Mostly used to warm up, jumping jacks have now become an integral part of many exercise routines like 8fit’s HIIT workouts. Lucky for us, they’re a fun and energizing whole body exercise that activates various muscles groups, such as the calves, quadriceps, glutes and upper back. On top of that, jacks are a great workout for getting the cardiovascular system going, improving stamina and relieving stress. Let’s jump into the details.
4 Benefits of jumping jacks
1. Strong bones
With each small jumping motion, our bones bend slightly, forcing new cells to develop. And it’s through this process of cell creation that bones are offered additional support and strengthening, which lead to increased bone mass. This may sound a bit dramatic, but you don’t need a lot to create these microfractures. Just adding a bit of explosive activity – like jumping jacks – in your exercise routine will do the trick.
2. Healthy heart
If you’re looking to give your heart health a boost, cardiovascular workouts like jumping jacks can be the right move for you. It gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing, which is essential to good circulation and improved blood pressure. If you’re new to jumping activities, make sure to take it slow and steady. There’s no need to rush – you’ll get there eventually.
3. Weight loss
As we just discussed, jumping jacks help increase your heart rate. As a result of that, your body starts to warm up and enter calorie-burning mode. By creating a negative energy balance and expending more calories than we consume, our bodies are able to shed extra pounds. Regular cardio exercise paired with a healthy meal plan is the best way to achieve your desired weight and maintain it over time.
4. Increased stamina
If you’re new to working out, you may get tired easily – don’t let this discourage you. If you stick at it and remain patient, you’ll start building stamina and be able to withstand physical activity for longer periods of time. Apart from making you more endurant when it comes to exercise, stamina will also help you combat fatigue and fight disease. It’ll also make daily activities like climbing stairs or carrying children around much easier.
How to do jumping jacks
Now, a bit more about jumping jacks themselves and a few pointers on how to perform them correctly.
Muscles involved: calves, quadriceps, glutes, upper back
Count: Count one every time you return to your starting position
- Stand with your feet together and arms at your side
- In one motion, jump your feet out to the sides and raise your arms above your head
- Immediately reverse the motion back to starting position
- Keep your arms straight at all times
- Stay light on your feet, and jump as quietly as possible (this means that your core is remaining engaged)
How many calories do jumping jacks burn?
OK, we knew some of you would want to know this. Jumping jacks get your heart rate up and bring it into cardio mode. The amount of calories you burn can range depending on your gender, body type, fitness level, weight, etc., but on average, you can expect to burn an average of 100 calories after 15 minutes of jumping jacks. By increasing the rigor of the jacks, you can increase the rate of the calorie burn to around 180 per 15 minutes. Remember, this is an estimate.
Jumping jack alternatives
If jumping jacks aren’t your thing, or you’re getting sick of them, you’re in luck! We’ve got three jumping jack alternatives that’ll bring some variety to your routine without compromising on effectiveness.
Muscles involved: calves, quads, abs
Count: Count left-right as one
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, look straight ahead, with your hands raised to hip height
- Quickly jump on the spot from one foot to the other, lifting your knees as high as possible
- Land softly on the floor with the balls of feet
- Keep a good posture with a neck long, your shoulders back. Avoid slouching
- Aim to lift your knees to hip height
Muscles involved: glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves
Count: one per jump – alternating legs
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart
- Bend at the knees while driving your hips back
- Forcefully push off the floor, jumping to your right side
- Land softly with a spring in your knees to absorb shock, then jump to your left
- Alternate between the sides for your desired amount of reps/time
- Keep your chest up and your core engaged
- Stay light on feet and complete exercise as quietly as possible
- To increase difficulty, tuck knees in towards stomach when jumping
Muscles involved: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, abs
Count: Count one every time you return to start position – alternating legs
- Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart
- Jump sideways to your left, landing on your left leg and keeping your right leg up, without letting it touch the floor
- Reverse the direction to your right
- Keep your neck long and your shoulders back. Avoid slouching
- Engage your core
- Plant your foot firmly on the floor
If we’ve awoken your interest and you’d like more personalized training, check out the Pro version of the 8fit app. We offer everything from HIIT and Tabata to yoga and surf-style training – so there’s something for everyone!