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Behind the simplicity of the jumping jack lies a formidable weapon in weight loss and muscle building. Discover all the secrets of this cult workout, the fitness superstar of the '60s.

Widely used by soldiers in the army, jumping jack has become popular in the fitness world. Accompanied by François Abraham, Domyos trainer, and Guillaume Canesson, athletic trainer (specializing in weight loss and physical transformation) and founder of Farm Gym France we explain to you why this simple jumping star is a true ally for burning calories while toning. Your body and how to perform it to perfection.

What is a jumping jack (or jumping stars)?

The jump jack (JJ for short) is a great classic for cardio and fitness exercises; It is also often found in hiit or tabata training along with, for example, mountain climbers. This so-called "star" jump or "spread legs" is practiced instantly and in a very rhythmic way. If you don't see what it's all about, consider the training of American soldiers that you can see in movies or TV series (or even easier, scroll down a bit to see the demo video).

The origin of jumping jack remains unclear. It is sometimes attributed to an American general, and sometimes to a famous nutritionist and sports coach. The first, John Pershing, used it in the army to mislead his soldiers. The second, Jack LaLanne (not to be confused with Frances), made the exercise popular in the fitness world in the 1960s. Anyway, it's an essential cardio workout (but not only!).

How do you do jumping jacks?

If doing jumping jacks sounds simple, the limb coordination this exercise requires has surprised many! “We often notice coordination problems, especially in beginners who desynchronize the arms and legs as the movement progresses,” says Guillaume, athletic trainer at Farm Gym France.

Without further ado, here are two poses to master to achieve beautiful jumping jacks: Position 1: Feet close (but not joined), arms along the body, hands touching the thighs and head straight. ➡️ Position 2:

Feet apart, hands touching above the head, elbows bent.

Of course, we add a small jump to go from position 1 to position 2.

Guillaume also gives us some criteria for achieving a perfect jump jack:

The leg opening is two shoulder widths.

✅ Shoulders remain low, even when you raise your arms above your head (don't stress).

✅ Shoulder and pelvis alignment is maintained consistently (excluding the hips).

✅ The feet are parallel without placing the heels down.

The jump is light to preserve the joints (makes as little noise as possible during impact).

▶ ️ Explanation video: Jumping Jack and its variants

Moves, mistakes to avoid... Here, Domius coach François, split the exercise for us with a video. As a bonus: some variants to test at all!

Why do cranes jump?

🔹 The first benefit of jumping jack: Cardio exercises, which can be very intense depending on the variables and which allow you to burn as many calories as possible.

🔹 Attention #2: It's also an excellent exercise to work on coordination and balance.

🔹 Benefit No. 3: It touches the whole body and thus strengthens many muscles (which we detail below).

The advantage of jumping jack is that it requires a minimum amount of time and space. Since the jumps take place on site, you can jump just about anywhere and without the need for equipment (understand: no more excuses for not getting started!).

The jumping jack is ideal as a supplement to the sports of running and jumping, and holds its place in the athletic ranges. It is a movement that adapts well to all levels. says Guillaume, athletic trainer at Farm Gym France.

The advantage of jumping jack is that it requires a minimum amount of time and space. [...]. It is a movement that adapts well to all levels.

Does jumping jack make you lose weight?

This is a question that is asked often. However, it is hard to say that jumping jack makes you lose weight. Guillaume reminds us that the main thing in weight loss is to monitor your energy balance: the idea is to find the right balance between intake and expenditure (and in particular spending more than you eat when you want to lose a few pounds).

However, along with a balanced diet, jumping jacks are a very enjoyable bodyweight exercise as they burn a lot of energy. Several variables make it possible to increase this energy expenditure sought in weight loss.” To learn more about this, discover our dedicated profile 'Sports and Weight Loss'.

Do you want to lose weight?

Take the tabata challenge: a special 12-week weight loss program available for free on the Decathlon Coach mobile app. The principle: Perform high-intensity cardio exercises to burn as many calories as possible.

What muscles does a jump jack work?

The muscle mass involved is greater during jumping than during jogging or rope jumping.

The big advantage of the jump lever is that it works the whole body. The muscle mass involved is greater during jumping than during jogging or rope jumping. the reason ? The arms that work the most!

The movement of the arms and shoulders mobilizes a large number of locomotor muscles and more specifically the deltoid muscle because it plays a role in the abduction of the arm (which gives the rounded shape of the shoulder).

On the side of the calf muscles, the triceps extensors (commonly called the calves) work especially well. The calves are activated for the duration of the movement, and the calves are used for the lunge and cushioning for the jump.

The four muscles that make up the quadriceps are also activated: the rectus femoris and the vastus three.

Adductors and hip abductors also work: individual abductors

legs to the side;

► Adductors to return the leg toward the body axis.

Finally, between the lower and upper extremities, the abdominal muscles play their role in maintaining the bust and are thus called, in particular the rectus abdominis muscles.

start and advance jump jack

Guillaume, a trainer at Farm Gym France who specializes in weight loss and physical transformation, advises that you avoid starting your session with jumping jacks. "It's a high-impact offensive workout that requires a warm-up. It is easily combined into a training session that takes place with: 1 body revitalization phase, 1 endurance phase, 1 strengthening phase and 1 phase combining bodybuilding and cardio."


