Jumping rope is a great exercise that offers so many incredible benefits, but it’s not for everyone. Whether you’re looking for something easier on your joints, a new warm-up, or just want to change things up, it helps to have some alternatives to jumping rope.
Jump Rope Alternatives:
- Fast Feet
- High Knees
- Jumping Jacks
- Squat Jumps
- Jumping Lunges
Your reason for finding an alternative will determine which of these exercises is going to work best for you. For example, if you’re experiencing pain in your knees you might want to choose something low impact, like Fast Feet. If you want more variety to your warm-up, without sacrificing intensity, you might choose Jumping Lunges or Burpees.
Below is everything you need to start incorporating these exercises into your routine. I’ll cover everything from proper from to why you might choose that exercise over jumping rope.
Regardless of your reason, when performing a new exercise it’s critical to use proper form. Last thing you want is to hurt yourself during your warm-up.
1. Fast Feet
This exercise is a great, low impact warm-up. It’s a great alternative for anyone experiencing pain in their knees or ankles. While Fast Feet is easier on the body, you won’t burn as much calories or see some of the other unique benefits associated with jumping rope. That said, it’s a solid warm-up.
Instructions: Starting with your feet, shoulder-width apart, bend your knees into a half squat and extend your arms straight out. While on the balls of your feet, with your core tight, start running in place.
Pro Tip: Make sure not to pick your feet up too far off the ground and hold a good half squat. You should feel the burn in your quads and glutes.
Body Parts Utilized: Glutes, Quads, Calves, and Hip Flexors
This is another great, low impact alternative to jumping rope. Similar to Fast Feet, Skaters is an awesome alternative for those experiencing pain in their knees or ankles. I’d recommend these over Fast Feet, only because they incorporate more of the core and burn more calories.
Instructions: Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. Bring one leg behind the other, at an angle, while slightly bending the knee of your front leg. Swing your arm across your body in sync with your leg in the rear. Jumping sideways, land on your opposite foot, bring your other leg behind you, and swing your other arm across your body.
Pro Tip: Keep only one foot on the ground at all times and try for a deeper squat for a more intense burn.
Body Parts Utilized: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves, and Core
3. High Knees
High Knees is a super simple exercise and a killer warm-up. This exercise is a great alternative for anyone looking to focus on their core. Rather than doing these in place of jumping rope, I’ll add them into my routine between jump rope sets.
Instructions: Start with your feet hip-width apart and your hands out in front of you. Begin by lifting one knee up to your chest. Alternate between knees, as if you’re high-stepping in place. Keep a good pace, only one foot should be on the ground at a time.
Pro Tip: Try syncing your arms with your knees, as if you’re running, for an upper body burn.
Body Parts Utilized: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves, Hip Flexors, and Core
4. Jumping Jacks
Jumping Jacks are my go-to when I’m looking to switch things up. These are a perfect alternative for anyone looking to add some variety to their routine. Jumping Jacks are probably the most similar to jumping rope in that they target many of the same muscles and provide similar benefits. They’re also a great alternative if you left your jump rope at home. Instead of skipping your warm-up, bust out a couple hundred of these bad boys.
Instructions: Start by standing with your feet together and your hands at your side. In one single movement, jump your feet just outside of shoulder-width apart and raise your hands above your head. Complete the rep by jumping your feet back together and bringing your hands back to your side.
Pro Tip: Keep your jumps small and controlled, and your arms straight at all times.
Body Parts Utilized: Quads, Glutes, Calves, Hip Flexors, and Upper Back
Consider Picking Up a Weighted Jump Rope
If you’re looking to burn more calories, experience greater muscle engagement, and get an overall better workout, you might consider picking up a weighted jump rope.
The Muay Thai Jump Rope, from EliteSRS, is the weighted rope I use.
5. Squat Jumps
Squat Jumps are tough! They’re an incredible alternative for anyone looking to focus on their lower body. This is another exercise that I’ll incorporate between jump rope sets. Squat Jumps are going to target and tone your legs, particularly your quads, in ways that jumping rope won’t.
Instructions: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your butt into a squat and then explode up jumping with both feet equally off the ground. When you land, lower your butt into another squat to complete the rep. Rinse and repeat!
Pro Tip: Keep the jumps controlled and make sure to land softly on your feet.
Body Parts Utilized: Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, and Lower Back
6. Jumping Lunges
Another solid warm up and killer lower body workout. These, similar to Jump Squats, are an excellent alternative for anyone looking to focus on their lower body. This exercise is a slightly more advanced version of the standard lunge. The explosive nature of this exercise will provide a cardio-intense warm-up and a solid lower body burn.
Instructions: Start by standing with one leg forward and the other back. Lower into a deep lunge and then explode up. As you explode up, jump and alternate feet. You should land with the leg that was in the front, now behind you, and vice versa. Again, lower into a deep lunge and explode up!
Pro Tip: Maintain good posture throughout the exercise, keep your torso straight up and shoulders back. And, don’t lock out your knees!
Body Parts Utilized: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Hip Flexors, Obliques
Sometimes you need something more substantial than jumping rope, something more challenging, something more…soul crushing. For that, God created Burpees. They’re a great alternative for anyone looking to increase the intensity of their warm-up. They’re also a b#$@h, avoid them at all cost!
Instructions: Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. Lower your body into a squat and then place your hands out in front of you, as if you were doing a push-up. Shifting your weight to your hands, jump your feet back into a plank position. Then, jump your feet back to roughly shoulder-width apart, just outside your hands. Throw your hands straight up and jump. As you land, lower your body into a squat and repeat.
Pro Tip: Keep your back flat and your butt down when in plank position. When squatting, keep your weight on your heels. For added intensity, add a push-up with each rep.
Body Parts Utilized: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves, Core, Shoulders, Chest, and Back
Does jumping rope or jumping jacks burn more calories? Jumping jacks and jumping rope burn similar amounts of calories. However, jumping rope will usually burn more calories due to the weight of the jump rope. To increase the intensity of your workout try using a heavy or weighted jump rope.
Want to know how many calories you’re burning? Use our Calculator!
Can you replace running with jumping rope? Jumping rope and running are both great forms of cardio. However, according to a study published in The Research Quarterly, a journal of the American Association for Health, Physical Education and Research, 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging.
Get after it!