You can modify jumping jacks in a variety of ways to focus on different aspects. Discover how to do stance jacks and what they offer.
First of all, it is worth noting some people mean different things when they say the words stance jacks.
This article considers stance jacks to be a jumping jack variation where you start with your arms up. After the outward leg jump, you reach down to the foot of the opposite side with one arm.
Next, you return to starting position and repeat the same movement with the arm on the other side.
This makes the exercise focus more on your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and quadriceps. However, stance jacks are also a lot more awkward to do at high speeds.
You can say that stance jacks are more effective than the regular version for improving endurance in your quadriceps (front thighs) and to some extent glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back thighs).
Additionally, they will still help you work your cardiovascular system, balance, and coordination.
That being said, to really train your cardiovascular health, regular jumping jacks and other exercises are likely better choices.
How to do a stance jack
Take the following steps to do a stance jack:
- Stand upright with your feet right next to each other and your slightly less-than-stretched arms pointing straight up.
- Jump in the air and move your legs sideways and outward. Move your arms sideways and down.
- Land with your legs slightly bent and your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Reach down with one hand to the foot of the other side. Keep your knees slightly bent, your upper legs above your feet, and your lower back straight.
- Move your upper body back up and jump in the air.
- While in the air, move your arms sideways and up and move your legs inward. Again, keep your legs slightly less than stretched.
- Land into starting position.
You mainly want to pay attention to keeping your spine more or less straight during stance jacks. Some people will find bending their spines in this movement uncomfortable.
It is fine to do stance jacks slowly to get used to the movement. When you are ready, you can pick up the speed to work your muscles and cardiovascular system more.
Another way to achieve these things is doing stance jacks while wearing a weighted vest.
Stance jacks muscles worked
The main muscles you work in stance jacks are your hip adductors (inner thighs), hip abductors (outer thighs), calves, quadriceps (front thighs), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back thighs), core muscles, latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), and deltoids (shoulders).
Doing a bodyweight squat in stance jacks works your quadriceps, and to some extent glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae to a larger extent than regular jumping jacks.
Additionally, the sideways downward reach engages your oblique muscles more than just staying upright.
It is worth mentioning that even with the bodyweight squat, stance jacks will likely not help you build that much, if any, muscle.
For this purpose, the movement is typically not challenging enough for your muscles.
That being said, stance jacks can still help you improve muscle endurance and make the muscles healthier. These results can be valuable too.
Stance jacks benefits
While stance jacks focus a bit more on certain muscles and a bit less on cardio, most of the results will be similar to the benefits of regular jumping jacks. Some examples are:
- Can help with losing weight: Cardiovascular exercises like stance jacks can be useful for weight loss because they increase your energy usage during the workout.
- Cardiovascular health improvements: Stance jacks can help you work your cardiovascular system. Especially if you really pick up the pace. If you do this enough (but not too much), you can make this system stronger and healthier.
- Better muscle endurance: Working your muscles with stance jacks could be enough to improve your endurance in certain areas.
- Balance and coordination: You might need to get used to how challenging stance jacks are in terms of moving your arms and legs in the right ways and staying upright while doing them. This challenge could improve your balance and coordination skills.
- No equipment or location required: You can do stance jacks with just your body and a bit of room to move. This makes it so you don’t have to invest in exercise equipment or drive to your local gym to work out.
- Improves sleep: Moving more throughout the day with something like stance jacks can help you sleep better at night.
- Improves mood: Workouts can help increase the release of hormones that make you feel better. This applies to stance jacks too.
Stance jacks are not unique in these positive effects but you can still benefit from doing them.
Stance jack alternatives
You also have a variety of other exercise options if you like the benefits of stance jacks but not the movement itself. A few of these stance jack alternatives are:
- Other jumping jack variations
- Weighted squats
- Side shuffles
- Weighted leg adductions or abductions
- Using an elliptical machine
What stance jack alternatives are the best for your personal situation depends on details like your training goals, what equipment you have, and what movements you like doing.
Are stance jacks a good exercise?
Doing stance jacks can help improve your muscle endurance, coordination, balance, and cardiovascular health.
Compared to the regular version, there will be more focus on leg muscles like your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
At the same time, you need to know that doing stance jacks at high speeds is relatively awkard. In turn, this could make your cardiovascular workout suboptimal.
Additionally, there are better exercise options if you are trying to improve leg muscle endurance.
In simpler words, unless you really like this variation, there will likely be alternatives to stance jacks that are better for your situation and training goals.
What are stance jacks?
One version of stance jacks is an exercise where you start with your arms pointing up, jump outward with your feet, squat down slightly, and reach with one arm toward the foot of the other side.