6 Reasons Your Hip Flexors Get Tight

Your primary hip flexors – the iliopsoas muscles – are each composed of two muscles that together connect your upper half to your lower half, provide stability for your entire lower body, and are chronically under appreciated.

You may not have spent much time thinking about your deeper core muscles: you can’t see or easily touch them, so they stay out of sight and out of mind.

If these deeper hip flexor muscles are tight or imbalanced, it affects your entire body. Just because you can’t see them in the mirror doesn’t mean they aren’t playing a major role in your mobility, your strength, and your aches and pains.

To keep your body strong and healthy, so you can stay on track with achieving your fitness goals, you’ll need healthy hip flexors.

Why Do I Have Tight Hip Flexors?

1. Inactivity

Your workout makes up a small fraction of your day. Many of us probably still spend close to 50 percent of the day in a seated position (i.e. working, commuting, eating, relaxing). If you sleep an average of 8 hours each night, then that equates to about 20 hours of being inactive.

Sitting puts the hip flexors into a shortened position relative to their natural length. When stuck in this flexed position for extended periods of time, the likelihood of developing tight hip flexors increases, especially as you repeat this pattern day after day. Sleeping in the fetal position can have a similar, compounding effect.

2. Stress

Stressful situations activate the body’s sympathetic nervous system response where the body enters a “fight or flight” mode, causing you to tense up and clench your hip flexor muscles (as well as others). Coupled with more shallow breathing, the body doesn’t get enough oxygen to truly relax and the muscles continue to hold tension.

3. Overuse & Lack of Recovery

The hip flexors can become overused by performing repetitive actions that require hip flexion, like running, cycling, kicking, or squatting. As these motions are performed day after day and used for extended periods of time, it can fatigue the muscles. Without giving the hip flexors a chance to adequately recover, the body may respond by holding tension in this area.

4. Muscle Weakness

Just like any other muscle in your body, your hip flexors need to have enough strength to perform the tasks you ask of them each day. They support your body in a good upright posture, provide stability for your lumbo-pelvic hip complex as you attempt a new 1RM on your squat or deadlift, and help you move one leg in front of the other as you run your next race.

Weak muscles can soon become tight muscles, as the brain senses weakness in the body and sends signals to a particular area to tighten up in order to create stability around a joint and provide protection.

5. Injury & Imbalance Can Result in Tight Hip Flexors

An injury, whether past or present, can play a role in developing tight hip flexors because of the way the body compensates around that injury. Let’s take an ankle injury, for example. At first, moving around is difficult and you rely more on the non-injured side of the body. This may occur for days, weeks, or even months depending on the severity of the ankle injury, where muscle imbalances begin to develop around your hips as a result of these compensations.

After the injury has “healed,” it is important to restore the full range of motion in the ankle joint and address any muscle imbalances that developed during that recovery process. If left unaddressed, the body remains unbalanced and will continue to compensate for the effects of the past injury. The hip flexors will tighten up and try to create stability, with one side potentially becoming tighter than the other.

6. Having Too Much Range of Motion

Working into too much range of motion goes beyond what your muscles and joints were designed to do, creating instability. This is commonly seen in people who are hypermobile and also in those who force themselves too deep in their yoga poses or other stretches.

Because the brain feels unsafe in these over-extended positions, it sends signals to the muscles to tighten up and create stability, acting as a protection mechanism. With the hips being involved in many of these movements, the hip flexors are among the muscles that will hold tension in an effort to keep the body safe.

How to Release Tight Hip Flexors

Chances are that you’re reading this article because you have tight hip flexors and they are limiting you, or causing pain in your low back, groin, hips, knees, or feet (yes, they even directly affect your feet!). Maybe you’ve tried stretching your hip flexors, but aren’t getting results and are wondering what to do next.

You’re likely familiar with many kinds of muscle release tools, such as lacrosse balls, foam rollers, and massage guns. But to release your hip flexor muscles (like your psoas and iliacus) that lay deeper within your core, you need to apply direct, prolonged (30-90 second) pressure.

A great tool that I recently tried is called the Hip Hook. It was designed by Christine Koth, MPT, a physical therapist, and it’s the only tool designed to release both the psoas and iliacus muscles by applying precise angled pressure, using a pivot to access these hard-to-reach muscles from the right angle. In addition, I read Ms. Koth’s book recently that you may also find interesting, Tight Hip, Twisted Core – The Key to Unresolved Pain.

Try the Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data, audio cue tips, and a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

How to Calculate Your Fat & Muscle Mass

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The amount of bodyweight someone carries does not distinguish between muscle and fat weight. Overall bodyweight does not paint a true picture of how well someone is doing regarding their diet and exercise. For example, when I step onto the scale, it tell me I weight 227 pounds, great. I’m more interested, though, in the ratio of that bodyweight number. Meaning, how muscle and fat do I currently have? What is the ratio of my lean muscle and body fat? This, in my opinion, is the more important question that we should ask ourselves every few months. As an example, my goal is 85 percent lean muscle and 15 percent body fat. If you are female gym-goer maybe that ratio looks like 75/25.

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Muscle, water, connective tissue, organ weight and more are included as part of lean body mass.

