Jumping Jacks have been a staple in playgrounds and recess class for years. Football coaches will order their troops to perform jumping jacks with their pads on as a warmup before practices or games. If you’ve ever played a sport or attended school, you’re probably done some jumping jacks. But are jumping jacks really beneficial?

From improved flexibility to muscle toning, it might be surprising that basic jumping jacks are better for you than your childhood made you realize. We have an inspiring regimen, and working your way up to 100-jumping jacks is its starting point.

Think about what you can achieve if you double, triple, or even quadruple the intensity of your regular jumping jacks. In this article, we discuss variations you can do to make the jumping jacks you prefer competitive and more physically rewarding. The level of intensity is entirely up to you, meaning that you can start at your pace and gradually develop into a more difficult cardio workout. Here’s what you should know about the benefits of jumping jacks.

Boxers Use Them All the Time!

Young black woman jumping jack in shortsJumping jacks seem so silly right? Why does it seem as you age you forget how to coordinate such a simple motion? Think about this. A major part of a boxer’s training involves jumping rope. Is there really anybody more in shape than a boxer? A jumping jack is not that different from jumping rope. Jumping rope also falls into the “I did that in recess when I was 6” category, but for whatever reason jumping rope still gets the mark of “cool”. Maybe it’s because boxers seems to always be jumping rope as they train.

Boxers need to be light and nimble on their feet. They need agility and quickness. They need endurance. Jumping rope helps with all these. Jumping jacks are really not that different. Both require you to make slight, coordinated jumping motions which, when done properly, truly get your hear rate up and can be very tiring. The cool thing is: the more you weigh the more calories you will burn with jumping jacks!

Jumping jacks are nothing more than calisthenics which our military has been using for years. Before gyms were as awesome and abundant as they are now, calisthenics and bodyweight exercises were the norm. Calisthenics are making a big comeback in boot camps and many of the high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines. Group classes in gyms will use HIIT and exercises like jumping jacks to get the heart rate up, increase speed and agility, and burn fat.

Other Health Benefits of Jumping Jacks

The residual pressure that jumping jacks put on your bones is enough to make those bones stronger. In physical training, it often takes consistent movement to improve mobility. The old adage is that “you lose what you don’t use,” but jumping jacks are a simple way to keep your body in motion. Nevertheless, many of us have to rethink how we see them if we still think of jumping jacks as child’s play.

Here are some of the benefits jumping jacks offer:

  • Boosts stamina: The point of cardio exercises is to stimulate more energy and blood circulation than you would exert in your everyday life. Physical activity that challenges your current stamina results in better conditioning.
  • Remedy stress: Serotonin (which gives you a sense of wellbeing) is released within your body when you do jumping jacks. Exercise also puts adrenaline into the bloodstream, which reduces stress and tension.
  • Promotes good heart health: The heart is at its best when it’s active, and the simplicity of jumping jacks is enough to build a fitness routine on. It’s important to keep heart muscles working because that’s what keeps them strong.
  • Maintain coordination: Don’t be surprised if you start doing jumping jacks just to realize you forgot how to. It takes coordination to make the leg and arm extensions of jumping jacks remain in sync. Otherwise, you will trip or fall.
  • Works the entire body: Jumping jacks give you a full-body workout. Look no further if you want a warm-up exercise that isn’t too difficult to repeat.

Jumping Jacks Improve Major Muscular Strength

Jumping JacksJumping jacks are a true total-body workout. You involve your legs, core, cardiovascular system, and arms. Jumping jacks involve the arms much more than jumping rope does. The swinging of your arms up overhead is a great way to loosen up the shoulders.

The major muscle groups of the human body are engaged during jumping jacks. The lower body activates as it lifts and receives weight in the midst of your jumping motion. Here, the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves are at work. These specific, lower-body muscles keep your body balanced, coordinated and in rhythm as you do your sets. What keeps your upper body stationed is your core muscles, which jumping jacks help to strengthen.

Along with your lower body’s coordination, the lumbar and upper back muscles remain in motion with the upper shoulders. These upper-body muscles move during jumping jacks because the abdominal muscles, as they clinch, become their foundation for free movement.

Are Traditional Jumping Jacks as Good as Running?

The intensity that you do jumping jacks at dictates how much or little your work resembles running. Aside from how hard you work out, it’s recommended to have a running regimen that consists of jumping jacks and vice versa.

What Is the Proper Form for Jumping Jacks?

Start with your hands at your side and your feet together at the toes and heels. This is the close position. Next is the open position. In a coordinated effort, you want to do lateral lifts of your arms while, with the help of a jump, spreading your legs beyond shoulder width. Move from close to open to close positions for a complete jumping jack.

You can always make them tougher, too. Adding a deep squat to the movement in the down position will add power and extra benefit. If you haven’t been doing jumping jacks, it’s time to take advantage of the benefits. You can burn anywhere from 1-2 calories with each successful repetition. If you were to do a 100 jumping jacks, you’ve found a quick, safe, and effective way to burn a ton of calories. Add jumping jacks to your morning routine, as a warmup, or use them in interval training.

Variations to Consider

  • Squat jumps: Also known as squat jacks, the ‘close’ position in this variation requires you to be in a squat position. Now think of the ‘open’ position as you jump. In this variation, you are jumping from your squat.
  • Lateral raises: In the same way that a lateral bar raise is achieved by pushing a weighted bar overhead, these jumping jacks call for you to lift your arms up vertically. Imagine a barbell in your hands as you push it up while doing your jump.
  • Resistance bands: Whether at your legs or your hands, resistive bands are easily incorporated into jacks. Simply decide on where you want resistance to be.
  • Circuit routines: Jumping jacks are also a great way to diversify a circuit routine. Ask yourself how you can make a workout challenging by incorporating some jumping jacks.

However you choose to add jumping jacks to your workouts, the answer is: jumping jacks are really beneficial!