The jumping jacks exercise allows you to burn calories and enhance muscular strength by just using your body weight. This fun whole-body exercise preps the muscles for a 60-minute workout session and even boosts mood. Increasing its intensity can help improve your cardiovascular fitness and improves endurance training by elevating your heart rate. Read on to learn about the jumping jacks exercise, its benefits, how to do it, and its variations.
- Frequency: Daily
- Benefits: Aids cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, muscle toning, coordination improvement, and stress relief
- Equipment Needed: None
- Space Required: Small area
- Assistance Required: No
- Who Should Avoid: Anyone with shoulder, back, hip, or knee pain, a history of heart problems, or who is pregnant.
In This Article
Highlights Of The Article
- Benefits Of Jumping Jacks
- How To Do Jumping Jacks
- Jumping Jacks Variations
- Muscles That Jumping Jacks Work On
10 Health Benefits Of Jumping Jacks
It goes without saying that jumping jacks are good for you. Yes, there are various reasons jumping jacks are considered effective. Cameron Dennis, Personal Trainer, says, “If you do these everyday, you’ll find that after a few weeks, your resting heart rate will begin to decrease, and you won’t find yourself struggling to breathe quite so much, even after longer sets of jumping jacks. After a few months of this, your shoulders and legs might even start to show more definition. I suggest pairing this exercise with clean eating and a consistent sleeping schedule for best results!”
Yes, jumping jacks are super fun, but here are 10 other reasons you should totally include them in your workout regimen.
1. Keep Your Heart Healthy
Jumping jack is an aerobic cardio exercise, meaning, you use oxygen to meet the energy demands and stimulate the heart muscles (1). The heart has to work extra hard to pump enough oxygenated blood and also bring back the carbon dioxide-loaded blood from the cells. This, in turn, helps exercise the heart muscles and other organs like the lungs. Hence, this steady and slow exercise keeps your heart healthy by providing a good workout to it.
Follow a proper breathing pattern to maximize your benefits. Cameron adds, ”Slow, deep breaths are best in order to maximize the amount of oxygen your body will take in with each inhale. Some trainers encourage breathing in during the upward motion of the exercise and breathing out when returning to the resting position. Try both ways and see which works best for you!”
2. Aid Weight Loss
Jumping jacks help aid weight loss (2). This cardio workout also helps reduce body fat by burning more calories and creating a negative energy balance in the body. Its high intensity reduces not only belly fat but also overall body weight. It also enhances metabolic conditioning and muscular endurance, which helps in calorie burning and potentially leads to faster weight loss. Do 3 sets of 50 reps, and you will feel your heart pumping. And, surprisingly, you will love to sweat it off.
3. Improve Coordination
Jumping jacks, a plyometric exercise are all about coordinating your limb movements with the jumps (3). This, in turn, helps in coordination improvement between your limbs and brain. You will develop a better sense of timing, rhythm, balance, and posture.
4. Relieve Stress
Doing jumping jacks can help relieve stress (4). How? Well, when you jump and move your hands up and down, your brain stimulates the release of serotonin or the “feel good” hormone. The release of adrenalin also gives you a rush of excitement. These hormones, together, are responsible for making you feel happy and lowering your stress levels.
5. A Good Warm-Up Exercise
You should always warm up before starting your actual workout routine. Apart from stretching, doing jumping jacks will help relax the muscles in your limbs, core, hips, back, and face. After completing a set of 30 reps, you will be ready for your next warm-up exercise.
6. Work Out The Whole Body
You jump, spread your legs apart, take your hands above your head, and then land softly on the floor, bringing back your legs together and hands to your side. So, you are basically working the whole body out – biceps, triceps, glutes, adductors, hamstrings, calves, quads, chest muscles, core, lats, etc. Hence, this is a great whole body workout. To make it intense, increase the speed, reps, and sets.
7. Improve Flexibility
Yes, jumping jacks also help improve your flexibility (5). If you don’t lead an active life and sit for a long time during the day, there’s little chance that you are as flexible as you were when you were a kid. In fact, if you are starting to work out again, you may find it difficult to even do 20 jumping jacks at one go. That’s OK. You can start with low-intensity jumping jacks and fewer reps and then advance to more reps and high-speed jumping jacks. As you progress, you will find it easier to do this exercise with more ease and proper positioning of your hands and legs.
