Does Jumping Rope Build Muscle?


In regards to fitness, the great thing about jumping rope is it not only burns fat, but it builds muscle too. By dropping pounds and increasing muscle you can hit your fitness goals a lot quicker than just lifting weights, or only doing cardio. The additional muscle and slimmer waist should help get that tapered look in record time.

It’s essentially a full body workout too! When jumping, you activate a variety of muscles including your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs, arms, shoulders, and parts of your back. Given you’re not lifting heavy weight, much of the muscle built from jumping rope is going to be lean muscle. In other words, it won’t make you bulky (sorry bro).

Additionally, some jump ropes are better for building muscle than others. Speed ropes, for example, are going to improve cardio more than helping you build muscle. Weighted jump ropes on the other hand are your best bet for building muscle. The additional weight in the rope, and handles, make you work harder – your upper body in particular. I’ve shared my favorite weighted jump ropes later in this article.

Does Jumping Rope Work Abs?

One of my biggest pet peeves is how many people online, and on TV, tell you by using their product you’ll get a six pack. It’s such a scam! The truth is abs aren’t built in the gym, they’re built in the kitchen. If you think about it, we all have abs. Some of ours are just hidden. The secret to revealing your abs is two things. Diet and cardio.

1. Diet

The most effective thing you can do to get abs is implement a diet. You’ll want to monitor what you eat, at what times during the day you’re eating, and how often. And, without being overly anal about it, track your calories to ensure you end each day in a calorie deficit (output > input). For me, I follow an intermittent fasting plan which makes all those things fairly easy to track.

2. Cardio

Outside of dieting, cardio is going to be your second most effective weapon when trying to reveal your abs. The jump rope is the perfect tool too. By implementing regular cardio into your routine, like jumping rope, it’s going to help you reach your calorie deficit for the day. Additionally, by increasing the intensity of your cardio, which is easy to do with a jump rope, you’ll burn a lot more calories than traditional cardio.

Not all jump rope workouts are created equal either, especially when it comes to burning calories. Instead of a weighted jump rope, like one we’d use for building muscle, I typically use a speed rope for burning calories. The goal here is intensity and increasing your heart rate.

Here are three of my favorite jump rope routines for burning calories:

  • High knees
  • Double unders
  • Crossovers

Does Jumping Rope Make Your Calves Bigger?

A lot of guys have trouble filling out their calves, myself included. And, while there are a variety of factors that come into play when trying to build calf muscle, it’s not impossible.

The first thing you need to understand is calf size is NOT completely reliant on your genetics. This is a myth! There are ways to grow your calves regardless of your genes, and a jump rope is a great tool.

The most common reason people don’t see growth in their calves is because their calves aren’t a priority. Many guys don’t train their calves half as hard as they do their biceps. Second to that, while calf raises are great, you need to incorporate a more comprehensive strategy to see any real improvements. This is where the jump rope comes in.

When jumping rope there are so many different routines you can utilize to target your calves, and in really dynamic ways. Everything from the basic jump, to high knees, to crossovers target your calves in unique ways. For those of you looking for some simple routines to start your calf workouts, take a look at a few of my favorite calf exercises.

  • Shuffle jump
  • Side to side
  • Single leg jump

What are the Best Jump Rope Exercises for Building Muscle?

Outside of your calves and abs, jumping rope does a lot for your arms, shoulders, back, and quads. And, there are a variety of exercises I use to target each. Additionally, I’m big fan of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata workouts. The following workouts are a combination of both. For those unfamiliar with HIIT or Tabata, here is a brief description of each.

HIIT:

HIIT, otherwise known as high intensity interval training, is a great way to grow and maintain muscle while burning fat. The basic concept is to increase your heart rate through quick bursts of intense exercise, followed by brief periods of rest or low exertion exercises.

Tabata:

Tabata training was originally named after a Japanese scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, and the research him and his team conducted correlating high-intensity training with increases in both cardio and muscle. It’s essentially a format for performing HIIT. Tabata workouts are 8 rounds and a total of 4 minutes in length. Each round requires you to workout hard for 20 seconds, then rest for 10. Short and sweet.

Best Jump Rope Exercise for Arms

A great jump rope exercise for toning your arms is double unders. Your arms are guaranteed to gas out before your legs. Try to utilize your wrists as much as possible for maximum efficiency. 30 second rounds may not seem like much, it’s a beast of a workout though. And, you’ll definitely feel it in your forearms.

HIIT:

Each round, for 7 rounds:

30 seconds – Double Unders

15 seconds – Basic jump

Tabata:

Each round, for 8 rounds:

20 seconds – Double Unders

10 seconds – Rest

Best Jump Rope Exercise for Working Shoulders

Shoulders are my favorite part of my body to work on, and jumping rope is one of my favorite forms of working on them. The key is to keep your shoulders back while jumping. Additionally, you want to focus on rotating the rope with your shoulders, as opposed to your wrists. It’s a killer workout if you utilize your shoulders properly.

HIIT:

Each round, for 7 rounds:

30 seconds – High knees

15 seconds – Basic jump

Tabata:

Each round, for 8 rounds:

20 seconds – High knees

10 seconds – Rest

Best Jump Rope Exercise for Working Back

When working on your back you’ll also want to keep your shoulders back. Posture is key for targeting your back. You almost want to pull your lats and shoulder blades together as if you were performing a seated row. The goal is to utilize your back muscles, as much as possible, to rotate the jump rope. With proper form, you’d be amazed at what kind of activation you can get in you back.

For this routine I suggest using a speed rope as the Muay Thai Jump Rope by TWINS can be challenging to do crossovers with.

HIIT:

Each round, for 7 rounds:

30 seconds – Crossovers

15 seconds – Basic jump

Tabata:

Each round, for 8 rounds:

20 seconds – Double Unders

10 seconds – Rest

Best Jump Rope Exercise for Working Quads

Regardless of the jump rope exercise, you will always be utilizing your quads. And, you can substitute almost any jump rope variation for the squat jump, and still see improvements to your quads. For beginners, I would suggest substituting single leg jumps, or double unders. For those more advanced, the squat jump is a burner! Give it a shot.

HIIT:

Each round, for 7 rounds:

30 second – Squat jump

15 seconds – Basic jump

Tabata:

Each round, for 8 rounds:

20 seconds – Squat jump

10 seconds – Rest

What is the Best Jump Rope for Building Muscle?

When it comes to selecting the right jump rope for building muscle, there are a couple things you’ll want to consider.

First, think about what you plan to do with the jump rope. Do you want a jump rope purely for building and toning muscle? Are you training for a sport, like basketball or boxing? Looking to lose weight? There are a variety of uses for a jump rope, and tons of jump ropes on the market. It’s important to choose the right one for your goals.

Secondly, the weight of the jump rope is going to make a significant difference in the type of growth you’ll be able to achieve. If you’re looking to work on your footwork and speed, or burn calories, you’ll likely want to work with a speed rope. For building muscle though, stick to the weighted jump rope.

Here are the best jump ropes, currently on the market

Good Luck!

Will Holmes

Former personal trainer and athlete, currently working full-time as a health and fitness writer. Getting in shape, losing weight, and eating better, isn't always easy. It helps to have a friend... that's me, I'm the friend! Sincerely, Your biggest fan

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