Jumping Rope vs Running: What to Do When Running is No Option
Updated on February 2, 2018
There’s something unique about a runner’s high.
At times, there’s nothing better than that sense of accomplishment from running further and faster than the day before.
But what happens when running isn’t an option? What do you do?
There are a number of limitations when it comes time for the daily jog. Whether these limitations are imposed externally (poor weather, lengthy wait times at the gym) or internally (shin splints, overuse injuries), it’s always good to have a backup plan.
Especially if that backup plan is potentially more efficient and effective.
In today’s post, we’re going to dig into some of the differences between jumping rope vs running. We’ll cover a few different scenarios where you might find the jump rope to be the better training option. Let’s take a look.
Scenario #1: Unbearable Weather
The only thing that’s ever sure about the weather is that it’s unpredictable.
There are days when the sky is clear, the sun is shining, and a soft cool breeze is blowing – the makings of a perfect run. And then there are times when the temperature is below freezing, and the snow is blowing in every direction.
So what’s the alternative?
The good news is that you can get a good (if not better) workout in without ever stepping foot outside your home.
This is where having a good jump rope really comes in handy.
Jump rope training is incredibly flexible and versatile. You are not confined to a particular space. You can use it in your living room, basement, garage, hotel room. All you need is some space and a good pair of shoes to jump in.
But how does a jump rope workout compare to a run?
Numerous articles have already been written about the benefits of jump rope training vs running so I’ll only highlight some of the important points that have been brought up.
In one post, Michael Wood highlights a study led by John A. Baker at Arizona State University which divided 92 male students into two groups: one group jumped rope for 10-minutes a day; the second group jogged for 30-minutes a day.
After six weeks, the men were administered the Harvard Step Test to measure their cardiovascular gain. Each group showed an equal level of improvement, essentially showing that 10 minutes of jumping rope was as effective as 30 minutes of running.
So jumping rope gives you the same results in only 1/3 of the time.
Here’s a great video by Jon Hinds who further explores the topic:
Now here’s how, at Crossrope, we’re taking things to the next level.
By introducing a great lineup of heavy jump ropes, we’re helping widen the effectiveness (and efficiency) gap between jumping rope vs running.
The use of heavy jump ropes not only boosts the overall calorie burn of a workout, but it starts to introduce strength and muscular development to your workout. Because of the increase in resistance, there is an overall increase in muscle engagement and contraction.
What this means is that you’re getting an even better workout than before, in the same time period.
These are things running can’t offer, not even on the days when the sun is shining.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well, can’t a treadmill be used in your home too?”
And you would be right. But a decent-quality treadmill will run you at least $600, while you can get started with a Get Lean Set for less than $100.
So don’t let the weather hold you back.
If you can’t run, jump! You’ll get a more effective workout in less time.
Scenario #2: You have Joint Problems (or Other Injuries)
In a great article written by Yuri Elkaim, an interesting statistic was brought up:
About 50 to 75% of all running injuries appear to be overuse injuries due to the constant repetition of the same movement and factors associated with running injuries include previous injury, lack of running experience, running to compete, and excessive weekly running distance.
If you already struggle with joint pain or have past injuries that you’re dealing with, you have to really be careful with your exercise selection.
Running can offer a number of great benefits, but consistent running on hard surfaces like concrete can really do a number on your joints over time.
This can cause a myriad overuse injuries, especially if you don’t run properly. Or if you run like any of these guys:
Sorry, had to include that.
But here’s something serious to consider: the yearly incidence rate for running injuries varies between 37 and 56% [study].
Even treadmills, which have a predictable, even surface and controlled climate, can cause injuries and joint pain.
So unless you know how to run properly – with proper form and proper training protocols – you’re setting yourself up for potential training injuries.
So how does jumping rope compare?
There are a number of reasons that make jump rope training an excellent alternative to running, especially if you’re dealing with joint pain or have old injuries to deal with.
Unlike running, jumping rope eliminates the dangerous heel-to-toe strike that tends to be the cause of many injuries. When using good jump rope technique (which you can learn through our YouTube channel), you’re bounding on the midsoles of your feet and keeping your knees slightly bent.
This turns your ankles and knees into shock absorbers and allows the forces to be distributed evenly throughout the body leaving minimal impact on your joints.
And speaking of proper technique, what’s unique about the jump rope is that it will force you to correct your form as you train. You will essentially continue making mistakes until your form is on point. It’s like having a coach in the palms of your hands.
And, with the Infinity System from Crossrope, we’ve taken this a step further. We’ve jump ropes that are much easier for beginners to work with. The weights of our ropes help you slow down your rotation so you’re making fewer mistakes and faster progress.
Now, what if you’re a good runner? Can jumping rope help you get better?
Absolutely. What we’ve found is that the two can (and should) work hand in hand.
Cross-training, unlike running alone, makes you less prone to injury, strengthens more core muscles, increases aerobic fitness, and helps you rehabilitate more quickly if you do happen to get injured.
Elite runners know this and that’s why you will frequently see them using cross-training methods to help them improve.
So if you’re facing joint pain from running, be aware that jumping rope is an excellent alternative that can offer solid results without causing further joint pain or damage.
Scenario #3: You’re Bored
It’s 5:00 pm on a Thursday. You’re leaving work with your gym bag in the trunk. On the way to the gym, you start thinking…
“What do I want to do tonight?”
The same old answer comes to mind: go for a run.
You get to the gym, change into your workout clothes, prepare yourself for the inevitable rush-hour cardio equipment when it hits you. You don’t really feel like running today.
Actually, you’re kind of getting bored of it.
You want something new, something cutting-edge, something different. You’re craving to be challenged again.
We see this stuff all the time. In fact, boredom is one of the main reasons people stop exercising altogether.
To avoid this fate, it’s important to look for ways to keep yourself motivated. And to do that, you need to find something that you actually enjoy doing. Something fun and different than what you’ve tried before.
If you feel like you’re starting to get bored with your outdoor runs or indoor treadmill sessions, consider adding the jump rope workouts into your training mix.
When it comes to workout engagement, there are a number of things the jump rope can offer that running can’t.
For one, as we mentioned earlier, you can literally take your workout anywhere.
In an article published on Men’s Fitness, Sara Greenfest mentions a study carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry which found that people who exercise outside feel more energized and rejuvenated after their workout.
Next, jumping rope is extremely versatile. It allows you to experiment with various skills and exercises to keep your workouts fun and engaging.
You can play around with basic jumps, scissor jumps, double unders, one-foot variations, and many others. In fact, you can take a look at our full video library of jump rope exercises.
Finally, you now also have the ability to experiment with different resistances.
With the Crossrope jump rope system, you can easily clip different weights into your handles to change the intensity of your workouts. You can build workouts for fat loss, endurance, strength, or whatever fits the bill.
If boredom starts to creep up, give the jump rope a try and see what it can do for you.
Jump Rope Summary
In this post, we’ve explored the difference between jumping rope vs running.
We do feel that there are benefits to both styles of training and we’re in no way advocating that you completely stop running. Not at all. In fact, a nice jog in the park or trail run through the forest can offer a lot of benefits.
But here’s what we do want you to take away from this post…
You have different training options available to you.
Running is great. But it is NOT the only option you have. And it is in your best interest to continue searching for ways to challenge your body while staying safe and engaged.
So in the event you should encounter any of the above scenarios or if you simply want to mix up your training, give jump rope training a try.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
And if you’re not sure where to start, try our free 30 day jump rope challenge here.