What Muscles Does Jump Rope Work?

Feb 15, 2024Devin Meek

You will experience many benefits when you incorporate jump rope into your workout sessions beyond simple muscle growth and retention. As an exercise, jump rope is fitting for almost anyone in any stage of their fitness journey, as it's a great inclusion to strengthen muscles, improve your cardiovascular health, boost balance, stabilize joints, and even help with weight loss. 

If you're using a different kind of jump rope, for example, a weighted one, the benefits you see may be more attuned to the corresponding area, such as increased strength and control of your rope.

Can Jumping Rope Build Muscle?

The calf muscles are the most prominent muscle that jump rope workouts will target and engage. At the back of your lower leg, the calf muscles are made up of the gastrocnemius and the soleus muscles, leading towards your Achilles tendon and feet. These muscles are important for actions such as walking, running and jumping. Through your skip rope workouts, these muscles are called upon during each stage of your jump: bracing to jump, pushing off the ground, and landing. 

If you're entirely new to a fitness environment, consistently using a jump rope in each of your sessions can help you sculpt a lean physique, work and strengthen the muscles in your calves, improve your stamina, and improve your cardiovascular health. If you've already established a jump rope routine, it’s a great way to build on your pre-established endurance and work towards muscle retention.

In addition to this, using a jump rope can have huge benefits for your cardiovascular and mental health and improve your overall day-to-day life. Exercise generally improves your mood, reduces stress, and also leads to better sleep. 

What Muscles Does Jumping Rope Work?


The calves are the primary muscles that jump rope workouts will engage, strengthen, and retain, as these are the muscles responsible for movements such as walking, running, and jumping. If you're new to fitness entirely and begin with a workout routine involving a jump rope, you might see and feel a noticeable difference in your calves within the first few months. Or if you're looking for a way to pick up on the leg day slack, using one as part of your workout routine will help to engage the muscles in your lower legs and build their overall strength.


Your hamstrings, located at the back of your thigh and stretching along the length of your thigh to the backs of your knees, are also worked when using a jump rope. Though the primary leg muscles are your calves, the hamstrings also get a workout while jumping. They aid your stabilization when landing and power your jump by causing extension at your hips.


The quadriceps are a set of muscles located in the front of your thigh, and as the name may suggest, are made up of four components: the rectus femoris (middle, above), the vastus lateralis (outer), the vastus intermedius (middle, below), and the vastus medialis (inner). Like the advantages your calves and hamstrings gain, the quadriceps also get quite the workout. 

As using a jump rope is an exercise that primarily targets the lower half of your body, every facet of your leg, from the thigh down to your ankle, is readily engaged and should show improvements over time. The engagement of the muscles in your upper legs (quadriceps and hamstrings) can be increased even further by adding skills to your jump rope workouts. 

Shoulders and Arms (Triceps and Biceps)

Your arms, from the shoulders down to your wrists, are a crucial part of using a jump rope. While the arms aren't the most apparent muscle to work when exercising this way, if you use a weighted rope or a rope explicitly designed for freestyle movements to encourage arm movement or strain, your arms reap great rewards from your workout session. 

Some of the benefits of using a weighted rope, for example, include the increased intensity of your workout. By using a heavier rope and exerting more energy, you can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time while simultaneously strengthening your upper body muscles, such as the triceps and biceps.


Similar to the effect on your hamstrings, using a jump rope helps to enhance the muscles in your abdominals, back, and core by aiding the upright posture of your jump, boosting your balance, and stabilizing your body when you land, especially when doing dynamic and quick movements like using a jump rope. Jump rope is an excellent way of strengthening your core, including the spine and erector muscles in your back, improving overall strength and resilience with your workouts. 

Cardiovascular Health

Using a jump rope is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. After all, your heart is a muscle, too. The CDC recommends about two hours and thirty minutes of exercise each week (or more) to reduce your chances of contracting heart disease or stroke. Using a jump rope is the perfect way to boost the amount of cardio exercise you do and also an easy addition to your cardio routine, as they are simple to transport and use.

Additionally, prioritizing your cardio with a jump rope can help decrease your resting heart rate, BPM (beats per minute), and overall heart health, as it more efficiently pumps blood and oxygen to your muscles and body. This, in turn, will significantly affect your long-term health - improving your immune system and bone strength, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and even helping to manage your weight by burning calories and retaining some muscle mass.

While exercise should be undertaken in moderation with other daily factors such as your diet and typical lifestyle, you could vastly improve your cardio health with a beaded or licorice rope to motivate yourself to take greater pride in your cardio and more comprehensive cardiovascular health. More skilled jumpers can look to switch it up with a rope designed for speed to add further intensity to your cardiovascular workouts and fitness. 

Whole Body

A good diet and exercise is essential for a healthy lifestyle. The CDC recommends physical activity in any capacity to improve many different facets of your health. Using a jump rope could vary from being a simple first step into fitness, slotting neatly into your already established workout routine, or even being your primary focus of exercise. There are so many different benefits to incorporating jump rope into your life for almost every part of your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Jumping Rope Target?

Jumping rope primarily targets your lower body muscles, specifically the calves, thighs, hamstrings, and quadriceps, while also bolstering your cardio endurance. If these are areas you're specifically looking to improve on, then it would be worth considering adding to your workouts.

How Often Should I Jump Rope To Build Muscle?

Moderation is vital for any healthy lifestyle. If you're new to the fitness environment, use your jump rope for around 10 minutes per day to begin your fitness journey. If you're more advanced, you could lengthen those sessions or make them more frequent, jumping for around 30 minutes each or every other day. 

Need a Reliable Jump Rope? Shop Elite Jumps!

For anyone actively trying to get into fitness, one of the best things you can do for yourself is invest in a good quality jump rope. Getting into the scene is easy, whether it’s for muscle gain, retention, or general health and fitness. With our varied range of ropes from general fitness to weighted - and even to our kid’s range - you can make achieving your fitness goals even easier with Elite Jumps.

About the Author

Devin Meek is the Director of Education for Elite Jumps. He's been a jump rope entertainer for over eighteen years and is a three-time world champion competitive jumper. Devin travels the country sharing his passion for the sport, giving jump rope workshops to schools, CrossFit gyms, and corporate wellness programs.


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