X Jump Exercise: How To, Variations, Risks,…

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There are many different ways to improve your current exercise routine. What about doing x jumps, what will the effects be?

There are different movements with the name x jumps. This article considers X jumps an exercise where you do a jump squat where you reach toward the foot of the opposite side with one hand. At the jump in the air you also reach up with both arms so your body makes an x-shape.

How you do x jumps influences a lot what type of exercise this is. If you only do small jumps at a fast pace x jumps are mostly a cardio exercise. If you really focus on jumping high, x jumps are more of a plyometric leg muscle strengthening exercise.

Resistance training beginners and possibly even intermediates may be able to build some muscle with x jumps but if that is your goal you preferably want to turn to other resistance training exercises. Similarly, if your goal is to train cardio there may be better options than x jumps.

Whether you should add x jumps or alternatives to your routine depends on things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals.

How to do an x jump

The first thing you need to know is that x jumps are not for everyone. Especially if you have sensitive knees, ankles, hips, shoulders, and back this exercise may not be for you. If you have a softer surface or shock-absorbing shoes these may be a good option.

If you do want to give this exercise a try make sure you warm up sufficiently. x jumps use your muscles in a rather explosive manner, being warmed up helps you avoid injuries. Once these things are in order, to do an x jump take the following steps:

  1. Stand up straight with your feet at slightly wider than shoulder width. Keep your arms hanging still besides your body throughout the exercise to focus more on leg muscles.
  2. Slowly lower your hips by bending your knees and reach with one hand toward the foot of the opposite side. How far depends on different factors like knee health but at your lowest point you ideally want your hips to be at or lower than your knee height. Keep your spine in more or less a straight line throughout the movement.
  3. Push up your body fast, mainly with the help of your front upper leg muscles. You have to generate enough upward power so that you jump in the air.
  4. During the jump move up your arms so that they make a V-shape. Keep your legs slightly open too.
  5. How you want to land depends on what body parts you want to absorb the shock. You generally want to at least fold your legs slightly so your knees don’t absorb all the weight.
  6. Repeat but by reaching with your other hand.

How you want to land depends on what body parts you want to absorb the shock. As mentioned before, you generally want to at least fold your legs slightly so your knees don’t absorb all the weight.

How to do an x jump

x jump variations

The x jump done with just your body weight is the standard version of the exercise. There are also a few x jump variations that can make the exercise easier or harder.

Easier varations

Some people are not ready yet for a full x jump. Before you do the full version you want to make sure that your regular bodyweight squat technique is good. If any body parts hurt during the regular squat you likely don’t want to do an x jump.

Once you have taken that step, you can consider doing the exercise without going for the full range of motion with your arms and legs and only jumping a small distance in the air. This will help you train similar muscles but at a less challenging level.

Besides that you can start with other strengthening exercises depending on what muscles currently are the weak link. For example, if your shoulder muscles have trouble you can do an exercise like lateral raises first.

Different variations

There are different movements with the name x jumps. These different movements have a slightly different focus.

The first x jump variation is making an x with your arms at the bottom of the squat movement. The rest of the exercise is similar. This will put more focus on your shoulder and back muscles and less on your obliques.

There is also a version of the x jump where you start with legs together and arms by your side. You then jump and while in the air move your legs and arms to make an x at the top of the movement. Then before you land, you return your legs and arms to starting position.

This second version will focus more on inner thighs, outer thighs, shoulders, and back, and less on your oblques.

Harder variations

If you are more experienced with working out, bodyweight x jumps may be too easy to get a lot of results. At this point, you need to turn to other leg exercises or make x jumps harder to keep seeing a lot of results.

Making x jumps harder at the right points in your training journey can also speed up results compared to doing the regular bodyweight variation over and over.

The first and simple way to make x jumps more challenging is to focus on jumping higher. This will require a bigger effort from your leg muscles which in turn can benefit muscle growth.

To achieve more muscle strength and growth you can also do x jumps with weights. For example by wearing a weighted vest, holding light dumbbells, wrist weights, ankle weights, etc.

Keep in mind that these x jump variations also cause a bigger shock when landing.

You can also do x jumps at a faster pace with lower jumps to make this exercise more of a cardio challenge. However, this exercise is generally useful as plyometric resistance training. For cardiovascular training, a different exercise like running may be a better choice.

