Jump Rope Alternatives – Introduction
What are the best jump rope alternative exercises to unlock your fitness?
Jumping rope is a great way to get fit, burn calories, and lose weight.
You can jump rope almost anywhere and anytime, and basic jump ropes are pretty cheap and readily available.
In terms of benefits vs. rewards, jumping rope is hard to beat.
But, while jumping rope is an effective workout, it’s not perfect and may not suit everyone.
What other exercises can you do to target the same muscle groups?
Keep reading to find out!
What Muscles Does Jump Rope Workout
Before getting to the best jump rope alternatives, let’s take a look at what muscles they work.
After all, to be considered a good alternative exercise to jumping rope, your chosen substitute should target the same muscles.
When jumping rope, your entire body is engaged and active as you work out, such as your:
Lower Body Muscles
Many of the muscles in your lower body will be utilized during each jump—including your:
While your core is also actively engaged to help stabilize your body.
The core is the general term for the muscles of your waist, including:
- Abdominal muscles, which include:
- Rectus abdominis,
- Transverse abdominis,
- Obliques, and
- Erector spinae, posterior abdominal muscles
Your core musculature acts like a powerlifting belt wrapped around your midsection to secure your spine.
Upper Body Muscles
And your upper body also gets a good workout as you control the rotation of the rope, such as your:
- Back, and
Top Benefits of Jumping Rope
What makes jumping rope such an excellent exercise?
Jump rope benefits include:
Jumping rope can help increase your body’s oxygen uptake capacity and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
When you jump rope, your muscles require more oxygen, and your cardiovascular system needs to fulfill your body’s demands.
Gradually, your cardiovascular system will become more powerful and efficient.
Increased Calorie Burn
You can quickly get your heart rate up and burn calories without having to run for miles or do burpees in the gym.
Therefore, depending on your weight and workout intensity, jumping rope can burn up to 600 calories per hour, making it a great calorie-burning activity for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
Amazingly, a study by John A. Baker of Murray State University demonstrated that just 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging for improving cardiovascular efficiency. ¹
Better Balance & Coordination
When you’re jumping rope, you have to continually adjust your hands, feet, and body position as the rope passes underneath your body.
Otherwise, you’re going to eventually trip up on the rope!
Not tripping up on the rope takes practice, timing, skill, and coordination.
Training with a jump rope will improve your agility and coordination, making it easier for you to move quickly on your feet in other activities, whether you’re an athlete or going bowling with your grandkids.
Because jumping rope engages major muscle groups like the legs, core, arms, and shoulders simultaneously, it is an incredibly efficient way to gain full-body strength.
It also strengthens your bones, joints, and ligaments, all while giving you an intense cardio workout.
Use weighted handles or weighted ropes to progressively increase your overall strength.
Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to perform repeated contractions against resistance for an extended period of time. (NASM)
Many chores of everyday life are low-intensity but repetitive, such as carrying groceries, climbing stairs, or just standing for long stretches of time.
By incorporating jumping rope into your exercise routine at least three times per week for 10 – 15 minutes each session, you can build up your overall muscular endurance while getting in a good workout at the same time.
Jumping Rope Drawbacks
Jump rope disadvantages include:
Jumping rope shock loads your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.
While the impact is relatively low, it could still cause pain and injury for some people.
You don’t need a lot of space to jump rope, but you need enough.
If you work out in a low-ceiling garage, basement, or in your living room, you may not have enough room space to swing your jump rope without hitting something!
Jumping rope takes practice, and until you are proficient, your workouts will probably involve a lot of starts and stops.
This can be very frustrating.
Unfortunately, some people never really get the hang of jumping rope and avoid it for this reason.
Doing a lot of jumping rope can become boring.
The scenery never changes, and you stay in more or less the same spot the entire time.
Jumping rope to music can help make jump rope less boring, but even the most motivating music can only do so much.
Needless to say, to do a jump rope workout, you first need a jump rope.
You can buy a jump rope for under $20, but even so, some people don’t want to buy one.
Or, you might just have forgotten your jump rope.
Either way, jumping rope without the right equipment will make this workout impractical.
The good news is that there are plenty of jump rope alternative exercises you can use to get around these problems, each of which is just as effective.
12 Best Jump Rope Alternative Exercise List
Have bad knees?
Need an even more low-impact option other than jumping rope?
Low ceiling basement or garage?
Whether you can’t or don’t want to jump rope, these exercises are the best alternatives you can do instead.
Each works the same muscles and offers similar fitness and fat loss benefits.
- Jogging and running
- Cardio machines
- Ali shuffles
- Jumping jacks
- High knee lifts
- Mountain climbers
- Imaginary jump rope
Alternatives to Jump Rope Exercise Descriptions
Do you lack the coordination to jump rope properly?
Does the impact bother your joints?
Then go for a brisk walk!
Walking is one of the most accessible workouts around, and, like jumping rope, you can do it almost anywhere and anytime.
To get the most from walking, make sure you walk briskly and use your arms – this is not a Sunday stroll.
You should feel warm and slightly out of breath if you want to get fit and lose weight by walking.
#2. Jogging and running
While jogging and running are high-impact activities, both are useful jump rope alternatives.
They’re more time efficient than walking and burn more calories per minute.
You don’t even have to jog or run non-stop.
Walk-run workouts are very accessible and can be scaled to suit almost any level of fitness, e.g.,
- Brisk walk two minutes
- Jog/run one minute
- Repeat five times/15 minutes
Shorten the walks and increase the runs as you get fitter, working up to running 20-30 minutes non-stop.
Do you want your workouts to take you further afield?
Then cycling could be the exercise for you.
Cycling is low-impact and provides a great way to combine working out with spending time outdoors.
