It is often possible to combine exercises but this is not always good. Discover how to do pushup jacks and whether you should.
Pushup jacks are a pushup and jumping jack variation where you do a small jump with your feet and move them outward as you lower your upper body with your arms and chest.
When you push yourself up again you do another jump with your feet so that you return to starting position.
Compared to regular pushups, pushup jacks engage a few extra muscles, focus more on cardio, and engage your core more.
That being said, when doing pushup jacks your chest, tricep, and shoulder muscles will still likely fatigue first.
This makes pushup jacks a relatively suboptimal exercise. You don’t get that many benefits but your chest, tricep, and front deltoid workout does suffer from it.
In simpler words, you likely want to keep your pushup and jumping jack sessions separate.
How to do a pushup jack
Take the following steps to do a pushup jack:
- Sit on your hands and knees with your shoulders above your wrists.
- Step back with your feet until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulders.
- Lower your body in a controlled motion by folding your arms. Keep your upper arms at about 45-degree angles to your sides. At the same time, jump outward with your feet.
- Slowly push your upper body up until your arms are slightly less than stretched. Jump inward with your feet during this motion.
During pushup jacks, you mainly want to pay attention to the angle of your upper arms and to not lowering your hips too much.
Ideally, you want to keep your body in one straight line. You may have to contract your abs to deal with the impact of the jumps.
Pushup jacks muscles worked
The main muscles you work with pushup jacks are your chest muscles, triceps, front deltoids (shoulders), abs, and to some extent your outer and inner thigh muscles.
You want to keep in mind that working muscles does not always mean growing and strengthening muscles.
Whether or not pushup jacks help you build muscle depends on your strength level, how many repetitions you do, and how much weight.
For example, advanced lifters may need something like a compact weighted vest to get to the muscle growth challenge level where they can barely complete 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 25 pushup jacks.
If you see any results from pushup jacks, it will likely be in your chest, tricep, and front deltoid muscles.
That being said, pushup jacks are likely less effective for this purpose because the leg movements can distract you from working these muscles optimally.
Pushup jacks benefits
On top of the regular benefits of pushups to a smaller extent, pushup jacks also offer a few other positive effects over the standard version of the exercise. A few examples include:
- Engage more muscles: By doing pushup jacks you focus more on your core, inner thigh, and outer thigh muscles compared to the regular version. For some people, this can be a good thing.
- Balance & coordination: The extra leg movements in pushup jacks make the exercise harder in terms of balance and coordination. This can benefit your skills.
- Flexibility and mobility: Pushup jacks can push you in the range of motion of certain body parts. This could be enough to improve these fitness components.
- Cardiovascular training: Due to the extra movements, pushup jacks get your heart beating faster compared to the regular version. This could keep your cardiovascular system healthier.
Pushup jacks are not necessarily the number one choice for people who are interested in these benefits but they do help.
Pushup jack alternatives
If you don’t have a specific preference for pushup jacks, you will likely prefer one of their alternatives. Some examples include:
- Regular pushups
- Regular jumping jacks
- Weighted leg abductions
- Weighted leg adductions
- Ab wheel roll-outs
- Bench presses
- Mountain climbers
What pushup jack alternatives are the best for you depends on details like what you are trying to achieve, what muscles you want to engage, and what your body can deal with.
Are pushup jacks a good exercise?
While doing them does offer nice benefits, you can not really say pushup jacks are a good exercise.
This is because they are mainly a downgrade from regular pushups or jumping jacks which are just as easily available.
By adding the extra leg movements to pushups you likely make your chest, tricep, and front deltoid training less effective.
At the same time, these leg movements do not really offer a lot of benefits. The extra cardiovascular engagement is definitely not that impressive.
Keep in mind that personal preference still matters. If you really enjoy pushup jacks, you could find it easier to stick to a workout plan that includes them.
What is a pushup jack?
A pushup jack is a pushup variation where you jump out with your feet in the downward part of the pushup movement and in with your feet in the upward part of the movement.