Rowing V Jumping Rope: Which Is Better?

Are you torn between which exercise to include in your fitness regimen – rowing versus jumping rope? You’d be surprised just how much of a workout each can offer. Many benefits are associated with rowing and jumping rope, from improved cardiovascular health and full-body workouts to calorie burning and boosting endurance. In this blog post, we’ll discover the advantages of both so that you can make an informed decision on which one is better for you.

1. Overview


Rowing and jumping rope are effective exercises that offer numerous benefits for cardiovascular health and overall physical fitness. They’re not just about burning calories, but also about enhancing your heart’s efficiency, improving lung capacity, and fostering overall endurance.

Rowing Benefits

Rowing is a comprehensive workout that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It’s known to provide an excellent cardio workout while also improving muscular strength and endurance. The rhythmic nature of rowing can also have a meditative effect, helping to reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

The cardiovascular benefits of rowing are significant. It is an aerobic exercise, meaning it requires oxygen to meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. This process helps strengthen the heart and lungs, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and reduces the risk of heart disease.

On the physical fitness front, rowing works both your upper and lower body, targeting several major muscle groups including the arms, legs, back, and core. This means improved muscle tone, increased strength, and enhanced physical endurance.

Jumping Rope Benefits

Jumping rope, on the other hand, is a high-intensity workout that combines cardio and coordination. It’s an exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime, making it incredibly versatile.

In terms of cardiovascular health, jumping rope can increase your heart rate significantly, strengthening the heart muscle. Regularly incorporating jumping rope into your exercise routine can improve cardiovascular fitness, enhance lung function, and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

For overall physical fitness, jumping rope does wonders. It works out your entire body, especially targeting the leg muscles and core. It promotes better coordination, agility, and balance, improving bone density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to burn calories and lose weight, contributing to overall body composition and fitness.

2. Rowing Benefits

Rowing and jumping rope are both effective forms of exercise, but rowing provides some unique advantages that set it apart.

Targets Multiple Muscle Groups

One of the primary advantages of rowing over jumping rope is that it targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously. While jumping rope mainly focuses on the lower body, rowing provides a full-body workout. It engages your arms, shoulders, back, core, and legs, offering a more comprehensive exercise experience. This means you can improve strength and endurance across various muscle groups in a single workout.

Greater Calorie Burn and Fat Loss

Rowing also has an edge regarding calorie burn and fat loss. Because it involves so many muscle groups, rowing tends to be more energy-intensive than jumping rope. This higher energy expenditure can result in a more significant calorie burn per session, which can benefit weight loss and fat reduction. Intense rowing sessions can continue to burn calories even after exercising, thanks to the afterburn effect.

Low-Impact Exercise

Another advantage of rowing is its low-impact nature. Unlike jumping rope, which can stress your knees, ankles, and hips, rowing is easy on the joints. This makes it a safer option for those with joint issues or injuries and older adults seeking to stay active. Plus, the smooth, rhythmic motion of rowing is often seen as less strenuous and more enjoyable than the high-intensity, high-impact nature of jumping rope.

3. Jumping Rope Benefits

While rowing machines offer a comprehensive, full-body workout, not everyone has access to one. In such cases, jumping rope presents a fantastic alternative. Here’s why:

Portability and Accessibility

Jump ropes are extremely portable and can be used virtually anywhere – in your backyard, at the park, or even inside your home if you have enough space. This makes it a more accessible form of exercise for many people who may not have a rowing machine at home or access to a gym.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Jumping rope is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. It gets your heart rate up quickly, helping to improve heart health and aerobic fitness. It’s estimated that 10 minutes of jumping rope can be equivalent to running an 8-minute mile in terms of cardiovascular benefits.

Calorie Burning

This high-intensity exercise can also burn a significant number of calories in a short amount of time. Some studies suggest that jumping rope can burn over 10 calories a minute, making it a highly efficient workout if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Full-Body Workout

While rowing is known for its full-body benefits, jumping rope shouldn’t be underestimated. It engages your lower body, core, and upper body, particularly your arms and shoulders, providing a well-rounded workout.

Improves Coordination and Agility

Jumping rope also offers benefits that rowing does not, such as improving coordination and agility. The act of jumping rope requires and enhances these skills, which can benefit other areas of physical activity and daily life.

4. Which Is Right for You

Choosing between rowing and jumping rope – or deciding to incorporate both into your fitness routine – ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, fitness goals, and physical condition.

Both exercises offer significant cardiovascular benefits and can contribute to improved overall fitness. However, they each have unique attributes that might make one more appealing or suitable for you than the other.

Rowing could be a good choice if you’re looking for a low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout and targets multiple muscle groups. It’s especially beneficial if you’re interested in strength training and muscle toning. Additionally, rowing offers an excellent option if you have joint issues or prefer a seated exercise.

On the other hand, if you want a portable, high-intensity workout that you can do anywhere, jumping rope might be a better fit. It’s a great way to increase your heart rate and burn calories quickly. Plus, it helps improve coordination and agility, which can benefit other sports or physical activities.

Your decision might also depend on practical considerations. For instance, do you have access to a rowing machine? If not, a jump rope is a cost-effective and space-saving alternative.

Remember, the best exercise for you is the one you enjoy and will stick with consistently. You might even decide to combine both the rowing and jumping rope in your fitness routine for variety and to reap the different benefits each one offers. After all, variety is not just the spice of life but also of an effective fitness regimen!

5. Tips For Success

Whether you’re rowing or jumping rope, there are a few key tips that can help you get the most out of your workout while also ensuring safety and preventing injury.

Proper Form

For both exercises, maintaining proper form is crucial.

  • When rowing, make sure your back is straight and your core is engaged. Use your legs to drive the motion, followed by your core, and then your arms. Avoid hunching your shoulders or pulling with your lower back.
  • For jumping rope, keep your elbows close to your body and rotate the rope with your wrists, not your arms. Jump just high enough to clear the rope, and land lightly on the balls of your feet.


The intensity of your workout is another key factor.

  • With rowing, you can adjust the resistance on the machine for a more challenging workout. Aim for a steady pace that you can maintain for the duration of your workout.
  • Jumping rope can be a high-intensity exercise. To increase the intensity, try variations like double unders (where the rope passes under your feet twice in one jump) or high-knee jumps.

Safety Precautions

Finally, always remember to prioritize safety.

  • When rowing, avoid “jerking” the handle back with each stroke, which can lead to back strain. Instead, focus on smooth, controlled movements.
  • When jumping rope, ensure you have enough space around and above you. Wear good shoes to protect your feet and ankles, and jump on a soft surface like a gym mat if possible to minimize impact.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Before starting either exercise, warm up your body with some light cardio, like jogging or jumping jacks, for about 5-10 minutes. After your workout, cool down with some stretching to help prevent muscle stiffness and soreness.

Remember, consistency is key. Regular workouts, proper technique, and safety precautions will help you reap the maximum benefits from rowing or jumping rope.

In the end, it can be argued that both rowing and jumping rope have their own pros and cons when used as an exercise. There is no clear winner when it comes to which activity is better for overall fitness. Ultimately, what matters is finding a workout regime that you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it and achieve your desired results. While engaging in any form of physical activity is beneficial for health, rowing or jumping rope may be better suited for certain individuals depending on their preferences and goals.

For example, someone who wants to improve cardiovascular endurance may want to focus more on rowing while someone looking to increase agility may prefer jumping rope. As they say “it’s all in the eye of the beholder”! We hope that this article has helped provide insight into each activity’s unique benefits. And don’t forget to read our other articles for exciting tips and tricks about rowing and jumping rope!