Jumping jacks are an exercise to use primarily for warming up before a fitness activity. They can also be an efficient way to do some cardiovascular training if you perform them for at least 15 minutes without stopping. Jumping jacks are easy to do, but it requires some coordination to perform them correctly.
If you are going to use jumping jacks for cardiovascular training, make sure that you do some stretches before you begin your workout. Stretch your arms, lower back and legs for several minutes, then gently shake your arms and legs to finish loosening up. Make sure that your workout shoes are tied tightly, so you do not have to stop to adjust them during the middle of your jumping jack workout.
Since jumping jacks are an exercise that you can perform at home, to help you pass the time during your workout you may want to turn on the television or radio. Wear a watch to time your training session. You can just use a wall clock if you do not want to wear a watch.
Performing a Jumping Jack
To perform a jumping jack, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and let your arms hang down by your sides. Jump up just off of the ground and spread your legs, while quickly raising your arms high up over your head until your hands almost touch. Keep your hands open with your palms facing away from you during the first part of the movement. Bring your feet back to shoulder width while quickly lowering your arms back down to your sides to finish the first jumping jack repetition. Continue to repeat the exercise for as long as you want to work on your cardiovascular fitness. If you start to experience any pain in your shoulders, either slow down the pace of the jumping jacks or do not raise your arms quite as high.
Increasing the Intensity
There are several ways that you can increase the intensity of your jumping jack workout. Try wearing wrist and ankle weights the next time you train. Adding these weights will make it harder to perform jumping jacks at the same speed, so make sure that you still use the proper form.
You can also increase the duration that you perform jumping jacks to add more difficulty to your workout. For example, if you normally perform jumping jacks for 15 minutes, try doing them for 20 minutes. You can also try doing jumping jacks for 10 minutes, resting for two minutes, then doing them for another 10 minutes.
Another way to add intensity to your jumping jack workout is by increasing the speed that you perform them. Make sure you continue to use the proper form when you speed up the pace of the exercise. Once you are able to perform jumping jacks faster for the same amount of time that you normally train, either wear some weights or add more minutes to your training session.