A jumping jack is a form of aerobic calisthenic exercise that you perform by jumping up and down from a standing position. 

The Jumping jack exercise is named after its inventor, general “Black Jack” Pershing. John J. Pershing (1860-1940) was one of the American’s greatest military leaders.

He invented the Jumping Jack exercise while he was a senior cadet at west point, and it is now used by people all around the world as form of exercise for getting in shape.

It is in fact widely popular that gym teachers and personal trainers have hazed people with the General Pershing’s invention.

And, let's not forget. It is also Missouri official state exercise, which is of course, Pershing’s home state.

This famed body weight cardio exercise reflects the philosophy of multitasking. 

It strengthens the thigh muscles just as when you squat or lunge. But the difference with jumping jacks is, you can get your heart rate up and pumping and get the benefits of cardio

Because it's intense and jumping involved, you experience elevation in your heart rate just as when you run or jump rope.
The heavy breathing while jumping, forces your heart to become better conditioned and deliver oxygen to bloodstream and ultimately to your working muscles more efficiently. 

If your goal is weight loss, jumping jack works for that too. Burning calories at a rapid rate is a major help in weight loss and fat loss. 

According to, it burns just about 472 calories in one hour if you do it vigorously. (based on a 130 pound individual)

While we don't recommend you doing any high impact exercise such as jumping jack for 1 hour since that can lead to over exhaustion, injuries, excessive muscle fatigue and dehydration, you can combine jumping jacks with other exercises to make it a full workout. 

Take Christ Jordan's 7 minute Workout Challenge.

It's a perfect example of how you can group different body weight exercises from various disciplines (cardio, strength, power and/or plyometrics) into one to create an effective total body circuit routine that burns calories, strengthens your body, melts fat and improves your endurance. 

Overall, jumping jack exercise is an effective workout to torch calories, burn fat while strengthening your whole body. 
And the best part is you can do it right in your living room or anywhere else you please. 

When you do jumping jacks, you are moving all the large muscle groups in your body. You engage your core and abs as well as your legs, calves and thighs.

It's a great "good for everything and everyone" type of exercise you can hardly go wrong with.  

Are you ready to add jumping jacks to your workout routine? See the 7 minute workout example here

As with all great exercises, when not performed properly, it can become dangerous and ineffective. 

Learn how to perform the jumping jacks the right, proper way below. 

Exercise Table

Reps Sets Level Location
45-60 seconds 3 Easy Gym or Home

Anywhere, anytime total-body cardiovascular exercise. Traveling or no time for the gym?

No problem! Add jumping jacks to your workout routine to get a great heart pumping cardio workout. All it takes is your body and a timer!

How to do the perfect Jumping Jack exercise:

  1. Stand straight with your hands at your sides.
  2. As you jump up, spread your feet wide and bring your arms up so they meet at the top. Land on the balls of your feet. Repeat for 45 - 60 seconds.


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