There’s two ways to look at 2020. One is to look at it as a tailspin, where the world shut down, people were trapped indoors, economies got badgered and lives were lost.
The other is to look at the positives. One of the positives, is that it made us broaden our perspectives about everything in general. Be it life, or fitness, we are a lot more open to changes that we ever were.
In 2019, if you’d told me to try 1000 jumping jacks a day for a month, I would’ve asked you to take a flying f**K.
But in 2020, when gyms were shut and I was bored to death carrying water buckets around the house, I decided to take this up.
It was posted as a challenge by one of my favorite fitness influencers on TikTok. I thought, why not.
Jumping jacks are one of my favorite cardiovascular exercises. I have done up to 100 jacks a day for months.
How bad was it going to get, doing 1000 instead of 100?
So, I decided to do 1000 Jumping Jacks a day and these are my results. I did 100 jumping jacks for 30 days as a challenge before so I have a good idea of the difference between these two challenges.
Benefits of Jumping Jacks
Before I get into more details, let’s talk about the benefits of Jumping jacks as an exercise.
For something that looks so simple, jacks are completely underrated. They are a phenomenal full-body compound move that involves a whole bunch of muscle groups. They also strengthen bones, work your heart and lungs.
Great Cardio Exercise
I typically use Jumping jacks are a kickstarter to my cardio routine. They are a great way to ramp up your heart rate quickly, which gets me into the zone. Also, they are like a wake-up call for sleepy muscles. From a light jog, you are suddenly jumping off the ground, flapping your hands like you are trying to fly, and then landing on your feet.
Then you do this multiple times until your heart is pumping at the rate of knots, your lungs are trying to catch up and the blood is rushing to your major muscle groups.
If you are bored of clocking miles on that treadmill, staring at that tiny LCD display, try jumping jacks for a change.
Easy to Do
These are literally, the easiest exercise to do. Well, so are burpees. But I kinda hate burpees. Who doesn’t?
Jumping jacks on the other hand are like an espresso shot. You can have one before workout, mid workout or after. It just gets you in the mood, wakes up your muscles and gets you charged up for more.
You can do them anywhere and anytime with zero equipment. Some people opine that they can be a little harsh on your knees. Well, that’s because you are not landing softly. Try landing on your toes, like a cat (as Tony Horton says).
Strengthens Your Bones
Bet you didn’t know that, did you?
Jumping jacks can strengthen your bones. There’s a clinical study in which rodents were put on a jumping regimen. (Wonder how they did that)
The results showed that there was a significant improvement in their bone density after it. Also, what’s interesting is that they were able to maintain this density for weeks after, even with reduced-intensity training.
Great Full Body Workout
It’s a full body plyometric move that engages almost every muscle group in your body.
The primary muscles worked are the Hip flexors, the glutes and the quadriceps. But it also engages a whole bunch of secondary muscles including the abs, the shoulders, the adductors, the calves, the traps, the back and even the triceps.
Great for Warm-Up
As I said, it’s the perfect warm-up exercise. Guaranteed to wake up muscles at any time and will get your heart rate up and pumping.
How I Went About Doing 1000 Jumping Jacks a Day
If I started doing 1000 per day from the get-go, that would be a shortcut for injury. So I took the slow and safe route. I did a bunch of challenges before like doing 100 pushups, 100 situps, and 100 squats for 30 days, and another challenge that was also hard was doing squats every day for 3 months. So going into this I didn’t want to get injured and wanted to learn from my previous challenges.
The max that I had attempted in the past was 100 jumping jacks a day. I did that consistently for about a week. But that’s it. I had never attempted something like this in my life and I knew that to make this possible, I would have to start slow and ramp up.
If I tried doing 500 a day to begin with, I was going to end up with a spasm or a ligament tear.
So, I charted my plan. Start with 100 a day and keep adding 100 every day.
By day 10, I would be at 1000 a day and then do it consistently for a week.
Pause. Evaluate. Make changes and continue, or stop permanently.
I started with the 100 jacks as planned. The day was fairly uneventful, except that my heart rate shot up pretty fast once I crossed 80 jumping jacks. I think that it was due to the long hiatus.
I had noticeable muscle soreness in my glutes and calves. After 150, I got a little tired.But I pushed through this day as well. Finished 200 jumping jacks.
Day-3 was easier than the first two days. I didn’t get stuck anywhere midway. Just cruised through 200 to 300 jacks in about 5-minutes total. The heart rate was around 70% of my max.
Confidence was through the roof by now and I believed that this was going to be a cakewalk. Definitely not as tough as the fitness influencer hinted.
Clocked 500 for the first time. Mini milestone unlocked. The guy was definitely trying to speak through his arse. This is easier said than done.
Woke up with soreness in my abs, shoulders and hamstrings. Got tired and took a breather after 300. Wondering how I cruised through to 500 yesterday? Finished 600 jumping jacks in the end.
