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Jumping Rope vs Running: Which is the Superior Workout Option?

jumping rope vs running

There’s nothing quite like a runner’s high. 

Runners will agree; the sense of accomplishment from running further and faster than the day before is like no other feeling. 

With that said, we’re here to settle the debate on jumping rope vs running. 

Is jumping rope better than running?

Which cardio option is going to give you a better workout? 

In today’s post, we’re going to discuss jumping rope vs running. Then, we’ll cover a few different scenarios where you might find the jump rope the better training option, digging a little deeper into the benefits of jumping rope.

“I just love that I can work out at any time and anywhere. With kids, sometimes I can’t work out when I planned, or I’m too tired to go for a run, yet it’s not work with the ropes. It’s fun.” - Jennifer

Benefits of Jumping Rope vs Running 

1. Jumping Rope vs Running: Which is More Efficient? 

You can forget about toiling away on the treadmill for an hour just to get a good cardio workout. All you need is a few minutes to get the same benefits from jumping rope. 

Plenty of research has piled up showing the benefits of jumping rope vs running, so we’ll only highlight an essential point that has been proven. 

A study led by John A. Baker at Arizona State University divided 92 male students into two groups: one group jumped rope for 10 minutes a day, and the other group jogged for 30 minutes a day.

After six weeks, the men took the Harvard Step Test to measure their cardiovascular gain. Each group showed equal amounts of improvement.

When it comes down to jumping rope vs running, you’ll get the same results in only a fraction of the time.

Here’s a great video by Jon Hinds who explores the topic further:

2. Jumping Rope vs Running: Which is Safer for Your Joints?

Running offers a great cardio workout, but if you’re comparing jumping rope vs running, your poor joints will think you for using a jump rope.

If you’re using proper form, jumping rope puts less stress on your knees than pounding away at the pavement for long periods or long distances. 

In an excellent article written by Yuri Elkaim, an interesting statistic was brought up:

"About 50 to 75% of all running injuries appear to be overuse injuries due to the constant repetition of the same movement and factors associated with running injuries include previous injury, lack of running experience, running to compete, and excessive weekly running distance."

Running on hard surfaces like concrete can do a number on your joints and cause many overuse injuries, especially if you don’t run properly. Or if you run like any of these guys:

Sorry, we had to include that.

But here's something serious to consider if you’re looking at jumping rope vs running: the yearly incidence rate for running injuries varies between 37 and 56%.

Even treadmills, which have a predictable, even surface, and controlled climate, can cause injuries and joint pain.

So unless you know how to run properly—with proper form and proper training protocols—you're setting yourself up for potential training injuries.

"So, is jumping rope safer than running?"

Several reasons make jump rope training an excellent alternative to your regular jog, especially if you're dealing with joint pain or have old injuries to deal with.

Unlike running, jumping rope eliminates the dangerous heel-to-toe strike that tends to be the cause of many injuries. When using a good jump rope technique, you're bounding on the midsoles of your feet and keeping your knees slightly bent.

This turns your ankles and knees into shock absorbers and allows the forces to be distributed evenly throughout the body, leaving minimal impact on your joints.

And speaking of proper technique, what's unique about the jump rope is that it will force you to correct your form as you train. You will essentially continue making mistakes until your form is on point. It's like having a coach in the palms of your hands.

You can learn all about proper jump rope technique in our blog post, How To Jump Rope: The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Jump Rope Training.

If you're facing joint pain from running, be aware that jumping rope is an excellent alternative that can offer solid results without causing further joint pain or damage.

Pro Tip: The surface you’re jumping on matters.

Hard surfaces - like asphalt or concrete - generally put more stress on your joints than softer surfaces such as rubber or wooden flooring and often are the leading cause of shin splints and other injuries.

To minimize your chances of injury and shin splints, we recommend that you jump on softer surfaces more frequently or look into getting yourself the best mat for jump roping.

If you need one, check out our Crossrope LE Jump Rope Mat and turn any surface into a jumping surface.

jump rope mat

3. Jumping Rope vs Running: Which is Better for Strength Training? 

When you think of strength training, a jump rope typically isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

Jump ropes isolate the muscles in your calves + quads, and when you bounce on the midsoles of your feet, you’re strengthening those muscles with every swing. 

At Crossrope, we’re taking things to another level. 

