Header Jumping Jacks

Header Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks are a Killer Cardio Exercise that Gets Your Heart Pumping Hard, Fast

As someone who works from home, I am ALWAYS looking for ways to change up my at-home fitness regimen. Maybe you are, too!

After all, variety is the spice of life! Right?

Whether you call them jumping jacks, side-straddle hops, or star jumps, one thing is certain, they get your heart rate blasting. Don’t believe me?! Give them a shot!

Traditional Jumping Jacks

Jumping Jacks

Let’s talk about jumping jack benefits.  You may be asking, “are jumping jacks cardio?” The answer is an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Jumping jacks are a cardiovascular exercise because they elevate your heart rate.

By doing cardiovascular exercise, you burn calories. That, in turn, means you will lose weight if you do jumping jacks. The number of calories you will burn doing jumping jacks varies depending on the duration you exercise.

Here are the steps for a traditional jumping jack:

  1. Start standing up with your arms at your sides and legs together
  2. Slightly bend your knees and jump into the air.
  3. As you jump, position your legs to at least shoulder-width apart and stretch your arms over your head.
  4. Jump back to your starting position.

Split Jacks

Split-Jacks

One of my favorite jumping jacks variations is the split jack. It’s the standard jumping jack in the opposite direction. If you find this one too challenging, you can always go back to the traditional or basic jumping jack.

  1. Split Jack steps:
    1. Start standing up and placing one foot forward in a lunge position. At the same time, raise the opposite arm overhead.
  2. Jump in the air and switch your feet by moving your other leg forward. Again, at the same time, raise your opposite arm overhead as you jump. 
  3. Then, return to the starting position.

Plank Jacks

Plank Jacks

Now, let’s add planking to the mix! Plank jacks work your upper body as well as your core. You can use plank jacks as part of a combination of cardio and full-body warmup.

To perform plank jacks follow these steps:

  1. Start in the plank position. Be sure to align your shoulders over your wrists, keeping your body in a straight line, and feet together.
  2. Jump your legs wide and then back together like you do when performing traditional jumping jacks.

Burpee Jacks

Burpee Jacks

Burpee jacks are a way to amp up two already killer exercises, burpees and jumping jacks! Burpees are a workout all on their own. So too are jumping jacks. Combine them and you will really get your heart racing!

Burpee Jacks steps:

  1. Start by standing with arms by your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bending at the hips and knees, reach down and place your hands on the ground.
  3. Once your hands meet the ground, extend your legs behind you with a quick jump so you land in the plank position.
  4. As your legs extend straight out, feet hip-width apart, jump your legs wide. Then bring your feet back together as you would when performing plank jacks.
  5. Keeping your hands on the ground, jump your feet forward underneath you.
  6. Jump up and extend your hands above your head and give yourself a clap!

Step Jumping Jack 

StepJ umping Jacks

There are many jumping jack variations, but step jumping jacks are key for those who need to keep their exercise low-impact. Instead of jumping or hopping, you step your legs out to the side.

Check out these steps for step jumping jacks:

  1. Start in a standing position with your legs together, your arms by your sides.
  2. Bring your arms overhead and step one leg out to your side. 
  3. Bring your arms and leg back to the center, then repeat on the opposite side.
  4. That is one rep; keep going!

Plyo Jumping Jacks

Plyo Jumping Jacks

Get POWERFUL with plyo jumping jacks! I like to envision myself as a rocket ship. If you do that, you’ll feel like you are blasting off to outer space!

Plyo jumping jacks steps:

  1. Start standing up with your feet together. 
  2. Step out to the side with your right foot, about hip-width apart. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat. At the same time, extend your arms out in front of your body.
  3. Push off the floor with both feet and jump. And at the same time, swing your arms behind you.
  4. Upon landing softly, immediately lower yourself into another squat. 
  5. Push back to standing position and repeat by jumping up and over to the opposite side.

Push Up Jumping Jacks

Push Up Jacks

Want to be the star of your next boot camp class? Master this one! The jumping jack push up is your basic jumping jack and standard pushup blended into awesomeness! Push up jumping jacks are another challenging and fun jumping jack variation.

Push Up Jumping Jacks steps:

  1. Start in the plank position. Be sure to align your shoulders over your wrists while keeping your body in a straight line and your feet together.
  2. Lower into the pushup position while jumping your feet wider than shoulder-width while keeping core engaged.
  3. Hop your feet back together as you straighten your arms to the top of a pushup. At that point, you will be back at the starting position. Guess what! You completed one rep!

High Knee Jumping Jacks

High Knee Jumping Jacks

High knee jumping jacks are what you’d get if a standard jumping jack and high knee exercises had a love child! Combining high knees with jumping jacks is a sure way to get your blood flowing.

High knee jumping jacks steps:

  1. Start by raising one knee to your chest. Then, lower your leg and raise the other knee to your chest.  Keep your back straight.
  2. Lift your arms overhead, then lower them back to your sides as if doing a jumping jack. 

Cross Jumping Jacks

Cross Jumping Jacks

The last of our jumping jack variations you can add to your home cardio workout is cross jumping jacks! 

Cross Jumping Jacks steps:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms straight out to your sides with your palms facing down.
  2. Jump up and cross your right arm over your left and your right foot over your left.
  3. Hop back to the starting position, then cross with the opposite arm and foot. 

Jumping Jacks Don’t Have to Be Vanilla

There you have it, ten jumping jack variations from low impact step jacks to the ever-challenging push-up jack! Reap the rewards of jumping jacks, improved cardio and weight loss! Let’s get to it.

Coach Rachael, MS, BS, ACSM, NASM
Latest posts by Coach Rachael, MS, BS, ACSM, NASM (see all)
Rachael Meyer is a military spouse and mom of two boys. She earned her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and her master’s degree in health promotion and exercise science. She is certified by both the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer. Rachael thrives on pursuing her passion for helping women reach their wellness goals.