What Are The Differences Between Stiff-Leg & Romanian Deadlifts?

There are various forms of the deadlift exercise that one can do to help build overall strength and power. The stiff leg deadlift (SLD) and Romanian deadlift (RDL), are two such examples. Both exercises can be done using either a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebells. This article will look at the barbell version of each. The two movements look pretty much similar if you were to see them performed side-by-side. Both exercises stress the hamstring group more than a traditional deadlift exercise. There are, however, key differences. 

Differences Between Deadlifts (RDL & SDL)

The SDL and RDL are often considered the same exercise, but you need to understand some of the nuances between them. The main difference between both exercises is the amount of flexion that occurs in the knees. For example, in the SDL, the knees start fully extended before unlocking slightly as part of the forward hinge. In the case of the RDL, the knees remain bent while executing the movement. When you perform an RDL, your hips are pushed back to the rear, providing greater hip joint rotation. When your hips flex more, the glutes end up working more.

Both exercises work basically the same muscles (glutes, hamstrings and back). However, the SLD, using a more neutral spine ends up getting more lower back activation. A few areas where some people may run into trouble are with exericise technique and if they lack strength and mobility. Let’s take a look at each type of deadlift and discuss each of them.

Romanian Deadlift

With the RDL, the knees are bent more, as mentioned above, compared to a SLD. This in turn, provides greater hip activation and flexion. Keep in mind, many experts believe that locking the knees out completely can increase the chance of injury when performing any type of deadlift.

In terms of technique, position the feet shoulder-width apart while holding the bar with an overhand grip (aka a clean grip). Next, set your back tightly in a complete arch. We’re talking about lumbar extension here. This is real important. I would first suggest to practice the movement near a wall. Stand about a foot away from the wall as a starting position using only bodyweight. Perform a (partial) RDL movement until the glutes come in contact with the wall. Work on maintaining that slight lumbar extension I mentioned above. Then move a few more inches away from the wall and repeat. Continue to move forward, going deeper into the exercise, each time, until you find your end limit. When you feel comfortable with the technique, try the same thing with a broom stick or dowel. Eventually progress to an Olympic bar with no weight, followed by a loaded bar.

To perform an RDL properly means lowering the weight to a comfortable position just below the knee, that ends up fully engaging the hamstring. Keep the knees “relaxed” and slightly bent (about 20-30 degrees). Move the hips back to execute the movement before driving the hips forward and standing back up with the weight. 

The goal is to hinge at the hips as far as you can without losing the arch in your back. Strength and mobility dictates the range of motion someone ends up typically using. Unlock the knees as you hinge, allowing the knees to remain slightly bent until you return to standing vertically, straightening them as you straighten the hips. Keep the bar as close to the legs as possible throughout the motion. The RDL is a great exercise for developing strength through the posterior chain.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The SLD is similar to a regular deadlift but differs because you keep your legs “almost” straight throughout the workout. The SLD is considered more of a low back exercise and is typically done last in most leg routines.

In terms of SLD technique, start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Take hold of the bar with an overhand grip, positioning the hands about shoulder width apart. As you stand up, retract your shoulder blades, pulling the bar back into an upright posture. Next, lower the bar until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and glutes, and then slowly straighten back up. Remember, though, as you feel this in your hamstrings, drive your heels into the ground engaging your hamstrings and glutes as you pull the bar back to the starting position. Keep the bar close to your body. Remain tight in the core with a neutral spine during each repetition.

Keep the initial weight light in both exercises until you feel the targeted muscles really starting to work. It may take some time to get it all in sync because your mind is trying to focus on others things like form and technique.

Try the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It 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.

5 Most Often Selected Leg Exercises on the Jefit App

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Following a review of the Jefit app exercise database, the most often selected leg exercises, have been determined. With more than 1350 different exercises at their disposal, Jefit members picked the following leg exercises most often. The number at the end of each each exercise name is where each of the exercises ranked on our top 25 list, which can be seen below.

Most Often Selected Leg Exercises

  1. Barbell Deadlift (5)
  2. Barbell Squat (6)
  3. Lying Leg Curl (11)
  4. Barbell Lunge (20)
  5. Leg Extensions (25)

Let’s take a look at each of these five exercises. Three of the five are compound exercises, the deadlift, squat, and lunge. When you are short on time, compound exercises are ideal. This type of movement is obviously great under any training circumstance. Compound exercises incorporate a great deal of muscle mass while performing movement utilizing multiple joints. The other two, leg extension and leg curl, are not the most functional as we all know, but will always have a place in certain strength programs.

Top 5 Leg Exercises According to Jefit App Users

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Most Often Selected of All Leg Exercises is Barbell Deadlift

The deadlift is a great exercise for strengthening not only the legs but the hips and back muscles as well. A classic compound exercise, this multi-joint exercise made the top 5 most often selected exercises determined by users of the Jefit app. It also takes top honors for the most often selected leg exercise.

Barbell Squat

The barbell squat is another great, classic, compound movement that seems to always find its way into most strength training programs. Considered a truly functional strength exercise that will pack on muscle size in the lower body. Also ideal for developing overall strength and power. Anytime you can hold or carry a load on the back and shoulders, a by-product will be an improvement in core strength.

Lying Leg Curl

A single-joint exercise that will help develop posterior chain strength, specifically in the hamstring group. Not a very functional exercise. Most likely better off performing single-leg Romanian deadlifts instead, still, came in just outside of our top 10.

