The first exercise in The 100 Workout is the jumping jack. You might remember doing these exercises as a kid, in gym class or on the playground. Jumping jacks are a simple exercise that works nearly every major muscle group in the body, and they can be performed until exhaustion if necessary. As a brief side note, according to Wikipedia the Guinness Record for consecutive jumping jacks is 27,000. Thankfully, you’ll only have to do a handful of those!
During The 100 Workout Program, jumping jacks come at you three times: at exercise one, you perform 100 jumping jacks; at exercise five, you perform 60 jumping jacks and at exercise nine, you perform 20 jumping jacks. Easy, right!
Performing the Jumping Jack
If you can’t remember or you’ve never done jumping jacks, don’t worry. The jumping jack is quite possibly the easiest exercise motion to do outside of walking or running, and with no major amounts of weight, hard impacts or excessive joint movements happening, jumping jacks are very safe. First, start by standing with your hands at your sides, with your feet together and toes pointing forward. Then, while jumping upwards bring your hands from your sides and touch them above your head and spread your legs outwards so when you land, your feet are about 2x shoulder width apart:
Remember to keep your arms straight while you raise and lower them. Bending your arms at the elbows makes this exercise easier, which is cheating! Also, you don’t need to spread your legs to the point that you’re having difficult landing.
In the video below you can see proper jumping jack technique demonstrated in full. Once you get the hang of them, jumping jacks are among the easiest exercises to perform with quick repetitions, and they provide a fantastic cardio workout.
Jumping Jack Variations
As you move through and become more experienced with The 100 Workout, you’ll find that the jumping jacks aren’t pushing you as hard as they did when you first started. For something a bit more advanced, try power jumping jacks. The technique is nearly the same, but the movements are more explosive and require you to input far more work via exercise. Note: doing 100 of these to start The 100 Workout isn’t for the inexperienced.
If you’re very fit and want to give yourself a real challenge, you can complete The 100 Workout while wearing ankle weights. You can typically find ankle weights in any sporting goods store or fitness shop. Wearing ankle and/or wrist weights while performing jumping jacks will make them significantly more difficult.
Tips for Mastering the Jumping Jack
If you’ve just started The 100 Workout and you’re having difficulty completing all of your jumping jacks, don’t fret. With 180 total repetitions during The 100 Workout, jumping jacks are the highest volume exercise and one of the most tiring. Here are a few tips to help push you through to completion.
- Go barefoot and sweater-less – if you are the type that likes to work out in a hooded sweatshirt and large running shoes, but you’re having trouble finishing your jumping jacks… try ditching the clothes. You can perform The 100 Workout barefoot, and by taking your shoes off you’re removing one pound of weight that you need to lift with each foot for every jumping jack. If you do this at your gym, remember to have a clean pair of socks on!
- Keep an even rhythm – the human body performs well when it can fire its muscles and breathe in an even rhythm or cadence. When you’re doing your jumping jacks, try performing them to music which has a continuous, steady beat, or count them off in your head while trying to maintain the same pace. Speeding up or slowing down throughout your jumping jacks workout will only make them more challenging, so stick to the same pace for great results.
- Have fun with it! – The 100 Workout is meant to be a fun way to exercise efficiently. Plus, they’re jumping jacks! If you start to get tired or want to quit, remember back to your young days as a child and how much you loved doing these. Keep a smile on your face and push your body to its limits.
Share your Jumping Jack Tips
Sure, they’re probably the easiest exercise in The 100 Workout… but since you have to do a total of 180 jumping jacks in every session, these will get your heart rate cranked up and have you sweating by the end of your workout. Have you made some modifications to the jumping jacks portion of The 100 Workout, or perhaps added some weight to make these more difficult? Share your tips and thoughts about exercising with jumping jacks in the comments below!