Jump Rope Jacks: How To, Downsides,…

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It is often possible to combine multiple exercises but this is not always a good idea. Find out how to do jump rope jacks and whether they are good.

Jump rope jacks are a jumping jack variation where you only do the leg movements of the jumping jack and swing a rope with your arms. You have to time your jumps so you don’t hit the jump rope.

The main upside of this is that you will train your coordination skills more than in regular jumping jacks.

On the flip side, this also makes your cardiovascular harder to do successfully if the rope regularly gets stuck behind your feet.

Additionally, jump rope jacks engage your inner and outer thigh muscles less due to the smaller range of motion. Your shoulders also basically get no workout or warm-up.

In simpler words, unless you really want to train coordination, you likely don’t want to do jump rope jacks. There are just so many convenient alternatives that offer more benefits.

How to do a jump rope jack

To be able to do jump rope jacks you need some type of jump rope. Once you have that, take the following steps to do the exercise:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet together. Hold a jump rope in your hands like you would when jumping rope regularly.
  2. Start swinging your rope.
  3. When the rope comes close to your feet, jump in the air over the rope and move your legs sideways and outward.
  4. Land with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and keep swinging the rope.
  5. When the rope comes close to your feet again, jump over it and move your legs inward back into starting position.
  6. Keep alternating between steps 3 and 5.
How to do jump rope jacks

You want to land in jump rope jacks with your legs at least somewhat bent. Many people will find landing on the front parts of their feet more comfortable too.

If you are relatively new to jumping rope (and even if you are not), it may take a while to get used to jump rope jacks.

To do this you can start with slower speeds and build up from there.

When you are ready to make jump rope jacks harder you can go faster, wear a weighted vest, and/or use a weighted jumping rope.

Jump rope jacks muscles worked

The main muscles you work with jump rope jacks are your calves, quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), inner thigh muscles, and outer thigh muscles.

You also engage upper body muscles like your biceps, triceps, and forearms to some extent.

Jump rope jacks work your deltoids (shoulders) and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) muscles a lot less than regular jumping jacks since your arms are not as involved in the exercise.

Additionally, you likely engage your inner and outer thigh muscles to a lesser extent since your outward and inward leg movements are likely smaller to not hit the rope.

On the other hand, you engage your forearm muscles more than in regular jumping jacks to turn your wrists and the rope.

Lastly, you want to keep in mind that you will typically not grow and strengthen all of these muscles. Jump rope jacks are mostly a cardiovascular exercise that is not hard enough to cause these changes.

Jump rope jacks benefits

Besides the extra coordination challenge, the positive effects of doing jump rope jacks will likely be similar to the benefits of jumping jacks. Some of the main examples of this are:

  1. Coordination and balance: Challenging your coordination and balance with something like jump rope jacks could help you improve in these areas.
  2. Can help with losing weight: The vigorous movements involved in jump rope jacks will likely burn more energy than usual. In turn, this makes it more likely you lose weight.
  3. Can improve muscle endurance: While jump rope jacks will likely not grow muscles, engaging these can still benefit your endurance.
  4. Improves mood: Doing vigorous movements like jump rope jacks tends to promote the release of hormones that make you feel better.
  5. Improves sleep: What you do throughout the day can influence your sleep. More specifically, jump rope jacks could help you improve the quality and duration of your sleep.

You could consider more effective options too but jump rope jacks do offer benefits over doing nothing.

Jump rope jack alternatives

If you don’t necessarily like jump rope jacks, you likely want to do something that offers more results in a shorter amount of time.

More specifically, you can consider some of these jump rope jack alternatives instead:

  • Other jump rope tricks
  • Side shuffles
  • Jumping jacks and other variations
  • Running
  • Rowing
  • Weighted leg adductions or abductions

What fitness components you want to improve, what your body can deal with, and simply what you prefer doing will influence your decision between these jump rope jack alternatives.

Are jump rope jacks a good exercise?

Doing jump rope jacks will still offer benefits but from a results-per-minute perspective, it is hard to really call them a good exercise.

The main issue with jump rope jacks is that they can be relatively challenging to do successfully. Especially at higher speeds.

In turn, you will likely only be able to get a light cardiovascular workout. There are many alternatives that offer more progress in this area.

On the flip side, it is worth mentioning that jump rope jacks can still be helpful to improve coordination and warm up.

The extra cardiovascular engagement is also better than doing nothing.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.