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how to jump rope when you're fat

As an adult, somedays all I want to do is chase my inner child.  You know, that little part of you that just wants to lay in the grass on a warm Summer’s day and watch the clouds go by?

Well, one of the ways I indulge my inner child is by doing things for fun!  Jumping rope is one of those activities that is so nostalgic, but also significantly harder as an adult!  This becomes even trickier as a fat person!  I’m here to teach you:

How to jump rope when you’re fat!

You can absolutely jump rope as a fat person.  Jumping rope benefits your heart, body, balance, and mind!  You need to make sure you have the right jump rope and that you use the proper technique to avoid injury.  Stick to a plan and you’ll be a regular jumper in no time!  

This is an activity you can do anywhere, anytime and it brings me so much joy!  Keep reading to learn how to get started as a fat person.

What Are The Benefits Of Jumping Rope?

Jumping rope is often marketed as a weight-loss exercise.  While this can be true, jumping rope has so many more benefits than just weight loss.

Jumping rope is not only good for your body but good for your mind as well.  It is something that is fun to do on its own!  And, it comes with even more bonuses!

It Improves Your Overall Fitness.

When I say that jumping rope improves your overall fitness, I don’t mean fit as in looking like a bodybuilder!  I mean your fitness as in how well your body functions.  This includes things like your respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Because jumping rope is a pretty high-intensity activity, your heart will become stronger from it!  After jumping rope for a little, you will be able to see that your breathing gets less heavy and your heart might not beat as fast.

Even if you don’t want to lose weight, it’s never a bad idea to keep your heart healthy!

It Strengthens Your Muscles and Bones.

Naturally, jumping rope is a relatively high-impact activity.

As a fat person, you don’t have to shy away from high-impact activities!  When done correctly and in moderation, the impact is actually good for your body.

High impact activities cause healthy amounts of stress for your bones and muscles.  This stress signals your body to become stronger in preparation for the next time!  Olympic swimmers and cyclists are encouraged to participate in high-impact exercise because swimming and cycling can be too gentle on the joints!

Being able to strengthen your tissues is a great way to protect yourself from injuries in the future.  Other activities, like skateboarding and rollerskating, can also provide the healthy benefits of a high impact!  Regardless of your size, you should include some high-impact activities in your day! Of course, mixing in some lower impact activities for cardiovascular exercises like riding an exercise bike. is also a good idea.

It Improves Your Balance.

One of the most underrated benefits of jumping rope is that you will get better balance!

Jumping requires you to lift one or both feet off of the ground.  This isn’t something you do on a daily basis!  If you’re not a naturally coordinated person, jumping rope is a great way to start learning.  You can go at your own pace and there is a very low chance of falling.

As we age our balance only gets worse, so improving your balance is a great way to stay young!

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to pick up a jump rope again!  But, before you do, there are some potential risks to be aware of!

Is Jumping Rope Dangerous?

Everything in life comes with some level of risk!  Your morning commute to work is statistically one of the most dangerous things you will do in your life!

Jumping rope is not a deadly activity.

However, if you’re not careful, especially if you’re not is shape to begin with, you could hurt yourself!

There Is A Risk of Injury.

When you first start jumping rope, you might be so excited that you go full out on your first session.

This probably isn’t the best idea!

If you don’t often jump or do high-impact activities, you will end up using muscles that you don’t often use.  These muscles could be tight and could become strained from overuse.

You can also whip yourself with the jump rope if you’re not careful!  It might sound funny but that can really hurt and give you a big welt for a few days.

Proper technique can help protect you from injury when jumping rope.  We will discuss that more below!

Jumping Rope Might Be Too High Intensity.

If your heart hasn’t been worked out in a while, take it easy with the jump rope!

Because jumping rope is so intense, you could actually face issues as a plus size person jumping for the first time.  As I mentioned above one of the great benefits of jumping is your heart health.

However, if you push your heart too far you could risk some serious complications.  The rule of thumb for heart rate is that you can subtract your age from 220 to get a safe maximum heart rate.  For example, if you’re 35, that would be 220 – 35 = a maximum heart rate of 185 beats per minute.

Plus-sized people generally have higher heart rates to start, so be careful to monitor your heart rate and make sure it doesn’t go higher than a safe level.  You can do this with a smartwatch, or just by manually checking your heart rate during breaks.

As long as you keep these risks in mind, you should be safe to start jumping rope.  But, if you feel like you need to start smaller, ellipticals are a great low-intensity workout machine for plus-sized people!  They can help you feel comfortable with an elevated heart rate and get jump rope ready!

How Do You Get Started?

Luckily for us, to get started you only really need two things; a jump rope and some good athletic shoes.  You probably have a favorite pair of walking shoes, and those will do just fine!  You want to make sure you have enough support for your fee when you jump.

Unless you have a good jump rope at home, you’ll need to buy a jump rope before you can start!

Pick The Right Jump Rope!

Once you start to look, you realize that there actually are a lot of different choices for a jump rope.  You can get leather, rope, steel cable, beaded, weights, or plastic jump rope.  PVC or plastic jump ropes are the most commonly sold ropes and are great for beginners!

The most important factor when picking a jump rope is whether you choose a 2.5mm or 4mm thick rope.  While a thinner (2.5mm) rope might be your first choice, it’s actually not recommended for beginners!

A 4mm rope is heavier and helps you get a feel for the rope.  This makes it easier to jump at the right time.  Even though your arms might tire faster, you probably won’t be jumping for too long at once anyway!

How Do You Know What Length Your Rope Should Be?

Most jump ropes are adjustable!  To find out your ideal length as a beginner, you can step on your rope and raise the handle to your chest.  This image shows the process!

You can see that as a beginner, you want a little bit longer of a rope.  Additionally, if you’re a big person like me, you might need extra length for the width of your body!

If you start at one length and feel like it’s not right, just adjust your rope a bit until you find the right length!  Don’t cut your rope until you feel like you have the perfect length.

Make Sure You Have Good Form!

After you get your gear dialed in, it’s time to jump!

Good form is a good way to make sure you don’t get injured.  the best form for jump roping includes small jumps.  You don’t want to jump too high off of the ground.  Keep your jumps low and quick.  This makes everything easier and safer!

Another good tip for your form is to keep your elbows glued to your sides.  This is a way to protect your elbows and wrist and ensures that you are using your biceps to move the rope around!

Try Modified Jumps!

If you start with small-two-footed jumps and you’re not able to get a rhythm going, try skipping or stepping!  These smaller jumps can be better for fat people.

Although a skip jump might require more coordination, it also is a little easier on your body!  Check this video out for a skip jump tutorial!

If the two-footed jump isn’t available to you yet, this can be a good place to start!

Make A Plan and Stick To It!

Beyond technique and gear, my best advice for how to jump rope fat is to stick with a plan.

A good jump rope plan includes a warm-up, an effort, and a cool down.

For example, you could plan on doing something like this to get started.

  • 30 seconds jumping & 30 seconds rest ( 5 times)
  • 60 seconds jumping & 60 seconds rest ( 3 times)
  • 30 seconds jumping & 30 seconds rest ( 3 times)

This 14-minute routine plus a stretch afterward is a great goal to work towards!  You can go at whatever speed you want when you jump.  If this routine seems like too much for you, start smaller!

Wrapping It Up!

As a fat person, your body will feel different than a skinny person’s while jumping rope.  As long as you listen to your body and do what’s right for you, you can have a great experience with a jump rope and reap the benefits of this fun activity!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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