How to Jumping Jacks Properly: Correct Form, Mistakes, and Variations - A Step-By-Step Guide

How to Jumping Jacks Properly: Correct Form, Mistakes, and Variations - A Step-By-Step Guide - Boardgains

Jumping jacks, also known as star jumps, are a classic, high-impact exercise that can provide a full-body workout. At Boardgains, we love incorporating this fun and challenging exercise into our fitness board game. In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of jumping jacks, how to do them correctly, common mistakes to avoid, tips for better results, and answers to frequently asked questions like "can jumping jacks reduce belly fat?" and "do jumping jacks build abs?"

What is the correct way to do jumping jacks?

How To Jumping Jacks (English): 

  1. Start standing up with your legs together, a slight bend in knees, and hands resting on thighs.
  1. Keeping the knees bent, open the arms and legs out to the sides. Arms come above the head and legs wider than shoulders.
  1. Close your arms and legs back to your sides, returning to your start. 
  1. Repeat for desired repetitions.

Rep Count: Each jumping jack counts as 1 rep.

What are Jumping Jacks?

Jumping jacks, also known as star jumps or side-straddle hops, are a full-body exercise that involves jumping with your arms and legs spread wide apart and then returning to a standing position. The motion resembles a jumping motion while simultaneously moving your arms and legs in opposite directions.

Benefits of Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks offer numerous benefits for your body, including improving cardiovascular health, increasing endurance, burning calories, and toning muscles.

Muscles Worked During Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks work several muscle groups simultaneously, making them an efficient full-body exercise. The primary muscles worked during jumping jacks are:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Abdominals
  • Deltoids
  • Pectorals
  • Calves

Proper Form for Jumping Jacks

To perform jumping jacks correctly, follow these steps:

Starting Position

  1. Stand with your feet together, arms at your sides.
  2. Engage your core muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine.

The Jump

  1. Jump up, spreading your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Simultaneously, raise your arms out to the sides and over your head, bringing your hands together at the top of the jump.

Landing Position

  1. Land softly on the balls of your feet, keeping your knees slightly bent.
  2. Lower your arms back down to your sides.
  3. Jump again, returning to the starting position.

Variations of Jumping Jacks

There are several variations of jumping jacks that you can try to increase the difficulty or target different muscle groups:

Plyometric Jumping Jacks

Plyometric jumping jacks involve adding a squat jump to the traditional jumping jack movement, increasing the intensity of the exercise.

Side-to-Side Jumping Jacks

Instead of jumping forward and backward, side-to-side jumping jacks involve jumping from side to side, keeping your feet together and arms raised in the same motion as a traditional jumping jack.

Seal Jacks

Seal jacks involve bringing your arms together in front of your body, clapping your hands, and then returning them to the starting position, similar to a jumping jack motion, but with your arms crossing in front of your body.


Half-jacks involve performing only the lower half of a jumping jack, with your arms remaining at your sides.


Cross-jacks involve crossing your legs and arms in front of your body, alternating which leg and arm cross in front each time.

How to Incorporate Jumping Jacks into Your Workout

Jumping jacks are a versatile exercise that can be incorporated into a warm-up, cardio workout, or full-body workout routine. Here are some ways to include jumping jacks in your workout:

  • Warm-up: Perform 2-3 sets of 15-20 jumping jacks before starting your workout to get your heart rate up and warm up your muscles.
  • Cardio: Include jumping jacks in a cardio circuit by performing them for 30-60 seconds, followed by a rest period, and repeating for several sets.
  • Full-Body: Use jumping jacks as part of a full-body workout routine by performing them for 30 seconds between sets of other exercises.


Jumping jacks are a classic, full-body exercise that can be performed almost anywhere, making them a convenient addition to any fitness routine. They offer numerous benefits for your body, including improved cardiovascular health, increased endurance, and toning of multiple muscle groups. By following proper form and incorporating variations, you can make jumping jacks a challenging and effective exercise for all fitness levels.

Remember to start slowly, gradually increase your reps and intensity, and always listen to your body. With the right approach and consistency, jumping jacks can be a great way to improve your overall health and fitness.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are Jumping Jacks Safe?

Jumping jacks are generally considered safe for most people when performed with proper form. However, if you have a pre-existing medical condition or injury, it's always best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist before starting a new exercise program.

How Many Calories Do Jumping Jacks Burn?

The number of calories burned during jumping jacks depends on several factors, such as your weight, intensity level, and duration of the exercise. On average, a person weighing 150 pounds can burn approximately 100 calories for every 10 minutes of jumping jacks.

Can Jumping Jacks Help With Weight Loss?

Jumping jacks can help with weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and other exercise routines. As a full-body exercise, jumping jacks can burn calories, boost metabolism, and promote fat loss.

How Many Jumping Jacks Should I Do in a Day?

The number of jumping jacks you should do in a day depends on your fitness level and goals. Beginners can start with a few sets of 15-20 reps and gradually increase the number of reps as their fitness level improves.

Can I Do Jumping Jacks If I Have Knee Pain?

If you have knee pain, it's important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist before attempting any exercises that involve jumping or impact. Modifications or alternative exercises may be recommended to prevent further injury.


Are Jumping Jacks Safe for Pregnant Women?

Jumping jacks can be safe for pregnant women, but it's always best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist before starting or continuing any exercise routine.

How Often Should I Do Jumping Jacks?

The frequency of jumping jacks depends on your fitness level and goals. Beginners can start with a few sets of 15-20 reps, 2-3 times a week, and gradually increase the number of reps and frequency as their fitness level improves.

Can Jumping Jacks Improve Coordination?

Yes, jumping jacks can improve coordination as they require the coordination of multiple muscle groups and movements.

Can Jumping Jacks Help with Stress Relief?

Yes, jumping jacks can help with stress relief as they promote the release of endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress.

Can Jumping Jacks Improve Flexibility?

Jumping jacks may not directly improve flexibility, but they can be used as part of a dynamic warm-up routine to prepare your muscles for more targeted flexibility exercises.

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