How To Do Jumping Jacks

Chris Freytag demonstrates Jumping JacksJumping Jacks is a basic exercise that’s been around for as long as you and I! It’s a simple, easy to do move but a great way to get in cardio anywhere and anytime! This is a calisthenics workout, which means it’s great for cardiovascular health and boosting your metabolism. Getting your heart rate up is the number one way to burn fat, and learning how to do Jumping Jacks is a great total-body exercise for accomplishing that very thing!

The CDC recommends at least 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise. Try doing jumping jacks—or alternating jumping jacks with lateral shuffles or running in place—11 minutes a day to meet this goal! Mix up your arm movement. Do 20 with regular arms, then 20 circling your arms like a backstroke, then 20 punching upward. Small changes can make the workout go faster.

Just like they look, Jumping Jacks engage every large muscle group in your body, especially when you keep your core engaged to fire up the abdominal and back muscles. You won’t just be burning fat—you’ll be toning muscle too! Just be sure to keep a brisk pace to maintain the aerobic benefits of this exercise!


Looking for a way to incorporate jumping jacks into a more robust routine? Try this 10-Minute Beginner Tabata Workout, which is easy to squeeze in anytime and anywhere because it includes only bodyweight exercises. To keep Jumping Jacks interesting, swap in a cross jack, Diamond Jack or a Squat in between to keep yourself engaged!

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How To Do Jumping Jacks

Here are the steps to performing a Jumping Jack (in case you really need them!):

A) Start standing with a slight bend in knees and hands resting on thighs.

B) Keeping the knees bent open the arms and legs out to the sides. Arms come above the head and legs wider than shoulders, then close returning to you start.

See the video below to see Chris Freytag break down how to perform a jumping jack.

What Muscles Do Jumping Jacks Work?

Jumping jacks is an awesome cardio exercise that works your legs and core while giving you a great cardiovascular move that gets your heart rate up anytime, anywhere.

Benefits of Jumping Jacks

There are many reasons you should incorporate jumping jacks into your workouts. Here are just a few:

Cardio Exercise At Home

The cardio benefits of Jumping Jacks are amazing, but even better is the fact that you can do this move right at home. No need to go to a gym or head into bad weather, just find some space and get moving. Some short burst of moves like jumping jacks can be mixed with things like squats and push-ups to get a full workout in right at home.

Warm Up Your Shoulders

It might seem strange to say about a cardio exercise, but the truth is that the movement of your arms during a Jumping Jack provides a great stretch for your shoulders. This is one of the reasons you also find jumping jacks used during a warm up for other workouts.

High Intensity Interval Benefits

No matter how you look at it, jumping jacks are going to get you breathing heavy! Jumping jacks can be done in a variety of ways and even stay low impact, but the harder you push, the higher your heart rate. You can use them to reach your anaerobic state meaning breathing only through your mouth and needing a break after about 20-30 seconds! If regular Jumping Jacks don’t get you working hard enough, just add a few power jacks by lifting your feet up at you open your legs! Need low impact? Bend your knees and step out right and left instead of jumping.

How Many Calories Do Jumping Jacks Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn.

Other Exercises Similar to Jumping Jacks

If you like the idea of getting a great cardio move right in the comfort of your own home with no equipment needed, try these too!

How To Do Butt Kicks

How To Do Cross Country Ski

How To Do Skaters

Incorporating Jumping Jacks Into Your Workouts

Jumping jacks is an amazing cardio exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate Jumping Jacks into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Use Jumping Jacks in a Bodyweight-Only Cardio Workout

You don’t need to go running or ride a bike to get your cardio in. You don’t even need to be in a gym or outside. Using basic bodyweight moves you can get a complete cardio workout that is simple, easy to do anywhere, and more super effective. Try this:

10-Minute Bodyweight-Only Cardio Challenge: 1 min. jog in place to warm up. Do each of the following for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds rest in between:

Lateral Jumps

Jumping Jacks

High Knees

Front Kicks

Power Skips:

Repeat all 5.

Use Jumping Jacks In Your Circuit Training

Circuits are a fun way to exercise and get your strength and cardio in all at the same time. The idea behind circuits is to go from one move, or one “station”, to the next with little or not rest in between. Check this out:

Fat Blasting Circuit Training Workout: Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no break in between. Rest for 1 minute at the end then repeat the sequence.

30 seconds side lunges

30 seconds high knee run

30 seconds push ups

30 seconds jumping jacks

30 seconds plié squats

30 seconds bear crawl

30 seconds modified army crawl plank

30 seconds crab walk

Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Stretch.

Use Jumping Jacks in Your HIIT Training 

High Intensity Interval Training is all the rage because it gets the job done in record time. Go as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and then go hard again. Here’s a super easy way to kick butt!

Hot HIIT Workout: Do each move for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds in between moves. 

High Knees

Plank Jacks

Jumping Jacks

Squat Jumps


Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate Jumping Jacks into your workout!

5 Minutes to Leaner Legs

10-Minute Beginner Tabata Workout

How to Get Rid of Back Fat

Targets: hamstrings, shoulders, chest

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