8. Tone The Muscles
Losing the tone of your muscles can make your body look sagged and malnourished. Doing jumping jacks on a regular basis can help shed the fat so it is also considered as a good fat burning workout. Doing a high-intensity interval training(HIIT) version of jumping jacks can also help improve muscle tone, thereby shaping your thighs, buttocks, calves, shoulders, and arms (6). It also aids in coordiantion improvement.
Cameron says, “You can do jumping jacks with dumbbells however it’s very important that you start with very light weights such as a one or two pound dumbbell. Anything more than this to start will lead to a lot of soreness. Weights up to 5# may be used for more advanced athletes however anything over 5# is unlikely to still resemble a jumping jack for most people, as they will struggle to get their arms moving at the same speed as their legs.”
9. Improve Stamina And Stability
Jumping up and landing softly with perfect timing and poise will improve your balance, stability and help in strength training. Moreover, if you do more reps per set and increase the number of sets you do, you will be able to improve your stamina (7).
10. Make Your Bones Stronger
Exercising regularly has many health benefits, and that includes being strong physically and mentally. This exercise improves bone mineral density, and you will start to feel better, healthier, and stronger (8). You will definitely see a change in how your body reacts to pathogens and stress.
These were the 10 reasons you should absolutely start doing jumping jacks. But do you know the correct technique to do the exercise? Here’s how to do jumping jacks properly.
How To Do Jumping Jacksb
Cameron says, “Start from a standing position with the feet together and arms at your sides. Then lift your arms overhead like you’re doing an upright snow-angel, while simultaneously jumping a few inches off the ground and placing your feet several feet apart. Your feet should land on the ground at the same time that your hands come together overhead. Now jump again, bringing your feet together while also lowering your arms to your sides. You’ve just done a jumping jack!”
The following video describes and breaks down the steps for you. Make sure you keep your knees relaxed and bend them a little as you land. This will prevent your knees from getting injured. Also, wear comfortable clothes and trainers while doing this exercise.
The best part about jumping jacks is that you can include many variations and prevent getting bored of doing the same exercise. Here are a few variations to the traditional jumping jacks exercises.
Jumping Jacks Variations
1. Front Clap Jumping Jacks
Target – Lats, shoulders, biceps, triceps, inner thighs, hamstrings, quads, calves, and glutes.
How To Do Clap Jumping Jacks
Step 1: Stand straight. Keep your feet close together, shoulders pinched back, hands extended in front of your chest, palms facing each other, and core engaged.
Step 2: Jump and split your legs apart. Move your hands away and bring them to your side, in line with the shoulders. Land softly on your feet with your knees bent a little.
Step 3: Jump again and bring your legs and hands together.
Step 4: Repeat 20 times. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.
2. Alternating Jumping Jacks
Target – Inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, glutes, hip flexors, and quads.
How To Do Alternating Jumping Jacks
Step 1: Stand straight with your feet close, hands by your side, palms facing your body, shoulders pinched back, and core engaged.
Step 2: Jump and split your legs so that your right leg is in the front and left at the back. Do not do a lunge, just bend your knees a little. You can flex your elbows and move your left hand in front and your right hand back to balance your body.
Step 3: Jump again and bring your right leg to the back and left in the front. Move your left hand back and right hand to the front.
Step 4: Repeat 25 times. Do 3 sets of 25 reps.
3. Plank Jacks
Target – Core, adductor, glute, hamstrings, calves, and quads.
How To Do Plank Jacks
Step 1: Kneel down on a mat. Clench your fists, flex your elbows, and place your forearms and fists on the mat. This is a dog or cat position.
Step 2: Supporting your body on your forearm, extend your right leg behind you and support the foot on your toes. And then, extend your left leg behind and support it on your left toes. This is the starting position.
Step 3: Supporting your body on your forearms, jump and split your legs out.
Step 4: Jump again and bring your right legs together.
