Jump up, clap those hands, land, repeat. You might remember this exercise from your school days, and those love ‘em or hate ‘em gym classes. We’re talking about those classic jumping jacks that made up the many warm-ups, circuit training, and aerobic classes, among others, of our younger years. But just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean it’s time to toss out this exercise stable. Jumping jacks work a variety of your muscles and are definitely one of the most underestimated exercises in your repertoire. So, grab that sweatband, lace up those shoes, and hit the tunes; it’s time for a challenge.
Why are jumping jacks so effective?
It might seem simple, leaping up and down, but behind the scenes, these exercises can have a significant impact on your body. Here’s how:
Gets your heart pumping
Moving your body off the ground requires a lot of energy, and that’s where the magic of star jumps starts. Although your limbs (those arms and legs) are the primary muscles used in jumping jacks, your heart muscle gains enormous benefits from this activity.
This intensive movement pushes your heart to start working faster, pumping blood around your body and burning between 8 calories every minute (based on 120lb person) to 16 calories a minute (based on a 250lb person).
Activates your entire body
When asked, “what muscles are used when doing jumping jacks?” the answer is quite simple – almost all of them, from your supraspinatus and pectorals to your hips, glutes, and hamstrings. This activity works your whole body from toes to fingertips, meaning you engage your entire range of motion to create that star-like jump.
Works those legs, arms, and core
As you bend those knees to press into your leap, the body engages the muscles used in jumping jacks from the get-go. You use your legs, those hamstring and calf muscles and even the muscles and tendons of your feet to make a secure landing. Next is those arm and shoulder muscles which mobilize as you lift your arms above your head, and finally the muscles of your core which stabilize your body on landing.
Getting started with those jacks
Now you know a little of what’s going on behind the activity, let’s get active with a little jumping jack challenge. Follow this activity for 30 days, each day doing the number of jumps described below and you’ll soon see improvements in your muscle tone and ability levels. For this you need to perform simple jumping jacks, like you did in school, however, once the 30 days are over why not mix it up with different kinds of jacks-activities, such as burpees, front clap jacks, or alternative jacks.
Congrats! You finished the 30-day challenge, who would’ve believed that at the start you’d be able to do 150 jumping jacks a day. Well done!