It was an uphill battle after 400. Muscles were sore, the heart was pounding and clapping the palms above the head seemed more difficult than ever. I almost thought that I’d quit midway. But somehow managed to finish 700.
Pushed through to 800 jumping jacks. I can’t believe that I am actually doing this for the 8th day on the trot. Took two 30-second breaks in between. I will definitely have to take more breaks, if I intend to finish this challenge as expected.
One step away from the goal. Increased the mid-set breaks to 3 and finished the 900-jacks in about 11-minutes.
Finally, I managed to hit my goal of 1000 jumping jacks a day. I so wanted to take that 4th break, but I stuck to 3-breaks and finished the set in 11-minutes. It was intense. Now it’s all about maintenance.
The first 800 reps were reasonably easy today. Then I had to take a break, and then another one at 950. But finished the 1000-reps nevertheless.
Great day. No breaks. 1000-reps on the trot. Finally, I seem to be developing some form.
Looks like I spoke too soon. Got stuck at 600 reps and then had a small muscle cramp shoot up in my adductor muscles. Pushed through to 1000. Thankfully, there was no after pain. So it seems to have settled.
Didn’t feel great today. But pushed through to 1000 reps with two breaks. Overall, the cardio strength has improved significantly.
Another good day. Finished 1000-reps with no breaks in between. The heart rate was at 90% of the max by that time. Felt a little giddy. But overall was great.
Finally, it’s the penultimate day. I amped up the intensity and tried an HIIT method. Would go at full steam for 100-200 reps and then a little slow for the next-100. This really did get the heart rate up.
I was relieved that I was able to stick to this for a week. But honestly, I wouldn’t do it again.
My Results and What I Learned Doing 1000 Jumping Jacks a Day for A Week
So, I successfully completed the 1000 Jumping jacks a day for a week challenge.
I am sure that a lot of you are wondering what I felt, what I gained, whether I would recommend it.
Here are all the answers.
Hell yeah! Don’t let any fitness influencer tell you that it’s going to be a cakewalk. Because it’s not. It is intense, it is difficult and it keeps getting progressively harder as you go beyond 500.
If you are not too careful with your form, there’s every possibility that you might get injured as well. So take your time with it.
This guy decided to do this challenge and he agrees with me:
It Takes Time
It’s time consuming. Even if you account 1-second for each rep, that’s like 15-minutes of jumping jacks. Add to that the breaks that you will take and the time needed for your body to recover from your workouts.
I typically do 30-minute workouts in a day and I found that this would leave me with no time to do anything else.
If you are also like me and allot 30-minutes to your workout, then the 1000-jumping jacks a day routine can be difficult to club with your lifts and other workouts.
It Gets Boring
Uhm! Not much to say here. But am sure you get the drift. This starts off as something exciting. But quickly turns into this mundane, repetitive activity that you are doing every single day.
Once you cross 500 jumping jacks, you are going to be plain bored and wait for the 1000-reps to get over.
Doing 100 Jumping Jacks Per Day Is Better
Here’s the revelation.
100 jumping jacks a day will be a better choice for most people. Not only does it give you enough time to focus on other exercises, but it also ensures that your body heals in time.
You don’t feel bored and you can work on your weaker areas.
How Many Calories Did I Burn Doing 1000 Jumping Jacks a Day?
I am 6’1 and 180 pounds. After running some numbers and based on my Fitbit tracker, I believe that I burnt close to 400-500 calories a day with 1000 jumping jacks.
That’s a ballpark figure mind you. A lot of you might be able to burn more than that, while some will struggle to burn even half.
A rough average would be ½ a calorie per jumping jack, when performed with moderate intensity.
Would I Recommend Doing 1000 Jumping Jacks a Day
I wouldn’t. I mean, are you looking to add a fun challenge to your workout routine? Sure. Go ahead and do this. But if you are looking at a wholesome approach to fitness, this is not optimum. It’s not even close.
You should definitely incorporate other types of cardio, and lift weights.
How To Lose Weight When Doing Jumping Jacks
If you go by those ballpark numbers, you should burn one pound of fat in a week by doing 1000 jumping jacks a day.
That’s a great base to work off. You can amplify those results easily. Here are some tips.
Watch What You Eat
Eventually, weight-loss boils down to calories in minus calories out. So, you’ve got to watch what you eat.
Here are three simple hacks for a weight loss diet.
- Protein in every meal.
- TDEE minus 250 calories in the day.
- More dietary fiber
- Reduce or cut processed sugar entirely from your diet.
That’s it. Thank me later.
Have Enough Hours of Sleep
I cannot emphasize this enough. Get your 8-hours of sleep folks. Sleep heals, it helps your body repair and renew, it promotes the release of GH and it helps you lose weight.
If you are not sleeping enough, you will gain weight on your abdomen.
Use the proper form for jumping jacks
Work your way to those numbers. Ensure that you have a neutral back with straight arms. Try to land softly on your toes. If you are landing on your heels, it’s sending shockwaves through your legs all the way to your spine.
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