Its something I've been meaning to address for quite a while!
Squats, for reasons we all know (they're tough!) - are not done in general, at least not in high reps and as they should be - by most people regularly.
Even when "every day people" feel the burn and the heart pump you get from squats (or even lets say sprints and such) - they neglect to do it daily.
Jumping jacks, however, seem to be a whole different ball game for many people.
It's a pretty good exercise, and I've mentioned it in Corrugated Core.
It DOES do a pretty good job of burning fat - and improving flexibility - and endurance in general.
It makes for great recovery, and even better "finishers" - sets of 100, if you can do 'em - will really get the heart going.
But there seems to be a perennial debate about "which is better for weight loss - or muscle gain - or overall health and fitness - and such".
Many people, my wife included, are under the very erroneous idea that wrestler's have "protruding stomachs" due to large number of Hindu squats and Hindu pushups.
This way of thinking is more common than you'd think, my friend - and yet, it's FOOLISH - and shows how people that do not DO the thing make judgements.
It's diet that causes a gut, nothing more, nothing less..diet, and inactivity. Certainly not exercise of any nature!
Done right Hindu squats - and indeed bodyweight squats are the best "crunch" for the entire body you can think of.
And in terms of fat burning, and general exercise - I'm here to tell you jumping jacks, while great - don't hold a candle to high rep squats done right.
Trust me on this one - or do both, and you'll see.
First thing you know, jumping jacks are far easier on the legs than squats.
The very fact the legs don't BEND a lot during the movement proves this - sure, jumping rope involves no bend in the legs too, but jumping rope is an entirely different ball game with high jumps etc involing plenty of bend in the legs.
Second, there is nothing that compares cardio wise to the "thud thud thud" you'll feel deep down in your chest while and when doing high rep squats - with the possible exception of sprinting hills, nothing at all, my friend.
Again, you'll have to DO them to see ...
Last, variety - squats have a LOT more variety than jumping jacks do!
There are SO many different ways to do 'em - the same holds true for jumping jacks, but in that case the variants are far more similar than with squats.
Now, if you're one of the very voluminous crowd that loves jumping jacks and can't get enough of 'em - well, goody on you - like I said, they're not a bad exercise at all.
Mix them in with squats though - in the SAME movement - and NOW you're really talking (much like a jumping jack equivalent of the burpee).
I'll have more on this in the future - stay tuned.
For now though, if you were to ask me as a brother "if I had to choose one" (my daughter keeps asking me hard to answer questions like this, hehe) - I'd unequivocally answer the SQUAT.
And I'd tell you to learn how to do it pronto and then start doing.
Alright, thats it for this one.
PS - Corrugated Core is a must have if you want a REALLY strong midsection, not just "beach boy abs". If so, get it NOW. It truly is "hard core training for a hard, hard core" as the "man" himself said!