How To Do Jumping Jacks Properly + Tips, Modifications & Benefits
There's a reason we've all done jumping jacks before: They're simple, beginner-friendly, and get your whole body working in seconds. Here's how to make sure you're doing them properly, as demonstrated by fitness instructor and trainer at bande Mindy Lai—plus tips, modifications, and the benefits of this move.
How to do jumping jacks:
- Start in a standing position with your hands and feet at your sides.
- Jump your feet out to the sides greater than hip-width apart while simultaneously sweeping your hands overhead.
- Reverse the movement. Continue for 30 seconds.
Tips & modifications:
- Make sure you're standing on an even surface, and if you want to go easy on your joints, opt for a softer surface like a workout mat rather than cement.
- Talk to your doctor before doing jumping jacks if you are pregnant, or have any joint pain (specifically in the ankles, hips, knees, or shoulders).
- To make jumping jacks easier, try a low-impact version: Step one foot out the side as you sweep your hands overhead, then reverse the movement, coming back to start. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating quickly—you'll still get the cardio benefits, without the jumping.
- To make jumping jacks more challenging, try cross-legged jacks or squat jacks.
What are the benefits?
Jumping jacks have so many benefits, which is why they wind up in a number of different routines. They're great for warming up before a workout but also have a place within workouts themselves, given all the muscles they work.
Specifically, jumping jacks fire up your quads and glutes, as well as your core, with proper engagement. Your shoulders will also get some movement in, as will your hip flexors, and this cardio move is sure to get your heart rate up.
The bottom line is if you want to get your body moving and muscles working, jumping jacks are the perfect exercise to do so. And since they're simple to modify (and do pretty much anywhere), they're a great option for nearly everyone, any time.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.