Jumping jacks vs jump rope

While jumping jacks and jump rope are commonly used to warm up, they both make an excellent workout on their own

Jumping jacks are an easy aerobic exercise that kids and adults can do without any equipment. You will find that your heart rate can shoot up and will use nearly every muscle in your body.

If you’re looking for something that works your entire body equally as jumping jacks, pick the jump rope. Jumping rope also is a total body workout that can get your heart pumping in a short amount of time.

Jumping jacks

Jumping jacks is a total body exercise where you jump up with your legs spread out and your hands moving above your head for one rep.

woman jumping jacks outside

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You can add them into a high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, program by mixing them with other high intensity exercises. You also can add them during your “rest” time between strength training sets for a cardio boost.

How to do jumping jacks

  • Stand on a flat surface with your arms by your side.
  • Bend your knees slightly and jump up while spreading your legs slightly wider than your shoulders.
  • At the same time, move your hands over your head
  • You can choose to clap if you like
  • When you land on the ground in the starting position, you have completed one rep.
  • Repeat

*For a low-impact exercise, one could sidestep each leg one at a time and move arms in the jumping jack motion so no jumping is required.

Exercise tip:

It’s important to land lightly, keeping most of your weight on the balls of your feet and only a soft bend through your elbows. This helps protect the joints and ensures you reap the full benefits through the upper body.

Benefits of jumping jacks

When looking at both jumping jacks vs jump rope they both have a variety of benefits. Jumping jacks are great for a variety of reasons.

Engages the entire body: It’s a full-body exercise, meaning the move works the lower body, upper body and core muscles. Works almost the major muscle groups from your head to your toe – including your hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip flexors and core.

A form of cardiovascular exercise: They get your heart rate up in a short amount of time.

Strengthen hip muscles: They work the hips in two directions: abduction, when the legs move away from the body, and adduction, when the legs return to the starting position, squared under the hips.

Improve bone density: They are a weight-bearing exercise that produces force and stimulates part of the bone, which helps with new bone growth.

Can be done anywhere: One of the most notable benefits of jumping jacks is they can be done anywhere and no equipment is needed

Great warm up exercise: Jumping jacks engage the whole body making them a great, quick way to warm up before working out.

Jumping rope

Jumping rope is a great alternative to jumping jacks. It will get your heart rate up and you can do several different types of jumps you can do with a rope to keep it interesting.

woman jumping rope

How to use a jump rope

Jumping rope can be tricky at first as an adult if you haven’t used it since you were in grade school. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes “easier.”

  • Make sure you have the right length jump rope.
  • Hold the handles and place the rope behind your before you start.
  • Use your forearm rotation and your wrists to swing the rope rather than using your elbows. As you swing it overhead, get into position for the jump by bending your knees slightly.
  • You have to figure out the timing, but jump over the rope on the balls of your feet.

The jump rope I use

I love adding jump rope sessions into my workouts. I will either have a full jump rope workout or I will add active rest jump rope between my strength training sets.

I have two jump ropes. I recently bought this speed rope which is adjustable. That would be good for shorter people that have to figure out

I also have used an Everlast jump rope for a while. It’s a lightweight durable jump rope. You can buy the jump rope from Target or buy the jump rope from Amazon for less than $10.

Different types of jump ropes to buy

Benefits of jump rope exercise

It is versatile and easy to do while improving your cardio and endurance. Benefits:

Improves coordination: When jumping rope one has to coordinate moving the rope with their arms and hand and jumping at a rhythmic pace.

Good for all fitness levels: Jumping rope is a very easy, efficient cardio workout. It is quick to pick up and one can easily adjust the speed and intensity. 

Great way to burn calories: One can burn between 100 and 300 calories during a 20-minute jumping rope session.

Can be done anywhere: A jump rope is easy to pack in a bag, backpack or purse which makes this exercise easy to do anywhere.

Cardiovascular workout: A great way to improve your heart.

Muscles worked jumping jacks vs jump rope

Jumping rope does engage a few upper body muscles like shoulders, triceps and biceps but the main focus will be on lower body muscles like your calf muscles, quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

On the other side, jumping jacks will engage these same leg muscles but also the inner thigh, outer thigh, deltoid (shoulder), and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) muscles.

Calories burned jumping jacks vs jump rope

When looking at the calories burned doing jumping jacks vs jump rope, jumping rope will burn slightly more calories.

chart with calories burned jumping jacks vs jumping rope

Calories were calculated on the website Burned Calories.

Jump rope workouts

My favorite jump rope

A speed jump rope, made super lightweight with durable wire for easy turning and no tangled messes.

The adjustable rope comes in EIGHT different colors.

Speed Jump Rope
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