In the vibrant world of breakdancing, the jackhammers move stands out as a pinnacle of skill and creativity. Originating from the streets of South Bronx during the hip-hop explosion of the 1970s, breakdancing continues to captivate audiences with its dynamic moves. The jackhammers, characterized by strength, balance, and finesse, represent the evolution of this art form. In this guide, we’ll explore the history, mechanics, and techniques behind mastering the jackhammers move, offering invaluable insights for aspiring breakers looking to push their limits and leave their mark on the dance floor. Join us on this exhilarating journey through the electrifying world of breakdancing.

What are Jackhammers?

Jackhammers, in the realm of breakdancing, represent a dynamic display of skill and technique, relying on a method known as the “stabbing” technique. This technique involves breakers exerting their entire body weight onto their elbows, which are then forcefully driven into the stomach at a 90-degree angle, thus earning its descriptive moniker.

Originating as a variant of the popular cricket move, which itself is rooted in basic gymnastic floats, jackhammers add a unique twist to the dance form. Unlike crickets, which involve both hands, jackhammers are executed with just one hand, resulting in a faster-paced motion. The free hand in a jackhammer is strategically positioned to showcase the breaker’s mastery and control, exemplified notably by b-boy Pop from the esteemed Gamblerz crew based in South Korea.

The execution of jackhammer moves demands exceptional balance and finesse, making them a favored choice among top-tier breakers vying for world records and competitive accolades. As such, these maneuvers have become integral components of the repertoire of many renowned breakdancers, contributing to the ongoing evolution and innovation within the breakdancing community.

What are Jackhammers?
What are Jackhammers?

The History of the Jackhammers Move

The evolution of the jackhammers move is deeply intertwined with the rich history of breakdancing, tracing back to its roots in the vibrant streets of South Bronx, New York, during the 1970s. Originating as a form of expression among African-American and Latino youth alongside the burgeoning hip-hop culture, breaking, or b-boying, emerged as a dynamic dance form characterized by its fusion of athleticism, rhythm, and creativity.

During this era, the 1970s witnessed the genesis of numerous foundational moves within breakdancing, with practitioners striving to perfect the quintessential b-boy form. Among these foundational moves were floats, which drew inspiration from basic gymnastics techniques, involving the redistribution of a dancer’s body weight onto their elbows and lower abdomens.

As the breaking scene flourished, innovative dancers began to push the boundaries of movement, leading to the introduction of hand glides and crickets, which expanded upon the principles established by floats. The natural progression of breakdancing culture spurred the development of more advanced maneuvers, culminating in the emergence of the jackhammers.

While the exact origins of the jackhammers remain elusive, its inception likely occurred organically within the dynamic and competitive environment of the b-boy community. Influential figures such as DJ Kool Herc and b-boy Crazy Legs played pivotal roles in shaping the trajectory of hip-hop culture, but the specific individual credited with pioneering the jackhammers remains unknown.

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Nevertheless, the allure of the jackhammers lies in its complexity and artistry, captivating both practitioners and spectators alike. Its integration into breaking sets worldwide solidifies its status as an enduring fixture within the realm of breakdancing, serving as a testament to the boundless creativity and innovation inherent in hip-hop culture.

The History of the Jackhammers Move
The History of the Jackhammers Move

How to Do the Jackhammers Move for Beginners

Mastering the jackhammers move, despite its formidable appearance, hinges upon a systematic approach that prioritizes strength, balance, and control. Much like learning other challenging maneuvers such as headspins or airflares, achieving proficiency in jackhammers requires a structured learning process and gradual progression.

For beginners embarking on their journey to master the jackhammers, investing in courses and seeking guidance from experienced breaking instructors can yield significant benefits. With the right instruction and dedication, even seemingly daunting moves can be conquered.

Outlined below are step-by-step instructions to help beginners navigate their way through the intricacies of the jackhammers:

Step One – Starting Position

As with any intricate dance move, the starting position serves as the cornerstone upon which the entire execution depends. To ensure a successful performance of the jackhammers, it is crucial to begin with precision and poise.