Jefit Body Composition Metrics

The Jefit website offers the ability to record and track the five key health metrics seen below. There is also the ability to input and track bodyweight, girth measurements and percent body fat via Jefit iOS and Android platforms. What is great about the website, however, is the option to see your breakdown of lean muscle mass and fat mass. Check it out!

  • Current Weight
  • Percent Body Fat
  • Lean Body Mass
  • Body Fat Mass
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

How to Calculate Fat & Muscle Mass

First, you need your bodyweight and percent body fat numbers. Once you have these, you can then figure out the ratio of muscle and fat mass that comprises bodyweight. A few items to keep in mind. Men have about 3 percent essential fat while women have about 13 percent essential fat. This is the minimal amount of body fat that someone needs to maintain for overall health.

The average college-age male, who is a non-athlete, has about 15 percent body fat, while a female of the same age will have about 23-25 percent. A college athlete will have considerably less body fat. Here are two examples that demonstrate how fat and muscle mass are calculated.

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Let’s look at the case study from above from a Jefit user. This is from a 227 pound male who is carrying about 17 percent body fat.

First, multiply bodyweight by percent body fat. The number you get is fat weight mass. In this case, it’s 227 x 16.8 percent = 38.13 pounds, which is the fat mass.

Next, subtract fat weight (38.13) from bodyweight (227), this equates to lean mass (not pure muscle mass) which in this case is about 189 pounds. About 44 percent of this number is pure muscle mass, which in this case, is about 83 pounds. The weight of your bones (skeletal system) comprises 15 percent of your bodyweight.

What the Math Looks Like

227 x 17 percent = 38 pounds of fat weight, therefore, 227 – 38 = 189 pounds of lean mass. It’s important to understand that this number, 189 is comprised of: muscle, bone, connective tissue, fluid, skin, organ weight, etc. Otherwise known as all the good stuff. The 38 pounds is fat or adipose tissue. The ratio for this male individual would be 83/17. Or, 83 percent lean mass and 17 percent fat mass.

Men carry more muscle than women. An average male (18-39 years old) has about 44 percent of their bodyweight made up of muscle mass. About 34 percent of a female’s bodyweight is made up of muscle mass.

Use Jefit to Record & Track your Body Composition Metrics

To ensure an exercise and nutrition program is truly working, record a few baseline numbers mentioned above. Over a period of time, you should experience a slight increase in lean mass, a decrease in fat mass and your ratio should also change. Recording and tracking body composition (and strength) metrics should help keep you motivated. An assessment can be beneficial because it keeps you consistent, with both training and your nutritional intake, because you know at a future date, your metrics will be looked at again for comparison.

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Common Mistakes When Trying to Build Muscle

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It can be frustrating when you put in hours each week at the gym or with your home workout, yet you see minimal or no gain. Here are some of the more common mistakes that could be preventing you from building muscle and what you can try instead.

Don’t Skip Leg Day

Let’s start with the most common mistake. Focusing wholly on your upper body may cause you to end up out of proportion, but more likely than not, this won’t be the case – you won’t be able to build the upper body muscle to begin with. Having strong legs allows you to support a bulkier upper body, making it easier to build muscle. Many compound leg exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, are also better at increasing testosterone, which helps when developing muscles elsewhere.

A study by the University of Texas found that “performing squats synthesizes more testosterone and growth hormone than a similar session on the leg press.” Although the test subjects lifted more weight on the leg press, their exhaustion was 42 percent higher after doing squats.

Avoid Sugar Spiking

Consuming too many sugary energy drinks, chocolate milkshakes or even some protein bars, could be taking away your ability to gain muscle. While they may give you the energy and protein necessary to build muscle mass, the excess sugar, in turn, could be inhibiting your ability to take in muscle-building amino acids. Look out for low-sugar drinks and snacks that will still give you the protein and energy. Keep in mind, men should consume no more than 38 grams a day and women 25 grams a day of added sugar.

Consuming the Wrong Kind of Calories

When trying to build muscle, you do need to consume additional calories. However, it’s important to eat the right kind of calories. Fast food, ice cream and pizza will more likely cause you to pile on fat. Increase your calories in more healthy ways by eating more fish, chicken, rice, potatoes and vegetables.

Mis-using Supplements

Some people can go overboard on supplements like creatine and fish oil, using these instead of taking up a healthy diet or taking too many causing nutritional problems. There are then those who take the wrong kind of supplements (i.e. performance enhancing drugs like steroids). Steroids are notoriously common amongst some gym-goers but as most know, they can run all kinds of other health risks. You’ll bulk up faster, sure, but you also damage your body in the process, causing severe long-term health problems.

Avoid Too Much Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise, is very beneficial, but, should be reserved to a minimum when trying to bulk up. This is because it steals the calories needed for repairing muscle tissue, converting the calories instead into fuel for aerobic exercise. Try limiting your cardio to twenty minutes, three times a week and see if this has any impact. A few short, HIIT sessions could also work well.

Ignore Weight Training Technique

There are specific techniques to follow for each strength training exercise. For example, proper deadlift form, requires keeping your legs about hip-width apart, not arching (flexing) your back, tucking your chin etc. These will all help build muscle more effectively in addition to protecting your spine and hips in the process. Make sure that you’re using the right technique with each exercise, otherwise you could be preventing yourself from building muscle.

