While the main muscles that you're working are your calves, jumping rope activates more muscle than you may think. You're also using your shoulders (particularly your rear delts) as well as your abs, quads, hamstrings. Pretty much every muscle is firing when doing this exercise to keep your body stable. Jumping rope is a great calorie-burner. Jumping rope at a moderate pace will burn approximately 16 calories per minute for a 200-pound man. You'd have to run an eight-minute mile to work off more calories than you'd burn jumping rope for 3, three minute rounds.
Jump Ropes: If you haven't picked up a skipping rope since you were an adolescent, give this useful exercise tool some consideration. Whether you use a traditional speed rope or a weighted rope, skipping gives your entire body a thorough workout that you can attain in a short period of time. Choosing between these styles of rope depends on your reason for working out:
Speed Ropes: A speed rope is a lightweight skipping rope made of any number of materials, but often it's made of plastic or rubber. As its name indicates, this style of rope allows you to skip quickly -- as fast as your arms can make the rope spin. Many gyms provide speed ropes for their members to use as a calorie-burning exercise, and if you want a quick, low-maintenance workout at home, investing in a speed rope is effective.
A speed rope is ideal for beginners but can be used by elite athletes to develop footwork, coordination and conditioning. For example, boxers use a speed rope during their general strength and conditioning workouts. After learning the basic techniques for using the speed rope, you can progress to advanced exercises such as double unders. Double unders are a jump rope pattern that includes making two revolutions with the rope for every one jump and requires a significant amount of speed, coordination and endurance.
Weighted Ropes: Weighted jump ropes appear somewhat like traditional ropes, but are equipped with weighted handles to give your arms more of a workout as you skip. The cord of many weighted ropes is thicker and heavier than those of speed ropes, which creates more resistance as as it spins, thus making it more challenging to operate. Although jumping with a weighted rope gives you a cardio workout, its primary benefit is building muscle in your arms, back and chest.
Segmented (Beaded) Ropes:
You might remember this type of rope from your childhood. Beaded plastic segments give the rope weight as it swings around.