Can Jumping Rope Burn Belly Fat?

Portrait of fit young woman with jump rope in a park. Fitness female doing skipping workout outdoors on a sunny day.
Jump roping can be done just about anywhere. (Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images)

The jump rope is a classic training tool used by both athletes and those interested in fat loss alike. For athletes, the jump rope develops foot speed, coordination, endurance and challenges the cardiovascular system to work harder and burn more calories. For fat loss, jumping rope is a low-impact exercise that helps you lose fat all over your body.

But does it burn belly fat? Unfortunately, it's impossible to target one particular area for fat loss, belly fat included. Instead, weight loss occurs evenly all over your body, including your belly.

Jumping Rope for Fat Loss

There's no magical wand that eliminates site-specific body fat, like belly fat. To see maximum reductions in belly fat you'll need to combine changes in your diet and exercise.

Fat-Loss Dieting

To lose fat, your body must burn more calories than you're consuming. To improve your diet, focus on eating more fruits and vegetables, leaner sources of protein like fish and chicken and consider tracking your calories.

While calorie counting is an imperfect science, you need to have an idea of how many calories you're taking in and whether you're gaining or losing weight. If you're losing weight, then you're on the right track. If you're gaining weight, then re-examine your food choices and consider tracking your nutrition.

Fat-Loss Exercise

To lose fat, exercise helps break down stored fuels in the form of carbohydrates and body fat for energy. In terms of exercise, the American Council on Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 30 minutes of physical activity five days per week.

In addition, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that weight training during caloric restriction results in better maintained lean body mass compared to no weight training. Weight train two or three times per week using total body exercises like squats, rows, deadlifts, bench presses and lunges.

Adding the Jump Rope

Incorporate the jump rope as a tool into your workouts. To start, add jumping rope before your weight training or cardio and aim for 100 total skips. This elevates your heart rate, loosens your joints, and conditions your ankles, knees and shins to the new exercise.

Then, as a conditioning tool, add ten minutes of jumping rope at the end of your workout. Thirty seconds of jumping followed by 30 seconds of rest is a great goal, but if that's too tough, simply take breaks when you mess up, then restart once you're ready. Continue using weight training and aerobic training in conjunction with a caloric deficit to burn fat all over your body and eventually, your belly.

Good looking young man jumping a rope and exercising outdoors in the city
Cardio (like jumping rope) is only one part of the belly-fat solution. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

Advantages of Jump Rope Workouts

The jump rope is a low-risk tool that minimizes injury risk providing the intensity to stimulate fat loss all over your body.

The jump rope is low risk for two reasons: First, you must keep your body aligned and tall at all times. If you bend over or bend backwards, you'll catch the rope and need to re-start. Or if you miss a step and whack your triceps, the exercise ends.

This together makes it extremely unlikely to over-do it; and even better, nearly impossible to get injured (unless you accidentally trip and fall, of course).

Second, the jump rope is a low-impact exercise. Instead of choosing high-impact activity like running, jumping rope may be a better option. Research from the Scandinavian Physiological Society has shown that running can have impact forces 2.5x that of walking, causing a cascading stress on the ankles, knees and hips.

Jumping rope has lesser impact than many forms of exercise because the foot-fall, or the height in which you jump, is only a few inches. This means you can jump rope for cardiovascular benefits without undue stress on your hips, knees, and ankles.

Despite being low-impact, jumping rope is a great conditioning tool. Rapid arm movement, maintaining a rigid core and quick feet all combine to send your heart rate sky-high.

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