Reference

Shaner, A.A., Vingren, J.L., Hatfield, D.L. et al. The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine weight resistance exercise. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2014, 28, 4, 1032–1040.

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Jefit Workouts Now Include Trainer Audio Tips

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Jefit strives to continually improve upon their award-winning app. The latest upgrade, released this week, includes select workouts accompanied with trainer audio tips. There are six new bodyweight and strength training workouts found on either Android and iOS platforms. The programs are featured on Jefit Elite or the free version of the app.

These and future audio-based workouts, can be found on either version of the Jefit app located in “Find Workout” under the “Audio Cue” tab.

Trainer Audio Tips Programs

Here are the six new Jefit Audio workouts include: 4 Beginner, 1 Intermediate and 1 Advanced program. Five of the programs are featured as Elite, while the “audio-based workout” program, can be found on the free version of the app. All six exercise programs are interval based. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises feature trainer audio cues. Finally, switch ON the “Audio Cue” button before starting; it’s “Highlighted Blue”, when it’s ready to go (see lower right side).

  • Beginner Bodyweight Routine (Elite, beginner)
  • Audio-Based Workout (Free, beginner)
  • Beginner Full Body Challenge (Elite, beginner)
  • 3-Day Multi Equipment Challenge (Elite, beginner)
  • Audio Coaching Intermediate (Elite, intermediate)
  • 3-Day Advanced Workout (Elite, advanced)
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Beginner Bodyweight Routine

This 1-day beginner, audio-based coaching routine offers exclusively bodyweight exercises. As a result, the program will challenge your entire body. About half of the exercises in this workout session offer audio coaching tips from a Jefit certified strength & conditioning specialist. The workout includes four supersets, where you will need to execute back-to-back sets with minimal rest.

Audio-Based Workout

This is a 3-day audio-based strength training workout. Approximately 50 percent of the exercises will have trainer audio tips attached to them, to help you execute the movement. The workout program consist of 3 strength training days – each of the workouts contain 1-2 supersets and work all major muscle groups. All three sessions include a combination of bodyweight, dumbbell and barbell.

Beginner Full Body Challenge

This 2-day audio-based coaching workout offers audio cues, the same that you would hear if working with a personal trainer or coach. Remember to turn “on” you Audio Cue button at the bottom of the page. The majority of the exercises use a dumbbell and some stretching and ab work is included. At the end of each session there is an “ab burner” series.

3-Day Multi Equipment Challenge

This program is a 3-day audio-based coaching strength workout. What you can expect on days 1 and 3 – are dumbbell only workouts. Both of these sessions are full body. As for the second workout, a combo session, exercises use dumbbells and a barbell. Again, this particular session is a full body workout. Have fun!

Audio Coaching Intermediate

This intermediate exercise program offers three strength training sessions, each of which is an audio-based workout. The program includes various dumbbell & barbell specific exercises that use audio trainer tips to assist gym-goers in using good form.

On day 1, the workout includes a bodyweight warm-up followed by a full body dumbbell workout. Similarly, the day 2 workout includes bodyweight & dumbbell exercises that target your entire body. Day 3: This particular strength session includes only barbell specific exercises following a dynamic warm-up.

3-Day Advanced Workout

This 3-day advanced strength program has the added feature and benefit of having audio coaching tips for about half of the exercises found in each exercise workout. On DAY 1: You can expect a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the upcoming leg strength training day. DAY 2: In this 2nd workout session you have exercises focused only on push and pull movements. Lastly, DAY 3: Includes pressing movements for the shoulders in addition to a few core exercises. Enjoy the audio coaching tips and stay strong!

Use Audio Cue Programs on Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data, audio cue tips, and a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Six Elements That You Need For A Healthy Diet

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One of the biggest trends today surrounds our health. There are resources available on every type of diet. From intermittent fasting, to Keto, low-fat, high/low-carb, high protein diets, you name it. Figuring out what is best for your diet is not about finding the next quick-fix solution for your health, though. The best thing for anyone out there is to watch their consumption (intake) versus exertion – ie: calories entering the body must be smaller than calories being expended. When it comes down to it, a healthy diet is all about balance, and if you are eliminating entire food groups based on a cycle of binging and feeling guilty, you’re never going to get your diet to a place of being healthy.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Health is not just finding a thigh gap, wearing the skinny jeans and enjoying smashed avocado on toast with a perfectly poached egg on top. Health is more than what you eat, it’s how you exercise, how you feel about your body and your mental health all rolled into one. However, what you eat is a big part of the rest of it. If you spend all your time eating foods that aren’t nutritious and are way above the calories you need to fuel your body, you’re going to overeat without even filling the hunger gap that you are feeling. In the end, educating yourself about what your body requires as well as the calories and nutrients in your food is how you can drive yourself toward a healthy diet.

Balancing food that is nutrient-rich and filling with the things that you love (usually food that is high sugar and great tasting, like chocolate) is how to ensure you have a healthy diet that is long-lasting. Restriction and purging isn’t healthy. Labelling food as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ isn’t healthy, either. There is the fact that there are nutrients that our human bodies require for survival, though, and it’s these nutrients that make up the basics of a healthy diet. We’ve written about these six nutrients below, and how you can incorporate them into your day-to-day life.

Protein

It’s something that social media influencers seem to be always talking about, from protein powders and bars to chicken and eggs. Protein has the spotlight and it’s not just by bodybuilders, either. It’s an essential part of good health, not only for keeping you fuller for longer, but for good hair, skin and your muscles. Every cell in your body contains protein, so ensuring you have a balanced amount of protein in your diet is important. Meat, fish, chicken, tofu, and eggs are all good sources of protein. You can also find good protein sources in nuts, soy and beans, so if you’re not all into meat you have options.

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Carbohydrates

Contrary to the other stories circulating online, carbohydrates are not evil. They’re not going to be the only thing that will make you fat – because anything you eat in excess will do that. A low-carb craze is on the rise, and this can be dangerous for some, particularly because carbohydrates are necessary for a healthy body. They are fuel for your brain and nervous system and they protect against disease. The catch is to choose carb sources that are wholesome, so whole grains, fiber-rich vegetables and fruits instead of the refined grains. Everything in moderation but choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate alternatives 80 percent of the time.

Fat

It often gets a bad name, fat, but healthy fats are delicious to eat as well as being a good fuel for your body. Fat supports your body in its ability to build cells, clot blood and help you to absorb vitamins and minerals properly. It’s high in calories, sure, but those calories are worth ‘spending’ on fats because of their ability to fuel your body correctly. Unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are found in flaxseeds, seeds, nuts, and fish. Coconut oil is also a popular fat source.

Vitamins

Warding off disease and staying healthy is important, and you need micronutrients and vitamins to make that happen. There are thirteen essential vitamins that the body needs including A, B6, C and D as part of a healthy diet. They can lower the risk of certain cancers and are powerful antioxidants that your body needs to fight off illnesses. Some people like to take vitamin supplements to support their diet, but as long as you are eating a varied and balanced diet, you won’t need to.

Minerals

In the same way that vitamins work, minerals support the body and are essential for your body to function properly. They build healthy bones and teeth, regulate your metabolism and help you to stay hydrated. Calcium, zinc and iron are the most common and you can find these in a range of your foods. They support your blood cells and hormone creation, with zinc boosting your immune system and wound healing.

Water

You could survive for a few weeks without a source of food, but you cannot survive without water for more than a couple of days. Water rules every system of your body, making up about 62 percent in terms of your body weight. Your muscles and connective tissue – like fascia – are made up of about 70 percent water. Mild dehydration can cause you to feel exhausted, sluggish and impair your physical performance when you are at work. Water improves your mood, boosts your brain function and is a shock absorber and lubricant for the body. You don’t have to chug down water to stay hydrated, not when your diet is laden with fruit and vegetables.

These nutrients are all the basics that constitute a healthy diet. The rest of your health comes from the way that you think about food and how you balance your meals and the timing of those meals.

Use the Jefit App

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Jefit Improves Workout Efficiency in the Gym

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An important component of an exercise session is workout efficiency, and this is often the missing link to strength gains in the gym or home. There are four components that go into this: Training, Actual, Rest and Waste. The last term, waste, is defined as simply “wasted time” during a given workout. We are all guilty of this at times. The more you focus on the time spent working out, the better off you will be. This is because you’ll be less likely to lose motivation to exercise and your muscles get more overall work.

Jefit App Improves Workout Efficiency

We all know the deal when we exercise at the gym or in our home. Time is spent on the duration of each exercise performed. Then there is time utilized on rest or recovery between each set of exercises. After that, it’s all up to you how long each workout will take. If you’re into the social scene at the gym, you know it can take an hour or two before you hit the shower. The key is reducing “wasted” time. This is time beyond exercise duration and rest time. Why? Because you can get more bang for your buck if you do. Who wouldn’t want to squeeze in more sets of a favorite exercise or work a body part longer? You can, when you eliminate what Jefit refers to as “Waste” on their app (see photos below).

What is Considered Waste Time in the Gym?

Here is an easy way to think about workout “waste” time moving forward. It will also help to improve your workout efficiency if interested. Keep the following formula in mind during each workout.

Waste Time = Training – Actual – Rest

Many of us carve out time each week dedicated to working out. In order to get better at what ever you do in the gym, quality time is paramount to develop movement skills and lifting technique. When someone improves workout efficiency, more time is dedicated to their “actual” exercise. Meaning, their wasted time is reduced to a few minutes or better yet, to zero. Waste time is any left over time after your exercise and rest are subtracted from the time spent “training” at a location (gym or home). The important question is, what are you doing with that extra time? Talking with friends, stretching etc.

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As you can see from the three examples above, the workout on the left has a waste time that is too high (note: the app may have been left on post workout). The second, or middle picture is better while the last photo has a workout efficiency that is spot on (“0”). This person wasted no time in their workout session.

Use Jefit App to Improve & Monitor Workout Efficiency

Jefit app, was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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More Push-Ups Means Less Likely to Get Heart Disease

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Did you know there is a direct relationship between push-ups and heart disease? As it turns out, the maximum number of push-ups you can do, in one attempt, can predict illness in men.

