Women don't typically seek to build their chest muscles with the same exuberance as men, but if you're looking for an exercise that works out your chest alongside your body's other major muscle groups, look no further than jumping rope. If you haven't picked up a rope for several years, give this exercise another shot and you'll be amazed at the benefits it provides.
Jumping rope won't help you build muscles at the same rate as traditional weight training, but it's an effective way to tone your muscles without the challenge and occasional monotony of lifting weights. Because jumping rope involves your entire body, all your major muscle groups are active. The process of turning the rope works your chest, arms, shoulders and back, while jumping involves your legs, hips and core muscles.
The most significant benefit of jumping rope isn't the muscle development it will give you; it's the ability to burn a ton of calories in a short period of time. A 155-pound person can burn more than 350 calories in just 30 minutes of jumping rope, which makes this exercise a better calorie burner than activities such as jogging and riding a bicycle at moderate speeds.
Many athletes incorporate jumping rope into their exercise regimens for the many benefits the activity provides. In addition to toning muscles and burning calories, jumping rope can strengthen your bones while improving your balance, according to the Yale School of Medicine. The exercise can also improve your endurance and enhance your foot speed, which is useful in sports such as football, boxing and basketball. If you have pain in your joints, consult a doctor before trying this workout.
Because you can jump rope in your home or in a gym, it's often ideal to set up in front of the television and jump while you watch your favorite program. Pretty soon, you'll have burned several hundred calories without getting bored of the workout. If you want to add a variation, try sprinting on the spot, jumping on one leg at a time and double jumps. To provide more of a challenge for the chest and other muscles in the upper body, use a weighted rope.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.