Do Jumping Jacks Flatten Your Stomach?

by William McCoy, Demand Media
    Jumping jacks help you burn calories and tone your muscles.

    Jumping jacks help you burn calories and tone your muscles.

    Getting a flat, eye-catching stomach that's ready for the beach isn't something that will happen overnight, but if you don't mind working hard, you'll be able to gradually achieve the look you desire. Jumping jacks are a simple way to burn calories while also toning your core muscles, which makes this type of exercise ideal if you're longing for a flat stomach.

    Jumping Jacks

    Jumping jacks are exercises that are common in elementary school gym classes, but they also translate well into adult fitness. They're simple, easy to perform in your home or even at work and don't require any equipment. To perform a set of jumping jacks, stand with your hands at your side and your feet at shoulder-distance apart. Jump and kick each leg out to the side and at the same time, swing each arm upward so your hands meet above your head.

    Muscles

    Jumping jacks work the major muscle groups throughout your body. As you leap, your core, leg and hip muscles help you get off the ground, while the action of swinging your arms overhead works your chest, arm, back and shoulder muscles. You won't feel the same burn in your abs from doing jumping jacks as from a set of planks, but you're still working these muscles.

    Calories Burned

    On their own, abdominal exercises won't necessarily give you a flat stomach if you hold fat in that area and your midnight snack includes doughnuts and ice cream. Common ab exercises such as crunches and planks, while effective, are not aerobic workouts, meaning they won't help you burn calories at a rapid rate. One of the perks of jumping jacks is that they're aerobic in nature. Someone who weighs 150 pounds will burn roughly 565 calories in an hour of jumping jacks, which will help you burn fat to lead to a flatter stomach.

    Variations and Caution

    Although jumping jacks are effective on their own, you can add weight to your body to increase the challenge of this exercise. Ankle weights, wrist weights and even a weighted vest will require your body to work harder, which will help exercise your muscles and burn calories even faster. If you have achy joints, avoid adding weights, as doing so increases the impact during each jump. Additionally, jumping jacks aren't ideal for people with sore joints, as they are a high-impact exercise.

    About the Author

    Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

    Photo Credits

    • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images