Jump Rope vs. Running: How Do They Compare?

Jump Rope vs. Running: How Do They Compare?

You’re ready to build muscle and torch fat with #mbf Muscle Burns Fat. Or maybe you’re just starting out but eager to become a runner through 30 Day Breakaway.

Either way, there’s a common question that motivated exercisers run into when they’re figuring out the best ways to get in the cardio portion of their fitness routines.

When it comes to jump rope vs. running, which one is better?

While they’re both great choices, one may be better than the other for you, depending on your fitness goals and workout constraints, like available space, equipment, and time.

To help you figure out which one will accelerate your results, we tapped Cody Braun, CPT, Assistant Manager of Fitness at Beachbody, and Jackie Sharp Womble, M.S., R.D.N., an exercise physiologist, on how these exercises differ.

Woman jumping rope

Jump Rope vs. Running: How Do They Stack Up?

Jump rope and running share many of the same benefits. They’re both capable of boosting your cardiovascular health, and it’s easy to do either exercise almost anywhere.

“These forms of exercise offer benefits for your cardio-respiratory system, but they also offer some lower-body muscular endurance,” Braun says.

For a full comparison of jump rope vs. running, check out the chart below:

Jump Rope Running
Appropriate for beginners x x
Can be done anywhere x x
Requires special equipment x
Counts as cardio x x
Burns fat x x
Improves coordination x
Can be modified x x
Helps with single-leg stabilization x

The Benefits of Jump Rope vs. Running

“Both running and jumping rope are great forms of cardiovascular exercise that can help you burn calories as a beginner and advanced athlete alike,” says Braun.

He and Womble both like that each of these exercises can be adjusted for your individual fitness level.

Ultimately, they’re both solid options for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health.

If you’re looking for the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time, though, Womble says jumping rope has the edge.

In a study done at Arizona State University, jumping rope for 10 minutes improved cardiovascular fitness as much as a 30-minute jog per day,” she explains. “This would indicate jumping rope is more efficient; however it really depends on the individual, how quickly they are jumping rope, and the level of coordination one has.”

The efficacy of jumping rope also carries over to your calorie burn. Ten minutes of fast jump rope will burn 136 calories for a person who weighs 150 pounds.

In the same amount of time, that 150-pound person would burn 90 calories if they run at a 12-minute mile pace. Crank it up to a 10-minute mile pace, and they would torch 113 calories in 10 minutes.

The calorie burn of jump rope vs. running is about the same when you compare a quick jump rope pace with a run that clocks in at 8.5 minutes per mile.

(That’s one reason you’ll love the interval running workouts in 30 Day Breakaway since they help you change up your pace.)

Womble, former wellness director for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, underscores that the exercise that will help you burn fat and lose weight most effectively is the one you enjoy more.


Simple. You’ll actually do it, and you’ll stick with it.

Running may be easier for beginners to pick up than jumping rope.

“Running might have a slight advantage because there are many variables you can manipulate to challenge your body,” Braun explains, adding that “there is less coordination involved to initially get started.”

Though he and Womble both like that jumping rope challenges your coordination, it can feel like a hurdle to those just learning how to jump rope.

Woman trail running in the forest

Modifying Jumping Rope vs. Running

Both running and jumping rope are high impact, which may make them difficult for beginners or those with knee injuries.

“If you are new to the jump rope, you can focus purely on the timing of the rope swing as well as your hops to get a good grip on the basics,” Braun says.

If you’re unable to do high-impact exercises, he suggests using a cordless jump rope while you step instead of hop.

But if you’re ready for a more intense workout while jumping rope, try playing with speed, duration, and style of jumping. (Your jump rope workouts in #mbf do this for you.)

Walking and jogging are low-impact alternatives for running, but they’re not the only options.

If you’re new to running, walk-run intervals (such as running for 2 minutes and walking for 5) are an easy way to get started. That’s the whole idea behind the guided cardio workouts you’ll find in 30 Day Breakaway.