My answer is NO!
Absolutely, it does not make you lose your muscle mass and I'm even going to talk later about why it can help stimulate muscle growth, but just for these purposes, jumping rope does not make you decrease your muscle mass or lose muscle.
What we're going to do is address why people ask us this question because we do get asked this question a lot. And then I'm going to give you some tips and sort of food for thought on why or how you can stay lean and shredded, how jump rope is a great part of that.
Do Cardio and Jump Rope Correctly
So first of all, why do we get asked this question all the time? If you are someone who's trying to build muscle, lose muscle, burn fat, lose fat whatever... and you've been searching on the internet, you've probably come across a few forums that have shown you that.
There is a huge argument online specifically in the bodybuilding community that says that doing too much cardio will kill your gains or decrease your muscle mass or lose muscle, eat muscle whatever.
Basically, there's a big argument of should you do cardio or not when you're trying to gain muscle, and jump rope being a form of cardio obviously gets lumped into the cardio category. So that's why when it comes to grow your muscle mass, a lot of you in the community are in a dilemma, should I avoid jump rope, the form of cardio?
So let's get into the actual facts. Prolonged cardio without weight training, resistance training or a proper diet can lead to a decrease in muscle mass because of the body catabolizing muscle to use for energy during those cardio activities.
Do Weight Training and Resistance Training
In other words, the body needs to burn something when it's exercising. So if you're just doing a bunch of jogging or jump rope with a heavy jump rope and you're not eating enough protein and calories in general and you're not stimulating your muscles with resistance training or weight training, then your body is like, 'I have to burn something because you're definitely working out and exercising, so I need to burn fat and I'm going to have to take a little bit of that muscle with me'.
So the body is just responding to you moving and having something to use as fuel. In this case, unfortunately it would be your fat but also a little bit of muscle, so therein lies the problem, cardio or jumping rope inherently by itself is not the issue of not doing weight training or resistance training and not eating enough.
An analogy that I really liked was saying that cardio decreases your muscle mass is like using a credit card ruins your finances. Having a credit card doesn't inherently mean that you are going to ruin your finances. If you use the credit card in a wrong way, you have the chance of jeopardizing your finances.
So cardio is good for increasing aerobic capacity which helps you live longer and helps decrease body fat, but it's bad if it's done for too long without resistance training or eating enough.
If your goal is to gain muscle mass then you need to be doing weight lifting or at the bare minimum you need to be doing resistance training like push-ups, pull up and squats.
If you are not doing those and all that you're doing is jumping rope. Is there a chance that you might lose some muscle? Yes, there is a chance that you might be doing that, especially if you're not using heavy ropes.
Eat Enough Protein and Calories
Heavy ropes can actually stimulate muscle growth, but having said that you're not going to grow your muscle mass at all and you will lose muscle if you are not eating enough now.
Nutrition is something that we're very big on here, in fact, outside of exercise is the most important thing. If you're trying to get a desired physique or have your body look a certain way, you have to pay attention to how much food you're eating.
In this case, cardio can help decrease your muscle mass. If you are in too far of a calorie deficit meaning that you are not eating enough, so that's the body is going to go to his muscle to get your energy that it need.
Simply put you need to eat in a calorie surplus to actually gain muscle, this is called bulking then when you're ready to get shredded you go into a calorie deficit known as cutting, but the overall idea that cardio or a cardio exercise like jump rope can decrease your muscle mass alone is totally false.
Jump Rope Stimulates Muscle Growth
Jumping weighted skipping rope not only stimulates every single muscle in your body but it helps to improve your heart slash aerobic capacity, burns a ton of body fat and it's also a very fun way to stay fit.
So you should not be afraid at all. It's important to take these things that you read on the internet with a grain of salt because no one actually ever says, how much muscle mass is doing cardio really going to make you lose. If you are a bodybuilder like Ronnie Coleman, Kai Greene, Jay Cutler, those are the people that need to worry about their muscle mass decreasing, because that's what they do. That's their livelihood, that's what they do for a living.
For most people trying to get shredded and just look good and feel good, you don't need to worry about if you're going to lose a tiny bit of mass when you are losing body fat.
And in fact when you're doing a cut and you're losing body fat. A little bit of muscle is probably going to go with that and that's not something you should be worried about, to be honest, you're going to be so psyched that you're getting lean you're not even going to notice it. Now you get the answer that jumping rope doesn't make you decrease your muscle mass.