Jumping rope is a traditional exercise that provides a full-body strength and conditioning workout. A common question about the effectiveness of jumping rope, however, is the selection of the jump rope and choosing between a weighted jump rope or a speed rope.
A weighted jump rope and speed rope both provide the same basic benefits, which include improved coordination, agility, footwork, quickness and endurance, according to a June 2011 study in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.
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Both options offer their own unique set of benefits, so below, we weigh the pros and cons of using a weighted jump rope versus a speed rope.
Speed Rope vs. Weighted Rope
A speed rope is better for improving:
- Basic skills
- Cardiovascular conditioning
- Sport-specific skills (ex. boxing)
- Advanced techniques (ex. double unders)
While weighted jump ropes are a better option to:
- Burn more calories for the same speed
- Increase strength, particularly in the upper body
- Support weight loss
- Aid muscle building
- Provide varying weights to progress your workouts
Speed Rope Benefits
A speed rope is ideal for beginners. Starting with a basic, lightweight speed rope rather than a weighted jump rope allows them to perform basic jump rope exercises and workouts to develop speed, agility and endurance. Also, speed ropes are better at developing overall fitness and conditioning to complement a wide range of workout and training programs.
That said, speed ropes can also be used by elite athletes to develop footwork, coordination and conditioning. For example, boxers often use a speed rope during their general strength and conditioning workouts.
After learning the basic techniques for using the speed rope, you can progress to advanced exercises such as double unders. Double unders are a jump rope pattern that includes making two revolutions with the rope for every one jump and requires a significant amount of speed, coordination and endurance.
Once you learn the technique, you can up the intensity of this exercise by increasing speed or jump height.
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Weighted Jump Rope Benefits
Weighted jump ropes, also called heavy jump ropes, require more upper-body strength to continue spinning the rope. Benefits also include a higher calorie burn. Use a weighted jump rope if your fitness goals revolve around strength gain or weight loss.
You can choose from 1-, 2-, 4-, 5- and 6-pound weights to match your individual fitness and strength levels. Adjust the length of the rope to match your height and use the weighted jump rope to complement your normal strength-training workouts.
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Benefits of Jumping Rope
With the ability to burn almost 750 calories per hour for a people weighing 155 pounds and 888 calories for a person weighing 185 pounds, according to Harvard Health Publishing, you can use either jump rope to improve strength, agility, coordination or endurance.
Jumping rope can also help you reach the minimum weekly physical activity recommendations for aerobic exercise — 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity — to maintain your weight, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Add more time or try out a weighted jump rope to increase your calorie burn if your goal is to lose weight.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight"
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: "Effects of Weighted Rope Jump Training on Power Performance Tests in Collegians"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights"
- The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness: "The effects of rope or weighted rope jump training on strength, coordination and proprioception in adolescent female volleyball players"