Low Impact Jump Rope Alternatives

Choose low-impact exercises that offer similar cardiovascular and muscle-toning benefits as jumping rope.
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Rope jumping is a high-impact activity that engages quadriceps, calves and hamstrings while burning lots of calories. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person can burn more than 370 calories jumping rope continuously for 30 minutes. Because of the force that rope jumping generates with each movement, this exercise can be uncomfortable and even painful for those with knee injuries or joint ailments, such as arthritis. Low-impact jump rope alternatives should provide the same or similar benefits as rope jumping, and the alternative you choose will depend on whether you want to work the same muscle groups or burn the same amount of calories.


Like rope jumping, swimming burns hundreds of calories in a short time period, provides cardiovascular benefits and works the upper and lower body. Popular swimming strokes, such as the front crawl and back stroke, stretch and tone the upper body, and adding flutter kicks to these strokes stretches and tones the quadriceps, calves and hamstrings. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person burns slightly more than 370 calories per hour with 30 minutes of swimming, the same amount of calories burned with rope jumping. Choose swimming over rope jumping for an exercise that works the same muscle groups and burns the same amount of calories without placing any impact on your joints.

Dual-Action Cycling

Dual-action stationary cycling works muscles in the upper and lower body and burns slightly more calories per hour than jumping rope. A dual-action cycle is a stationary bike with handlebars. It offers the same cardiovascular benefits as regular stationary cycles by toning the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes, and has the added advantage of upper-body strengthening. A 155-pound person burns approximately 400 calories with 30 minutes of cycling, according to Harvard Health Publications. Dual-action cycles allow you to burn even more calories because it engages the muscles in your chest, shoulders and arms without impacting your joints.

Elliptical Training

Elliptical training fully engages the upper and lower body without impacting your knees or back. A 155-pound person burns approximately 335 calories in 30 minutes exercising on an elliptical trainer, notes Harvard Health Publications. Most elliptical machines have various resistance levels, allowing you to increase the intensity of your workout to burn more calories. Elliptical trainers activate your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves, and they have movable handlebars that you can pull and push to engage the muscles in your arms.


Rowing is a low-impact, full-body cardiovascular activity. It burns less calories than jumping rope, but it works the same muscle groups and promotes cardiovascular fitness. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person burns approximately 260 calories rowing at a moderate pace for 30 minutes and over 300 calories rowing vigorously for the same amount of time. Rowing machines work the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and glutes, while engaging the muscles in your lower back, middle back and arms. The repetitive movement that rowing requires stretches muscles as well, causing your muscles to feel looser and more flexible.

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