How to Use a Jump Rope in Your HIIT Workout

man doing a hiit workout with a jump rope

These days, you can’t peruse a fitness magazine or website without seeing high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, splashed across the pages and screen. Though the HIIT movement started gaining steam in the early 2010s, the ample benefits the regimen provides propelled it to become a permanent fixture across gyms and at-home workout spaces in more recent years. From blasting fat to improving cardiovascular conditioning, the HIIT training protocol can work wonders for workout warriors brave enough to withstand its ferocious intervals.

Though HIIT most often involves cycling, running, or coordinated movements using dumbbells or kettlebells, many have wondered if there was a way to create an effective HIIT workout with a jump rope — and the answer is yes.

In this article we'll cover:

  • What are HIIT workouts?
  • Benefits of HIIT workouts
  • Using jump ropes for HIIT workouts

What are HIIT Workouts?

Explaining HIIT workouts is the first step in properly answering the question, “Can you use jump ropes for HIIT workouts?” To put it simply, HIIT workouts involve alternating brief bouts of intense, explosive exercise with short periods of recovery. Typically, these workouts are between 10 and 30 minutes due to the levels of exhaustion they bring. That’s because the person should perform the exercises at or near maximum effort, with the goal of initiating the body’s anaerobic response.

Not to be confused with aerobic exercise — cardiovascular conditioning where your breathing and heart rate increase steadily for a prolonged period of time (like you might experience while jogging) — anaerobic exercise like HIIT forces the body to use stored energy sources for fuel since oxygen is not readily available.

One of the most popular HIIT formats involves a 2:1 ratio of work to rest for a block of four minutes — an approach called Tabata training after the man who popularized the method, Izumi Tabata.

Some regimens utilizing a 2:1 ratio will maintain a set schedule — for example, 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest for the entire the workout. Others will gradually build in length, beginning with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest before ultimately reaching 60 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. Others, like disciples of the Gibala regimen, will perform 60 seconds of an intense exercise before resting for 75 seconds — repeating that sequence eight to 12 times.

As you can see, HIIT workouts can be completed in a variety of ways. However, it has been suggested that HIIT workout segments should not exceed 75 seconds to avoid triggering the body’s aerobic system.

Benefits of HIIT Workouts

It’s important to note that most health experts caution against performing HIIT workouts for beginners or those new to exercising. Instead, they suggest building a steady aerobic fitness level first. For those that are physically able, however, the benefits one can receive from HIIT are undeniable.

Studies show that someone only needs to workout about half the time of a moderate-intensity exercise to receive the same benefits. Among others, heightened caloric burn, increased metabolism, and significant body fat reduction are all advantages of performing HIIT workouts.

Using Jump Ropes for HIIT Workouts

Now that you know the mechanics of how HIIT works, let’s talk about some ways you can use jump ropes for HIIT workouts. Your best bet is to create a circuit that utilizes the HIIT format but features enough variations in moves to keep the workout interesting.

For instance, you can start with a regular bounce for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest. Next, keep that same cadence but switch the exercise to a skier, followed by side swings and the 360-degree turn. Check out our 5 Beginner Jump Rope Skills post and video if you need a quick refresher.

Feel like you’re ready to take it up to the next level? Add in burpees, bodyweight squats, push-ups, and planks between each move to tone other parts of your body like your shoulders and abs.

Recommended jump ropes for HIIT: Cardio Builder Bundle>>

As you improve your jump rope skills, you can also start to incorporate more challenging moves like double unders, travels, one-foot hops, high knees, and the boxer step. And don’t forget that all of these jump rope moves can be performed with a weighted jump rope, which ratchets up the intensity even more.

Here’s a sample advanced circuit to follow. To push yourself even further, you can add in burpees, bodyweight squats, pushups, or planks intermittently throughout.

 Activity Time
Regular bounce 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Skier 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Side swings 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
360-degree turn 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Double unders 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Travels 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
One-foot hops 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
High knees 20 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Boxer step 20 seconds

Ready to get started? Elite SRS has all the info you need to hit the ground running with HIIT. We encourage you to explore our Jump Rope Buyer’s Guide to find the right jump rope for your next HIIT workout and visit our Jump Rope Tutorials page to learn from some of the best jumpers around.

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