Many athletes and gym-goers alike are interested in how much weight they can lift. Especially, when it comes to exercises like deadlifts, bench press, squat and various Olympic lifts. You hear numbers like “1-RM” often used. This refers to one-repetition maximum or the most weight an individual can lift for one repetition.

There is a research study re-circulating on the Internet regarding the number of push-ups men can do and the impact it has on their health. The study reports that if someone can pump out 40 push-ups, in one attempt, they are less likely to develop heart disease. WOW!

A study was conducted by a group of researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The study tested and followed over 1,100 active male firefighters for a 10-year period. The average age of the men was 40 years old. The results found that men who could perform 40 push-ups were 96 percent less likely to develop heart disease a decade later compared to men who could do only 10 push-ups

JAMA Network Open, 2019

The Benefits of Push-Ups

Building up your capacity to perform more push-ups is beneficial to both a novice or an experienced gym-goer. The push-up exercise is a great compound movement that targets the chest, shoulders and arms. It can be used as part of a dynamic warm-up, used in a circuit, placed in a Tabata workout or added while traveling to maintain strength. Push-ups are also great for building strength or endurance depending on the experience of the person; this will depend on the speed or volume (sets x repetitions) of work performed.

Now that you know there are associated health benefits with doing more push-ups, you’re hopefully motivated to do more or get back into doing them. The number of push-ups is also an excellent indicator of your upper body fitness level.

Push-Up Test

First, test yourself to see how many push-ups you can perform in one-minute. You have basically two options, perform as many as you can and record the number. Option two, do a specific number of repetitions, recover, and continue until your minute is up. Note how well you did using the following guidelines. The key is to perform each repetition in a controlled manner, lowering your body until your chest is a few inches from the floor or the arms are bent at 90-degrees. Here are a few guidelines to see how you initially rate. Don’t worry if you do not score high first time out of the gates. Be more focused on your score following four-weeks when you’ll test yourself again using the scoring format below.

Below Average: less than 15 push-ups

Average: 20 push-ups

Good: 30 to 35 push-ups

Excellent: 40 to 50+ push-ups

4-Week Push-Up Plan

If you are looking to improve upon the number of push-ups you can do, try this 4-week plan.

Week 1: Perform 8 sets of 8 repetitions of pushups. Use strict form. Rest two to three minutes between sets. Perform 2-3 workouts during the week.

Week 2: Complete 6 sets of 10 repetitions with 1-2 minute of rest between sets. Perform 2 workouts.

Week 3: Do 4 sets of 15 repetitions with 1 minute of rest between sets. Focus on performing slow eccentric contractions (lowering phase) with each repetition. Think about lowering your body using a 3 count and “explode” up on a 1 count. Perform 2-3 workouts.

Week 4: Complete 4 sets of 20 repetitions using two minutes of rest between sets.

Week 5: Test Yourself Again

New 4-Week Push-Up Challenge on the Jefit App

Check out this new program on the Jefit app that will help you increase the number of push-ups you can do in 4-week. Jefit is very interested in finding out who can improve the most in this area. We are not interested in the number you can do initially. We are, however, very interested in your improvement after trying our 4-week plan. Let us know how many more push-ups you can do four weeks from now! Try our Jefit 4-Week Push-Up Challenge program – it’s for all fitness levels.

Record and Track Your Push-Ups Using Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout plannerschedule, and exercise routines. It also comes with like-minded people who can help you decide what to eat before and after a workout, share training tips, advice, and wins. Use the Jefit app to get on track with your fitness goals, and join our members-only Facebook page here!

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What Are the Best Options for Managing Chronic Pain?

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More than 20 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 50 million people, are trying to manage chronic pain. More than 20 million of them have what is known as “high-impact pain” where the pain is so severe, it can limit everything from activities of daily living to exercise to going to work. These estimates are from the Centers of Disease Control and the National Interview Survey that looked at the health of more than 30,000 adults.

Let’s begin by first taking a look at the differences between acute and chronic pain. According to Medicinenet.com

“Acute pain is of sudden onset and is usually the result of a clearly defined cause such as an injury. Acute pain resolves with the healing of its underlying cause. Chronic pain persists for weeks or months and is usually associated with an underlying condition, such as arthritis. The severity of chronic pain can be mild, moderate, or severe.”

Medicine.net

It seems that everyone you talk with these days is dealing with some form of chronic pain. From those that I’ve spoken to, three areas of the body seem to be most prominent: the low back, knees and shoulder area. It also seems that each individual has their own way of trying to manage their chronic pain.

Case Study: Managing Chronic Pain

Over the past few months I’ve known a few people who were diagnosed with various stress injuries. Each resulting from either exercise or a repetitive movement. No one in this group had ever broken a bone or experienced any type stress fracture in their life…until now. As a result, their gait was thrown off and their body became severely de-conditioned over time. The body is an amazing organism. When we have an injury, the body tries to compensate in order to function. Each individual tried to maintain some type of basic exercise routine as best they could. For example, one friend tried to maintain her fitness level by biking outdoors for about 30-75 minutes 3-4 times a week. They had a stress fracture in one of their toes that they were dealing with.

