For Air jacks movement, propel yourself off the floor, performing a traditional “jack” type movement. Beginners: stick to regular jumping jacks, or modified jacks, using one leg out and in at a time.
It is a callisthenics, cardiovascular and Pilates exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps and, to a lesser extent, the glutes, hamstrings and shoulders.
This exercise is a compound movement because it engages all the main muscle groups in your body. If you have common goals like improving your general heart health and increasing your strength, then compound exercises are a great place to start.
|Primary Target Muscle:||Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings|
|Secondary Muscles Worked:||Shoulder, Calves, Abdominal|
|Exercise Type:||Calisthenics, Cardiovascular and Pilates|
Step by step Instructions of Air jacks
- Stand with your arms together on your feet and legs.
- Start as if you are going to perform a jumping jack.
- As you jump up, simultaneously raise your arms up and stretch your legs towards the armpits so that your body makes an “X” in the air.
- Place your feet together with your feet on the back ground and arms on your sides. This completes your one representative.
- Repeat for recommended amount of repetitions.
Safety and precautions tip
If you are using for an active recovery step then you can move quickly to get your blood pump or slow it down a bit.
Since jumping greatly increases heart rate, it is advisable to have a physician check before starting air jacks, just like any other exercise routine. Two other precautions when performing the jumping routine are:
- Wearing a knee cap or knee support to avoid sudden shock or injury to the knee
- Always land on the foot or ball of the foot and never on the heel or flat foot to avoid injury.
Beginners, try doing basic jumping jacks for a minute. Increase the duration, day by day, and then gradually add more complex routines like these to your workout. When you workout, remember to just breathe in and out, so that you don’t get out of breath.
For beginners or someone with knee pain, the steps below may need to move the basic jumping jacks.
How to do basic jumping jacks
- To do a basic jumping jacks, start your legs nice and long by standing your feet together and downward.
- You will then rotate both your legs outward so that your legs are apart or wide. As you widen your legs, raise your arms up and up.
- Then bring your arms down and place them on your arms as you rotate your legs backwards together.
- Repeat, jumping with your legs spread wide as you raise your arms up and upwards.
Benefits of Air jacks and Jumping Jacks
Pleometric exercises, like air jacks and jumping jacks, are meant to help people run faster and jump higher. Because the pleometrics work by pulling the muscles (eccentric phase) rapidly and then shortening them rapidly (concentric phase).
Other examples of pleometric exercises:
- Squat jumps
- Box jumps
- Lunge jumps
Air jacks and jumping jacks can be a good option to cover miles on a treadmill or stationary bike. All these exercises help to increase your heart rate, but the jumping jack also gets you to move your body out of the normal plane of motion.
By taxing muscles in these ways, movement can become more explosive, achieving both strength and agility for sports that require multidimensional movement.
Jump training can also be good for bone health. In one study, mice were placed for a jumping exercise for eight weeks (200 jumps per week with 40 jumps per day for five days). 1
Their bone density before and after the jumping regimen was measured and showed significant benefit over the control group. Rats maintained these gains over a 24-week period in the initial testing period, which was as low as 11 percent (21 jumps per week) of training.
In general, regular exercise can also provide the following benefits:
- Weight management
- Blood pressure reduction
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, lowers “bad” cholesterol
- Increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, “good” cholesterol
- Increased insulin sensitivity
Air Jacks/Jumping Jacks and Pregnancy
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommend pregnant women receive 20 to 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activity in all trimesters of pregnancy. ACOG notes that exercise helps maintain physical fitness, maintain a healthy weight, and may even reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes. 2
- While ACOG specifically asks not to perform jumping jacks, they do list “low-impact” aerobics as a safer alternative to high-impact sports such as gymnastics. You can talk to your doctor about the types of exercises you can do during various trimesters of pregnancy.
- If you have a straight pregnancy and are doing regular air jacks and jumping jacks before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor to continue. Pregnancy affects joints and balance, so proceed with caution.
- Some women may be able to continue vigorous exercise safely until delivery with the approval of their doctor. Getting OK is especially important for vigorous practice during the second and third trimesters.
- The key is to pay attention to your body and adjust based on any pregnancy complications and your doctor’s recommendations.
- Ooi, F.K., Singh, R., Singh, H.J. et al. “Minimum level of jumping exercise required to maintain exercise-induced bone gains in female rats.” Osteoporos Int 20, 963–972 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-008-0760-6.
- “Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period.” Available from: https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period.