According to various sources you would need to burn approximately 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.
Therefore, most of us wish to know how many reps of certain exercises we would need to perform in order to burn 3,500 calories.
So how many jumping jacks should you do to lose one pound of fat?
Calories burned from jumping jacks will vary based on height, weight, age, sex, and fitness levels. However, using the MET value formula to calculate calories burned, and assuming that you perform the “standard average” 50 jumping jacks per minute, a person weighing 70kg (154lbs) would need to perform 17,857 jumping jacks to burn 3,500 calories.
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The Calorie-Burning Factors to Consider
I completely understand the reasoning behind wanting to know how many jumping jacks it would take to burn 3,500 calories.
We are told that burning 3,500 calories equates to losing one pound.
However, it’s never that simple, as there are various factors to take into consideration.
That being said, looking at this from another perspective, if you were to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 calories per day this would equate to 3,500 calories per week.
But, back to the point, let’s look at the various factors that you need to consider for the calorie-burning potential of jumping jacks.
Height & Weight
Simply put, the more you weigh the more calories you will burn.
And this is true whether you’re doing jumping jacks, performing any other exercise, or even while you’re at rest (yes, we still burn calories while doing nothing, mainly due to the functioning of our internal organs).
Furthermore, although not always the case, the taller you are, typically the more you weigh.
This is the main reason that it would be wrong to ever give an exact figure for everyone when it comes to calories burned from jumping jacks.
So, just as an example, someone who weighs twice as much as another person could expect to burn approximately twice as many calories while performing the same physical activity.
Now, you probably wouldn’t think that age would be a factor in the number of calories you burn.
In fact, you would expect that two people who weigh exactly the same would also burn the same number of calories.
Unfortunately, this is not true, and this comes down to how our bodies are composed.
In fact, the reason that age is a factor is also the exact same reason that your sex and your fitness levels are a factor.
This all comes down to body composition, specifically your levels of muscle mass and body fat.
Basically, the more muscle mass you have the more calories you will burn automatically.
And, once more, while not always the case, most of us see reduced levels of muscle mass and increased levels of body fat as we age.
So, you’re now aware that your body composition is a factor in calorie burning.
And when it comes to sex, males typically have more muscle mass and less body fat than females.
This is actually evidenced by the various body fat percentages of both sexes.
As an example, a fit male would have approximately 13-16% body fat, whereas this figure increases to 21-24% for females.
And an athletic male could expect to have a body fat percentage of approximately 6-12%.
This increases to 14-20% for an athletic female.
So, this being the case, men would typically burn more calories while performing jumping jacks than females.
I’m hoping this final factor will now be completely obvious.
Basically, the fitter you are, the more muscle mass and less body fat you’re likely to have.
That being said, I would also argue that a fitter individual would perform jumping jacks at a higher intensity.
As a standard, most people generally perform 50-60 jumping jacks per minute.
However, an extremely fit individual could potentially perform 100+ jumping jacks per minute.
Therefore, the more repetitions you can do in the same amount of time, the higher your levels of intensity.
And of course, this works the other way around too.
Perhaps an individual who isn’t particularly fit can’t actually perform jumping jacks continuously for a whole minute.
Maybe their ability levels mean that they do 10 jumping jacks over 30 seconds and then need to take a rest.
All of this must be taken into consideration when it comes to calculating calories burned.
A Quick & Easy Formula For Calories Burned From Jumping Jacks
Okay, there’s a fairly simple formula you can use to calculate the number of calories burned for ANY physical activity you undertake.
This is known as the MET value for a specific activity.
The MET value is a way to measure your body’s energy expenditure for a certain activity, which is another way of saying, “how many calories you burn”.
You can check out this list which provides MET values for over 800 activities.
Anyway, from this list we can see that jumping jacks have a MET value of 8.
The formula for calculating calories burned from the MET value is:
So, in order to calculate the number of jumping jacks you would personally need to do to burn 3,500 calories simply replace “70kg” in the above formula with your weight (in kg).
How You Should Be Performing Jumping Jacks
Hopefully, you don’t need me to tell you NOT to attempt 17,857 in a row.
Okay sure, there are certain fitness enthusiasts who are capable of this, although they are potentially into competitive sports or even breaking world records.
That being said, even breaking down this number of jumping jacks over a week would require a huge amount of effort.
So personally, I wouldn’t choose to solely perform jumping jacks in order to burn this huge number of calories.
Firstly, if you’re new to jumping jacks (or exercise in general) it makes sense to start with a lower number and build your way up from there.
Then again, perhaps you could aim to do a certain number of minutes of jumping jacks on a daily basis.
Maybe you could even perform “sets” of jumping jacks throughout the day, e.g. 5 x 2 minutes of jumping jacks.
However, my favoured method would be to do jumping jacks as part of a bodyweight circuit.
This way you can activate many more muscles in the body during your workout.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about the potential for overuse injuries by performing exactly the same exercise over-and-over again.
This is especially true if you’re attempting a huge number of jumping jacks per day.
A great example of a bodyweight circuit could be:
And here’s another great 20-minute cardio workout that incorporates jumping jacks.
Key Learning Points
- Calories burned from jumping jacks depend on your height, weight, age, sex, and fitness levels.
- You can use MET value in order to calculate how many jumping jacks you need to do to burn 3,500 calories.
- Jumping jacks have a MET value of 8.
- The formula to calculate how many calories a person weighing 70kg burns per minute from jumping jacks is (8 x 3.5) x 70/200 = 9.8.
- This means that a person weighing 70kg would need to perform 17.857 jumping jacks to burn 3,400 calories.
- It is better to do jumping jacks as part of a bodyweight circuit so as not to suffer from a potential overuse injury.
Finally, you also want to ensure that you are performing jumping jacks correctly, as poor form can lead ro injury. Discover what I have to say about jumping jacks hurting your knees.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.