Does Jumping Rope Help You Lose Weight?
by: Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
I was recently asked this question by a young lady who wanted to lose weight around her thighs and butt. She wanted to know, specifically, whether jumping rope is helpful at losing weight.
Well, the answer to this question is YES. I'm a huge fan of the jump rope. If you're not using a jump rope in your workout routines right now, then you should. Although it cannot replace regular strength training workouts, jumping rope can be a great substitute to traditional cardio like running, biking, rowing, or using the elliptical.
Why is Jumping Rope so Good?
First, let's consider the incredible cardiovascular training effect that takes place when you skip rope. The arms are moving, the legs are propelling your body up and down, and the effect is a spike in your heart rate. It's the epitomy of a full body cardio exercise that incorporates a lot of muscle. That's why it's tough. That's why it's so good. Even if you think you're aerobically and are used to running or other forms of cardio, I challenge you to jump rope for as little as 5 minutes. You will be on the floor!
Because it leaves you "huffing and puffing", you know that you are spiking your cardiovascular system in a similar fashion to what we see with interval training. For most people, skipping can be the most intense form of cardiovascular exercise and that's a great thing because it's novel to your body. Your body isn't used to it and will therefore need to get fitter in order to do so.
Any type of exercise that leaves out of breath is good for losing weight. The reason is that for every liter of oxygen that you consume, your body burns 5 calories. For that reason, even doing a few minutes of jump rope each day can help you tremendously. With time, you obviously want to go for longer periods of time.
The second reason that jumping rope is great for helping you lose weight fast is that it shapes and tones the muscles of your arms and legs. Doing just 5 minutes of skipping will burn your shoulders and calves beyond your wildest dreams. As a result, you know those muscles are getting a terrific workout. And remember, the more muscles you have engaged, the more calories you are going to burn.
Jumping rope engages no less than the entire musculature of your lower body and most of your upper body as well.
But let's get back to the original question as to whether jumping rope will help you lose weight around your thighs. Well, I've answered this question on "spot reducing" in other articles where I've mentioned that you cannot spot reduce. You can "spot strengthen" but that's about it. Jumping rope will help you burn calories and lose weight (assuming frequent use and high intensity) across your entire body - not just your thighs.
For women, fat from the hips and thigs is usually the last to go. Hormonally, fat is needed in those areas. It is first place to be stored and the last place to disappear. For men, the same holds true regarding stomach fat. First place to be stored, last place to disappear from.
So the goal then is to burn as many calories as possible through high intensity cardio (like jumping rope) and using full body strength training workouts. The combination will help you lose weight in no time. Oh yeah, let's not forget about a healthy diet. But that's for another article.
In the meantime, try doing this jump rope workout a few times per week:
Warm-up: light pace for 5 minutes
30 seconds fast pace : 60 seconds light pace x 5 = 7.5 minutes
Total Workout Time = 12.5 minutes
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