Of course, you WILL need a bike, but once you’ve got one, you can use it whenever you want, even for getting to work or school.
There are lots of different styles of cycling and bikes, so you should have no problem finding something that suits you, e.g.:
- Mountain biking
- Road cycling
- Trail riding
- Cycle touring
- Track cycling
#4. Cardio machines
Cardio machines are arguably one of the most convenient ways to burn calories and improve your fitness.
All commercial gyms have an array of cardio machines for you to use.
There are also models made specifically for home use.
Good gym and home cardio machine options include:
- Rowing machines
- Stair climbers/steppers
- Spinning bikes
- Fan bikes
- Ski ergs
If jumping rope is too high impact for you, jogging and running will probably be the same.
So, if you want to work out with the least amount of impact on your joints, swimming could be your best choice.
With swimming, your weight is entirely supported by the water, so there is no stress or strain on your joints.
As an added benefit, swimming is a full-body workout.
The only downsides to swimming are that a) you need to be a proficient swimmer to get many benefits, and b) you need access to a pool or a body of suitable water.
Step-ups are a great alternative to jumping rope.
Like jump rope, you can do step-ups at home, and minimal equipment is required.
In fact, you can do step-ups at the bottom of almost any staircase.
Step-ups strengthen your heart and lungs, improve lower body endurance, and burn plenty of calories.
Best of all, step-ups are a low-impact, joint-friendly workout.
Of course, you could also take your step-ups to the next level by stair walking or running!
#7. Ali shuffles
The Ali shuffle is named after legendary boxer Mohamed Ali, who used his fancy footwork to distract his opponents before hopefully knocking them out.
The Ali shuffle is like skipping without a rope and, as such, is much easier to learn.
To do the Ali shuffle, jump your feet forward and back while pumping your arms.
Keep the impact to a minimum, and make your movements fast, light, and smooth.
Liven things up by moving side to side and forward and back.
Muhammad Ali – Perfect Footwork (The Ali Shuffle) – haNZAgod
#8. Jumping jacks
The jumping jack is another simple bodyweight alternative to jumping rope.
This exercise does involve a reasonable amount of impact.
Still, you can mitigate that by landing as lightly as possible, bending your knees slightly, and using them to absorb some of the force.
To do jumping jacks, start with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
Jump your feet out to shoulder-width apart and simultaneously raise your arms to shoulder height.
Jump your feet back in and bring your arms back to your sides.
That’s one rep – keep going!
#9. High knee lifts
You can do high knee lifts while jumping rope, but it’s also an effective exercise when done on its own.
You can make this exercise harder or easier by raising or lowering your knees.
Jog on the spot to find your rhythm, and then lift your knees forward and up so your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor.
Do not lean back.
Pump your arms in time with your legs.
Adjust your speed to reflect your fitness level.
Minimize the impact by landing as lightly as you can.
You can also do a marching version of this exercise.
This lowers the impact but should still elevate your heart and breathing rate.
#10. Mountain climbers
Mountain climbers, also known as hill climbers or alternating leg squat thrusts, are a total body exercise you can do almost anywhere and without equipment.
They’re pretty hard, but that’s what makes them so effective.
Adopt the push-up position with your arms and legs straight.
Bend one leg and pull your foot up and under your body.
Drive that leg back and jump the other foot in.
Pump your legs briskly for the required number of reps or duration.
Make this exercise easier by going more slowly or harder by speeding up.
However, while a slower pace IS less cardiovascularly demanding, you’ll probably feel your arms, shoulders, and abs more.
How to Do Mountain Climbers – Fit Father Project
Burpees are the exercise that most people love to hate.
They love them because they’re so effective but hate them because of how hard they are.
Regardless of your personal relationship with burpees, there is no denying that they’re an excellent alternative to jumping rope.
How to do a burpee:
- Stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
- Squat down and place your hands flat on the floor.
- Jump your feet back and out into the push-up position.
- Do one push-up.
- Jump your feet back up to your hands and leap into the air.
- Land on slightly bent knees and repeat.
You can make burpees a little easier by omitting the push-up and/or the vertical jump.
Burpees Tutorial – Freeletics
#12. Imaginary jump rope
You don’t need a rope to experience the benefits of skipping.
In fact, not using a rope could improve your workouts, as you won’t keep tripping and stopping.
Simply stand with your feet together and your arms slightly out from your sides.
Then, jump lightly on the spot while doing small circles with your wrists.
You can also move your feet like a boxer, travel forward and back, or use whatever other foot patterns you like.
Best Jump Rope Alternatives – Wrapping Up
Jumping rope is a great workout, but it’s not for everyone.
It can be hard on your joints, requires a decent amount of space, and you need to be reasonably well-coordinated to do it without tripping.
Thankfully, jumping rope is not the only way to build fitness and burn fat at home.
In fact, there are lots of other exercises you can do instead.
So, don’t feel you HAVE to jump rope if you don’t want to.
Any of the alternative exercises listed in this article will work just as well.
Ultimately, the best workout will always be the one you enjoy and can do consistently.
For some people, that will be jump rope.
But, for others, a different workout will be better.
- How Long Should a Jump Rope Be + Beginner Jump Rope Workout Guide
- The Best Exercise Equipment to Lose Weight at Home in 2023
- 7 Magnificent Ways How Burpees Transform Your Physique
- 135 Motivational Fitness Quotes for Men to Inspire You to Get Fit
- 7 Incredible Cycling Effects On Body Transformation
- 15 Magical Benefits of Losing 20 Pounds
¹ Comparison of Rope Skipping and Jogging for Improving Cardiovascular Efficiency of College Men – Taylor Francis Online