Jumping Jacks: A Back To Basic Calisthenic

Jumping jacks are serious cardiovascular endurance exercise that can be incorporated into your fitness program to produce numerous health benefits. It is a simple calisthenics movement that requires no training and little coordination or great physical ability.

Jumping jacks helps improve cardiovascular health. Regular aerobic exercise such as power-jumping jacks carries oxygen to your lungs, enables your blood to pump with less effort, improves your mood and stamina, and tones muscles. Power-jumping jacks combine the benefits of jumping jacks and squats.

The primary benefit from doing jumping jacks is that it elevates your heart rate. You breathe more deeply while jumping, which delivers oxygen to your bloodstream and ultimately to your muscles. You burn fat at a rapid rate, promoting weight loss. If you weigh 130 lbs. and do vigorous jumping jacks or other calisthenics, you burn 472 calories per hour. If you weigh 155 lbs. you burn 563 calories per hour, if you weigh 180 lbs. you burn 654 calories, and if you weigh 205 lbs. you burn 745 calories.

*Muscle Groups Worked: Full body workout; all of your large muscle groups.

Basic Jumping Jack: Stand with your arms at your sides. Be sure your feet are straight and close together. Hold your head straight, but in a comfortable position to avoid strain. Bend your knees. Jump up while spreading your arms and legs at the same time. Lift your arms to your ears and open your feet to a little wider than shoulder width. This should all be done in a fast fluid movement. Clap or touch your hands above your head. As you return from jumping up bring your arms back down to your sides and at the same time bring your feet back together. Continue with as many jumping jack repetitions as you can do.

Power Jacks: Stand with your feet together and your arms pressed together in front of your chest. Tighten your abdominals to pull your pelvis forward and straighten the curve in your lower back. Jump up and move your feet out until they’re wider than your hips. Land with your knees bent and put your heels on the floor. At the same time, open your arms until your elbows are even with your shoulders. Keep your upper arms parallel to the floor and your lower arms perpendicular to the floor. Bend your knees so your body lowers into a squat. Rise up, jump and land with your feet together. Take care to land with your knees bent. At the same time, close your arms in front of you, touching your elbows and wrists together. Repeat the exercise, working in sets and resting in between. As you improve, try doing power jumping jacks for a specific period of time and increase each week

Pushup Jacks: Begin in a plank position with the hands wider than shoulders and the body in a straight line from head to heels. Jump the feet wide at the same time you bend the elbows into a pushup, going as low as you can. In a smooth movement, spring back up, jumping your feet back together into your plank. Continue with pushup jacks for 30-60 seconds.

Check out these references:
Visit www.livestrong.com and www.about.com for additional information and resources.

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-Eric & Maleka Beal

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*Before beginning any fitness program, always see a qualified healthcare provider for advice and to address any questions or concerns. The exercises presented on this website are for suggestion only and should not be substituted for medical diagnosis or treatment. Participate at your own risk and stop if you feel faint or experience shortness of breath.