A jumping jack — sometimes known as a star jump outside the United States — is an exercise that involves jumping upwards and spreading the legs and arms. The primary jumping jacks benefits include that the exercise will provide a cardiovascular workout while toning the muscles of the arms and legs. Although the jumping jack is a relatively limited exercise, it is commonly included in cardiovascular workouts to achieve a more rounded approach to toning muscles of the body.
Jumping jacks are straightforward to perform. The person exercising should stand upright with space either side of him or her. Bending the knees slightly, the person should then jump upwards while at the same time extending the legs and arms outwards and upwards. Before touching the ground, the arms and legs should be withdrawn so that the person lands in the initial position. Often, jumping jacks are performed in sets of 10 or more in order to achieve the maximum benefit.
When this exercise is performed, the body’s heart rate will increase, and this, in turn, helps the body to burn a greater number of calories. For this reason, one its main benefits is that it can help someone to lose weight without the use of any sort of machinery. Jumping jacks are often incorporated into aerobics routines as the exercise is an effective way of increasing a person’s breathing and heart rate.
Even though jumping jack workouts aren’t performed against any resistance, the exercise can still tone muscles. Another of the jumping jacks benefits is that the exercise can tone the upper legs and arms. To achieve the most benefit, however, the person exercising should make sure that his or her arms are above the head with each repetition. This can become more difficult as the exercise routine continues due to the muscles becoming fatigued.
To perform a more advanced jumping jack, other exercises can be incorporated into the same movement. For example, a more intense version involves squatting and jumping backward with each repetition. This works different muscles of the body and is also more effective at increasing the person’s heart rate.
A similar exercise is the “half jack,” and it can provide similar benefits. To perform a half jack the person goes through the same motions as with the jumping back but instead only brings the arms up to half the height.