Jump Rope vs Running : Which is Better?

Jump Rope vs Running : Which is Better?

22nd Oct 2020 Bailey White

I tested the theory that 10 minutes of jump roping is equal to 30 minutes of running when it comes to improving cardiovascular efficiency with my three college roommates. Here's what I discovered.

The Background

According to a study published in The Research Quarterly, 10 minutes of jump roping is equal to 30 minutes of running when it comes to improving cardiovascular efficiency. As a busy college student who would love to exercise for just 10 minutes a day, this stat sounded simply too good to be true, so I decided to dig a little deeper.

The Research

The study took place in 2012 with 92 males split into two groups. For six weeks, one group ran for 30 minutes a day and one group jump roped for 10 minutes. The subjects were administered the Harvard step test before and after, and both groups experienced the same growth in cardiovascular efficiency. 

Of course, this study only measured cardiovascular efficiency. How does jump roping affect one's muscles?

Running primarily works muscles in the lower body like the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Jumping rope, on the other hand, works muscles in your thighs, hips, calves, shoulders, back, core... the list goes on. It's certainly more of a full-body workout.

Finally, I looked at the impact both exercises have on a person's joints. According to research in "Gait and Posture," running produced almost twice the average force on the kneecap vs. jumping rope. Additionally, running produced an almost 30 percent greater average force on the tibiofemoral joint, or knee hinge.

These studies indicate that jump roping produces equal gains to running while putting less pressure on the knees. I felt that this was convincing evidence in favor of jump roping, but to be sure, I decided to put it to the test.

Testing with My Housemates

Last weekend, my three housemates and I jumped rope for 10 minutes on Saturday and ran for 30 minutes on Sunday. We ate the same meal each morning and exercised at the same time to make it as controlled as possible. 

Below is a picture of us on our front porch following our workouts. Here's what we discovered:

Jumping Rope

Two of my housemates are in school and two are fully employed, so 10 minutes fit into our schedules much more easily than 30. We also have limited space to work out in our backyard, so we were pleasantly surprised to discover that we could all easily jump rope at the same time. On the other hand, most of my housemates were new to jump rope and, as a beginner, it can be hard to keep momentum. We found ourselves having to take breaks fairly regularly, which did not maximize our time spent jumping.


We ran on a trail outside our neighborhood, so we enjoyed the views and change of scenery, which we didn't get while jumping rope. That being said, it took significantly more time out of our day to go on the run, and as the weather is changing, we were significantly colder.


In conclusion, we decided that logistically, the two workouts have similar benefits. If you’re someone who has limited time and space, jump rope is for you. On the other hand, if you feel cooped up in one area or have a hard time keeping the rope turning, you may want to stick with a morning run. 

Of my five housemates, we chose jump roping 3-2, and our favorite rope was the Pro Freestyle.

22nd Oct 2020 Bailey White

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