How to do a squat jack for a serious cardio workout

accreditation

Call the fire department – this squat variation is about to set everything ablaze.

Squats will always light up your glutes and quads. But the cardio king of the squat family – the squat jack – does so much more. For starters, it burns calories like crazy. And since you crank out tons of squats in a short amount of time, the squat jack will set your entire lower body on fire, says Jenna Epperly, ACE-certified trainer at Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

How to do squat jacks

How to: Stand with feet together, hands at your sides. Keeping your torso upright, jump your feet out wide into a sumo squat position. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees, ensuring your knees don’t go past your toes. Land lightly on your feet, keeping your weight in your heels and butt down. At the same time, cross your forearms in front of your chest. Still engaging your core, jump your feet back together, and raise your arms overhead. That’s one rep. Continue without pausing, until time or reps are complete.

Form tips: Your pelvis should be tucked and your core should be tight the whole time – think pushing your navel to your spine, says Epperly.

Reps/sets for best results: Epperly suggests jacking for 15 to 30 seconds at a time if you’re a beginner, 30 to 60 seconds if you’re advanced. If you prefer reps, aim for 15 to 20.

Read more: How to do a sideplank flawlessly

Benefits of squat jacks

“Squat jacks are mainly a cardio exercise since they involve a jump that gets your heart rate up,” says Epperly.

The benefits don’t stop there: “Squat jacks challenge and increase the endurance of the fast-twitch muscle fibres in your legs and help strengthen your core,” says Epperly. “And they can be a good complimentary move to add to your leg day to fatigue already-worked muscles and challenge your endurance.” Specifically, the move lights up your quads, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, glutes, core, and lower back.

Read more: How to do bicycle crunches without killing your neck

Make the squat jack part of your workout

Depending on what your workout routine looks like, aim to incorporate squat jacks at least once a week, says Epperly.

Her three favourite methods: Make them a move in your HIIT routine; combine them with a heavier leg lift to get your heart rate up (it goes great with leg presses, goblet squats, or hip thrusts); or finish leg day with a set or two to really fatigue your muscles.

If you need an easier variation in the beginning, simply step in and out, instead of jumping, says Epperly. But if you’re ready to get your heart seriously racing? Add weight. Ankle weights are great, but holding a dumbbell, kettlebell, or weighted plate in front of your chest also works well.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com 

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 47 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 566 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 71 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.95
-0.6%
Rand - Pound
19.40
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.39
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.65
-0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.3%
Gold
1,652.38
-0.5%
Silver
18.77
-0.7%
Palladium
2,135.00
-0.7%
Platinum
859.50
-0.8%
Brent Crude
89.32
+3.4%
Top 40
57,413
0.0%
All Share
63,808
0.0%
Resource 10
57,878
0.0%
Industrial 25
78,523
0.0%
Financial 15
14,099
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE