Calf Raises vs. Jump Roping

Calf raises and jumping rope are forms of exercise with fundamental differences. Calf raises utilize force production over a progressive resistance to challenge your muscles. Jumping rope is an aerobic activity that trains not only your muscles but also your cardiorespiratory systems. A good workout program will develop your whole body -- skeletal and cardiovascular systems, as well as utilize both of these types of exercises.

Jumping rope trains your cardiovascular and skeletal systems. (Image: lolostock/iStock/Getty Images)


A calf raise exercise is considered resistance training, while jumping rope is an aerobic activity. Resistance exercise is anaerobic, meaning your body does not need oxygen to produce the energy for the movement. This type of activity is unsustainable for an extended time as it is high intensity and generally, short in duration. Jumping rope is a more sustainable activity that increases your heart rate and blood flow to accommodate growing energy needs. Your body produces the energy for jumping rope using oxygen.

Muscular Adaptations

The way your muscles adapt to these two exercises varies. Jumping rope can be considered endurance training. This type of low intensity, high frequency activity results in metabolic changes inside your muscles. Endurance training increases the capability of your muscle mitochondria. The mitochondria is the place inside your muscle where energy is made with oxygen. This adaptation means that your body is able to produce a greater amount of energy with the same given amount of oxygen.

The larger force production in calf raises means changes to the physical size of your skeletal muscles. As you progressively challenge your muscles, they begin to hypertrophy, increasing in cross-sectional size.

Muscles Used

The muscles you use for each exercise are different, yet similar. Jumping rope utilizes more muscles, but includes the muscles used during the calf raise. When you do a calf raise, you are training your calves and shins, with assistance from your soleus and your gastrocnemius. Jumping rope works your gastrocnemius, calves, shins, quads, glutes, hamstrings and hip adductors.


Forming your workout varies with the jump rope and calf raise exercise. When you do an aerobic exercise like jumping rope, you aim for time over repetitions. Ideally, you should be getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, three times per week, for health and wellness. A resistance exercise, like the calf raise, is set up as sets and repetitions. For overall muscular gains in strength, aim for doing three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, three days per week, on alternating days.

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