Guillaume stresses the importance of protecting his tendons. “We do jumping exercises after the preparatory phase of the body, especially for people who are less used to training. The idea is to get the blood flowing to warm the ankles and feet.

Here are some ideas for proper warm-up exercises:

● pull the calves against the wall;

● Dog facing posture.

● knee against the wall.

● Elevated heel incisions.

Duration of training and number of repetitions

We prefer speed and repetition rather than big chains. The idea is to gradually increase the intensity, by number and variables.

To start, we can test 5 sets of 10 repetitions interspersed with other exercises. We can then increase the number of repetitions to 12, 15…20. When we reach 5 sets of 20 repetitions, we then aim for 2 sets of 50 jump jacks to go there in stages.

To start a jump jack with less force, you can also start with 3 jumps at once + 1 jump jack. This engages the heart and accustoms the body to exercise to better control it.

Clouds is a follower of the principle of progressive overload. “We prefer speed and repetition rather than big series. The idea is to gradually increase the intensity, through number and variables. This is

Good, because we have a lot of variants to offer you!

Variations in jumping to break the routine

The jumping jack is available in many forms, and is accessible for all fitness levels; Enough to satisfy the most timid as well as the most experienced.

⇾ jump jack without jumping: step jack

Ideal for easy starting use, the progressive handle consists of performing the movement while walking:

Start the body in I, arms along the thighs and head straight.

➡️ Step to the side by opening your right foot and raising both arms at the same time.

➡️ Come back to me and repeat on the left side.

⇾ Change the position of the weapons: half jack, seal jack, front jack

● Half Jack: This is the classic jumping jack, but the arms stop at shoulder level (and do not go over the head).

● Seal socket: When the legs are tightened, the arms are extended to the sides. They meet extended in front of the body when jumping with legs wide apart. The arms always remain on a horizontal plane (instead of the vertical in classic JJ).

● Forward lever: Similar to the previous one, the movement consists of extending the arms in front of you when the legs are apart, then bending the elbows and placing the fist under the chin when the legs are taut.

These three variables make it possible to change the position of the arms to reduce or change the pressure on the upper body. It's perfect for those who can't lift their arms in the air, for example. Find the show in the video above!

⇾ Step Up: Leap Stars

A very intense version of JJ, the star jump consists of jumping in the air with arms and legs spaced apart in a star shape. Good to know: This variant is also called an antenna jack, star jack, or X-jack (put in the evening to show off).

Some tips to achieve this explosive type:

➡️ Make sure your feet are closed well at the end of the movement.

➡️ Bend your legs slightly for cushioning and get ready for the next lunge.

➡ The arms remain along the body at the moment of the pulse.

⇾ Combine other exercises: Jack Squat and Jack Burpees

The squat jack consists of combining the squat exercise with the jumping jack and specifically strengthens the muscles of the legs and buttocks (as well as the core!):

➡️ Start with the classic squat.

➡️ Jump to land in a jumping position with legs together and arms along the body.

For athletes who want to challenge their physique and brains, we recommend the Jack Burpees set: ➡️ Lay your body at me, arms along your thighs, and head straight. ➡️ Begin the burpee by bending down until you reach a squat position, hands on the floor. ➡️ Throw your feet back to land in a closed position. ➡️ Immediately bend your elbows to allow your chest, pelvis and legs to touch the floor. ➡️ Return to the plank and bring your feet close to your hands while jumping (you are again in a squatting position, hands on the floor). ➡️ Get up to finish burpees and jumps.

⇾ Intense work for the shoulder: press jack

➡️ Start by closing your legs and hands at shoulder level, palms up (not your thighs).

➡️ When jumping, spread your arms out as if you were pushing the ceiling with your hands.

To increase the intensity of the exercise, it is also possible to do it with dumbbells from 2 to 5 kg (and sing "So we raise our hands like the ceiling can't hold us" at the same time, but that's up to you).

⇾ work on your cover: plank jack (or plank jack)

The plank jack has various benefits from the jump jack, as it strengthens the abdominal girdle, making it an ideal bodybuilding exercise for those who want to work out the abdominal muscles:

Begin on a mat in a closed position, with both forearms and feet.

➡️ Step down with the right foot while maintaining the position (without pendulum movement), then return the right foot to the center.

➡ Do the same with the left foot.

If your abs are really strong and you like challenges, try the advanced version: straighten both feet at the same time (with a slight hop). Guaranteed effect on the heart and abdominal muscles!

Prepare your next feast: Pogo Leap

Joking aside, this version allows you to limit the work of the arms, to strengthen the work of the calves (because they mainly work) with a strong core contact:

Start the body at I, arms along the thighs, head straight.

➡️ Jump as high as possible by bending your knees as little as possible (you can gain momentum by bending your arms, as if you were instantly jumping into a crowd to try to see someone).

Repeat as soon as possible.

💡 Tip: Don't take momentum with your hips, keep your body straight. The heel should not touch the ground.

Guillaume, our coach who specializes in physical transformation, sums up Jack Jump in two words: "fast and efficient." By mobilizing different muscle groups, this functional exercise significantly increases energy expenditure. Easy to install, the jumping jack becomes your ally, whether to lose weight or grow your muscles. Add it to your circuit exercises, as well as bell exercises for example. ready? 1, 2, 3, jump!


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