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Will You Lose Muscle Jumping Rope?

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
Will You Lose Muscle Jumping Rope?
Jumping rope can be detrimental to your lean muscle mass. Photo Credit: OSTILL/iStock/Getty Images

When you participate in long bouts of cardiovascular exercise activities, such as jumping rope, and your body begins to run out of fuel, your body releases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol facilitates the metabolic breakdown of both carbohydrates and protein so that they can be used as fuel. That protein comes from your lean muscle tissue. Know how much you can jump rope so you don't lose muscle.

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Jumping Into Wellness

Jumping rope offers numerous health and athletic benefits. It elevates your heart rate, developing your cardiovascular system. According to the University of North Carolina Health Care Wellness Centers, it can be used as an effective high-intensity interval training exercise to burns the same amount of calories that steady-state exercises burn in a shorter period of time. It is a high-quality workout activity for those looking to lose body fat, because it’s very effective at burning calories. However, jumping rope can be detrimental to your muscle mass, because the increased demand for fuel partly comes from the breakdown of muscle.

Watching Out For Muscle Loss

Losing muscle occurs for a couple of reasons, including detraining, which is when you stop lifting weights or exercising at the same frequency and intensity that you were. In addition, your body breaks down muscle tissue whenever it is not able to provide your organs and tissues with the amount of fuel they require. When you burn more calories than you consume over a period, your body doesn’t have enough energy available and so it seeks out fuel by breaking down stored body fat. This is why exercise is recommended for those looking to lose weight, as exercise activities like jumping rope increase the total number of calories burned and thus contribute to the caloric deficit needed for fat loss. However, during this period when your body is seeking fuel, cortisol levels increase, which not only assists in breaking down fat, but also breaks down your lean muscle to convert amino acids for fuel.

Burning Off Calories

Jumping rope is among the most effective calorie-burning exercises. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person burns about 744 calories every 60 minutes they jump rope, while a 185-pound person burns about 888. At this rate, a 185-pound person can lose nearly a pound of body fat every three and a half sessions. However, those concerned about losing muscle mass should limit their jump rope sessions because the increased amount of burned calories leads to an increased need to utilize other energy sources beyond body fat.

Refueling For Muscle Maintenance

According to registered dietitian Debra Wein of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, you can prevent how much muscle breakdown occurs during your jump rope workouts by consuming a high-carbohydrate meal. For a short period after your jump rope workouts, your body will be better able to absorb nutrients, which will assist the protein synthesis needed for muscle maintenance and building.

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