Jumping Jacks: A Guide on How to Benefit From This Workout

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: April 30, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
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I always try to find fun and different ways to change my warm-up and cardio exercise routines. As a certified personal trainer, I believe that jumping jacks are one of the best ways to get the entire body moving.

But people often make a few simple mistakes, and the timing of these exercises is also important.

So, I got together with three other fitness experts to come up with a guide to doing jumping jacks the right way. And we’ve also listed out all the benefits of jumping jacks so that you can better understand them.

Quick Summary

  • Jumping jacks are a simple bodyweight exercise that involves jumping in place while also moving your arms for upper-body motion.
  • It’s one of the most effective plyometric exercises that can really help get the blood pumping in a low-impact way.
  • A 2021 study from Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research found that the jumping jack exercise has a high effect on the ability of leg muscle strength and power.
  • One of the best times to do jumping jacks is as part of a warm-up routine, and taking certain supplements can also benefit your fat metabolism.

How To Do Jumping Jacks

A person at the gym doing jumping jacks

Now, I know a lot of you will think that doing a basic jumping jack is something you learned in preschool.

But believe me when I tell you as a personal trainer that an awful lot of people don’t get the movement right.

And when you make small mistakes, you can easily end up not achieving as much as you need.

So, here’s how to do jumping jacks the right way: 

  • Get into the starting position with your feet close together and arms straight down by your sides.
  • Face your palms outward and concentrate on keeping your elbows straight throughout the movement.
  • Jump up high enough to land with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • During the jump phase, bring your hands and arms overhead and even focus on clapping your hands.
  • Now jump up high enough again to bring your feet back together.
  • At the same time, lower your hands down beside your body to get back into the starting position.

Repeat this movement for 60–90 seconds to activate all major muscle groups in preparation for a full-body workout.

Other Jack Workout: How to do Plyo Jacks

Benefits of Jumping Jacks

A person doing cardio workouts

Jumping jacks offer several benefits that go beyond just providing you with an easy way to warm up for a cardio or weight training session.

A 2021 study from Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research found that the jumping jack exercise has a high effect on the ability of leg muscle strength and power [1].

Here are six benefits of doing jumping jacks.

1. Improve Cardiac Functions

The first of the health benefits I want to focus on is that jumping jacks will get your heart pumping within seconds. And that will have very positive impacts on your cardiovascular system.

And when you can increase your exercise heart rate with such ease, then it will have a positive effect on cardiac health [2].

2. Boost Your Body's Metabolic Rate

This kind of jump training will quickly bring your heart rate up.

As your cardiovascular fitness and endurance improve, you can still effectively burn fat by increasing the time or by adding some ankle weights. 

And because the jumping jack activates muscles in the lower and upper body, you should be in a position where burning calories becomes more efficient, ultimately triggering weight loss.

The trick is to do a few sets of 60–90 seconds with limited rest time, and this higher intensity will activate your metabolism like never before [3].

3. Trigger Weight Loss

A woman measuring her weight loss

The trick to weight loss comes down to combining a healthy diet with regular physical activity. And the great thing about jumping jacks is that you don’t need a gym to do them.

You can get into a routine of doing some simple plyometrics for 10 to 15 minutes a day. And when you dial up the intensity, you should burn calories more efficiently and lose weight.

As a personal trainer, I’ve seen a lot of people break through weight management issues with such a simple addition to their weekly routine.

Related: Cardio Workout for Weight Loss

4. Increase Endurance and Stamina

Because jumping jacks work the upper and lower body, you’ll find that there will be improvements in your stamina in multiple different muscle groups.

The whole-body fitness routine might even make you feel muscle soreness after the first couple of times.

But that just means that you’ve achieved the proper form and that you’re working muscles in the way that they should.

Related: Muscular Endurance Exercises

5. Work on Your Coordination

A group of people doing yoga

You might also find that the first few times you do jumping jacks, your coordination is a bit off.

It takes a little bit of practice to get your hands together at the same time as your feet land on the ground.

But you should quickly find that you start coordinating your shoulder muscles and legs, and that will allow you to dial up the intensity.

