Jump Rope Benefits: What Muscles Does Skipping Work?

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Skipping might not be the first type of workout that comes to mind when you think about getting a full-body workout at home or the gym. It might even have connotations of your time as a child spent on the playground. However, there are various benefits to this type of exercise that may surprise you.

Skipping offers various health and fitness incentives, including burnt calories, drastically improved cardiovascular health, and boosted bone density. Skipping is also known to improve balance, coordination, and agility. Skipping works the calves, quads, glutes, shoulders, biceps, triceps, hamstrings, back, and chest.

In short: it’s a powerful workout that can target a lot of muscles in a single session.

Great if you are short on time.

If you haven’t attempted skipping for a while, you might be surprised to learn how much exercise is involved in the activity. Skipping can tire you out quite quickly compared to several other cardiovascular activities. But that’s part of the appeal!

You will see significant benefits from the exercise in a very short period.

Jump Rope Benefits: What Muscles Does Skipping Work?

Jump rope benefits
What are the benefits of skipping?

Skipping is an excellent exercise that offers various benefits to your overall health and the maintenance of lean muscle. Skipping works different muscles at different stages of the skipping action.

In the beginning phase of skipping, the initial power is generated by the lower body as you lift off the ground. The powerful muscles in the lower body, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, are recruited initially. Next, the calves help you hop as the rope moves under your feet.

The upper body is also used to a large extent. This includes the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and forearms that work to rotate the rope around your body while skipping. 

The abdominal muscles are also used extensively during skipping. A great deal of balance and coordination is required to perform the movements involved in skipping.

You rely on your core muscles to generate power while they simultaneously support your lower back and work to maintain your posture throughout the movement.

Provided you employ the correct technique, skipping can give you various benefits. While skipping can not grow your muscles to a large degree, it will certainly help keep your muscles lean. Maintaining lean muscle is just one of the many benefits of skipping, which is why we love it as a cardio alternative for runners.

Even podcast superstars like Joe Rogan have been getting in one the craze…

Top Benefits of Skipping

Besides childhood fun, skipping offers a host of benefits that will see you enjoying vastly improved mental, emotional, and physical health.

Burn Calories Fast

Naturally, skipping is an excellent activity for burning calories.

It is highly effective at burning calories, potentially burning around a thousand calories per hour. Although if you manage to skip for that long, we’d be particularly impressed!

Improve Your Cardio

In addition to the burnt calories, skipping offers improved cardiovascular health for your heart and lungs.

Cardiovascular exercise will drastically reduce your risk of having a stroke, whilst simultaneously reducing the chances of developing heart disease.

General cardio health is a good reason to start skipping, but the benefits also translate to improved athletic performance. For example, one particular study saw that runners improved their time in a 3K time trial by training with a jump rope in the weeks prior.

Another study suggests that 10 minutes of jump rope could be as effective as 30 minute of jogging, thus making skipping one of the most effective HIIT workouts in your training schedule.

Boost Bone Density

Skipping also helps boost your bone density through the consistent impact of landing on the same spot for minutes at a time – a sensation that runners will undoubtedly be familiar with.

Activate Many Muscles At Once

Depending on the type of rope used, skipping can also offer great activation of the muscles. Naturally, the potential muscle activation is vastly improved with a heavier rope.

Note: You can find various smart ropes which add a fantastic interactive element to your skipping workout. We highly recommend them!

Improve Your Agility

A rigorous skipping routine offers vastly increased agility, mainly because skipping uses significant leg muscle power. As a result, skipping offers an excellent way to engage in cross-training.

Many different types of athletes use skipping to refine their reflexes and overall agility — from boxers to professional footballers. There’s good reason for this – it works!

Improve Your Coordination

If you’ve ever had to learn from scratch, you’ll appreciate how a skipping rope has the potential to improve your coordination, too. By this, we mean the coordination of your eyes, feet, hands, arms, legs, and torso.

Better Balance

Building balance is another advantage of skipping, one that develops naturally as you refine your coordination. Because you have to re-establish your balance with every jump, your body is forced to improve its balancing capabilities every time you land.

Enter a Meditative Flow State

Skipping offers the potential to create a meditative flow through the repeated action of jumping while swinging the rope overhead and under your feet. You can potentially enter a flow state that will allow you to fully immerse yourself in your skipping practice.

It’s Fun!

Besides the tangible health benefits for your body and mind, skipping is also extremely fun.

It is an activity that you can enjoy with family members, friends, partners, or simply on your own.

Is Skipping A Full-Body Workout?

An intense jump rope workout

Yes, skipping generally qualifies as a full-body workout.

Just look at the long list of muscles it targets:

  • calves
  • quadriceps
  • glutes
  • shoulders
  • arms
  • core
  • hamstrings
  • abdominals
  • obliques
  • forearms
  • biceps
  • triceps
  • back
  • chest

Skipping allows you to build strength in your lower body while engaging your entire upper body.

To allow you to swing the rope over your head and under your feet, you will need to control the rope’s force using various upper body muscles.

Grip strength is also built drastically with skipping. To allow the body to control a one or two-pound rope for many minutes at a time will require a significant amount of grip strength. 

If your form is correct while skipping, the resistance from the jump rope moves upwards towards your arms while simultaneously activating your forearms and shoulders. In addition, the lats are activated if your scapula is pulled together during the skipping exercise.

One thing to note for newbie skipping fanatics: form is everything.

Good posture is extremely important throughout skipping to ensure that the correct muscles are exercised and that you get the optimal results without risking injury.

Jump Rope Types & How They Affect Your Workout

Multiple types of jump ropes allow you to customize your skipping workout however you like.

Weighted jump ropes significantly increase the challenge to the upper body. A heavier rope also moves slower, forcing you to engage your muscles more heavily throughout the exercise.

Smart jump ropes are also available that have various features to help improve your workout. Smart jump ropes feature sensors that allow you to track your workouts while recording your speed and the number of repetitions. 

Note: See our full guide to smart jump ropes here.

However, when all is said and done, basic no-frills jump ropes are often the best type for somebody getting started with skipping. These ropes are simple, cheap, and allow you to perform any type of skipping workout at any time. 

A few words of advice though…

When choosing a jump rope, you must ensure that it is sufficiently long to allow for comfortable jumping.

  • If your height is under 5’3, you should opt for an eight-foot jump rope.
  • If you are between 5’3 to 5’9, go for a nine-foot jump rope.
  • If you are taller, a ten-foot rope will be optimal. 

And, of course, it’s important to ensure that your rope is high quality to ensure its longevity.

The right length and weight of the rope is extremely important as it will ensure the most successful jumps. You could hurt your shins if a rope is too short or light.

Author Profile

Alex Randall

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Alex is the editor at Revel Sports. It was his idea to take our post-club-run chats and build a website out of them. He is responsible for dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s when any of us have something to post. (Basically: it’s all his fault). A ferocious 5K powerhouse on his day, Alex is known for not understanding the meaning of the term ‘negative split‘.
Alex Randall

Revel SPorts Contributor

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