Jumping rope helps to burn calories and keeps the lower body, arms and legs in shape. It uses many of the body's muscles, so it doesn't take long to build lean muscle. Jumping rope burns the same amount of calories as 30 minutes of running.
One of the main advantages of jumping rope for exercise is that a jump rope is portable. It can easily be carried around so that you can work out indoors or outdoors. You only need a 3-by-4-foot space to exercise with your jump rope. This means that even if you are on vacation or travel much of the time, you can simply pack your rope and take it with you.
Although the main muscles used in jumping rope are the calves, the Muscle and Fitness website says that several other muscles also get a significant workout, including the shoulders, abs, hamstrings and quads. This type of fitness has most of the muscles working, so it also helps to stabilize your body and build core body strength.
To get the most out of jumping rope and reduce the risk of injury, always balance your weight on the balls of your feet while keeping the knees bent slightly. Keep your neck straight and eyes focused ahead. Keep your elbows close to your body and make small circular movements with your wrists to turn the rope. As you lift off the floor, point your toes to the ground, and as you land, be ready to jump again so that your heels do not touch the ground.
There are many exercises you can perform while jumping rope to keep from getting bored while you work out. In addition to basic forward and backward rope turning and alternating feet while jumping, there is also an exercise called the twister. This entails twisting the lower body to alternate sides while jumping. The twister is beneficial for building and toning the calves, thighs, hips and buttocks.
Another exercise for building lean muscle and toning the leg muscles is the double under. During this exercise, you turn the rope quickly so that it passes under your feet twice in one jump. This exercise also improves balance and coordination. When you get adept at the double under, you can increase it to a triple or quadruple under.