Jump Rope, Jumping Jacks, or Both? What Works Best?


Both jumping jacks and jump rope are popular bodyweight exercises performed around the world. Their straightforward, widely accessible nature makes for a great warm-up and workout, with numerous variations. In terms of which is the superior activity, there are multiple factors to consider.

When it comes to warming up and incorporating the entire body before physical activity, like sports or lifting weights, jumping jacks work the best. For a more intense aerobic workout based on agility and speed, jumping ropes are the best. Ultimately, whichever activity is deemed will help you achieve any fitness goal.

Both jumping jacks and jump rope are utilized in countless sub-sectors of society, from the military to individuals looking to get in shape or lose weight. Jump rope is especially efficient when it comes to burning calories, with jumpers dropping over 10 calories per minute.

Are Jumping Jacks as Good as Jump Rope?

While there are no losers when it comes to the debate between jumping jacksOpens in a new tab. and jump ropeOpens in a new tab., there are some factors one has over the other. Depending on your needs and goals, one exercise will appear as a better fit; even still, be sure to give both a shot.

Cardiovascular Health

Jumping jacks have been used for generations as a warm-up for sports across the board; as a plyometric (exercises involving jumping), jumping jacks raise heart rate and incorporate almost every part of the body.

Jump rope is akin to jacks in that they are both majorly the same. The only disparities in the benefits in cardio health are that jump rope targets more agility and stamina-based fitness while jumping jacks lingers closer towards the basic, stretching movement.

Both improve the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently, although jump rope takes the edge when it comes to quick, unrelenting aerobic work.

Burning Calories

Within the realm of burning calories, the hard facts are in the numbers.

ActivityJump RopeJumping JacksWalking
Calories Burned/ Hour750546239  

The jumping exercises put activities like walking to shame in terms of caloric burn, although this is not to ridicule walking. Posting numbers over 500 each per hour, both jumping jacks and jump rope show their health prowess, although again, jump rope takes the cake.

Learning Curve

For beginners to the exercising or aerobics fields, coordination and getting the hang of jumping jacks or jumping rope can be difficult.

More notably, jumping rope can result in injuries before mastery. Getting tangled is not an uncommon feat, no matter the skill level. Thankfully, relative to other forms of exercise, both jumping jacks and jump rope are at the bottom of the totem pole of risk.

Overcoming initial failure in learning the jump rope tends to happen very quickly, while jumping jacks should be mastered in a matter of minutes.

In terms of learning to do the activity, jumping jacks are easier.

Why Jump Rope?

At the forefront of many boxing training regiments, jump rope has been used as an exercise to improve coordination and agility, as well as an aerobic exercise. The variations of jump rope make it an excellent activity for numerous different kinds of users.

Uses Many Muscles

Due to its bouncing nature, jump rope strengthens not only the calf muscles but the surrounding tendons. This phenomenon, in turn, reduces the risk of injury and muscle tightness.Opens in a new tab.

Jumping rope consistently over long periods of time has been shown to reduce tension in the lower body. Including it in any workout plan is a good idea for using a wide variety of muscles and improving bodily elasticity.

Can Improve Coordination

Since the jumping rope is considered a cyclic, steady cadence exercise, it offers the benefit of improving coordination between the eyes, feet, and hands. Including variations to your jump rope can enhance these benefits.

There are countless varying jump rope routines, including:

Alternative Foot Step

Boxer Step

Criss-cross

High Knees

Mummy Kicks

Criss-Cross

The list goes on, although the names by themselves are not all that helpful. HereOpens in a new tab. is a guide that explains the different ways to jump rope.

Source: Crossrope.comOpens in a new tab.

Great Workout Finisher

Thanks to the intensity of jump rope, adding a few minutes of jumping to the end of a workout, or making it a part of a workout, can greatly enhance the calorie-burning opportunities and overall workload in your routine.

Why Do Jumping Jacks?

Where jump rope is the intensity-based aerobic exercise, jumping jacks are the less extravagant, more straightforward activity. Jumping jacks offer an abundance of benefits, many of which are similar to its jumping counterpart.

Total-Body Workout

Whereas jump rope focuses mainly on the lower body, jumping jacks spread the movement across the entirety of the jumper, incorporating the shoulders and arms especially. The calves, glutes, hamstrings, and even abs are touched on during jumping jacks.

On the spectrum of building muscle, jumping jacks are not as effective as something like lifting weights, although they are productive in strengthening and toning, nonetheless.

Great Warm-up

For those looking to get their blood flowing before a tough workout or a long run, jumping jacks are present as a prime, well-balanced warm-up.Opens in a new tab.

Although jumping jacks can be utilized as standalone workouts, practicing them before a more significant activity offers a mini-workout without instilling exhaustion.

Finding the perfect warm-up can be difficult, likely requiring some sort of trial and error. For beginners, trying just a few minutes of jumping jacks is a great place to start.

Protects Bone Density

Performing jumping jacks on a regular basis offers the benefit of maintaining bone density and mass. Osteoporosis Opens in a new tab.and osteoarthritis Opens in a new tab.are also health issues that can be reduced or avoided when jumping jacks are practiced over long periods of time.

Regardless of your purpose, there are a host of perks offered by jumping jacks, improving your health, and preparing your body for exercise.

Best Jump Ropes

When picking out a jump rope to use, the decision can be difficult, with tons of options all ensuring that their rope is the best. Before you start shopping, be sure to take note of the many caveats present in the jump roping world, starting with the type

Types of Jump Rope

There are four main divisions of jump rope, all of which serve different purposes for different types of individuals. Each has its benefits, and paying attention to what they are specifically made for is important to pinpoint which one is for you.

The four types of jump rope are:

BasicFundamental, cheap, and geared towards those just getting started or learning to jump rope, basic ropes usually are made of plastic, with grips on the end. This is the most commonly seen jump rope used in P.E. classes and convenience stores alike.
SpeedLike a racing bicycle or racing shoes, speed jump ropes are built for efficiency and being lightning-quick. These are best used indoors due to wear and tear and are the best rope for intense workouts.
WeightedWhere the other types of ropes are meant to be light and relatively quick, the weighted jump rope serves a different specialty. Meant to give the arms and shoulders a workout, the weighted rope requires more energy exertion and resistance. (With weights up to six pounds, these ropes will give anyone a tough upper body workout with enough reps.)
BeadedA bit of a strange one, the beaded rope is most often used in rhythmic competitions. The beads also prevent the rope from becoming tangled; for this reason, beaded ropes can be used for beginners and advanced jumpers all the same.

Jump Rope Length

The standard procedure for finding the right length of your jump rope is simple. To test if your jump rope is the proper length, step on the middle portion of the rope. Then, pull the rope up toward your shoulder area. The cables, not the handles, should hit right around your armpits.

Source: Dick’s Sporting GoodsOpens in a new tab.

Final Thoughts

There is no wrong answer when asking whether jump rope or jumping jacks are the best.

Tailoring your exercise Opens in a new tab.to your needs is the best way to go about deciding which jumping activity to do; jumping jacks work best as a warm-up tool or full-body exercise. Jump rope is most effective as an intense workout unit to optimize aerobic activity and speed/agility work.

In the gym or on the tarmac, trying out jumping jacks and jump rope is a splendid idea to move your exercise to the next level.

abel

Retired Athlete, Retired Personal Trainer, Retired University Teacher, Retired Sales Manager...

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