Step 5: Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
You can also try performing star jumps. Cameron says, “Star jumps are a more advanced version of jumping jacks in which you land with your feet further apart and your knees bent, pausing for a second with your arms outstretched. They incorporate the inner thigh and glute muscles
more than standard jumping jacks.”
These variations of jumping jacks will keep you fit and target different muscles of the body. Which muscles are these? Let’s find out in the next section.
Muscles That Jumping Jacks Work On
- Hip Adductors – Adductors are present in the inner region of your thighs. This is a difficult area to shed fat from and doing traditional jumping jacks or the modified variants can help target the flab in the inner thigh area.
- Calves – The calf muscles are present at the back of your lower legs. Chiseled calves are more than attractive. They are a sign of strong legs and can also help you walk and run with much ease.
- Hip Abductors – In simple language, they are the muscles present in the outer thighs, from your hips to your knees. Moving your legs in and out helps work on these muscles and tones them.
- Shoulder Abductors And Adductors – The shoulder abductors are put to action when you move your arms sideways, and the shoulder adductors are put to action when you bring back your arms close to your body. They also include the lat muscles or the muscles present on your upper back.
- Core – Working the core is difficult. When you jump while doing jumping jacks, you activate the core and the back muscles, synchronizing the dynamic movement of major muscle groups in your body. This is why the jumping jack is an effective exercise for your core as well.
While jumping jacks is a beneficial exercise for most, some may face troubles. Cameron cautions, “Be sure to get clearance from your doctor before starting any type of exercise program. Examples of people who may want to avoid jumping jacks are those for which this exercise causes significant pain in the shoulders, back, hips or knees. Also, individuals with a history of heart problems should avoid these unless given under supervision from a physiotherapist or physician.”
Infographic: Jumping Jacks – Safety Measures
While keeping your body fit is important, it is also essential to be careful while exercising, be it basic cardio or weight training. Jumping jacks are fun and effective, but there are a few pointers to keep in mind when performing them.
Check out the infographic below for more information.
As you have seen, there are numerous benefits of jumping jacks. These exercises are extremely helpful for the heart as they stimulate its muscles to pump more oxygenated blood. They are considered a full body workout as they work on your glutes, triceps, biceps, adductors, hamstrings, core, lats, calves, chest muscles, quads, inner thighs, and hip flexors. Moreover, jumping jacks are ideal calorie-burners that help shed fat and tone muscles. You can do them at home or the gym, and all you need to do is invest in comfortable clothing and good trainers. The best thing about them is that you can try different variations if it starts getting monotonous.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do jumping jacks help lose belly fat?
Doing just jumping jacks will not help you shed belly fat. Belly fat is stubborn. You must include aerobic exercises, HIIT workouts such as high knees, crunches, side jackknives, bicycle crunches, and running in your fitness routines to lose belly fat.
How many calories do you burn while doing jumping jacks?
Depending on your current weight, the intensity of the exercise, and time, you can burn anywhere between 100-200 calories by doing jumping jacks.
Are jumping jacks safe during pregnancy?
No, it is not safe to do jumping jacks during pregnancy.
How many jumping jacks do you have to do daily to lose weight?
You must to 5 sets of 50 jumping jacks to lose weight. In addition, you have to take care of what you eat. Avoid junk food and consume lots of green veggies, lean protein, healthy fats, and dietary fiber.
Are jumping jacks bad for the legs?
Jumping jacks are low-intensity exercises that do not put too much pressure on the knees. Make sure you do not do this exercise if your knees are injured. Wear shock absorbing shoes and keep your knees slightly bent when you land on the floor.
- Jumping jacks can be performed anytime and anywhere. Introducing some variations in technique can further break the monotony of this exercise.
- Amongst its various benefits, jumping jacks help enhance muscle strength, and improve flexibility and body posture.
- Jumping jacks boost metabolism, making them a good exercise for weight loss.
- The exercise also improves cardiovascular health, reduces stress and helps improve your mood.
Jump into shape with jumping jacks! Learn the benefits of doing jumping jacks every day and get fit! Check out this video now.
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