What are jumping jacks?

Jumping jacks are an efficient jumping exercise that provides a full-body workout and could be done almost anywhere, as it requires no equipment, just a little bit of jumping space.

Which muscles are used when performing jumping jacks?

Jumping jacks involves spreading your legs and arms like a starfish and then jumping back together, which means they involve the whole body and many different muscle groups.

Jumping jacks will mainly engage your glutes, quadriceps, hip flexors, abdominal and shoulder muscles.

On top of activating and engaging many muscles, jumping jacks also increase your heart rate and stimulate blood flow, which makes them an excellent cardio option.

What are the benefits of jumping jacks?

Jumping jacks come with many health benefits. The most notable health benefits of jumping jacks include:

– Jumping jacks build leg strength.

Jumping jacks are a total body exercise, and they will engage all of the major muscles in the lower body, including hamstrings, quads, hips, glutes, calves, and shins, which is going to strengthen them.

The faster and higher you jump, the more power and strength you will develop.

– Jumping jacks improve cardiovascular health.

Jumping jacks are a cardiovascular exercise, as they increase heart rate and respiration, which is going to challenge, and over time, improve your cardiovascular system and provide many cardiovascular health benefits.

Adding sets of jumping jacks to your fitness routine will improve your aerobic fitness and endurance.

– Jumping jacks burn calories.

If you want to burn calories and lose body fat, you do not have to spend hours and hours jogging or on an elliptical trainer; jumping jacks are a great cardio alternative!

Jumping jacks work almost every muscle in the body, making them metabolically demanding, which can burn a good number of calories, depending on your body weight.

– Jumping jacks improve mobility, bone health and bone density

To perform jumping jacks, you have to engage and move several of your joints through their full range of motion, promoting and improving mobility, therefore preventing injury in the long run.

How to do jumping jacks?

Make sure to perform jumping jacks with proper form to gain all the benefits and avoid potential injuries. Here is how to perform jumping jacks:

  1. Your starting position will be standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Make sure your shoulders are directly over your hips with a neutral head, spine, and neck position. Your chin should remain tucked during the movement to protect your neck.
  2. Keep your arms straight and long by your sides, with your elbows slightly bent. Engage your shoulders and hips, and also engage your core.
  3. While maintaining the proper alignment, jump your feet outside of your hips and land on the balls of your feet. While your legs are moving out, you should also be raising your arms overhead. You should look like the letter X at this point of the movement, with your arms and legs out.
  4. Jump your feet back to the starting position and bring your arms back down by your sides.
  5. You have just completed one jumping jack. You can repeat for the desired number of repetitions or time length, depending on your fitness level.

Jumping Jack Variations

There are several variations that can make jumping jacks more fun or more challenging.

Some of the most popular jumping jacks variations include:

Press Jack

Press jack is a great variation if you want to work your shoulders more.

Press jack is done by holding a weight in both hands at your chest as you stand tall with your feet together.

From this starting position, you should jump your feet out as you press the weight overhead, straight up towards the ceiling.

Squat Jack

Squat Jack is the perfect variation if you are bored with the basic version but want to get a good burn in your leg muscles. To perform this variation, start in a low squat and jump up and out.

Alternatives for jumping jacks

If you have knee pain or any other issue with completing standard jumping jacks but you still want to incorporate jumping jacks into your routine, there are some simpler alternatives for this movement.

Some of the alternatives for jumping jacks include: 

Single-Leg Balance Hip Abduction

From the starting position, which is the same as for standard jumping jacks, abduct your arms to shoulder height. Simultaneously, lift one leg out to the side and hold for a moment before returning.

Step Jack

Step jack is a great way to take the impact out of the regular jumping jacks.

Step jack can also make it easier if you are starting out and lack the cardiovascular capacity to handle the basic jumping jack. The move is completed by stepping one leg to the side as you bring your arms together above your head and then returning into the standard position.

Mistakes/Safety Tips

Since they include a lot of jumping if you have any muscle injuries, joint issues, or other health concerns, make sure to check with your doctor or physiotherapist before partaking in any jumping exercises.

Most people, including children, adolescents, and older fit people, can safely perform jumping jacks.

There are some commonly observed mistakes that many people tend to make when performing jumping jacks, often without knowing. When performing jumping jacks, make sure to avoid:

– Asynchronous movement.

In order to perform the jumping jacks well and efficiently, all of the body parts should be in perfect harmony during the movement. Your legs and arms should be going out and coming in at the same time for perfect execution, so pay close attention to coordination.

– Unsupportive shoes.

Because they involve some serious jumping, jumping jacks are a high-impact exercise, which means that they put a lot of stress on your feet. So make sure to pick a pair of supportive shoes that will absorb the shock of the jumps.