Commence by assuming your b-boy stance, embodying a posture of readiness and focus. From this position, seamlessly transition into the push-up stance, maintaining fluidity and control throughout the movement.

In the push-up position, orient both hands on the ground in front of you, positioned shoulder-width apart, while simultaneously extending your legs behind you. Achieve optimal alignment by ensuring that your body forms a perfectly straight line from head to heels.

To enhance stability and tactile connection with the ground, consciously spread your fingers wide apart, maximizing surface contact and facilitating a secure grip. This deliberate action fosters a sense of connection with the floor, laying the groundwork for a confident and controlled execution of the jackhammers maneuver.

Step Two – Float in the Air

Transitioning into the float marks the pivotal moment in executing jackhammers breakdance moves. Central to this step is the redistribution of your body weight onto a single point of support, typically your dominant hand.

Execute this transition with fluidity and control, shifting all your body weight onto your chosen supporting hand while simultaneously elevating your legs off the ground. Beginners may initially find it helpful to utilize both hands for support before gradually removing the non-supporting hand from the equation. It’s important to note that the supporting hand plays a crucial role in executing the jackhammers move effectively.

Ensure that your supporting elbow is positioned at a precise 90-degree angle and firmly pressed into your abdomen, anchoring your stance and providing stability. Optimal balance is achieved by maintaining a compact form, with all limbs drawn in close to the body’s center.

While the supporting hand bears the brunt of the weight, the non-supporting hand can be utilized for both stylistic embellishments and additional balance assistance. Some breakers may opt to employ creative hand placements, such as twisting the non-supporting hand behind their back, adding flair and expression to their performance. This element of personal style not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the maneuver but also showcases the dancer’s skill and artistry.

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How to Do the Jackhammers Move for Beginners
How to Do the Jackhammers Move for Beginners

Step Three – Add Motion to Create the Jackhammer

While achieving balance on a single hand can indeed serve as a compelling freeze variation, the true essence of jackhammers lies in the fluidity and dynamism of its motion. It’s imperative to note that proficiency in executing a cricket, which typically utilizes both hands, serves as a prerequisite for mastering jackhammers.

Once you’ve established a solid foundation in the cricket maneuver, you’ll recognize that the motion of jackhammers is generated by a combination of leg propulsion and subtle twists of the supporting hand. This entails executing a circular leg motion above the ground while incorporating nuanced kicks, with the supporting hand guiding the movement.

A successful jackhammer execution entails completing a full 360-degree revolution, signifying the accomplishment of your inaugural jackhammer. As proficiency grows, aspiring breakers are encouraged to gradually elevate the level of difficulty. Emphasis should be placed on refining control over speed and heightening the amplitude of leg motion, thereby adding layers of intricacy to the performance.

Furthermore, aspiring breakers are encouraged to seamlessly integrate the jackhammers move into their dance sets, mastering the art of transitioning into and out of this dynamic maneuver. By incorporating jackhammers into their repertoire and exploring its versatility within choreographed routines, dancers can elevate their performances and captivate audiences with their skill and creativity.


Breaking the jackhammers move in breakdancing requires a combination of strength, balance, and finesse. Originating from the streets of South Bronx during the 1970s hip-hop explosion, breakdancing has evolved into a dynamic art form that continues to captivate audiences worldwide. The jackhammers move epitomizes this evolution, showcasing the athleticism and creativity inherent in breakdancing. This guide offers a comprehensive exploration of the history, mechanics, and techniques behind mastering the jackhammers move. From establishing the foundational stance to infusing dynamic motion and seamlessly integrating the move into choreographed routines, aspiring breakers are equipped with invaluable insights to push their limits and make their mark on the dance floor. Join us on this exhilarating journey through the electrifying world of breakdancing as we delve into the art of breaking the jackhammers move.

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