6. Build Stronger Muscles and Bones

The final health benefit to point out is that with increased cardiovascular training also comes increased muscle development and bone density [4].

It’s not like this one exercise will turn you into a bodybuilder. But jumping jacks are a great way to start toning and reshaping your physique.

“According to the investigators, jumping 20 times twice daily resulted in 75% greater BMD than doing 10 jumps twice daily.”

- Erin Pereira, PT, DPT

Downsides To Consider

A person suffering with joint pain

Jumping jacks require a bit of coordination to get right, and if you have mobility issues or injuries that limit your range of motion, then it might not be the best for you.

You also need to be careful when dialing up the intensity level for this cardio exercise if you have blood pressure issues.

Shalom Khokhar, ACE-certified personal trainer and founder of Workout Great, points out that 150 minutes of cardio per week could help reduce one’s blood pressure. As with anything, moderation is key.

According to Mayo Clinic, while exercise is sometimes the right solution to hypertension, it might be best to talk to a doctor first if you have underlying medical conditions [5].

Implement Them Into Circuit Training

One thing I love about the jumping jack movement is that it’s so easy to combine with a high-intensity exercise program.

I’m a huge fan of HIIT for both toning and losing a few pounds, and jumping jacks are very easy to set up as a station in such a routine.

By choosing 5-8 different exercises, you could create a short circuit that you gradually repeat more often as you get fitter.

The results for your health and fitness should be huge, even with simple jumping jacks included.

Jumping Jacks: The Universal Warm-up in Sports

Jumping jacks, a classic and dynamic exercise, have been a staple in sports warm-ups across the globe. Their simplicity and effectiveness in preparing the body for athletic performance make them an invaluable tool in any athlete's regimen.

Here's why and how jumping jacks are used in various sports to enhance performance.

1. Cardiovascular Activation and Increased Blood Flow

How it helps: Jumping jacks rapidly increase the heart rate, promoting blood circulation to various muscle groups. This enhanced blood flow prepares the muscles for the intense physical activity required in sports.

Sports application: In sports like soccer or basketball, where cardiovascular endurance is crucial, jumping jacks serve as an excellent preliminary exercise to get the heart pumping and muscles oxygenated.

2. Improving Flexibility and Range of Motion

How it helps: The dynamic movement of jumping jacks helps in loosening and warming up the muscles and joints. This increased flexibility is vital for preventing injuries during sports activities.

Sports application: In gymnastics or martial arts, where flexibility and a wide range of motion are essential, jumping jacks can be an effective way to prepare the body, especially the shoulders and hips.

3. Coordination and Rhythm Development

How it helps: The synchronized movement of the arms and legs during jumping jacks enhances coordination and rhythm. This is beneficial in sports that require precise timing and body coordination.

Sports application: Sports like tennis or boxing, which require a high level of hand-eye coordination, can benefit from jumping jacks as they help in syncing body movements and improving overall coordination.

4. Muscle Warm-up and Activation

How it helps: Jumping jacks engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, including the legs, arms, and core, providing a full-body warm-up.

Sports application: For track and field athletes, particularly sprinters, jumping jacks activate key muscle groups, ensuring they are ready for the explosive movements required in their sport.

5. Mental Preparation and Focus

How it helps: The rhythmic nature of jumping jacks helps in mental preparation, allowing athletes to focus and get into the zone before a game or performance.

Sports application: In team sports like volleyball or rugby, jumping jacks can also serve as a team-building exercise, syncing the team mentally before a match.

FAQs

How Many Jumping Jacks Are a Good Workout?

20 to 25 jumping jacks are a good workout for one set. You could also look at doing jumping jacks for a specific amount of time and counting how many you can complete. Over time, that number should gradually improve.

Do Jumping Jacks Burn Belly Fat?

Yes, jumping jacks can burn belly fat if you dial up the intensity enough. It will also require a healthy diet and regular daily physical activity to improve your metabolism. And jumping jacks are a great way to achieve that.


References:

  1. https://www.atlantis-press.com/article/125967530.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6172294/
  3. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/05/220531151946.htm
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323511/
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045206
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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