Jump Rope vs. Treadmill- Which is Better

Jump Rope vs. Treadmill

Better is a relative term in this case. Both activities help improve cardio and endurance, build muscle, have a high impact on hips and feet, and help burn calories to burn fat. Which is better? Well, that is up to you.

If you are leaning one way or the other, read the benefits of each before you make your final decision. You might surprise yourself as I did!

Benefits of Jumping Rope for Exercise

I remember our annual Jump Rope for Heart night every year in grade school and thinking, great, I’m going to trip and repeatedly fall for the next few hours. Little did I understand they were trying to teach us about heart health and the benefits of jumping rope.

Fast forward into adulthood; I’m trying to get back into shape, and there is that dang jump rope coming back to bite me in the ankle. Lo and behold, jumping rope has tremendous health benefits, and it wasn’t a ploy to get me to fall on my face. Gyms and fitness trainers add this exercise to their sessions for multiple reasons. Here’s why:

  • It Burns more calories than running when you consider short bursts.
  • Works all the muscles in your body from shoulders to calves
  • Cheaper than buying a treadmill or a gym membership to use theirs
  • Smaller and easier to pack for an anywhere workout
  • Modernized to be “wireless”- options now include no rope to trip over.
  • Used for a cardio burn AND building muscle AND burning fat AND improving endurance
  • Helps improve coordination and strengthen ankle joints
  • Great for a warm-up, full-body workout, or included in a workout session
  • Full body workout every time

The “Trip” Side of Jumping Rope

Jumping rope isn’t ALL good. Before adding one to your Amazon shopping cart, here are other things to consider. It is cheaper and easier to take on vacation, yes, but like all exercise equipment, you must know what you’re doing before you get started. Take these ones, for instance:

  • While it helps improve coordination, you must have a little before jumping on the bandwagon. Be sure to practice, and DON’T look down when you do it. Keep your eyes straight and focus on hand-feet coordination.
  • Length, type, weight, handles- You need to get a rope that works for your needs. If you buy a heavily weighted rope, you may need to improve your arm strength before doing a hard workout, or you risk a rope to the noggin. Also, taller persons need a longer jump rope.
  • Hip and joint concerns- similar to running on a treadmill, jumping is an impact move. If you have hip or ankle joint concerns, you may benefit more from walking over jumping rope.
  • Length of the workout- While technically you could jump rope all day, it isn’t a move most people do for more than a few minutes at a time. HIIT workouts are great for incorporating jumping rope as you can go all out for 45 seconds to a minute and then rest and repeat.
  • Full body move- limited variations- yes, you can skip, jump on one foot, double jump or do high knees, but you are still jumping and twisting your wrists in pretty much the same fashion no matter how you jump.

Benefits of Getting on the Treadmill

Those who love cardio and running most likely already know the great benefits of spending significant time on the belt. There are plenty of creative moves to keep you motivated too. Check out these great treadmill advantages.

  • You can move faster, thus burn more calories. Jumping rope burns more calories in a short burst, but how long can you keep it up? On a treadmill, you can keep going for an hour and get into a serious fat-burning session.
  • Great leg day option- Obviously, running or even walking on a treadmill works your lower body. Glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves all get stronger with repeat belt sessions.
  • Strengthens hip flexors- Jumping rope is mostly one move, whereas walking and running force your hips to move and work too. This continued work will strengthen your hip flexors, providing more flexibility in daily activities.
  • Builds endurance- Cardio is a key driving force to increasing your heart rate. Maintaining your breathing for long intervals improves your endurance and overall heart health. Adjusting your speed can increase your workout for much longer than you can jump rope.
  • Speaking of breathing- Running is good for your lungs. It opens your airways and pumps blood to your heart, which lowers your cholesterol and risk of heart disease, and increases endorphins.
  • Less coordination required- Yes, you still need to maintain balance on the treadmill, but your arms will naturally move with your legs, so coordination isn’t your primary focus.

Running the Belt isn’t for Everyone

Not everyone runs for fun. Heck, some of us even hate walking across the parking lot. Moving on a treadmill is not the same as walking on the sidewalk and may lead to injury concerns if the user isn’t careful. That, and they are way more expensive than a jump rope. Check out this list before investing:

  • Way more expensive than a jump rope
  • Take up more space in your home or forces you to get a gym membership to use one.
  • Preexisting hip or joint injuries could turn into serious issues if not treated.
  • Running in place is tedious for some, and it may lead to boredom or skipping that workout session.
  • Mainly a lower body only workout- very little shoulder and arm movement.

There are great benefits to jumping rope and using a treadmill. Both have things to consider before investing your time and energy, as well. If you have hip or joint concerns, lean towards jumping rope. If you enjoy running and want a longer workout session, hit the treadmill.

Both exercise options offer variations to keep from getting bored. They also both work your muscles in slightly different ways. When it doubt, try them both out!


Hey, I'm Michael Jones and I support this blog with a group of authors consisting of Personal Trainers, Physiotherapist and sellers of fitness equipment.

Related Reading

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *