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