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Jumping Jacks: Benefits, Variations and How To

Published May 03, 2019 (Revised: August 13, 2019)
Looking for a new cardio exercise to add to your routine? How about one that’s easy to modify, requires no equipment, and full of health benefits? If so, add jumping jacks to your next workout! They work your arms, legs, and core, burn a ton of calories, and are easy to adapt to your current fitness level. And unlike running, you can do them anywhere—no need for treadmills or perfect weather. Like all of <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>our workouts</strong></a>, you can do them right in your living room. Here are the benefits of jumping jacks for your health and fitness, plus three variations you can start doing today! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">What Are the Benefits of Jumping Jacks?</p></h4> Jumping jacks offer tons of benefits for your at-home workouts. Here are 6 reasons we think jumping jacks are a killer workout addition: <h5><p style="color: #000000">1. Burn Fat and Calories</p></h5> Jumping jacks are a full-body exercise. From your nose to your toes, every muscle group has to work. This means jumping jacks, like all full-body, functional exercise, increase the heart rate and burn a ton of fat and calories. You can add them to your high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, circuit training workouts, or other workouts! <h5><p style="color: #000000">2. Stronger Heart</p></h5> Cardio exercises like jumping jacks strengthen your heart and make it more efficient. They make your whole body healthier! And besides losing body-fat, high-intensity cardio exercises help ward off the major diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease<sup>1</sup>. <h5><p style="color: #000000">3. Improved Strength and Bone Density</p></h5> Jumping jacks strengthen the muscles in your lower legs, especially in <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>your calves</strong></a> and feet. Even small jumps will increase bone density in all the small bones in your feet, ankles, and lower legs. Of all the benefits, this one is underrated. Increased bone density can slow down or prevent diseases like osteoporosis<sup>2</sup>. Jumping side to side also increases balance and *proprioception* (spacial awareness). Because our bodies are used to *contralateral* exercises like walking, *lateral*movements like jumping jacks force our bodies to get strong in a different way. <h5><p style="color: #000000">4. Improved Shoulder and Hip Flexibility</p></h5> Bringing your arms above your head and jumping laterally also stretches out your hips and shoulders. Because <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>pain-free shoulders</strong></a> and <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>pain-free hips</strong></a> are strong *and* flexible, exercises like jumping jacks make a great addition to your <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>at-home workouts</strong></a>. <h5><p style="color: #000000">5. No Equipment</p></h5> Maybe running is your go-to cardio exercise. But if the weather is bad and you don’t have a treadmill—or you’re afraid of getting injured—you’re out of luck. In terms of cardio exercises, jumping jacks are one of a handful that require no equipment at all. All you need is floor space. <h5><p style="color: #000000">6. Easy to Modify</p></h5> You can easily modify or extend jumping jacks based on your current fitness level. For example, you can still do jumping jacks if your knees are painful or you can’t jump. And if you’re super fit, you can make jumping jacks more challenging, too. Check out the three jumping jack variations at the end of this article! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Do Jumping Jacks Help You Lose Belly Fat?</p></h4> Yep! High-intensity cardio exercises that work several muscles at once burn a ton of calories. Actually, <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>full-body exercises</strong></a> boost your metabolism and increase the calories you burn *after* your workout, too. Following a <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>healthy diet</strong></a> and doing exercises like jumping jacks a few times per week are a great combo for shedding body-fat and making a <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>total body transformation</strong></a>. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">How to Do Perfect Jumping Jacks</p></h4> Done properly, the perfect jumping jack will work your calves, quadriceps, glutes, and shoulders. Your core and lower back also help you stabilize and balance, meaning they get a workout, too. Each jumping jack variation is a bit different, but here are a few things to focus on during your workouts: * Start with your feet and arms by your side * Stand tall to finish each repetition. Think about pushing tall through the top of your head. * Get into a rhythm. Don’t stop between each rep. Use the momentum to make the reps easier and keep your heart rate up! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Best Jumping Jack Variations—Beginner to Advanced</p></h4> <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-50 image-center" src="" alt="STEP_JACKS"> </div> <h5><p style="color: #000000">1. Beginner: Step Jacks</p></h5> Step jacks are a great <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>low-impact fitness exercise</strong></a>. Use them when you’re starting out exercising or if you have joint pain that prevents you from jumping. Think about doing a normal jumping jack without the jump. Step laterally, push tall through the top of your head, and get your arms and legs into sync with one another. Step jacks are one of twenty-seven <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>awesome beginner exercises</strong></a> we recommend if you are just getting started! **Try This Workout**: Add step jacks to a circuit training workout with sit to stands, dolphin push-ups, and planks. Do thirty seconds of each exercise, then rotate to the next station and repeat the circuit two or three times. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-50 image-center" src="" alt="tyler-jumping-jacks-0151"> </div> <h5><p style="color: #000000">2. Intermediate: Jumping Jacks</p></h5> Use regular jumping jacks for a great cardio and strength training workout. The key to good jumping jacks is to time them with your breathing. You’ll be able to do more in a short period of time if you inhale and exhale in sync with the exercise. If it’s been a long time since you’ve jumped during your workouts, add these in gradually to prevent injuries. **Try This Workout**: Add jumping jacks to an HIIT workout with squats, push-ups, and side planks. Do twenty seconds of each exercise, then rest for ten seconds. Do four sets of the same exercise, then switch to the next one. Each exercise will take two minutes. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-50 image-center" src="" alt="tyler-frog-jumps-0151"> </div> <h5><p style="color: #000000">3. Advanced: Frog Jumps</p></h5> Frog jumps add squats into the mix. Besides adding strength and muscle to your quads, glutes, and core, the extra squat will make your heart work harder, giving you a cardio workout. It’s also another way to improve hip flexibility. All the same principles of a good jumping jack apply to frog jumps. Check out this guide for <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>doing perfect squats</strong></a> to make sure you’re doing them right! **Try This Workout**: Add frog jumps jacks to an HIIT workout with alternating lunges, burpees, and mountain climbers. Do twenty seconds of each exercise, then rest for ten seconds. Do four sets of the same exercise, then switch to the next one. And if you’re *really* advanced, do two rounds. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Jumping Jacks—Wrapping Up</p></h4> Because they’re great for improving cardio fitness, building muscle and bone density in your lower legs, and require no equipment, jumping jacks are the perfect addition to any <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>at-home workout</strong></a>. You can easily scale jumping jacks by removing the *plyometric* (jumping) portion and focusing on steps. To make them harder, add in squats or put them into a workout full of other <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>functional exercises</strong></a>. If you’re looking for more workouts, health tips, or the accountability and inspiration to lose weight and make a total body transformation, consider joining the <a target="_blank" href=""><strong>Warrior Made</strong></a> community. We’ve got amazing coaches and inspirational members ready to help you achieve your goals! <h5><p style="color: #000000">Resources</p></h5> 1. <a target="_blank" href="">Diet, Exercise and the Metabolic Syndrome</a> 2. <a target="_blank" href="">Newer Osteoporosis Treatments Build Stronger Bones</a>

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