As a result of an injury, it’s easy to start popping medications in order to alleviate the pain. Chronic pain can take its toll not only physically but mentally as well. It’s also easy to try different alternative therapies because you’re trying to be proactive. Different therapies, like massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and even regular exercise and yoga may help. The issue, however, is they don’t address the root cause of the pain. Why did the injury happen in the first place? What is the mechanism hiding behind the injury? Different specialist will give you varying reasons why this has happened to you. Some will not even offer you that much insight, just try to treat it. They treat the symptom(s), again, not the root cause.

Myofascial Therapy Can Help Manage Chronic Pain

A few friends found that myofascial therapy worked really well. This is typically performed by someone like a physical therapist who has had additional training working with fascia. They are trained to address the issues not with various modalities but manually (i.e. using their hands) helping to release tight fascia (connective tissue) around the injured area.

One person found that the Egoscue Method worked really well. This method was founded by anatomical physiologist, Pete Egoscue, decades ago. He built a great reputation helping famous golfers get out of pain. It involves a full digital assessment followed up with specific bodyweight only exercises to address the issue and realign the spine and body. He has a great book, which I’ve read and recommend often, called Pain Free on Amazon.

This was one of the first therapies that offered me, when I was previously injured, an idea of why my injury occurred in the first place. For me it was all about finding that mechanism that caused the injury in the first place. I was then able to address it, and begin to work on specific exercises to – in my case, realign the spine and hips – eventually getting me back to a healthy (posture) baseline. My job is to now work on those specific, daily, movements (i.e. prehab) in order to prevent this from happening again.

Additional Modalities for Managing Chronic Pain

Massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, cryotherapy, flotation tank, chiropractic, yoga, foam rolling and even exercise can all help. Each modality is beneficial and has a place at the table in managing chronic pain. I have personally tried each of them and, to some extent, they all work albeit temporarily. When trying to relieve chronic pain, it’s best to have a trained therapist observe your standing posture, and how you move. Remember, if you have movement competency issues – and most of us do – you need to work on addressing those issues first. Otherwise, you may end up spending a great deal of money and investing a lot of your time without ever eliminating the pain and finding the answer to why it ever happened in the first place.

Hopefully the advice in this article is something you can use if or when needed. Don’t get comfortable taking medication or trying different therapies just because that’s what you’ve done in the past or someone recommended you give it a try. Question everything, think out of the box, be your own advocate and first and foremost, determine the root cause of the pain.

Jefit Elite Can Record & Track Your Injury History

Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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4 Things to Watch with Your Body Post Workout

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When you’re working out, you can push yourself, at times, well beyond your comfort zone. After all, who ever got fit by feeling a little bit of discomfort, and then throwing in the towel, right? There are a few things, however, your body may be trying to tell either during or after a work out. It is important to always pay attention to how you feel during and after a given workout. If you don’t, you may not catch the early warning signs of a potential injury. If you want to know what your body may be telling you post workout, read on!

Persistent Pain

A common misconception about working out is that pain is just a sign that you’re overloading your muscles. You may be thinking you’re pushing your body adequately in order to make it stronger. Most people don’t believe that there is anything wrong with this. Some think the “no pain, no gain” adage is the correct mentality. Meaning, an overwhelming sense of pain in your body, will ultimately produce gains in strength and size.

The issue, though, could be you’re doing harm to your body, and you should never ignore these signs. A bit of aching and muscle fatigue is pretty normal after exercise. A stabbing pain, however, is certainly not, so don’t underestimate how important this may be. Even if the pain passes after a while, it is a good idea to get it checked out by your physician before it becomes persistent.

This is also important if you have any underlying health issues, such as heart problems. If you start to experience pain in your chest, don’t just keep it to yourself, and know what the heart attack symptoms in men and women are. You’ll be glad that you educated yourself on what could go wrong, in case anything ever actually arise post workout.

You Feel Dizzy When Working Out

Another warning sign of a potential issue when you are working out is dizziness. If you’re feeling light-headed and dazed when you’re exercising, this may not a good sign. There are many things that could be causing your dizziness, such as hypoglycemia, but it’s also important to know when you actually need to take the plunge, and go and see a doctor.

Sometimes, you may be dizzy just because you’ve been moving around a lot, and it has thrown you off balance a bit. You’ll know if this is the case, because this will usually pass pretty quickly. It can also be caused by holding your breath for prolonged periods of time, as the lack of oxygen to your brain can also throw you off a little.

However, you can experience light-headedness and dizziness because you’re pushing yourself too hard in a workout, and your body just can’t cope with it. Your brain may not be able to get oxygen fast enough, and whilst this isn’t a health issue in small doses, it can present some risks. Know when to stop, and don’t ignore dizziness especially during or post workout.

You’re Not Sleeping Well

While this is not something that may not present itself as an issue when you’re actually working out, you may want to ask yourself whether your sleeping patterns have changed since you started hitting the gym. Insomnia is one of your body’s ways of telling you that something is up, so don’t ignore it if it’s happens.

Your insomnia could be caused by an increase in cortisol, which is a direct result of exercising. While the hormone cortisol can be a good thing, it’s also associated with other issues, too. When cortisol levels start to rise at night, they can increase the chances of you waking up more, or not sleeping at all.

One way to avoid these issues is to ensure that you don’t work out too late at night, but the main thing to avoid is workouts where you’re doing too much, for too long. If you’re exercising at a level that is simply too intense, your sleeping may be affected. Know when to stop, for the sake of catching those important zzz’s.

