Jumping jacks are a sweet remembrance of our childhood. This fun whole body exercise is mostly used for warming up and instantly elevates your mood and activates various muscle groups. The rigorous calisthenic moves help improve your stamina, are a great exercise for the cardiovascular system, and relieve stress. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of doing jumping jacks, how to do them properly, and variations. Let’s begin.
There are various reasons jumping jacks are considered effective. Yes, they 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. 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.
2. Aid Weight Loss
This cardio exercise is also known to aid weight loss. It helps to burn the excess calories, thereby creating a negative energy balance in the body. This means that you have expended more energy than the number of calories you have consumed. And this is the main mantra of 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 are all about coordinating your limb movements with the jumps. This, in turn, helps improves coordination 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. 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 lower 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. 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 workout 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. Doing a high-intensity version of jumping jacks can also help improve muscle tone, thereby shaping your thighs, buttocks, calves, shoulders, and arms.
9. Improve Stamina And Stability
Jumping up and landing softly with perfect timing and poise will improve your balance and stability. Moreover, if you do more number of reps per set and increase the number of sets you do, you will be able to improve your stamina.
10. Make You Strong
Exercising regularly has many health benefits. And that includes being strong physically and mentally. After including this exercise in your workout routine, you will start to feel better, healthier, and stronger. 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 Jacks
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.
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 movements of major muscle groups in your body. This is why the jumping jack is an effective exercise for your core as well.
So, it is clear that jumping jacks work on all the muscles of your body and can help shed the fat. Start doing them to feel better, stronger, and live an active and fit life. I promise you will not regret it. All the best!
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ 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 high knees, crunches, side jackknives, bicycle crunches, and running in your routine 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.
Click here for our top recommended fitness and health supplements
By Style Craze