What are jumping jacks?
Benefits of Jumping Jacks and How to Do Them Jumping jacks are a great way to work out your whole body, and you can do them almost anywhere.
This exercise is part of plyometrics, which is a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance work. This type of exercise works your heart, lungs, and muscles all at the same time.
Jumping jacks are a great way to work your lower body muscles. Specifically, they target your glutes, quadriceps, and hip flexors. But that’s not all – jumping jacks also involve your abdominal and shoulder muscles.
What are the benefits?
Plyometric exercises, such as jumping jacks, can help people improve their speed and jumping ability. This is because plyometrics work by rapidly stretching the muscles (eccentric phase) and then rapidly contracting them (concentric phase).
Other examples of plyometric exercises include burpees, squat jumps, box jumps, and lunge jumps.
Jumping jacks are a great way to change up your workout routine and add some variety. They are also a great way to get your heart rate up without having to be stuck in one spot. Plus, by adding some jump training to your workout routine, you can also help improve your bone health.
The rats who underwent the jumping regimen showed significant gains in bone density compared to the control group. Even when the training was reduced to just 11 percent of the initial period, these rats were still able to maintain their gains for a full 24 weeks. This just goes to show that with the right kind of exercise, you can make real and lasting changes to your health.
What about calories burned?
A person who weighs 150 pounds would burn approximately 19 calories by doing a single two-minute session (or approximately 100 repetitions) of jumping jacks. If that person did jumping jacks for a total of 10 minutes broken up throughout the day, they would burn 94 calories in total.
Are there any risks?
Plyometric exercises like jumping jacks can be risky, especially for your lower body joints. If you’re not already in good shape, start slowly and work your way up. And if you have any health concerns, check with your doctor before starting. Most people can do plyometric exercises safely, though.
Jumping jacks and pregnancy:
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant women should get at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day. That could mean going for a walk, taking a prenatal yoga class, swimming laps, or riding a stationary bike.
The ACOG notes that exercising has all sorts of benefits for pregnant women, like helping to keep up physical fitness, maintaining a healthy weight, and reducing the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
As for jumping jacks, the ACOG doesn’t specifically say not to do them. But they do recommend pregnant women stick to “low-impact” aerobics instead of higher-impact sports like basketball or running.
How to do jumping jacks:
If you’re new to exercise, it’s always a good idea to run your plans by your doctor first. When starting out, it’s best to take things slow and keep your repetitions and sets short. As you get more fit, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workouts.
Basic jumping jacks:
For this activity, start by standing with your legs straight and arms at your sides.
Next, jump up and spread your feet wider than hip-width while bringing your arms up above your head, close to touching.
Then, jump again and lower your arms as you bring your legs back together. Return to the starting position.
To make jumping jacks more intense, do the following:
Begin by doing a few basic jumping jacks.
Then lower yourself into a squat position with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes turned out.
Place your hands behind your head as you continue to jump your feet in and out, as if you’re doing a basic jumping jack in a squat.
The rotational jack is a great way to mix up your workout and add some extra intensity. To do this move, start by standing with your feet together and your hands at your chest.
From there, jump up and land in a squatting position, making sure that your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes are turned out.
As you land, rotate your upper body at the waist and reach your left hand toward the floor while reaching your right hand up to the sky. Once you’ve completed the rotation, jump back into your starting position. To complete one repetition, repeat the move on the other side.
Low-impact jumping jacks:
Andrea Metcalf, a celebrity trainer based out of Chicago, has an alternative that may be more gentle on your joints. Low-impact jumping jacks may be a better option for you. Here’s how they work:
Start by reaching your right arm out to the corner of the room as you step your right foot out at the same time.
As your right side is in the out position, now reach your left arm out to the corner of the room as you step your left foot out too.
To complete one jumping jack, bring your right arm and foot back in followed by your left arm and foot back to center.
What about repetitions?
When it comes to repetitions or sets of jumping jacks, there is no set standard. You can start by doing a few at a low to moderate intensity and work your way up to two sets of 10 or more repetitions. If you’re an experienced athlete or regularly active, you may do as many as 150 to 200 repetitions of jumping jacks and other jumping moves in a single session.
While you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to do jumping jacks, there are some basic safety measures you should take while working out. Here are a few tips:
Warm up and cool down with a brisk walk around the block or something similar.
You’ll want to do your jumping jacks on a flat, even surface like grass, rubber, or something that will absorb shock more than cement or asphalt.
It’s important to wear supportive shoes when doing any kind of exercise, so choose athletic sneakers over sandals, heeled shoes, or boots.
Finally, learn proper form by watching videos or having a trainer show you how to do the moves correctly.