Nervous System on Overload

This is worth reading into if you’re a science lover, but basically, too much intense exercise, and/or stress, can negatively effect your sympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your body that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response. Keeping this in balance is key, so don’t push yourself harder than you need to, and always keep an eye on your mental and physical health.

If you’re unsure about anything that your body is telling you post workout, go and see a healthcare professional, sooner rather than later, and you’ll be glad you did this, if for nothing else, it will put your mind at rest!

Use Jefit to Monitor Your Body & Workouts

Jefit app, named best app for 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Back to the Gym: 7 Important Factors to Reconsider

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Good health and longevity are possible through daily activity. With this in mind, working out is not only a necessity, it’s imperative for a healthy mind and body. With that said, it’s probably wise for most people to join a nearby gym to get the most out of their workouts. I addition, you’ll have access to professional guidance (staff & trainers) and equipment.

With the unending list of gyms near you, choosing the right facility that meets your needs may take some work. To ensure that you pick the best gym and get the most benefit, here are some factors to reconsider as gyms begin to open up once again around the country.

1. Location

Although you want to engage in an activity, going to the gym should not turn into an exercise by itself. As such, proximity to the gym ranks top of the factors to consider. Ensure that the gym you choose is close to your home or apartment thus making it easy for you to go to the gym in the evening and morning. Next, consider the safety of the location of your gym to avoid getting mugged. If your gym is armed with amenities; however, you can pick one that is a bit far as you can exercise and prepare for sessions. If possible, a gym within a 15-20 minute drive works best or something along the way home from work.

2. Purpose

Before choosing a gym, you should come up with a workout routine that addresses your needs. A coach or personal trainer typically calls this a needs assessment or analysis. After designing your workout routine, check to make sure the gym is equipped for your exercise needs.

3. Exercise Equipment

Ensure that your gym has all the equipment to meet your needs and goals so your results won’t be limited. Also, make sure your gym has a qualified group of trainers (degree & certification) who have experience working working with a possible client like yourself. Make sure when you get your tour the workout area is up to par, thus assuring your safety when performing any type of strength or cardio exercise. While at this, categorize your exercises into cardio workouts, mobility/flexibility work, bodybuilding workouts and strength training. Make sure each of these areas in the gym are well equipped to meet your need.

4. Hours of Operation

With several things to compete with, trying to always squeeze a workout into your busy schedule is inadvisable. When choosing a gym, make sure that it ‘s open in your free time thus allowing you to workout at your convenience. Also, some gyms shut down seasonally. If these seasons are during your “free time”, it will prove a pain in changing to another gym. Ensure that your gym is open for the more significant part of the year to get the most benefits.

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5. Check Reviews Online

Nothing hurts as much as getting high expectations and services that don’t even meet the bare minimum standards. When choosing a facility, go through the reviews customers left online thus rating the quality of service you expect. Finally, see what customers say about the cleanliness of the facility especially with a pandemic still lingering.

6. Price

A significant factor to consider when choosing a gym is the price. Although you want to get strong, it does not necessarily mean you have to blow your savings. With the numerous options available, choose a gym that falls within your budget thus saving money for other purposes like maintaining a bodybuilding budget. While at this, keep it in mind that you get what you pay for. A cheap gym service usually means less equipment and trainers.

7. Services

In the case you want to exercise as a family, accessibility is a factor to consider. Choose a studio or facility with amenities that cover each member of your circle thus avoiding any struggle with regrouping. Also, inquire about personal training or coaching services in case you choose to hire a personal trainer at some point for yourself or a family member.

Use the Jefit App at the Gym

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Six Unique Features Found on Jefit Elite App

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Jefit was founded in 2010 and the app is still used by many of the same people who originally tried the product back then. The Jefit Elite app is an upgrade of the free version of the award-winning app. The product is a strength training planning & tracking app with a faithful audience of millions of gym-goers over the years. During the past year, many others have also started using the app to plan and record their home workouts as well.

Jefit was named best app for 2021 by Men’s Health, PC Magazine, Healthline, The Manual, GREATIST, Parade Magazines and many others.

When a member chooses to upgrade to the Elite version of the Jefit app, the following six features go into effect including the removal of all previous ads.

6 Key Elite Features on Jefit App

1. Exclusive Programs

Any member with Jefit Elite will have access to additional exercise programs developed by Jefit’s certified strength & conditioning coaches. Below are a few examples. The Jefit app currently has more than 3,300 exercise programs.

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2. Ability to Swap Exercises

Another great feature for those who upgrade to Jefit Elite app is the ability to swap exercises. The easy to follow step-by-step sequence to do exactly that can be seen below. During a workout, first find the swap icon to replace the current exercise. Then use the following 3-steps to make it happen.

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3. Store Unlimited Workouts

With the Elite version of the app you receive additional space to download and store an unlimited amount of exercise programs. These can be strength programs you build yourself or other programs shared from friends and coaches.

4. Advanced Analysis on Jefit Elite App

You can do a much deeper dive into your workout and body measurement analytics. The Jefit Elite app has the ability to provide more comprehensive data insights. A few examples can be seen below.

