The amount of burned calories for both activities at 10-min sessions was observed. The participants weighed 68kg (150 pounds) each.

It showed that jumping rope at moderate intensity for 10 min help to burn 140 calories. Contrarily, participants burned 125 calories running at the same intensity and duration. In other words, jump rope tends to burn more calories than running in a shorter time.

Muscles used

Jumping rope and running are cardio workouts. They depend on oxygen to generate the energy required to maintain these exercises. Therefore, they’re not optimal exercises for strengthening muscles.

Nonetheless, they’re great workouts for working many muscles simultaneously. They’re effective in muscle maintenance and definition. These activities target the core muscles for trunk stabilization. And lower body muscles, such as hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps for propulsion.

Moreover, running works the biceps’ sustained flexion and shoulders to stabilize your leg motion. Not to forget that this activity also targets the buttocks for forwarding movement. Similarly, skipping rope works your buttocks to balance the pelvis. Forearm flexor grip, biceps, shoulder, and triceps are also involved when jumping rope. This is controlling the rope requires some resistance.

Overall, running is ideal for working your booty since it does more for the glutes. Also, you’ve to use your butt muscles (hip extensors). Contrarily, skipping is a better option for an arm workout.

Anaerobic/ Aerobic?

You can perform both jump rope and run as anaerobic or aerobic workouts. Anaerobic workouts increase muscle strength and mass. While aerobic workouts boost your endurance. Apart from working for large muscle groups, this exercise increases the heart rate.

Jumping rope and running at a HIIT are anaerobic exercises. Such forms of activities cause your muscles to release intense bursts of energy.

Therefore, jump rope and running can train you both anaerobically and aerobically. More importantly, the impact forces in both activities are almost similar. However, when skipping, single unders have a lesser impact as compared to double unders.


Most cardiovascular workouts that involve continuous ground-to-feet constant cause stress on your knees. This impact can cause injuries to different body parts. Since both running and jump rope are cardio workouts, they’re no exception. They’re both high-impact workouts, so they can be strenuous on your ankles, hips, and knees. For this reason, if you’ve delicate ankles or lower leg injuries, avoid both activities.

However, when it comes to skipping vs running, the former is less strenuous on your joints. This is because the jump rope involves an upright posture, thus elongating the spine. Also, it transfers the energy in your body by activating your abdominal muscles. Best of all, jump rope involves relatively light repetitive movements when performed correctly.

Does This Mean Jump Rope is Better Than Running?

By considering the factors above, jump rope seems to be a better option than running. However, this should not necessarily indicate that it’s the better form of workout. As I said earlier, the best option for you will depend on the circumstance and your needs.

For instance, if you’re a runner, running will certainly be your favorite workout. Also, if you enjoy exploring new terrain while exercising, running will be a better option. However, if you cannot run outdoor because of unfavorable weather, then it’s better to jump rope. Similarly, if you’ve time constraints, jumping rope will be better than running.

Another example is when you’re recovering from an injury or you’ve got weak joints. In such scenarios, running is the better option since it allows you to go at your own pace. Similarly, if you’ve got a problem with coordination and balance, it’s better to run than a jump rope.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can skip rope replace running? 

Both running and skipping is a great way to enhance your cardio and burn calories. You can alternate between both exercises or replace one with the other. However, your decision may be affected if you’re preparing for a certain sport.

2. Should I skip rope every day? 

Skipping rope daily will make your muscles stronger. Better still, it will strengthen your bones over time.

3. How long should a novice jump rope?

If you’re just starting to jump rope, aim for 1-5 min, 3 times per week. However, if you’re in advanced exercise, you can start with 15 minutes. Then gradually build your workout towards a 30-min session.

4. How effective is jumping rope when it comes to burning calories? 

100 jumps can help burn about 14 calories. However, the exact amount of burned calories will depend on weight.


In summation, choosing between jump rope vs running depends on your preference & goals. Besides, both forms of workouts will benefit you in one way or another. You can even alternate jumping rope with running to add variety to a workout routine. This will work your cardio system while changing the muscle activation pattern. Regardless of the preferred workout, always maintain a good routine and proper form.

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