When it comes to Alphabet Workouts, the letter J leaves us a little sparse on workout options, but it does offer a unique twist on some staple exercises.
Like George and Weezie (for 70’s TV fans), the Jefferson variation of the curls, deadlift, and squats “moves you on up” from the basic form into a more challenging one.
And for those who may scoff at the idea of adding a bit of fun and dance to your workout, or for anyone who is a bit timid to hit up a gym full of intimidating weights and machines, check out the last exercise/workout on this list.
Without any further ado, let’s see an (almost complete) list of exercises that start with J!
Some of the best exercises that start with the letter J are:
- Jefferson curls
- Jefferson deadlift
- Jefferson squat
- Jump squat
- Jumping jacks
- Jump rope
Let’s take a look at why each one deserves a spot on this list and how you can incorporate them into your routine.
1. Jefferson Curls
This strengthening and lengthening exercise targets the posterior chain, including the spine, supporting tissues, and muscles.
While there are a number of benefits to this exercise it does also come with several potential risks with increased end-range spinal flexion.
It is important that you check with a certified trainer as to the correct form and movement for this exercise.
This exercise can be performed using dumbbells, kettlebells, a barbell or with just your body weight (which is recommended for beginners).
This is not a traditional strength training exercise, so heavy weights are not needed.
Using an elevated surface, be it a box or bench, stand upright with your shoulders back and your feet hip-width apart.
With your chin tucked into your chest, slowly hinge at the hip as you round and flex your spine, rolling down one vertebra at a time. Let your arms hang straight down in front of you.
Keep your weight on the balls of your feet. Let your body hang down completely with your ultimate goal of having your nose in line with your knees.
Imagine pressing your belly button into your spine. Keep your legs straight. Only go as far as you comfortably can as overexerting the stretch can cause serious injury to your legs and lower back.
To return to an upright position, slowly reverse the movement, slowly lifting the lower, then middle, and finally your upper back, one vertebra at a time.
- Spinal Flexion
2. Jefferson Deadlift
This variation of the deadlift is a multiplanar exercise that helps to improve balance, coordination, and stability while increasing anti-rotational strength.
Straddle a barbell with one foot in front, and the other behind, with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart.
You may choose to set up with your feet facing parallel or at a 90-degree angle (think 12-2 or 3 o’clock or 12-10 or 9 o’clock depending on your flexibility), whichever is more comfortable.
Whichever stance you take, keep your chest square facing forward.
With your arms hanging down at shoulder width, grab the bar with a double overhand grip or an alternating grip (most people prefer the alternating grip).
Bend your knees, push your hips backward hinging slightly into a forward lean, and grab the bar, lifting it up between your legs as you stand into an upright position.
(Men don’t worry about hitting yourself in the “no-no” zone).
Whichever direction your feet are positioned, your knees should track overtop.
Keep your core engaged in order to prevent your torso and the bar from rotating
Make sure that you switch your stance for half of the reps or half of the sets so that the opposite leg is in front/behind.
- Lattisimus Dorsi
- Upper and Lower Back
3. Jefferson Squat
The Jefferson Squat and Deadlift are very similar and target many of the same muscle groups and has the same basic physical setup.
The major difference is that the squat exercise focuses on bending from the knee, which means your quads are working harder and you are focused on keeping your torso slightly more upright.
The deadlift variation requires you to bend slightly more from the hip, which has your torso bent over more, meaning that your glutes and mid-back will be working harder.
4. Jump Squat
A variation of the basic squat, the jump squat is a plyometric exercise providing both strength and aerobic benefits including improving balance, stability, and circulation.
Begin standing straight up with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart
Perform a basic squat motion, lowering your body until your thighs are just slightly higher than your knees
Using your arms to assist, drive through the balls of your feet as you propel yourself up off the ground as high as you can, raising your arms overhead (imagine grabbing a rebound in basketball)
Focus on landing softly and on balance as you reload into a squatting position.
5. Jumping Jacks
A no equipment needed (though you can incorporate dumbbells or a med ball) exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime.
This total body exercise not only helps to build strength, but also endurance, stability, mobility, and coordination.
You know jumping jacks! But it’s important that you know how to do them properly.
Stand with your feet together and your arms hanging down at your sides
As you jump your feet out to the side, slightly outside of shoulder-width, swing your arms upward and above your head (feel free to clap at the top)
Quickly jump your feet back together as you simultaneously bring your arms back down to your sides.
You can also change up your legs and arms pattern by incorporating scissor jumps with your legs and/or criss-cross arms in front of your chest (Seal Jacks)
- Rectus / Transverse Abdominis
- Hip Flexors
6. Jump Rope
A great exercise to tackle nearly every fitness goal, jump rope helps with strength, endurance, cardio, balance, stability, flexibility, agility, and coordination with a simple piece of equipment that can be taken anywhere and used with very little space.
It is important that you have a rope that is the proper length for your height. A jump rope that is too short or too long will make the exercise troublesome.
There are numerous variations of jump rope exercises that can challenge anyone from a beginner to an expert.
Hold one end of the rope in each hand at approximately hip level and roughly a foot away from your body at a 45-degree angle.
Start with the rope hanging behind you. Keep your hands and arms tucked close to your body as you swing the rope overhead and jump. Use your hands and wrists to swing the rope with limited motion. Do not move your arms.
Focus on a pace that works best for you, working to increase the tempo. Keep your body in an upright position with your focus straight ahead.
Basic Two-Foot Jump: Standing on the balls of your feet, keeping them close together, jump quickly in the air as the rope.
Reverse: Simply reverse the motion of the rope starting from front to back
Criss-Cross: Cross your arms in front of you between each jump.
Jumping Jacks: Perform jumping jacks with your feet as you alternate position with each rope swing/jump
Double Unders: It is important that you focus on your timing and elevation for this jump. Quickly swing the rope around twice while you perform just a single jump.
Although it is a simple, anytime/anyplace exercise, jogging is one of those exercises, like burpees that many people just don’t like doing.
As a full-body workout, jogging also helps to improve your cardiovascular system and circulation while also lowering your blood pressure.
It is important to understand that a jog is not a run or a sprint, however, it is still important to focus on proper technique. Deciding where you want to jog is also an important factor, be it on a track, gravel path, grass field, or even a treadmill as they will all have varying influences on your physical performance and mental stimulation.
If you are new to jogging, begin with walking 3-4 days a week for anywhere between 15-30 minutes, gradually increasing the pace each time. As your brisk walk increases in speed, jog for five minutes, and walk for two minutes for the same 15-30 minute period (with only your jogging time counting).
Focus on maintaining a relaxed upper body with your arms approximately in a 90-degrees swinging motion of the opposite arm / opposite leg. Aim to move your hands in the chin-to-hip range of motion.
- Hip Flexors
One of the original dance/cardio workout programs, Jazzercise is a fun way to get off the couch and shake your booty as you tone and tighten, while boosting metabolism, bone density, and enjoyment of life.
To do this workout you will either need an app or YouTube video or enroll in a local class. The workout which ranges from 30-60 minutes blends upright and floor work using weights, bands, stability balls, and body weight all synchronized to the tempo of various genres of music.
Jazzercise is a full-body workout that hits every major muscle group from head to toe.
Outside of the stationary Jefferson exercises, the letter J workout list is full of full-body cardio and strength-building exercises that will leave you feeling energized and possibly in a pool of sweat after a great workout session!
For more letter guides, see:
Hope this helps!