Jumping rope is one of the oldest and most widely available ways to exercise because it’s inexpensive and can be done just about anywhere. Best of all, jumping rope offers aerobic and anaerobic benefits to several muscles groups, including your leg and arm muscles. Building fast-twitch muscle fibers can help increase your speed and quickness.
Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers
Fast-twitch muscle fibers are responsible for your speed and explosiveness, and genetics plays a major role in the amount of fast-twitch muscle fibers you have. That said, about 40 percent of your muscles can be influenced through exercise and training. Endurance exercises will build slow-to-intermediate twitch muscles while speed exercises like jumping rope will help build fast-twitch muscle fibers for increased speed and agility.
Skipping rope can be considered a compound exercise since multiple muscle groups are worked during each session. According to HumanKinetics.com, jumping rope works your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, ankles and feet, shoulders, forearms, and wrist and hand muscles. Additionally, it helps improve your hand-eye coordination and stimulates production of fast-twitch muscle fibers within each of the aforementioned muscle groups.
The key to building fast-twitch muscle fibers by jumping rope is to use short, intense intervals of training -- similar to a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program. Start by skipping rope at a rapid pace for 30 to 60 seconds, rest for the same length of time and repeat this cycle five to 10 more times. Once you’ve completed as many as 10 rest-and-work cycles, rest for two to five minutes and repeat the workout. Maintain a high intensity during each work cycle to maximize your fast-twitch muscle production. Do this workout up to three times per week with at least a day of rest in between. For additional fast-twitch fiber building, do some of your intervals with high knees. Jump on alternating legs and lift your knees high, as if you were sprinting.
Jumping rope offers many benefits when it comes to building speed and agility. It’s an inexpensive and effective compound exercise that doesn’t take too much time out of your day. There also are many variations of skipping rope you can use to help keep each workout fresh and promote “muscle confusion,” or keeping your muscles from getting used to your workout. HumanKinetics.com states that jumping rope is an exceptional exercise routine for rehabilitation after an injury because of its aerobic and strength-training benefits.