By introducing a great line of heavy jump ropes, we’re helping widen the effectiveness (and efficiency) gap between jumping rope vs running. 

Weighted jump ropes not only boost the overall calorie burn of your workout but also introduces strength training to the mix. Because of the increased resistance, there is an overall increase in muscle engagement and contraction. 

When the weight is distributed evenly throughout the jump rope, you’re bracing your entire upper body (arms, shoulders, back, + core). You end up building muscle all over your body because the additional resistance creates more force that you have to control when you swing the rope.

diagram of muscle engagement using a weighted jump rope compared to a light jump rope

4. Jumping Rope vs Running: Which is More Fun?

It’s 5:00 pm on a Thursday. You’re leaving work with your gym bag in the trunk. On the way to the gym, you start thinking...

"What do I want to do tonight?”

The same old answer comes to mind: go for a run.

You get to the gym, change into your workout clothes, prepare yourself for the inevitable rush-hour cardio equipment when it hits you. You don’t really feel like running today.

Actually, you’re kind of getting bored with it.

You want something new, something cutting-edge, something different. You're craving a new challenge.

We see this stuff all the time. In fact, boredom is one of the main reasons people stop exercising altogether.

To avoid this fate, it's important to look for ways to keep yourself motivated. And to do that, you need to find something that you actually enjoy doing. Something fun and different than what you've tried before.

If you feel like you're starting to get bored with your outdoor runs or indoor treadmill sessions, consider adding the jump rope workouts into your training mix.

When you’re comparing jumping rope vs running in terms of workout engagement, there are a number of things a jump rope can offer that running can’t. 

For one, as we mentioned earlier, you can literally take your workout anywhere.

In an article published on Men's Fitness, Sara Greenfest mentions a study carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, which found that people who exercise outside feel more energized and rejuvenated after their workout.

Next, jumping rope is exceptionally versatile. It allows you to experiment with various skills and exercises to keep your workouts fun and engaging.

You can play around with basic jumps, scissor jumps, double unders, one-foot variations, and many others. In fact, you can take a look at our complete video library of jump rope exercises.

Finally, you now also can experiment with different resistances.

With the Crossrope jump rope system, you can easily clip different weights into your handles to change the intensity of your workouts. As a result, you can build workouts for fat loss, endurance, strength, or whatever fits the bill.

If boredom starts to creep up, give the jump rope a try and see what it can do for you.

Can Jumping Rope Help You Become a Better Runner?

“I loved skipping as a kid—and when I heard about Crossrope Jump Ropes, I thought, I want to feel like a kid again. Jumping also improves my runs, prevents injuries, and does more for my body in 10 minutes than a 30-minute run. That’s a win-win.” - Bob Vila

Now, what if you don’t want to give up running? Can jumping rope help you get better?

Absolutely. What we've found is that the two can (and should) work hand in hand.

Cross-training, unlike running alone, makes you less prone to injury, strengthens more core muscles, increases aerobic fitness, and helps you rehabilitate more quickly if you do happen to get injured.

Elite runners know this, and that's why you will frequently see them using cross-training methods to help them improve.

By incorporating jump rope workouts into your cross-training routine, you’ll tap into several benefits that will level up your running performance. 

Not only can jumping rope improve overall cardiac performance and breathing techniques, but it can also improve coordination and rhythm to assist with runs. Jumping rope for runners develops steady coordination between their eyes, feet, and hands. This improved coordination and rhythm can positively impact a runner’s ability to connect the different parts of the body during a run. 

Jumping rope also strengthens vital muscles in the body that are essential for running. The development of these muscles will help increase running speed, as well as decrease the amount of energy that your body expends to increase velocity, making runs much smoother. 

Jumping Rope vs Running Recap

In this post, we've explored the difference between jumping rope vs running.

So, to answer the question ‘is jumping rope better than running’ that depends on the person. We feel that there are benefits to both training styles, and we're in no way advocating that you completely stop running. Not at all. A nice jog in the park or trail run through the forest can offer a lot of benefits.

But here's what we do want you to take away from this post...

You have different training options available to you.

Running is great. But it is NOT the only option you have. And it is in your best interest to continue searching for ways to challenge your body while staying safe and engaged.

So in the event you should encounter the desire to mix up your training, give jump rope training a try.

We think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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