When you think about improving muscle mass, you might envision yourself at the gym lifting heavy weights and working out on an intimidating machine. Luckily, there are simple and easy-to-do exercises that you can do at home in order to build muscle mass. For instance, there's jumping rope. Jumping rope works muscles in your chest, shoulders, arms and legs. In order to get the most out of a jump-rope workout and maximize the benefits for your muscles, it helps to know how you can jump rope safely and effectively as opposed to jumping just for fun.
You use a lot of muscles just to keep your body stable while jumping rope. According to "Muscle and Fitness" magazine, the workout is particularly good for your calf muscles. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons notes that any weight-bearing exercise, like jumping rope and running, strengthens your muscles by working them against gravity. And since it’s a cardio workout, the process is also good for your cardiovascular health.
In contrast to childhood jump-roping exercises where you may have achieved large, high jumps, you will get the most out of your workout and strengthen your muscles most effectively by jumping 1 to 2 inches off the ground and only touching the ground with the balls of your feet. This keeps some of the effort coming from your chest and arms instead of just your legs. Trainer Brian Peeler, NASM-CPT states that you will get the most out of jumping rope by starting slowly, so start by jumping rope for 10 minutes and gradually increase the time when you feel ready. If you get tired early, lose the rope but keep the movements going with either your chest and arms or your legs, depending on which muscles you’re looking to build up. "Fitness" magazine indicates that a varied daily 10-minute jump-rope session can burn about 135 calories and sculpt your muscles.
All of the jumping can be tough on your body without the right position. While jumping rope, be sure to bend your knees slightly and keep your back straight in order to reduce the chance of suffering an injury. Keep in mind that jumping low will reduce the impact on your knees as well, reducing the possibility of a knee injury, according to the American Council on Exercise. Once you get used to jumping rope, you can add to your workout by alternating feet or rotating the rope twice per jump.
In order to be sure you are building muscle mass at maximum potential, you’ll need the right equipment. To find a jump rope that is a good length for you, place one foot in the rope’s center and lift the handles straight up. The handles should be about chest length and should not go past your armpits, according to "Fitness" magazine. Avoid weighted jump ropes and look for a lightweight rope instead, especially if you're just starting out with jump roping for exercise and muscle building.
Rose Welton is a journalism major and a freelance writer. Her education is focused on nutrition and early childhood studies, making her an expert when it comes to writing about health and children's growth and development. She has written numerous articles and blog posts on various topics for online publications and has also worked on an Internet news team.