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Most of us remember jumping jacks from when we were kids. This fun-filled and equipment-free exercise lets you jump your way into a toned, fit body by burning calories and recruiting some of your upper and lower body muscles.
So, how many calories do jumping jacks burn? The number of calories burned changes from one person to another. According to Webmd, a 220-lb person will burn about 29 calories doing moderate jumping jacks for 5 minutes and 67 calories doing vigorous jumping jacks for the same amount of time.
Jumping jacks involve your entire body and are good at raising your heart rate. They enhance your endurance and improve musculoskeletal strength. Additionally, this is an excellent way to effectively improve your flexibility.
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How Many Calories Do Jumping Jacks Burn? A Comprehensive Guide
How to Calculate Calories Burned Doing Jumping Jacks
Fitness experts use Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) values to accurately calculate the number of calories burned by jumping jacks and other forms of exercise and activities.
To give you an idea, 1 MET is the energy used when you sit passively. In other word, you burn 1 calorie per hour when you are in a dormant state.
Calories burned doing jumping jacks can range from 8 to 15 METs because it is a high-intensity workout. The exact MET value will depend on the intensity of your workout plus other factors. As you read more about workouts, you’ll come across an array of MET tables for various activities and intensities.
To calculate the number of calories you burn in any activity or exercise, you will find this formula helpful:
Number of calories burned = MET value x 3.5 x Bodyweight (in kg) ÷ 200
That’s just so you know how it’s done manually. Fortunately, there’s an easier way.
Using a fitness app, you can do away with memorizing formulas. Several online fitness apps, such as myfitnesspal, will allow you to input your data their calorie calculators and get the number of calories burned without doing the math.
Calories Burned by Jumping Jacks per Minute
How many calories do 100 jumping jacks burn? You may ask.
Performing 100 jumping jacks in ten minutes will burn approximately 20 calories. Going by that, a single jumping jack burns approximately 0.2 calories.
Factors Affecting Calories Burned Doing Jumping Jacks
The amount of calories burned differ from person to person, depending on factors like body weight and workout intensity. Your age will also have an impact on the number of calories burned doing jumping jacks. Here are the main factors to consider when calculating calorie burn:
Body Size and Weight
The heavier a person, the more calories burned when performing jumping jacks. Heavier people have more load to support, and this makes them use more energy compared to people with less weight.
Number of Jumping Jacks and Speed
Calories burned by jumping jacks will increase significantly if you intensify your workout session. Intensity can be increased by speed and extending the duration of the workout. This will put your muscles under more pressure for longer and result in burning more calories.
The older you are, the lower the calories you burn when jumping jacks. Older people have more fats than muscles in the body, and this reduces the rate at which they burn calories.
Women have more fat than muscles on their bodies compared to their male counterparts who generally have more muscles than fats. This makes women burn calories slower than men do when performing jumping jacks at the same intensity.
How to Do Jumping Jacks
This is one simple exercise with tremendous results. Just like push-ups, jumping jacks do not require any equipment and can be done anywhere. All you need is a small space that can allow you to jump and raise your hands overhead.
Standard Jumping Jack: Step-by-step Guide
This is the step-by-step guide for performing the standard jumping jack properly.
Get in a straight standing position with your feet together and arms hanging on the sides with palms lightly touching your thighs. Engage your core muscles to ensure a steady, upright posture.
Make a jump and split your legs apart as you simultaneously raise your hands overhead as if to clap. You should have a little bend at the knees as you softly land on your feet.
Without pausing, jump back to a straight posture by bringing your feet back together. Your hands should simultaneously move back to the staring positioning.
Repeat this at a manageable pace while finding your rhythm. Aim for three sets of 20 repetitions each. You may opt to have some music in the background to help you sustain your pace.
Safety Tip: Always make sure that you are performing jumping jacks in a leveled and steady ground. Uneven terrain may result in injuries like dislocation of the ankle and knee joint pain. You should also wear comfortable sports shoes for stable jumps.
What Are the Variations of Jumping Jacks?
Just like when doing squats, you don’t have to stick to the “standard” way of doing jumping jacks. This will turn this activity into a boring one, and that’s not what you want. Here are three variations of jumping jacks you may consider including in your workout to maintain the excitement and keep having fun as you burn more calories:
In this particular variation, just a single clap and your shoulder, triceps, biceps, quads, hamstrings, lats, glutes, and calve muscles are awakened! Quite a list, huh? Additionally, your cardiovascular muscles will also be activated. That’s how extensive this exercise can be.
