Jumping Rope


Jumping rope is jumping over a rope held with one end in each hand as the rope is repeatedly spun over the head and under the feet.


Jumping rope, also known as skipping rope, is a popular activity around the world. Basic jumping rope involves a rope held by one end in each hand that is then spun over the head and back to the feet. When it reaches the feet it is jumped over and spun behind the back and up towards the head again. Jumping rope is an excellent way to build muscles and burn calories. It can be done by individuals of all ages who do not have any mobility limitations or problems with the knees, ankles, or feet.

There are many kinds of jump ropes. Most have wooden or plastic handles. The length of the jump rope varies, but most are 9–10 ft. (2.7–3 m). Many jump ropes can be adjusted by cutting off a small amount of rope and retying or reknotting the end of the rope at the handle. To determine if a jump rope is the right size, it should be placed on the ground with the two handles held in the hands. If it is the right size, the handles will reach just to the armpits.


It is believed that jumping rope dates back to the ancient Egyptians, ancient Chinese, and Australian Aborigines. Jumping rope was an activity that was invented in many different places. The first jump ropes were made out of dried vines or flexible bamboo. In paintings from medieval Europe, children are shown jumping rope. It has been a popular activity for children for thousands of years, and continues to be a popular childhood activity.

Over time, jumping rope has risen and fallen in popularity. It became quite popular in urban areas, and special complex forms of jumping rope were developed. Many involve singing or chanting special songs while jumping. Although jumping rope began as, and remains, most popular as a children's play activity, it has also been used as a fitness activity throughout the years. Today, jumping rope for fitness is most common among boxers, although many other athletes jump rope to improve stamina, muscle strength, and balance.

Types and techniques

Jumping rope can either be done alone, with the individual twirling his or her own rope, or with a group, with two people twirling a longer rope and one or more individuals jumping. The styles developed include:


A family jumping rope on the beach.

A family jumping rope on the beach. While jumping rope has been a popular children's activity for centuries, many athletes have also incorporated the drill into their exercise routines because it helps increase muscle tone and overall fitness.
Jumping rope for fitness

Some fitness jump ropes are weighted to increase the force required by the muscles to speed toning and increase the number of calories burned. It is generally not recommended to begin jumping rope using a weighted rope, as often just jumping rope for a short interval is strenuous enough.

An interval training system should be used when incorporating jumping rope into a fitness routine. This involves jumping rope for a short amount of time, then resting or walking in place. For example, a beginner might try to jump rope for 20 seconds, then walk in place for 2 minutes, then repeat. As the individual becomes more proficient at jumping rope and his or her fitness level improves, the duration of the intervals is increased, and the duration of the resting periods is decreased. Individuals who are more experienced jump ropers may wish to try one of the more complex styles.


Jumping rope is a relatively high-impact workout. It can place strain on the knees, hips, ankles, and feet. There is a risk of strain, sprain, or injury to these areas, especially to the knees and ankles. Each jump puts sudden impact on the joints; however, this can be reduced by wearing well-padded shoes and jumping on a surface that minimizes impact.

Anyone who is beginning a new exercise regimen should consult a physician. Starting high-intensity aerobic exercise, especially after a sedentary lifestyle, can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Starting with lower-intensity exercise and working up slowly can help reduce this risk.


The unit of energy required to raise 1 g of water 1°C, also a measure of food energy. Regarding diets, calories indicate the food energy consumed by eating various foods.
Foot impact—
Damage caused to red blood cells in the foot as a result of a repeated running, walking, or jumping.
Static stretches—
Stretching of muscles while the body is at rest.

Jumping rope can burn more than 500 calories per hour when done continuously. This means that it can be an excellent fitness activity for individuals trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease.


Jumping rope requires very simple equipment: a jump rope, good shoes, and an impact-reducing surface. Most jump ropes cost under US$10 and can be found in sporting goods and many general merchandise stores. Jumping rope is a relatively high-impact fitness activity, making choosing the right shoes especially important. Shoes should be well padded and provide good arch support. Shoes designed for running or cross training are often a good choice. Jumping rope in bare feet is not recommended, as this can put a high amount of stress on the feet and ankles.

Choosing a proper location to jump rope can help reduce the risk of injury. Surfaces that create the least impact on the joints are recommended. Good surfaces include gym mats, running tracks, and tennis courts. Concrete, asphalt, and carpet are not recommended for jumping rope.

Before beginning to jump rope, it is important to stretch the muscle groups that will be used most rigorously during the exercise. Stretching the muscles of the calves, thighs, arms, shoulders, and back can help reduce the risk of sprains, strains, and muscles soreness.



No special aftercare is required after jumping rope. However, as with all vigorous aerobic activity, it is important to cool down slowly afterwards and to stretch. Stretching the muscles of the back, calves, thighs, and shoulders can help prevent muscle soreness and pain.

Certification and training

No special training is required to begin jump roping. Most people can begin immediately and, with a little trial and error, be jumping rope successfully in a very short time.



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Lee, Buddy. Jumping Rope Training, 2nd ed. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 2010.


Duzgun, Irem, et al. “The Effects of Jump-Rope Training on Shoulder Isokinetic Strength in Adolescent Volleyball Players.” Journal of Sport Rehabilitation 19, no. 2 (May 2010): 184–99.

Kemi, Ole, and Ulrik Wisloff. “High-Intensity Aerobic Exercise Training Improves the Heart in Health and Disease.” Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention 30, no. 1 (January/February 2010): 2–11.


Chen, Joanne. “10 Minutes to Burn Calories.” WebMD. December 23, 2008. http://www.webmd.com/fitnessexercise/features/10-minutes-to-burn-calories#1 (accessed January 20, 2017).

Skarnulis, Leanna. “Skipping Rope Doesn't Skip Workout.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/fitnessexercise/features/skipping-rope-doesnt-skip-workout#1 (accessed January 20, 2017).


American Council on Exercise, 4851 Paramount Dr., San Diego, CA, 92123, (858) 576-6500, (888) 825-3636, Fax: (858) 576-6564, support@acefitness.org, http://www.fitness.gov .

Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, 1750 E Northrop Blvd., Ste. 200, Chandler, AZ, 91403, (800) 446-2322, customerservice@afaa.com, http://www.afaa.com .

International Rope Skipping Federation, info@fisac-irsf. org, https://www.fisac-irsf.org .

USA Jump Rope, PO Box 569, Huntsville, TX, 77320, (936) 295-3332, Fax: (936) 295-3309, info@usajumprope.org, http://www.usajumprope.org .

Tish Davidson, AM

  This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.