There are plenty of benefits to jumping rope on top of the fact that it might bring back fond childhood memories. For instance, not only is it incredibly fun and can potentially give your muscles a surprisingly intense workout, but it can also be a great way to burn fat. Frankly, Peter Schulman, MD, associate professor, Cardiology/Pulmonary Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington explained to WebMD that jumping rope "burns a lot of calories in a short time." So we chatted with some experts about the best jump rope exercises to burn fat fast, which we'll dive into below.
Indeed, someone who weighs 200 pounds and jumps rope at a fast pace for 20 minutes can burn around 362 calories, per Healthline. If someone goes at a slower pace, they can still burn approximately 241 calories in the same relatively short period. Beyond that, although Schulman pointed out that jumping rope is "putting direct stress on knees, ankles, and hips," he also noted that "if done properly it's a lower-impact activity than jogging."
With that in mind, be sure to check out the following jump rope exercises which happen to be the best to burn fat fast, according to experts. And next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Basic Jump Rope
"Literally just learning to jump rope is a great way to increase your energy expenditure and burn fat! You will be gaining coordination, increasing endurance, and using many muscles throughout the body to perform the exercise," Kelly Unger, certified personal trainer, nutritionist, and co-founder of Epic Health and Fitness tells Eat This, Not That!
"Start by setting the correct length to the jump rope. Most jump ropes can be adjusted near the handle, and the appropriate length is long enough to fully reach the floor with your arms by your sides and for the rope to clear your head when it comes around your body," Unger says. Once you're ready for the rope, Unger adds, "The easiest way to get started is to practice jumping over the rope each time it comes around, and try to string more and more jumps together until you get into a rhythm and can consistently clear the rope for extended periods of time. If it catches your feet, just regroup and start over. You typically want to increase your endurance until you can do this exercise in 30 to 60-second increments, take a short break, and do it again!"
Beyond that, Unger notes, "You will likely have to work up to doing enough to really get into a fat-burning amount, but have patience, and improve your time each day. You can use this as a great total body warm-up or as part of a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) program."
"After you have mastered the endurance, timing, and coordination of your basic jump rope, you can begin to do the speed rope," Unger explains. "The difference with this exercise is that you are aiming to hit more and more jumps in a specific amount of time rather than just trying to keep jumping for an amount of time."
As for tackling a speed rope exercise, Unger says, "You may use a lighter or more stiff jump rope for that so that you can more forcefully swing the rope around your body." By doing this, it "will mean that you will have less time between jumps" and will force your "lower-body muscles, mainly your calves, to do more rapid contractions exhausting the muscle more quickly and burning more calories." (So get ready to burn fat fast!)
"Again, practice this by increasing the number of jumps between stoppages, then increase the speed and number of jumps of a given period of time," Unger says. "This is a great HIIT workout and is great to do as active rest between resistance training or other lower-intensity cardio options."
Unger also knows how to take things up a notch when it comes to working out with a jump rope, saying, "Now for a more total body burn and increased resistance, you can use a weighted rope for your jump roping as well. This will cause the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and core to be more activated, and you'll find that you can burn more calories when more muscles are forced to do more work."
While Unger does point out, "You will likely achieve fewer jumps with a weighted rope," that's not a problem when it comes to the intensity of the workout. "You would treat it like reps and sets for resistance training rather than pure duration training," Unger concludes.
Kyle Risley, founder and CEO of Lift Vault was also willing to suggest a few jump rope exercises, first bringing up single-foot hops. Risley explains, "Jump roping with both feet is hard enough, it's much more difficult when you only use one leg to bounce. This is a more advanced jump rope movement that will challenge your balance and your leg strength, meaning that you'll get a significant benefit in a short amount of time."
"Try jumping in 10 hop bursts, bouncing first on one leg, then the other," Risley says. "Take your time to avoid any injury because of hopping too much, as bouncing on one leg can put some added stress on your knee."
While focusing on what your feet are doing can be a way to increase the intensity of your jump rope workout, the same can be said for your knees. Risley explains, "You can do high knees with a jump rope by hopping over with one foot at a time, or both."
"When you jump, tuck your knees up, and pull them as high as you can to your chest," according to Risley. "The act of pulling your knees up will actually activate your core muscles, helping you to get some abdominal adaptation through your workout. Try this for 10 hops to see how you feel, then add more through your routine."
"This popular CrossFit workout is one of the most challenging and sought-after jump rope modifications. This means spinning the rope quickly so that it passes under your feet twice during one hop," Risely notes. "Most people think double-unders are a function of jumping high, but that's actually not the case. Instead, it's a function of spinning the rope faster. This added speed on the rope helps you train your biceps and shoulders, getting more of an upper-body workout with your jumping."
"Try to get one double under at a time, building sets of a few singles," Risley says. "These will require a lot of strength adaptation, so doing singles will be instrumental in helping you eventually get two or three double unders in a row."
To find out more about fun fat-burning ways to work out, be sure to read The Best Hula Hoop Exercises To Shrink Belly Fat. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter below for more of the latest mind and body news!