The regular version can be helpful but you can also switch up your exercise routine with predator jacks. Find out how to do these and their benefits.
Predator jacks are a jumping jack variation where you jump into the bottom of a squat instead of keeping your legs straight and you move your arms horizontally towards each other instead of vertically.
This makes the movement focus more on your quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), chest, and the front and back deltoids (shoulder) than regular jumping jacks.
On the other hand, predator jacks are also a lot more awkward to do at high speeds.
The result of these differences is that predator jacks can be a better choice than jumping jacks for people who want to train muscle endurance in different areas with some cardiovascular engagement on top.
You can also still use predator jacks to warm up and/or improve coordination to some extent.
However, for each of these individual goals, there will likely be better exercise alternatives for your situation.
How to do a predator jack
Take the following steps to do a predator jack:
- Stand upright with your feet together and your arms pointing straight forward.
- Jump in the air and move your legs sideways and outward. At the same time, move your arms sideways and outward.
- When landing you want your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms in one horizontal line. Bend your legs slightly to deal with the impact of landing.
- Lower your upper body as far as comfortable by folding your legs. Keep your knees above your feet and your spine more or less in a straight line.
- Raise your body with enough force to jump at the top of the movement. Point your arms forward and move your feet inward again.
It is normal that you have to get used to the predator jack movement at first. Over time, you can consider picking up the pace to get the benefits to larger extents.
Even when you get used to the movement, predator jacks can be a bit awkward to do at high speeds.
The main things to keep in mind during predator jacks are keeping your knees above your feet and your spine more or less straight.
Next, to make predator jacks harder for both your leg muscles and cardiovascular system you can wear a quality weighted vest.
Make sure your body is strong enough to deal with this extra challenge.
Muscles worked with predator jacks
The main muscles worked with predator jacks are your hip adductors (inner thighs), hip abductors (outer thighs), quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), calves, chest, front and back deltoids (shoulders), and erector spinae (lower back).
Some of the main differences with regular jumping jacks are the extra focus on your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, front and back deltoids, and chest muscles.
On the other hand, predator jacks also work the middle deltoids and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) less.
It is even possible that resistance training beginners initially see a small amount of quadricep muscle growth from doing predator jacks.
That being said, you should see both predator jacks and jumping jacks as muscle endurance exercises. This can be useful in itself too.
Predator jacks benefits
Predator jacks are likely not the number one exercise in terms of effectiveness but that does not mean it is never useful.
More specifically, you can expect some of the following benefits from predator jacks:
- Can improve cardiovascular health: The movements in predator jacks will likely get your heart beating faster. Working your cardiovascular system like this can make it healthier.
- Can help with losing weight: Part of making your movements more intense with predator jacks is that you also burn more energy than usual. This makes it more likely you start losing (more) weight.
- Muscle endurance: Even if predator jacks don’t help you build muscle, you could find the extra muscle endurance improvements just as helpful.
- Improves mood: Moving your body at high speeds tends to increase to what extent you produce feel-good hormones. That means doing predator jacks could improve your mood.
- Balance and coordination: Moving your body parts as intended and not falling down while doing so are skills you can train. Predator jacks could be enough to do this to some extent.
- Improves sleep: What you do throughout the day can influence your sleep. More specifically, doing exercises like predator jacks can help improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
- No equipment or location required: You can do predator jacks with just your body and some space to move. This makes it so you don’t have to invest in equipment or move to a specific location to exercise.
Predator jacks may not be unique in these benefits but if you like doing them, this exercise can be a good option to get these positive effects.
Predator jack alternatives
You could also conclude that you are more interested in getting a lot of results than in the predator jack exercise itself. Some of the alternatives that could help you with this are:
- Jumping jacks
- Side shuffles
- Weighted leg adductions or abductions
- Chest fly
- Bent-over reverse fly
- Using an elliptical machine
What you are trying to achieve plays an important role in what categories of predator jack alternatives are right for you.
Are predator jacks a good exercise?
Predator jacks offer a combination of cardiovascular, muscle endurance, and coordination training.
This is still better than doing nothing but it is also fair to say predator jacks are not the greatest exercise since there are so many more effective alternatives available.
If you like doing predator jacks and/or like the complete package of training different fitness components, you can still consider them.
That being said, many people will prefer exercise options that offer more results in shorter amounts of time.
What are predator jacks?
Predator jacks are a variation of regular jumping jacks where you lower your body in a wide-stance squat and move your arms horizontally to the center instead of up.