You may find bodyweight jumping jacks a bit too easy. In that case, adding weights to the exercise could align with your training goals.
Something to note first is that weighted jumping jacks are not for everyone.
Some versions can be uncomfortable on your shoulders and just doing regular jumping jacks or other cardiovascular exercises could align more with your training goals.
That being said, you could still consider doing weighted jumping jacks with equipment options like a weighted vest, ankle weights, and potentially arm weights.
These can help you burn more calories, engage your cardiovascular system more, and can improve muscle endurance to a larger extent.
1. Jumping jacks with ankle weights
Ankle weights are relatively unique pieces of fitness equipment in the sense that they allow you to add resistance to your legs without having to hold anything.
You just strap on the weights to your ankles and you are ready to start.
This type of equipment is typically useful in leg and ab isolation exercises but they are also a good choice for weighted jumping jacks.
The first effect of using ankle weights in this movement is that your hip abductors (outer thighs) and hip adductors (inner thighs) will have to work harder.
This can potentially lead to better muscle endurance in these areas. Especially when doing a nice amount of jumping jacks.
Additionally, because your body has to move more weight, your heart rate will also be a bit higher than usual. As long as you don’t overdo it this can offer benefits.
Lastly, some other benefits of ankle weights include that they are relatively budget-friendly, compact, and can be used in many exercises.
2. Dumbbell jumping jacks
Dumbbells are the popular pieces of fitness equipment you can describe as handles with a weight attached to each side.
You can hold a dumbbell in each hand while doing jumping jacks. Partly to engage your deltoids (shoulders) and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) more. Partly to get your heart beating faster.
Something to note is that you want to use relatively light dumbbells. Going too heavy can be uncomfortable on your shoulders, interfere with the jumping jack movement, and potentially leads to injuries.
While dumbbell jumping jacks are a popular weighted version, they are not ideal.
Besides the potentially uncomfortable shoulder feeling, you could send the dumbbell flying if you do not hold them tightly enough.
Additionally, even the lighter models can make the jumping jacks a lot more awkward.
That being said, if you absolutely want to do jumping jacks with extra weights and don’t have any other options, you could consider using dumbbells anyway.
3. Weighted vest jumping jacks
As their names imply, weighted vests are simply vests with extra weights attached to them. Similar to the ankle weights, weighted vests have the benefit of being hands-free.
This makes it so you can do the arm and leg movements of jumping jacks as usual.
At the same time, this piece of fitness equipment makes it so your quadriceps (front thighs), calves, and cardiovascular system have to work harder.
Additionally, weighted vests are extremely versatile, often have adjustable weights, and are reasonably priced compared to their training potential.
One thing to keep in mind is that certain models are a bit loose. If you want to do weighted vest jumping jacks, you preferably want an option that can be strapped on tightly.
4. Wrist weight jumping jacks
Wrist weights are basically the same as ankle weights except that they tend to be a bit smaller in circumference range. That being said, you can often use your ankle weights as wrist weights too.
These tend to be just a bit better to do weighted jumping jacks than the dumbbells. This is mostly because you can not drop the wrist weights since they are strapped onto your arms.
Additionally, wrist weights are sometimes adjustable which can be helpful if you are still improving your fitness level a lot.
Similar to the ankle weights, wrist weights are relatively budget-friendly, versatile, and compact.
Besides these, the downsides of wrist weights are somewhat similar to dumbbells. Wrist weight jumping jacks could be too challenging on your shoulders and interfere with the exercise.
5. Jumping jacks with weighted workout gloves
Workout gloves come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These include weighted models where you typically have an extra 1 or 2 pounds (0.45 to 0.91 kg) on your hands.
The effects of doing jumping jacks with these are somewhat similar to wrist weights but you don’t get the same versatility.
Additionally, weighted workout gloves are often not adjustable. This can be a big downside if you are unsure what weight would be best for doing weighted jumping jacks with your current strength level.
So most people will not like the weighted workout gloves as much as the other options. However, they are worth mentioning since they could align with your other training goals.
Benefits of weighted jumping jacks
At this point, you know a variety of ways to do weighted jumping jacks.
However, before committing to an exercise like this, you may also want to know about the main benefits this would offer. Some of these include:
- Burns more calories: Moving more weight than usual requires more energy, measured in calories, from your body. This could improve the weight loss effects of jumping jacks.
- Engages your cardiovascular system more: Another consequence of having to move more weight is that your cardiovascular system has to work harder. This can be good for your health as long as you don’t overdo it.
- Can increase muscle endurance more: While the jumping jacks will likely still not be challenging enough to actually build muscle, using weights can improve your muscle endurance progress.
- Better bone density: Similar to many other body parts, your bones can become stronger by putting safe amounts of extra pressure on them. Weighted jumping jacks can help with this.
- Speeds up your workouts: Good workouts are not only about duration. By using weights you can reach something that can be called a “good workout” faster.
- Other jumping jack benefits to a larger extent: Jumping jacks offer a variety of more general positive effects like improving sleep, improving mood, and reducing stress. These effects tend to be bigger when making jumping jacks harder.
Weighted jumping jacks are not for everyone but if your body can deal with them, they could deserve a place in your exercise routine.
Muscles worked while doing jumping jacks with weights
Many people are interested in knowing what weights can improve muscle endurance in what areas while doing weighted jumping jacks.
Weights that you move with your arms will mostly work your deltoids (shoulders) and latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back) to a larger extent.
Ankle weight jumping jacks will mostly work your hip abductors (outer thigh muscles) and hip adductors (inner thigh muscles) more.
When wearing a weighted vest, your quadriceps (front thighs) and calves will have to work harder to generate enough upward force to jump.
In all of these cases, your cardiovascular system will also have to work to a larger extent.
Weighted jumping jacks can help you burn a few extra calories, engage your cardiovascular system more, and can improve muscle endurance just a bit more.
If you want to combine your cardiovascular workout with muscle endurance and your body can deal with them, you can do jumping jacks with weights. That being said, most people will prefer keeping these workouts separate.