You can improve your running endurance by implementing cross-training into your workout regimen. Jumping rope is an effective way to build your running endurance and strengthen the muscles that you use while running without your joints bearing as much impact.
While it may feel exhausting at first, consistent jump roping will improve your strength, endurance and coordination over time.
Is Jumping Rope Good for Runners?
Jumping rope has many benefits for runners. What muscles do you use in running and jumping rope? Jumping will primarily work your calves, glutes and quads, but your shoulders, chest, back and triceps will assist in constantly turning the rope.
These are the same muscles that fire up when you run. (Yes, your upper-body muscles do come into play when running to help propel you forward, according to Aaptiv, a workout app that offers fitness classes and training programs.)
Jumping rope will improve your speed, agility, power, endurance, balance and coordination, all of which are pertinent while running, according to Aaptiv.
More specifically, the fast footwork in jumping rope can improve a cross-country runner's performance, and distance runners can benefit from the posture work that jumping rope creates. Runners never want to run while hunched over or with rounded shoulders. Jumping rope requires a long, straight spine, which can translate to your running motion.
And while jumping rope is a weight-bearing activity, it provides far less impact than jogging or sprinting, allowing your muscles and joints to bear less intensity on the days that you don't run.
Jumping rope is roughly equivalent to running — outside or on a treadmill — according to ACE Fitness. A 150-pound person jumping rope at a fast pace for 10 minutes will burn 136 calories and a 150-pound person running an 8:30-minute mile will burn 130 calories.
If you're someone who has existing injuries or chronic pain in your knees, ankles or feet, talk with your doctor or physical therapist about whether or not jumping rope is safe for you.
Additionally, doing high-impact activities, like jumping rope, too often may cause injury, as LIVESTRONG.com previously reported. It's important to add other aerobic and strength-training activities to your routine and warm up and cool down before and after your jump rope workouts.
The Importance of Cross-Training for Runners
Cross-training means you practice multiple kinds of activities in your workout regimen, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Doing so will improve your strength and performance by giving your overworked muscles a chance to rest. It will also prevent overuse injuries in your muscles.
It also improves your cardiovascular system by challenging it in a new manner. Improving your endurance in one sport will carry over into the others. Getting good at jump rope, therefore, will positively affect your stamina and endurance while running.
How Fast Can You See the Results When You Start Jumping Rope?
Like any form of exercise, seeing results — like weight loss or muscle gain — doesn't happen right away. And, it can vary from person to person. But, as a general guide, if a 155-pound person jumped rope for 30 minutes, they'd burn about 372 calories or around 3 pounds of fat lost in a month, as LIVESTRONG.com previously reported. If a185-pound person jumped rope for 30 minutes, they'd burn about 444 calories or around 4 pounds of fat lost in a month.
Jump Rope Workouts
If you're wondering, "how long should I jump rope for cardio?" or "how long should I be able to jump rope continuously?" there's no set answer — it all depends on your level of jump rope experience and current fitness level.
Beginners should start slow, aiming for 1 to 3 days a week for 1 to 5 minutes at a time as to not tax their bodies completely, according to CrossRope. If you're intermediate or advanced, CrossRope suggests jumping rope 3 to 5 times a week and aiming to progress up to 15 to 30 minutes at a time.
If you want to run and jump rope on the same day, use jumping rope as your warm-up before running, according to a small March 2020 study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. How long should you jump rope before running? Researchers found skipping rope for 5 minutes before your run can boost your speed.
Does Jumping Rope Cause Knee Problems?
According to Rope City, you may experience knee pain if you're not used to jumping rope or are making the following common mistakes:
- Not warming up: A proper warm-up with exercises such as lunges and walking toe touches will loosen up your muscles and reduce stress on your joints.
- Wearing the wrong shoes: Wear new, lightweight CrossFit shoes or running shoes with soft insoles. Tie them tight to provide more ankle support, which will take pressure off your knees.
- Choosing the wrong surface: Avoid jumping on hard surfaces, such as hardwood or concrete floors. Weight rooms with hard foam floors are ideal. If hard surfaces are unavoidable, using a jump rope mat ($39.99, DicksSportingGoods.com) can help.
- Not using proper jumping technique: It's best to jump and land on your toes. This way, you're putting pressure on your calves and not your knees.
It's important to note that if your knee pain doesn't go away after making these tweaks, talk to your doctor as it may be a more serious issue.
Ready to start jumping? Give this 10-minute workout a try!
- Aaptiv: "6 Reasons Runners Should Take Up Jump Rope"
- ACE Fitness: "Physical Activity Calorie Counter"
- International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance: "Jump-Rope Training: Improved 3-km Time-Trial Performance in Endurance Runners via Enhanced Lower-Limb Reactivity and Foot-Arch Stiffness"
- AAOS: "Cross-Training"
- CrossRope: "How Long Should I Jump Rope? Your Guide for the Best Results"
- Aaptiv: "6 Upper Body Exercises to Improve Your Running"