When was the last time you skipped? When you were at the gym, in your garden? Or maybe when you were at school?
Most of us have skipped at some point in our lives, especially when we were younger on the playground with our friends.
But what about skipping as a form of exercise? Is it a good way to lose weight? How long do you need to skip for and what’s the best way to go about doing it?
Park all of those questions, because we’ve answered them all for you in this article. Read on for all you’ve ever wanted to know about skipping as a workout.
Is skipping rope exercise something that should feature in your workout regimes? Does it do anything more than get your heart rate up, depending on how fast you skip and how long for?
The general consensus is that skipping can help you lose weight, although how much you lose and how rapidly varies from person to person.
Not everybody skips at the same rate, for the same amount of time, or sticks with skipping for the same length of time either.
Plus, the fact people’s initial weight, metabolism and calorie intake are different too.
However, all of these variables doesn’t mean it’s not possible to lose weight. In fact, skipping exercise is widely hailed as being a great full body workout that most people can do.
And when it comes to its ability to help you lose some pounds, the American Council on Exercise, says that a person who weighs 155 pounds can burn up to 420 calories from skipping for 30 minutes.
The same amount of calories can be burnt by running for almost 8.5 miles in the same amount of time.1
That all depends on your personal motivation for skipping. Is it to lose weight? Or do you see skipping as a way of making sure you’re doing some form of exercise?
The NHS recommends adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week to stay healthy.
Ideally, we should aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.2
If you happen to enjoy skipping, then you may decide that skipping every day for 30 minutes or more is your chosen exercise.
It’s entirely up to you, and your energy levels, as to how long your skipping sessions last for.
Well, it all depends on if you’re a skipping novice or a seasoned skipper. If you’re just starting out with skipping rope workouts, then skip in 20 to 30 second bursts.
And if you’ve been doing it for a while, try skipping in 60-second intervals.3
The more comfortable and confident you get with skipping, the longer you can do it. It’s best to start slow for shorter periods of time and build up to longer intervals.
One way you can easily achieve this is by incorporating skipping into your workouts every other day.
If you’re a beginner, aim for intervals of one to five minutes, around three times a week.
More advanced exercisers should try 15 minutes and slowly build toward a 30-minute workout, three times a week.
It is if you’re just getting into the swing of adding jump rope workouts to your usual exercise regime.
Based on what we’ve just mentioned, 10 minutes of skipping is suitable for people, who are in between being new to skipping and a skipping pro.
If you can complete 10 minutes or more of skipping just like that, without having to build up to it, then great.
However, the recommended way of doing 10 minutes and above of skipping exercise is to work your way up.
Jump rope workouts are a powerhouse of an exercise because they really get your heart rate going.
It seriously challenges the cardiovascular system and gets blood and oxygen pumping around your body.4
No matter how little or long you do it for, skipping works your leg muscles, arm muscles and core muscles. And, as mentioned above, it helps get your heart rate up too.
Some people have reported that the constant action of jumping up and down has made their knees stronger.
According to studies by the East Carolina University and the Appalachian State University, tibiofemoral joint pain (the knee hinge) is 30% higher in people who run compared to people who skip.5
This one simple exercise alone can burn between 800 and 1,000 calories an hour, which is equivalent to eating a burger and chips.
Why? It’s a high-intensity exercise that increases your heart rate, which is important for fat loss. It also boosts your metabolic rate, which means greater calorie loss.6
As we’ve already mentioned, skipping helps burn calories, which goes hand-in-hand with weight loss.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends starting with 30 to 45 minutes of moderate levels of physical activity, three to five days a week, as an initial goal.
Once you've got into the routine of doing that, you can tweak your jump rope workout plan — and your diet — to meet your weight loss goals.7
Just you, and your skipping rope, that’s all that’s required (and a nice large space, indoor or out, to do your skipping).
Doing plain old skipping for 30 minutes or more every day may become a bit boring.
However, there’s no stopping you from personalising your skipping rope workouts by adding in some high knees, butt kicks, in-outs and other types of footwork, or double unders and crossovers.
The ease and simplicity of skipping is one the greatest things about it. All you need is a skipping rope and a place to do it.
It’s entirely up to you if you just do straightforward skipping or incorporate some fancy moves.
It’s also up to you how long and how often you do it. It really is an exercise you can truly make your own.
Other than the initial cost of buying a skipping rope, there are no other outlays associated with skipping.
So, not only is it incredibly easy to do, it’s absolutely free too!
Has all this talk of skipping exercise got you thinking you quite like the sound of doing some jump rope workouts? Here are 3 skipping rope workouts to get you started:8
What you’ll need: One 2-pound rope and one 1-pound rope. (If you only have one rope, that’s ok).
Directions: Use the heavier rope for the first circuit, and the lighter rope for the second circuit. Rest for 30 seconds between the two circuits. This will take 11 minutes.
What you’ll need: One 1-pound rope, one 1/2-pound rope, and one 1/4-pound rope. (It’s ok to have just one rope).
Directions: Use the heaviest rope for the first circuit, the 1/2-pound rope for the second circuit, and the lightest rope for the third circuit. Rest for 30 seconds between each circuit. This will take 16 minutes.
What you’ll need: One 1/4-pound rope and one 1/2-pound rope. (If you only have one rope, that’s ok).
Directions: Use the lighter rope for the first and third circuits, and the heavier rope for the second circuit. Rest for 20 seconds after the first circuit and 30 seconds after the second circuit. This will take 16 minutes.
Skipping is an exercise most of us can do that delivers a whole host of benefits, ranging from boosting cardiovascular health and strengthening your knees, to helping burn calories and shedding some extra pounds.
And the beauty of it is, we can make our skipping exercises as steady or intense as we like, and still feel some form of benefit from them!
Skipping is one of those exercises you can do inside or out. For more indoor exercise inspiration, check out this article, ‘5 exercises that you can do indoors.’
Last updated: 1 July 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.
After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.