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5. Tools for Improvement

With Jefit Elite app you can view community points, rankings and 1-Rep Max. You also have the ability to copy a routine, workout, day, or an exercise!

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6. Ads-Free

When an individual upgrades to the Jefit Elite app, one of the first things they notice is the app becomes free of all ads. This occurs when you upgrade to either a monthly or yearly payment option.

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by more than two dozen publications and websites. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Performing a Side Bridge Exercise Has its Advantages

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The side bridge exercise is a stellar movement targeting the oblique muscles, commonly referred to as the “outer abs”. The various layers of oblique muscles are just one of the 29 muscles that make up your “core”. The muscle group plays a vital role in posture, core stabilization, activities of daily living and athletic performance. The exercise reveals its true potential, though, by the many secondary muscles it activates while “holding” the position. In addition to the obliques, other muscles like the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, are engaged to help stabilize the hips. Finally, your shoulder stabilizers work in concert to keep you aligned as well. 

What are the Benefits of the Side Bridge Exercise?

Aside from all the benefits it provides for your body, the side bridge also brings plenty of convenience to the table. It is a terrific bodyweight exercise, all you need to do a side bridge is a mat and a few minutes. The power of the side bridge extends well beyond just your obliques. The side bridge influences every muscle that the obliques touch or are related to. Here are just a few of the benefits of performing the exercise:

  • Side bridge activates as much as 40 percent of the upper and lower back muscles. This is more than many common back exercises.
  • Not only does it work your obliques exceptionally well (about 50 percent of their maximum), it recruits your rectus abdominals too (about 34 percent of its maximum). This amount of muscle activation is similar to performing a crunch or front bridge exercise (aka plank).
  • The side bridge is an ideal exercise to train the back muscles, especially the deep muscle, known as the quadratus lumborum. The QL is an important muscle for providing spine stability.
  • Performing the side bridge exercise is one of the best ways to work your hip abductor and glute muscles. The hip abductor muscles work at about 74 percent of their maximum capacity during the side bridge. That number, by the way, doubles the work of the muscle often prescribed for hip muscle weakness, the side-lying leg raise (aka hip abduction).

How to Modify a Side Bridge Exercise

You can do a traditional side bridge or change things up to make the movement easier or harder.

Lift Your Top Leg Up – This increases the stress on the side of the body closest to the ground.

Flex the Hip of the Bottom Leg – This puts all of the weight on your top leg and is the excellent way to train your inner thighs (e.g. your hip adductor muscles). This is a great exercise for any hockey players.

Change Your Point of Support – Rather than supporting yourself from your forearms or feet, you can support yourself from your knees (easier) or from your extended arm (easier on the muscles but harder to balance).

Why is This So Important?

Developing core strength is important for not only posture but every day activities as well. In addition, if you are a runner, triathlete, cyclist or swimmer, then the side bridge should be part of your conditioning program. The side bridge exercise is typically done three times per week, holding the position for 3-10 seconds. Hold the position for a desired time and then roll back. Keep repeating this until you can’t maintain your form. You can also try doing straight sets on one side before switching sides.

The simplest rationale for the side bridge exercise is it builds your muscle capacity providing better hip and trunk stability. The muscles that get strengthened over time, help keep your pelvis level (neutral). This is not only important to prevent back and hip pain but is also very important in preventing knee injuries. One important aspect of knee pain is hip stability and hip abductor and glute medius weakness. The side bridge is ideal for improving stability about the hips and thus preventing or treating knee pain that has been known to cause hip dysfunction.

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Trunk Muscles

In addition to providing a great workout for the obliques, transversus abdominis, and rectus abdominis, side bridges work many muscles of the core or trunk. This exercise engages the glutes as synergists, or muscles that help other muscles complete a movement. Side bridges focus on the hips, engaging other synergists such as the quadratus lumborum, psoas major and hip adductors. In addition, additional back muscles such as the iliocostalis and the latissimus dorsi are also activated with side bridges.

Additional Muscles

Side bridges don’t stop at the abs and trunk. Upper-thigh muscles, including the tensor fasciae late, gracious and pectineus act as synergists, as do the deltoids, supraspinatus, and trapezius of the shoulders and upper back. Likewise, the pectoralis muscles of the chest and levator scapulae of the upper shoulders serve as stabilizers, or muscles that help other muscles maintain a certain position during exercise.

Muscle Activation

The side bridge not only excels in the quantity of muscles it engages, it also offers quality activation. Physiotherapist and chiropractor Greg Lehman notes that this exercise engages your upper and lower back muscles at 40 percent of their maximum, a figure far greater than typical back exercises. Lehman also says that the obliques and rectus abdominal experience engagement of 50 percent and 34 percent respectively, making for abdominal engagement roughly on par with crunches. The hips get the biggest benefit, however, at about 74 percent engagement. That’s twice the engagement of the common side-lying leg raise.

Low Back Pain

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by the University of Virginia, reveals further benefits of the side bridge exercise for those who suffer from recurrent low-back pain (LBP). The study found that those with recurrent low-back pain experience the same level of muscle activation, or efficient muscle contraction, as those who did not suffer from LBP when performing side bridges. The news is doubly good, as the same study notes that a weak transverse abdominous may actually be part of the cause of LBP.

Use Jefit to Plan & Track Your Workouts

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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