It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to home-based cardio moves. There are jumping jacks, burpees, running on a treadmill and… what else, exactly?
Well, there are more options than you might think, but most cardio variations are nothing more than simple tweaks of the tried-and-true go-to exercises. By adding a piece of equipment or adjusting your body’s position during a jumping jack, you can engage more muscle groups, increase your heart rate and see results faster.
1. Step out jumping jacks
If you have a lower body injury or jumping aggravates your joints, the step out jumping jack is an excellent lower-impact option. As you swing your arms overhead, step one leg out laterally. Bring your arms and leg back to center, then repeat on the opposite side.
2. Chest press jacks
Work your upper and lower body with the chest press jack. Wrap a resistance band around your shoulders, gripping it in each hand with your palms facing forward. With your feet together, press your hips back, and bend your knees to lower into a mini squat. As you hop your legs out wide, press your palms forward, extending the resistance band in a chest press.
3. Quick jacks
The goal of quick jacks is to make your body small and compact, then to move as fast as you can while performing the jumping jack. Start with your feet together, hips back and knees bent in a mini squat. Keeping your torso straight, tip forward slightly, and bring your forearms together in front of your chest, elbows bent to 90 degrees. Keeping your body low, knees and elbows bent, hop your legs out laterally as you swing your arms out to the side. Bring them back to center as quickly as you can.
4. Shoulder press jacks
Hold a dumbbell or medicine ball at your chest, feet together, knees slightly bent. As you hop your legs out laterally, press the weight directly up over your head. As you hop your feet back together, bring the weight straight down to the starting position.
5. Frog squat jacks
Start with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart, toes angled outward. Squat down, pressing your hips back and bending your knees, touching your fingers to the floor between your feet. In an explosive movement, jump up into the air, bringing your feet together as you reach your arms out and up over your head, landing in a “pencil” position. Hop your legs back out as you lower into the next squat.
6. Cross jacks
Start by crossing your right arm over your left arm, extending them in front of your chest and crossing your right leg over your left leg. Uncross your arms and legs by hopping your legs out laterally as you swing your arms out wide from your shoulders. When you bring everything back to center again, cross your left arm over your right arm and your left leg over your right leg. Continue alternating which arm and leg crosses in front of the other every other jump.
7. Seal jacks
Start in a “star” formation with your arms extended wide from your shoulders and your legs positioned wider than shoulder-width apart. Hop your legs to center as you simultaneously swing your arms inward, clapping your hands together in front of your chest.
8. Ski jacks
Imagine cross-country skiing as you perform the ski jacks, but this time, your arms and legs swing forward and backward rather than laterally. Start with your arms at your sides and your feet together. Jump in the air, and land with your left leg forward and your right leg backward as you simultaneously swing your right arm forward and your left arm backward. When you jump into the air again, switch the position of your arms and legs so your right leg lands forward as you swing your left arm forward and your left leg and right arm land in the backward position.
9. Oblique jacks
It takes some coordination to get oblique jacks correct. Start with your feet together and your arms extended out from your shoulders with your elbows bent at 90 degrees, almost like you’re giving the touchdown signal. Draw one knee up, rotating it externally from your hip as you crunch your torso to the same side, as if trying to touch your elbow to your knee. As you return your foot to the ground, immediately switch sides, hopping your opposite leg up and out as you crunch to the opposite side.
10. Predator jacks
Start with your feet together and squat down, pressing your hips back and bending your knees. Keeping your back straight, tip forward from your torso, and reach your fingers toward the ground on either side of your feet. Keeping your torso in a steady position and your knees bent, hop your legs out wide laterally as you sweep your arms up and out laterally to the sides. Imagine squeezing your shoulder blades together as you sweep your arms out to work the back half of your body.