Muscles worked with x jumps

With any exercise you will almost always make a variety of different muscles work. Even so, there are a few muscles that will have to work the hardest for moving and keeping your body in position.

For most people, the quadriceps, glutes, and calves will be the first to fatigue when doing x jumps with a somewhat deep squatting movement. Besides that, your shoulders, back, and obliques will have to work hard too.

Other muscles that work throughout the x jump movement include hamstrings, core, and erector spinae.

The way you train your muscles influences what fitness component you improve. Regular squats and shoulder exercises at a slower pace will train either muscle endurance or muscle strength. X jumps can be a good alternative if you want to work on your muscle power fitness component.

Benefits of x jumps

There are two main categories of benefits of x jumps. The first category is the benefits of x jumps over its main alternative, regular squats. Some of these include:

  1. Trains muscle power more: Whether this is an actual benefit for you depends on your personal situation and training goals.
  2. Improves athletic performance more: Compared to bodyweight squats, x jumps are better for training explosive power of your leg muscles. This leads to an improvement in sports where you benefit from fast running.
  3. Likely strengthens bones more: Similar to muscles, your body can strengthen your bones if you put them under safe amounts of pressure and then offer them enough nutrients and rest. As long as you don’t overdo it this makes it so x jumps can strengthen bones more than a bodyweight squat.
  4. Trains additional muscles: x jumps involve more upper body and twisting movements. This engages additional muscles like shoulders, back, and obliques more. If you are serious about training these muscles you do want to switch to resistance training.

While the different movements do influence a few small things, x jumps are still an exercise that is very similar to bodyweight squats. This means they also offer similar benefits. Some of the most important ones include:

  1. Stronger muscles: X jumps are a type of exercise that can help you strengthen your muscles.
  2. Can help with losing weight: Doing x jumps likely requires more energy than your regular daily activities. Extra muscle mass also helps with burning more calories. Both of these aspects can help with, but are no guarantee for, weight loss
  3. Improves mood: Exercise like x jumps promotes the release of substances that help you feel good.
  4. No equipment or location required: Since x jumps are a bodyweight exercise you don’t have to invest in equipment or be in a specific location.
  5. Improves sleep: Exercise like x jumps can improve the quality and duration of your sleep which in turn offers many important benefits.
  6. Slows down aging: x jumps won’t influence how many days have passed since you were born. However, exercise can slow down the progress of certain aging markers that are correlated with negative health effects.

While inevitably some workouts are better for some of these benefits than x jumps, it is amazing that you can get so many important benefits from adding one activity to your routine.

Potential risks

The main thing to keep in mind is that x jumps can be hard on body parts like your shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any ankle, knee, or shoulder pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing x jumps.

If you feel pain in any body parts it may be a sign you are overdoing it. In that case, you may need some rest, better lifestyle habits, a less intense workout schedule, or it may be a sign that x jumps are not (yet) for you.

As mentioned before, don’t forget to warm up before doing an explosive exercise like x jumps.

X jump alternatives

While x jumps can definitely be a great addition to your workout routine, there are also some alternatives available for training similar aspects of your physical health. Some of these x jump alternatives include:

  • Jump squats
  • Jump lunges
  • Squats
  • Jumping jacks
  • Lateral raises
  • Running
  • Lunges
  • Step-ups

Which one of these options is the best depends on things like your personal situation, training goals, the equipment you have available, etc.


Many people will benefit from adding x jumps with the right technique to their routine. That being said, while x jumps can be a good all-around option, for both cardiovascular and muscular training other exercise options may be better.

Another thing you need to remember is that doing jumping jacks can be hard on body parts like your shoulders, ankles, knees, hips, and back, even if you implement the right technique.

If you are weak or sensitive in these body parts you may need to do other strengthening exercises first. Especially if you have any ankle, knee, or shoulder pain, you may want to talk to your primary care provider before implementing x jumps.

Also keep in mind that consistency is an important factor for any workout plan. The more you love the exercise you do the easier it becomes to do it consistently. If doing x jumps is a workout you love, you can consider doing this exercise anyway. If not other exercises can also offer a lot of benefits.

If you do decide to implement more x jumps make sure you give your body enough nutrients, rest, and sleep to repair and grow your muscles.

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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.