How To Do Step Jacks Properly

Step jacks are a variation of jumping jacks. The difference comes about when instead of jumping outward with both legs, you take a step to the side with one leg.

The movement of your arms remains the same sideways upward-downward movement as the regular jumping jacks. The exercise is less intense on the knees making it easier on them but consequently, the benefits are to a lesser extent.

Step jacks are a form of cardio exercise that aims to train your cardiovascular health. However, unlike other cardio exercises like running and cycling, it engages more additional muscles.

Nonetheless, it can be incorporated in resistance training by beginners who want to build some muscle. Although, it is recommended that you stick to resistance training exercises if that is your goal.

Similarly, even though it is a cardio exercise, there are better options than the step jacks if your goal is to train cardio. They are more useful as warmups or to improve coordination.

So, if or when your body can handle regular jumping jacks, do them as they are likely to offer more benefits. However, doing step jacks or alternating them will all come down to things like your personal situation, personal preference, and training goals

HOW TO DO STEP JACKS

Here is a step-by-step procedure for doing the exercise:

  • Start by standing upright with your feet close together and arms hanging by your sides. This will be your starting position.
  • Now, take a step to the side with one leg until your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart. Simultaneously, slightly stretch out your arms and raise them sideways and upward.
  • Ensure that your arms are straightened up timely by the time your leg finishes the step.
  • Return back to the starting position by taking a step back with the same leg you used in the previous step. Also, reverse your arms back to the previous movement.
  • Alternate with the other leg and repeat the movement for the desired number of reps.

STEP JACKS MUSCLES WORKED

This compound exercise works quite a variety of different muscles. Although, there are those that have to work the hardest work in order to move and keep your body in position.

The muscles worked include the inner thighs, outer thighs/hips, calves, glutes, quadriceps, core, back, and shoulders. Although, your inner thighs, outer thighs, glutes, calves, and quadriceps are engaged to a lesser extent than the jumping jacks since you only move one leg at a time.

STEP JACKS BENEFITS

EASIER ON YOUR KNEES

Unlike the jumping jacks, which can be uncomfortable for those with knee pain, step jacks are easier on your knees.

WEIGHT LOSS

The movement demands a lot of exercise than your regular day to day activities. Also, the additional muscle mass will help in calorie burning. However, as much as these will help in weight loss, there is no guarantee.

STRONGER MUSCLES

Generally, the movement is a cardio and coordination exercise. However, it can be incorporated into resistance training by beginners to help them strengthen muscles.

IMPROVES MOOD

The exercise promotes the release of hormonal substances that help you feel good and improve your general mood.

BALANCE AND COORDINATION

The exercise challenges balance and coordination thus, improving these fitness skills.

IMPROVES SLEEP

Another great benefit of the exercise is improved quality and duration of your sleep. This in turn has many important benefits.

SLOWS DOWN AGING

This means that doing the exercise can slow down the progress of some aging markers related to negative health effects.

NO EQUIPMENT OR LOCATION REQUIRED

Finally, this calisthenic exercise does not require any equipment or being fixed in a specific location. Therefore, it is quite convenient if you can’t access the gym.

STEP JACKS ALTERNATIVES

JUMPING JACKS

The jumping jacks are an effective, calisthenic total-body workout that can be almost anywhere. Additionally, it is a plyometrics exercise meaning it is a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance work.

It works your heart, lungs, shoulders, quads, core, hips, calves, glutes and back muscles at the same time.

SIDE SHUFFLES

The side shuffles are a lower body strengthening exercise. It targets the glutes, hips, thighs, and calves. It is also a great cardio exercise that improves agility.

LATERAL RAISES

The lateral raises are quite popular for building shoulders and are one of the best shoulder exercises. It’s a simple but effective movement.

Simply, you’ll need to raise weights to the sides and then up to shoulder level, before lowering them again.

CYCLING

Cycling is an aerobic activity that increases cardiovascular fitness. Your heart, blood vessels and lungs will all get a workout.

Generally, there is a lot of breathing deeply, perspiring and increased body temperatures which will improve your overall fitness level.

STEP JACKS MISTAKES TO AVOID

Do not attempt the exercise with improper technique. If done poorly you can injure yourself since it is hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, back, elbows, and shoulders.

Do not attempt the exercise without doing strengthening exercises first. This is especially If you have sensitive, painful or weak body parts like the ankle or shoulder.

In case of this, you may need to consult your physician or an expert trainer before incorporating the exercise into your workout routine.

Do not continue with the exercise if you start feeling pain in any body This may signal that you are overdoing it.

It is advised that, in such cases, take some rest or try a less intense workout schedule.

CONCLUSION

If jumping jacks are proving difficult and you want a similar exercise, then step jacks will come through for you. It is not only a cardio and muscle training exercise, but also as a warmup or coordination training exercise.

However, if you are serious about cardio and muscle building, it is recommended that you turn to other cardio and resistance training options for optimal results. Essentially, use proper form to reduce your risk of injury.