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Jumping rope is a great form of exercise but you may want more benefits. What effects can you expect from jumping rope with ankle weights?
There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about jumping rope with ankle weights, what benefits can you expect?
Ankle weights are simply straps with some extra weight that are attached to your ankles. They can be used in many exercises to add some extra resistance to your training.
Some people question how useful this equipment can be but wearing ankle bands while jumping rope can offer you some amazing benefits.
Should you jump rope with ankle weights?
Before going into the benefits you have to know that jumping rope with ankle weights can also have a few downsides.
Jumping rope can be hard on body parts like ankles, shins, knees, and back. Wearing ankle weights while jumping rope increases the injury risk even more, especially in your ankles.
Some external weights like a good weighted vest only increase pressure on the same muscles you already use in a “normal” ratio. If you don’t do any jump rope tricks you get a similar experience from jumping rope with ankle weights.
On the other hand, once you start doing jump rope tricks with ankle weights you will engage your muscles in a different ratio. For workouts like running and walking ankle weights can lead to a change in gait (1, 2).
You can likely expect something similar from jumping rope with ankle weights.
If you want to jump rope with external weights, jumping rope with a weighted vest is generally better than jumping rope with ankle weights.
You can also get similar benefits from using a weighted jump rope. That being said, jumping rope with ankle weights can still offer some benefits over jumping rope without.
Some of these benefits may not outweigh the downsides. Other workouts may also offer these extra benefits without the downsides.
If you are injury-sensitive it may be smarter to not use ankle weights, and even do a different workout than jumping rope.
1. Can help you lose more weight
Losing weight is about using up body fat, which is basically energy stored. To do this you want to make sure that you require more energy throughout the day than there is coming in from food.
One way to try to make this happen is by doing a workout. By increasing the intensity of your movements for a period of time you use up more energy than usual.
Jumping rope with ankle weights can help with weight loss since using it generally requires more energy compared to jumping rope without one.
A big factor in how many calories you burn during a workout is your weight. To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more weight you carry, the more energy you need to fuel movement.
For example, a 155-pound (70 kg) person jumping rope for 30 minutes at a moderate pace burns around 366 calories.
On the other hand, a 185-pound (83 kg) person jumping rope for 30 minutes at a moderate pace burns around 437 calories.
There will likely be a difference in how much ankle weights increase calorie-burning vs the same weight in body fat but that just shows how wearing ankle weights when jumping rope can benefit your weight loss.
Another way workouts help you lose weight is by increasing your muscle mass which in turn helps with burning more energy with everything you do. Jumping rope with ankle weights helps increase muscle mass too.
Ankle weights will likely not make or break your weight loss journey but even a small improvement will make a big difference over time.
Keep in mind that other lifestyle habits like what you eat are important when trying to lose weight no matter what exercise you do. You can work out and gain weight at the same time if your other lifestyle habits are not good.
2. Helps you engage your muscles more
One of the benefits of jumping rope is that even though it is mainly a cardio workout, it also engages your muscles a nice amount.
While you should not expect too much/any actual muscle growth, engaging them can help slow down degradation, keep the muscles healthier, and improve muscle endurance.
Some of the muscles you work out with jumping rope include:
Generally the more weight you have to move, the more muscle you will build with an exercise. That’s one of the reasons why people go to a gym instead of doing bodyweight exercises at home.
Jumping rope with a jump rope accessory like ankle weights will help you build more muscle mass in your calves, glutes, and quadriceps compared to jumping rope without one.
Even though jumping rope engages your muscles, you do generally want to choose weight lifting exercises over this activity if you are serious about building muscle.
3. Improved cardiovascular health
Your cardiovascular system is the circulatory system inside of your body and includes heart and blood vessels. These transport many types of important nutrients, oxygen, and waste throughout your body.
When you move more intensely your body needs to transport these things, which means using your heart, at a higher rate.
Your heart is a muscle that can be trained by using it more intensely. Jumping rope with ankle weights makes your heart beat faster and thus helps you strengthen your cardiovascular system more.
Do keep in mind that muscles can get injured. If you have not done any physical activity in a long time you may want to start out with low-intensity movements without ankle weights and build up from there.
4. Relatively budget-friendly
Another potential hurdle for many workouts is the budget required.
Some exercises require inexpensive equipment starting with a jumping rope to at-home workout machines of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Even the investment required for gym subscriptions adds up after a while.
Money put into improving your health is generally a great investment but sometimes you can get the same effects with less. Good ankle weights are relatively inexpensive.
This can be a great benefit depending on your personal situation.
5. Can improve athletic performance
Getting better at a certain sport or exercise isn’t necessarily done by doing these activities more. Cross-training which is training in a different sport can be useful.
Additionally, one study suggests that jump height in turn is related to sprint performance (8).
More importantly, good cardiovascular health is a big advantage in many sports.
Since ankle weights can help increase the chances of these things happening or increase their extent, they can also help you make your jumping rope sessions slightly better for improving athletic performance.
6. Improved bone density
This is helpful for avoiding broken bones. Depending on your age you may not be that worried about something like this right now.
However, exercising right now can help you avoid broken bones in 40 years. The things you do today have an impact on the future.
The way many parts of your body work is that by challenging them you set in motion processes that strengthen these body parts. Something similar applies to your bones.
Jumping rope with ankle weights puts more pressure on your bones than jumping rope without one. This in turn will benefit your bone density in the long term (14).
Generally, workouts on land with a lot of jumping and strength training exercises are the best for improving bone density. Next, you have exercises that put less pressure on your bones like walking.
Lastly, you have exercise in the water like swimming which will still benefit bone density but likely not as much as the other categories.
7. Makes jumping rope more time-efficient
Another benefit of jumping rope with ankle weights is that it can help you decrease the time it takes to get in a good workout. A good workout session isn’t necessarily about duration.
For example to build muscle you basically want to put enough strain on your muscles so muscle growth processes start. This doesn’t necessarily take a lot of time out of your day.
A more intense cardio workout can train your cardiovascular system in a shorter amount of time than one at a lower intensity.
Wearing ankle weights when jumping rope can help with both of these things. This benefit of jumping rope with ankle weights is especially useful if you have trouble finding enough time throughout your day to fit in a workout.
8. Healthier lungs
To move around your body needs oxygen, the more intensely the more oxygen. Your body absorbs oxygen from the air through your lungs.
Improving how well your lungs function leads to benefits like improved exercise performance and getting tired slower.
9. Improves coordination and balance
While the technique of jumping rope is not that complicated, it is a fact that you do need to use some coordination and balance. By doing this frequently you get better at these things like with most skills.
Many people forget to implement coordination and balance training into their workout routine but it is a helpful fitness component.
Stronger leg muscles also generally reduce fall risk. Since jumping rope with ankle weights can improve leg muscle mass it can be helpful for reducing fall risk.
The benefits of improved coordination and balance don’t just show up in other technical sports. Daily activities as simple as walking the stairs require coordination.
All in all, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one piece of equipment to your rope jumping routine.
Remember that even though there are benefits to jumping rope with ankle weights, your injury risk is generally also higher.
Especially if you are more of an injury-sensitive exercise beginner, you want to start with soft workouts without ankle weights and build up from there.
If you feel pain it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, or maybe jumping rope with ankle weights is not for you.
Also keep in mind that consistency is a big factor in a workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently.
If you like jumping rope with ankle weights, great. If not, regular rope jumping can also offer a lot of benefits.