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How To Do Step Jacks With Perfect Form

Published January 12, 2018
KC Clements

Written By: KC Clements, MS

KC holds a Master of Arts in Gender Politics from New York University

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context":"http://schema.org", "@type":"BlogPosting", "author": { "@type": "Person", "name": "Elisa Silva" }, "publisher": { "@type": "Organization", "name": "Warrior Made", "logo": { "@type": "ImageObject", "url": "https://www.warriormade.com", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/Beginner_STEP_JACKS.jpg" } }, "headline":"How To Do Step Jacks With Perfect Form", "datePublished":"2018-01-12", "dateModified": "2019-10-30", "description":"Learn How To Do Step Jacks With Perfect Form.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/11/Beginner_STEP_JACKS.jpg" } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">Instructions</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Things to Keep in Mind</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Conclusion</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Odds are you’re familiar with jumping jacks—one of the most popular and effective bodyweight exercises out there. Jumping jacks work your full body—arms, legs, and core—and they’re also an incredible, high-energy cardio move that will get the blood pumping to your muscles and your heart rate elevated. Here we’re going to teach you a beginner-level move that will prepare you to take on full jumping jacks: the step jack.</p> <p>The step jack may be a simpler variation of the jumping jack, but it’s still very effective. Start from a standing position with your arms at your sides. Step your left foot to the side while lifting both of your arms over your head until they meet. Return to the starting position and repeat the move with your right foot. The step jack forces you to focus on form without taxing your hips and knees too much. That’s what makes it a great precursor for more challenging exercises down the line.</p> <p>Once you’ve got the step jack down, you’ll be ready to move on to the full jumping jack. For the jumping jack, jump both your feet out while lifting your arms over your head until they touch, then jump immediately back into the starting position. The jumping jack kicks the cardio aspect of the step jack up to the next level—you’ll definitely break a sweat while doing this exercise.</p> <p>When you’re confident in your jumping jacks, you can move on to the frog jump. Start from a standing position, then drop into a half squat and leap into the air. Repeat this jumping move until you’ve finished your set. The jumping movement is explosive which means you’re going to fire your calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings hard while getting that good, high-energy cardio in.</p> <p>Let’s start out by learning how to perform the perfect step jack.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section1"> <h2>Instructions</h2> <ol> <li>Start in a standing position with your feet together and your knees directly over your toes. Place your arms at your sides.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-1.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-1.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-1.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-LR-1.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="step-jacks-1"> </picture> <li>Step your right foot out to the side while you lift your arms until your hands meet over your head.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-2.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-2.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-2.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-LR-2.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="step-jacks-2"> </picture> <li>Step your left foot over to join your right foot as you lower your arms back to your sides.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-3.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-3.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-3.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-LR-3.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="step-jacks-3"> </picture> <li>Now step your left foot out as you bring your hands over your head. Bring your right foot over to join your left as you drop your arms back down.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-4.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-4.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-4.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-LR-4.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="step-jacks-4"> </picture> <li>Continue alternating this movement until you’ve reached the desired number of repetitions.</li> </ol> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section2"> <h2>Things to keep in mind</h2> <ul> <li>Knee position is crucial for doing this move right. Keep your knees soft throughout the exercise, making sure that they don’t collapse in as you’re stepping.</li> <li>As you step, think about pushing off from your glute muscle. This means that when you’re stepping your left foot out, you should focus on pushing from your right glute and vice versa. When you bring your feet back together, squeeze the glute of the leg that just stepped out, in this case the left leg.</li> <li>When you bring your foot down, don’t stomp, but rather touch down with your toe first, then gradually lower your heel. As you step to bring your legs back together, push off from the toe of the leg that’s moving. Keeping your feet active during this move is necessary for two reasons. Not only is it going to work your muscles harder, but it’s also good practice for the jumping movements in the more advanced variations of the exercise.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-5.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-5.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-5.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-LR-5.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="step-jacks-5"> </picture> <li>For the arm movement, don’t shrug your shoulders. Instead, keep your shoulders pulled back and your spine, neck, and head tall. Then bring your arms all the way over your head.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-6.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-6.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-6.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/instructionals-content/step-jacks-LR-6.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="step-jacks-6"> </picture> <li>Get a nice, breathing rhythm going as you do the movement. Try inhaling for one full cycle, then exhaling for the next. If that feels too quick try inhaling as you step your left foot and exhaling as you return to the starting position.</li> </ul> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <section id="section3"> <h2>Conclusion:</h2> <p>The step jack is a great exercise in and of itself, but one of the best benefits it offers is preparing your hip rotators, lateral-moving hip muscles, knees, and toes to take on more challenging versions. Stay focused on the form cues we’ve offered here to guarantee that you’re getting the maximum benefit from this exercise.</p> <p>As with any exercise, it’s important that you don’t overexert yourself when you’re getting started. Work at a pace that allows you to maintain good form while staying in a range that feels comfortable. You can always pick up the pace as you develop more strength and endurance.</p> <p>Step jacks are the perfect precursor to the more challenging jumping jack, the next move you’ll be able to tackle in this series. Jumping jacks add an explosive leaping movement to the step jack that will fire your leg muscles. Plus, the fast-paced movement is going to force you to work your shoulders much harder. And, of course, jumping jacks move at a much quicker pace which will definitely get your heart rate up.</p> <p>Finally, you’ll step up to the frog jump. The frog jump will zero in the focus on your leg muscles: your quads, calves, glutes, and hamstrings. Since you’ll be leaping from a lower squat position, you’ll be increasing the intensity of the jump compared with the jumping jack, helping you to build up even more strength. The speed and endurance you’ll have built up from performing jumping jacks will help to get your blood pumping and body moving during this exercise.</p> <p>Step jacks are an efficient and effective exercise that you can do anywhere you’ve got a few feet of space to move around. Why not try adding some sets to your next workout or sneaking in a few reps when you’ve got a spare minute at home or work?</p> <p>If this exercise is too easy, try <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/perfect-form-jumping-jacks/">Jumping Jacks</a>.</p> </section> </article>

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