How to Do Front Clap Jumping Jack
Step 1: Get in a straight standing position with feet together and arms extended in front of you at chest level parallel to the floor. Your palms should be facing each other as if to clap.
Ensure to engage your core muscles.
Step 2: Jump by splitting your legs apart as you open up your hands to the sides. Keep your hands at shoulder level and parallel to the floor. You should have a little bend at the knees as you softly land on your feet.
Step 3: Without pausing, jump back to a straight posture by bringing your feet back together. Your hands should simultaneously move back to the original position, this time clapping.
Step 4: Repeat this at a manageable pace while finding your rhythm. Aim for three sets of 20 repetitions each. You may opt to have some music in the background to help you sustain your pace.
From the name, you can tell there is some isolation involved here. Alternating jumping jacks are characterized by splitting your hands and legs in the front and back positions. Not the sides as in the clapping jumping jacks. This variation targets your quads, hamstring, glutes, hip flexors, and inner thigh muscles.
How to Do Alternating Jumping Jacks
Step 1: Stand in a straight position with your feet together and arms held straight by your side. Engage your core muscles and pinch your shoulders back.
Step 2: Jump as you place your left leg in front and the right leg behind. Simultaneously extent your right hand forward and the left backward. This is more like running. Swinging your hands will help you enhance your balance.
Step 3:Jump and alternate so that your left leg goes to the back as you bring the right to the front. Your hands should also alternate. Do not pause in between the jumps. Coming forward, your hands should be raised slightly above the shoulder level.
Step 4: Repeat this and aim for three sets of 20 repetitions each. Background music is good for rhythm and injecting some excitement in the exercise.
Plank Jumping Jacks
Whenever planks are mentioned, you can be sure of your abs being assigned some duties. Who said jumping jacks could only be done in a standing position? That is not the case. The plank jacks are performed in a plank position as you put your legs apart and bring them back together. It activates your core, glutes, quads, hamstring, adductor, and calve muscles.
How To Do Planking Jumping Jacks
Step 1: Get in a high plank position with your body supported on your fully extended arms. Arms should be at shoulder width.
Step 2: Ensure a straight position from head to heels with feet together and supported on your toes. This will be your starting position.
Step 3: Support your upper body with your hands as you jump to split your legs apart. Let them land on either side at a position slightly wider than your shoulder width.
Step 4: Support your upper body and jump to bring your legs back to the starting position without pausing. Aim at three sets of 10 repetitions each. Don’t bend your back inward. Doing so will put pressure on your spine at the lower back.
Muscles Worked Doing Jumping Jacks
This is an electrifying compound exercise that recruits several muscle groups in your body. It also doubles as a cardio exercise, which helps you burn some fats. Let look at the muscles worked by jumping jacks.
Deltoids and Traps
Deltoids are the muscles of your shoulders, while traps are located on the upper part of your back, connecting to the neck. These two muscles are the most activated in jumping jacks as you swing your hands. They are mainly activated when you do overhead hand raises.
Biceps and Triceps
Different variations hit these two-arm muscles with different intensity. The plank jumping jacks is the variation that targets the arm muscles more than any other. This is because your arms are fully engaged to support your upper body as you jump to split your legs.
Regardless of which jumping jack variation you are performing, it will always engage your abs, obliques, and lower back muscles. In standing jumping jacks variations, your core is activated to maintain balance and proper form throughout this exercise.
Quads and Hamstring
You cannot call it a jump if you do not involve your legs. Quads are located on the upper front part of your thigh, and the hamstrings are muscles at the back of your thigh. Any walking, running, or even standing position will call these muscles to action. Jumping jacks rigorously recruit these muscles. Also, if you want more pronounced quads, we recommend you pair your jumping jacks with other exercises such as squats.
Hip Adductors and Abductor muscles
While the abductors refer to your thigh’s inner muscles, the hip abductors refer to the outer muscles on your thighs that stretch from the hip to the knee. These two muscles are rigorously worked and properly toned when you frequently perform jumping jacks, especially variations involving side jumps.
Calves and Foot Muscles
The calf is the muscle at the back of your leg, which is activated to facilitate jumps. It works in coordination with the Achilles tendons and your feet’ muscles to spring into jumps. They are worked in every single jump you make.
Jumping jacks is a remarkable cardio exercise. Raising your heart rate trains your heart muscles to pump more oxygenated blood to your muscles to sustain the physical activity, which will help you burn more calories. Performing this exercise recruits all your muscles.
