Do You Jump Rope? Here's a Workout for Beginning Jumpers

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. James Dunn jumps rope during physical training aboard the USS Bataan.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. James Dunn, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), squad leader, jumps rope during physical training aboard the USS Bataan. (Sgt. Austin Hazard/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

My Navy buddy, Dave Hunt, created the Crossrope (a system of weighted jump ropes and handles that are interchangeable for different workouts). He helped create a jump rope workout for us. I never had a system of jumping ropes. I would maybe try to jump during a song or replace a quick run with a one-minute jump, but here are some ideas for you if you need something to do and have a little space or time to get it done.

Through all the fitness trends and fads, jumping rope continues to have a reputation as one of the best conditioning exercises you can include in your workouts. Unfortunately, it's a neglected exercise because many people aren't sure they are coordinated enough to do it.

Even if you are focused on running, swimming or cycling, the jump rope is an excellent tool to incorporate for cross training. It has the additional benefits of coordination, quickness, agility and much more.

If you are a beginner, learning to jump rope can take some patience. But if you take the right approach, it will become one of the most fun, engaging, effective and rewarding exercises in your arsenal. Also jumping rope is great for coordination and body awareness.

Here are some tips if you're ready to try your first jump rope workout:

  • Position your hands 9-12 inches from your hips and aligned with your body on each side. Focus on rotating the rope with your wrists, not your elbows or shoulders.
  • Use a properly sized rope. Step on the rope with one foot and pull the handles up toward your shoulder. The top of the handles should be approximately at shoulder height.
  • Rotate the rope slowly at first. Bound only once per rotation (jumping twice per rotation will limit your future progress because you won't be able to increase the speed of the rope without tripping).
  • If you have access to one, using a weighted rope makes it significantly easier to learn timing and rhythm as a beginner because of the rope feedback. (Important: A weighted rope, like the ones we have at Crossrope, is a half-pound or more, with the weight in the rope, not the handles.)

If you're still tripping up, you can try these drills to learn proper jumping technique.

The first beginner workout is about gaining confidence and consistency in technique. In each set, you'll try to get as few misses as possible. This is a simple workout for someone who already jumps, but should be just the right amount of challenge for a new jumper or anyone practicing technique.

Beginner Workout 1

  • Set 1: 15 jumps, 30-second rest
  • Set 2: 25 jumps, 30-second rest
  • Set 3: 35 jumps, 30-second rest
  • Set 4: 25 jumps, 30-second rest
  • Set 5: 15 jumps, 30-second rest

If you miss, that's alright. Just continue jumping until you complete the total number for each set. The short rest intervals will keep your heart rate elevated so that you're getting a workout even while you learn.

If you're able to get through the first three sets with very few misses, increase the pace on the fourth and fifth sets.

Now, if you're still pretty new to jumping but are able to string together jumps and breeze through the sets above, your next goal is to complete a workout with consistent intervals. Try this:

Beginner Workout 2

Complete two rounds of:

  • Set 1: 30 seconds of jumping, 30-second rest
  • Set 2: 45 seconds of jumping, 45-second rest
  • Set 3: One minute of jumping, one-minute rest
  • Set 4: 45 seconds of jumping, 45-second rest
  • Set 5: 30 seconds of jumping, 30-second rest

This seven-minute workout is quick and effective. It's something you can use for a warm up or a finisher.

Anyone can learn to jump rope. And once you do, it's a powerful exercise that has countless fitness benefits, no matter what your training goals are.

One of the best jump rope challenges I prefer is the one-minute challenge, with the heaviest rope that Crossrope offers (three-pound rope/handles). See how many jumps you can get in one minute. It is a full sprint and as anaerobic as anything I have ever done.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to

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