Many of us have done the basic jumping jack since we were back in elementary school gym class. While it may seem easy and boring, the jumping jack is a great exercise to include in your workout routine, especially when you tweak the basic jack with the variations below!
These jumping jack variations are full-body movements that also get your blood pumping. They can be used for conditioning as well as for strengthening. While the jumping jack is a cardiovascular exercise, it also strengthens your shoulders, core, glutes and even your legs. Plus, because it is a bodyweight movement, you can do it anywhere!
Try these 5 Jacked-Up Jumping Jack Variations to take that basic gym class move to the next level!
If you’re looking for a move that will leave your legs burning and shaking, then you need to do the Squat Jack. This move will get your blood pumping while really working your leg muscles.
To do the Squat Jack, start by standing tall with your feet and legs close together. Then sink down into a little squat as you reach your hands up overhead. Sit your butt back so that you aren’t coming forward onto your toes. Staying low in the squat, jump your feet out wide to at least shoulder-width apart.
As you jump your feet out, bring your hands down between your legs to reach for the ground. Do not simply round over to touch your hands down. Stay low in the squat and even try to get lower as you jump your feet out wide.
Then jump your feet back together and bring your hands back overhead, staying low. Keep moving between the squats and try not to stand up. This doesn’t have to be a super fast movement to really feel everything working!
This move may look silly, but it will get your blood pumping as it works your obliques and your entire core!
To do Oblique Jacks, stand tall and place your hands either behind or near your head so your elbows are at shoulder-height. Then bend your right knee up and out to the side as you crunch your upper body to the side, dropping your right elbow toward your right knee.
Quickly lower that leg down as you jump and switch to bend your left knee up and out to the side, crunching your left elbow down toward your left knee.
Again, switch back to the first side, going back and forth between the sides as quickly as you can, and crunch your elbow down to your knee as you raise your knee up as high as you can toward your elbow.
This jumping jack variation is a great way to work your entire core, including your shoulders, adductors and glutes.
To do Plank Jacks, start in a high plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your feet together. Make sure your body is in a nice straight line from your head to your heels with your core braced.
Then, keeping your core engaged, jump your feet out wide to each side so they are about shoulder-width apart. Do not let your butt go way up in the air or your hips sag as you jump your feet out. Quickly jump your feet back together and then repeat, jumping them back out.
Keep your core engaged as you jump your feet in and out and do not let your hands creep out in front of your shoulders.
When you combine the jumping jack with the burpee, you get a killer cardio move that is sure to make you wish you were back in gym class instead.
To do the Jack Burpee, start off standing with your feet together. Then squat down and bend over to place your hands on the ground as you jump your feet back into a high plank position. From that high plank position with your feet together, jump your feet out wide as if doing the Plank Jack. Do not let your butt go up in the air as you jump your feet out.
Quickly jump out and then back in. Then jump your feet back in toward your hands and come up back up to standing.
As you lift your hands and come back to standing, you will perform a Plyo Jack at the top of the Burpee. To to this explosive Jack, jump up off the ground as you spread your legs wide and swing your arms up to the side and overhead. To regress the movement, perform a Basic Jumping Jack instead of a Plyo Jack at the top. The quicker you do the movement and the bigger and higher your Plyo Jack is at the top, the harder the move will be!
This explosive jumping jack variation will get your blood pumping and work your legs and core. It is also a great move to improve your leg power!
To do the Plyo Jack, stand tall with your feet together and your arms down by your sides. Squat down just slightly, push your butt back, and load your glutes so you can explode up off the ground. Then explode up off the ground as you jump your feet out wide and swing your arms up overhead.
As you jump up off the ground, raise your legs out to the sides and swing your arms out to the sides and up overhead. As you land back on the ground, bring your feet back together and sink back into a little squat with your arms down by your sides.
You want to squat a little as you land to help load your legs for the next jump while also protecting your knees. Then repeat, jumping back up as high as you can. The bigger your jump and the quicker you go, the harder the Plyo Jack will be.
The basic jumping jack may not seem like much, but when you try these jacked up variations, you’re sure to get in a great workout! And if you love these moves, check out 10 more jumping jack variations here or check out this video:
Cori is the owner of Redefining Strength, a functional training facility in Orange County, California focused on helping each client find their strong. She started training and writing a fitness blog in 2011 because she wanted to empower people through diet and exercise so that they can lead healthier, happier lives.