Benefits of Jumping Jacks
Best Way to Warm Up
Jumping jacks raise your heart rate and work muscle groups in your body, thus it is an excellent warm-up exercise. It ensures a preliminary supply of sufficient oxygen to all the muscles and prepares them for heavier workouts.
A Good Full Body Exercise
From head to toe, jumping jacks trigger activity in every muscle group on your body. Jumping while swinging your hands and shuffling your legs ensures total body muscle stimulation, which is especially good for proportional muscle toning. Additionally, this exercise activates your brain, too.
Makes You More Flexible
Toning is to the muscles while flexibility is to the joints. Jumping jacks are exercises that work all the joints of your body.
From your toes, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist joint, no single joint is left out. This is why doing jumping jacks will result in extraordinary total body flexibility.
Good for Your Heart
With every single jump, you get closer to the heart. Your cardiovascular muscles are awakened to work much harder to supply blood to your muscles.
The more you perform this exercise, the stronger your cardiovascular muscles become. A strong and healthy heart reduces the risks of heart-related diseases.
Helps in Weight Loss
As a cardio exercise, it burns more calories and goes a long way in helping you lose weight. Any exercise that raises your heart rate is superb for burning extra fat. If losing weight is your goal, then this fun-filled and exciting exercise is your best option.
Enhances Body Coordination
Jumping jacks mainly involves synchronized movements of the opposite sides’ body parts. It trains your brain and your entire body to have high levels of coordination.
You cannot achieve the simultaneous movements involved in jumping jacks unless your body can effectively coordinate. Continually performing this exercise will enhance the coordination of your body parts.
Lowers your Stress Levels
Jumping while swinging your hands in several angles, stimulates the release of adrenaline and serotonin hormones. These two are excitement enhancing hormones which will reduce the level of stress in your body. Frequently performing jumping jacks will keep your stress levels low.
You might not expect much muscle-building from jumping jacks, but this is a stunning option for toning your muscles. Its cardio characteristics helps you shed off extra fat and leaves you with lean and toned muscles.
Stability and Stamina
If a particular exercise can work your entire musculoskeletal system and the joints, then it stands out as the ultimate stamina and stability workout.
This is what jumping jacks do to you. This electrifying exercise gives your body outstanding stability and stamina by working both your muscles and skeletal system.
Everyone who religiously performs jumping jacks in its proper form will have a strong skeletal system. With every movement, all bones are activated, and this increases your bone strength and density over time.
Strengthening your bones is a good way of complementing your well-toned muscles. This is possible by including jumping jacks in your 4 day split workout routine.
Risks of Injury Associated with Jumping Jacks
It will be unfair for us to highlight the benefits without discussing the risks of jumping jacks. The major injury risks associated with this exercise are sprain and dislocation to your ankle, knees, hip, shoulder, or elbow joints.
All these joints are actively engaged as you perform jumping jacks. Of all these joints, your ankles are subjected to the most pressure. This makes them more vulnerable to injury.
How to prevent injury doing jumping jacks
- Make sure you work out on a stable and even floor. Jumping jacks performed on uneven ground will most likely result in twisted, sprained, or a dislocated ankle.
- Put on well-fitting shock-absorbing shoes that will help reduce the impact of the shock as you land after the jumps.
- Always warm up your muscles well before engaging intensively in jumping jacks. This supplies more oxygenated blood to your muscles and prevent fatigue.
- Always focus on maintaining jumping jacks proper form. Do not choose speed over proper form. Land with knees slightly bent to transfer the shock to your muscles and not bones and joints.
- Make sure to cool down after the session.
1. How many calories does 40 jumping jacks burn?
One hundred jumping jacks will burn up to 20 calories. From this, we can say that one jumping jack burns approximately 0.2 calories. Therefore, 40 jumping jacks will burn roughly 8 calories.
2. How many jumping jacks to burn 500 calories?
To burn 500 calories doing jumping jacks alone is an uphill task. If one jumping jack burns only 0.2 calories, you’ll need to do 2500 jumping jacks to burn 500 calories. We recommend you use this exercise as a warm up then do other cardio exercises.
Written by Alisha Wishart – TheHealthPot.com
Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), Writer and Contributor
Alisha, is a Mother, Wife and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT). She understands how demanding everyday life can be and takes great pride in working with individuals and groups to help them achieve their desired fitness goals. Read more about Alisha here.