Muscles Used to Jump Rope

A man is jumping rope inside with his son.
Image Credit: Baerbel Schmidt/Photodisc/Getty Images

A high-intensity workout, jumping rope has long been a mainstay activity for boxers, professional athletes and those wanting to increase their cardio endurance level. Along with building lean muscle mass by activating numerous muscle groups in both the lower and upper body, jumping rope is a calorie-burner. Thirty minutes of activity can burn approximately 400 calories for a woman weighing 135 pounds.

Lower Body

Though the calves are the main muscles powering the jump, your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes are also activated. The load phase of rolling through the ball of your foot and pushing off with the toes calls the posterior side of your body into action, which is your glutes, hamstrings and calves. The quadriceps and glutes then help you to control the jump and to land lightly on your feet rather than hitting the floor with a thud. The knees should be slightly bent during both the push off and landing phases of the jump.

Upper Body

The shoulders and abs are the upper body power muscles when jumping rope, though the arms and hands also help to swing the rope. Stabilizing your upper body, along with the core, is your back, which should be elongated, straight and centered over your pelvis rather than leaning forward or backward.