Should I Jump Rope Before or After Weightlifting?
Sep 28, 2022Matt Hopkins
There are a handful of either/or questions one can ask that are bound to get an impassioned response, no matter who you’re talking to. Coffee or tea? Dogs or cats? Flats or heels? Cardio before or after weightlifting? Of all these, it’s that last one that might spur the most heated debate, with devotees of both schools of thought willing to enthusiastically defend their personal routine.
If you’ve spent much time around our blog, you’re probably familiar with topics like how jump rope compares to other forms of cardio and the surprising benefits of jump roping daily, but today we’re going to explore the combination of jumping rope and lifting weights. Read on as we help you decide the right order for your next workout routine, answering the question, “Should I jump rope before or after weightlifting?”
Before we get too deep into which order is best, there are a couple of things we wanted to make clear. The first is, in an ideal world, cardio and weightlifting would take place on different days. However, most of us end up combining the workouts into one comprehensive routine simply due to time constraints — and that’s perfectly fine.
But the other thing to keep in mind is that cardio and weightlifting affect your body and its muscles in very different ways. You’ll obviously burn more calories during a cardio session, but weightlifting increases your resting metabolism — a term used to describe how many calories you burn at rest — so it could actually burn more calories in the long run.
Lifting weights will trigger parts of the muscle cell that are usually dormant, which is completely different from the cardiovascular response that occurs during a strenuous cardio workout. Notably, the reason many experts suggest not participating in both cardio and weightlifting on the same day is that those two responses can somewhat cancel each other out.
In fact, cardio that is too intense, frequent, or lengthy can actually prevent you from building muscle during your strength workouts.
Ultimately, the order in which you jump rope and lift weights is a personal preference, and each method has pros and cons. But in order to decide how best to move forward, you’ll need to first define your goals with exercise before letting that answer guide your flow.
Let’s start with one of the most popular workout goals: weight loss. For someone looking to lose weight, you might think that jumping rope first is best since you would likely be well-rested and fresh, right? Not necessarily, and the reason why has to do with a physiological effect called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.
The simple premise of EPOC is that the more oxygen needed during a cardio exercise, the more calories we are subject to burn — even after our workout is completed. If you’ve already lifted weights prior to jumping rope, you’ve already expended a good amount of oxygen, which increases EPOC and the calories you’ll continue to burn even while at rest after your cardio session.
Now, let’s flip the script and consider this scenario for someone looking to build mass through bodybuilding, another of the most popular fitness goals. We mentioned earlier that too much cardio can actually restrict one’s ability to build size, and that certainly comes into play here. That means that if you were to lift weights and then jump rope, you could actually be working against yourself and hurting your chances of meeting your fitness goals.
By jumping rope first, you’ll be able to complete what you might consider a secondary goal first, and with a full tank of gas, before moving on to what you’re most passionate about. We should also point out that the right type of cardio, including jump roping, can actually build muscle, so don’t discount it as a throwaway.
There are tons of other fitness goals that are important to keep in mind as you develop the proper workout routine for you. What’s essential is that you remember what we talked about earlier with EPOC and calorie burning, since that concept can be applied to nearly every goal.
Staying in shape for athletics is a good example. Jumping rope after lifting weights can help train the body’s muscles (and the will to complete) to continue performing, even when feeling fatigued. For endurance athletes, that mind-body connection is incredibly important. On the other hand, athletes who rely heavily on their sheer size and strength should opt to jump rope before lifting to avoid diminishing any gains.
There are, of course, some unique situations to account for — like boxers. Jumping rope has long been an integral part of every boxer’s workout regimen, and it’s not unusual for these athletes to jump rope both before and after lifting.
Whether you’re a longtime rope jumper or interested in jumping in feet-first (pun most definitely intended), Elite Jumps can help. We encourage you to visit our online store and shop for one of our jump ropes by goal, including fitness and cardio, CrossFit, freestyle, and speed. We’ve also recently launched a new feature that allows you to customize your rope, empowering online shoppers to select the perfect handle, cord, bead, and length for them. Lastly, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in our jump rope tutorial videos and the guides on our blog.
Happy jumping and lifting! Or, should we say, happy lifting and jumping!?
About the Author
Matt Hopkins is a former competitive speed jumper and jump rope coach. Matt has won numerous national championships in speed jumping, and his athletes have won several national speed and freestyle titles and have broken world and national speed records. He also taught middle and elementary school PE in Leavenworth WA for 23 years.
We're all about equipping and encouraging people to take on big challenges, because we know the process of doing hard things helps us grow in character and capacity.