Barbell Lunge

Another great multi-joint exercise that many gym goers love. It is a perfect compliment exercise to any leg routine because of the demand the movement places on the hips and legs. The exercise is the twentieth most selected exercise in the entire Jefit exercise database and fourth best rated leg exercise.

Leg Extension

This is the final leg exercise and second single-joint exercise, with the leg curl, to make the Jefit list. Not one of the most functional exercises but a great exercise to superset legs with or to place in a machine circuit. Ideal for the bodybuilding community to utilize for their training programs. Also, like leg curl, it’s a safe exercise to perform for many people such as older gym goers or someone coming back from an injury.

Let us know if your favorite exercise made or didn’t make our top most often selected leg exercise list. Below is the complete list of top 25 exercises that are most often selected by Jefit members.

Jefit App Top 25 Most Often Selected Exercises

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Try The Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It 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 and recover well using Jefit.

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Here Are The Most Often Selected Exercises For Jefit

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The award-winning Jefit app, was recently named best app for 2021 by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and others. The workout planning & tracking app includes a database of more than 1350 exercises. Of all the exercises featured on the app, Jefit members (more than 9 million), continue to choose three exercises more often than any others.

The most often selected Jefit exercises are:

1. Barbell Bench Press

2. Barbell Bicep Curl

3. Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

Let’s take a look at each one of these. Two of the three are multi-joint exercises (bench press and lat pull-down) and none surprisingly work the lower body. Only two leg exercises actually made our top ten list. The most often used exercises, if you were interested, are barbell deadlift followed by barbell squat.

Most Often Used Jefit Exercise – Barbell Bench Press

No surprise here that bench press is the most often used Jefit exercise. It has always been a long time staple in bodybuilding, traditional and sport-specific workout programs. Considered an ideal exercise because it develops upper body strength and power. It also helps pack on upper body muscle mass while targeting multiple muscle groups. As a result, it’s probably one of the best multi-joint exercises you can do. Not to mention, it’s a fun exercise to perform and you can easily track your progress in the Jefit app via 1-RM. Finally, don’t you always feels like you get an efficient upper body workout after completing a handful of sets of bench press?

Muscle Groups Worked: Chest, Shoulders, Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See the following study published in the Journal Human Kinetics (2017).

Barbell Bicep Curl

A fan favorite of just about everyone. Dumbbell curls have there place but a barbell bicep curl is terrific for adding size to the biceps. An old favorite of mine is barbell bicep curl 21’s. Even though barbell biceps curl is a favorite of gym-goers who use Jefit, check out the research paper (below. The study looked at the differences in EMG activity when using a barbell and an EZ curl bar.

Muscle Group Worked: Arms

EMG Activity: Read this study on differences between tradition barbel curl and EZ bar

Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

This wide grip lat pull-down is a great exercise to add to any program for overall back development. This is one of those exercises that can stress different aspects of the back and arms depending on hand placement. A wide grip recruits more of your back muscles and a close grip pulldown emphasizes the forearm muscles. Considered a great compound or multi-joint, upper-body strength movement, because it targets the back, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Depending on who you read, an over hand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width works best. Lean back slightly, pulling the bar down towards the chest, does a good job activating the biggest back muscle, the latissimus dorsi.

Muscle Groups Worked: Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See this paper that looked at muscle activity of three variations of lat pull-down. Here is a second paper published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2014) on various hand positions during lat pull-down.

Try adding one or all three of these exercises into your next strength training program that you build using the Jefit app and let us know how it goes.

Try Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It 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 and recover well using Jefit.

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Did You Know Exercise Offers These 12 Health Benefits?

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Some pass judgement on their diet and exercise plan by what the bathroom scale reads. But that should not be the case. With regular exercise, we improve many aspects of our health and fitness. Sometimes the benefits are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of exercise that you receive from lifelong exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise (Strength & Cardio)

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Health Benefits of Strength Training

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. This in turn can rev up a sluggish metabolism and improve functional ability. All by performing strength training at least two to three times a week for the rest of your life.
  • Strength training slows or prevents sarcopenia – which literally means the “loss of flesh.” We all lose muscle mass as we age – and you can begin to lose muscle around 30 years old. You can also expect to lose muscle at a rate of 10 percent each decade starting at age 50.
  • It plays a role in disease prevention – like preventing or managing type 2 diabetes, as an example.
  • Helps improve the way you move your body resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • An additional health benefit of exercise is – it spares the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1 percent of their bone mass after age 35 and this can increase following menopause.
  • According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 8 pounds of muscle every ten years, with a by-product being a reduction in metabolism of about 50 calories a day.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Regular aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD.
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping, etc. will “load” your bones and in turn make them stronger.
  • Regular aerobic-type exercise improves heart function, lowers your resting heart rate, and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • Speaking of a lower heart rate, here is a health benefit of exercise many people don’t realize. Decreasing your resting heart rate a small amount can he beneficial. Lowering heart rate from 70 to 60 beats per minute, the heart beats 14,400 less times over the course of a day. by the end of a year, that equates to more than five million less beats!
  • The American College of Sports Medicine reports that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in disease risk.

Build Strength with the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It 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 and recover well using Jefit.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

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How to Use a Pool to Recover Faster From Workouts

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There is a reason why you hear about athletes hitting the pool after a workout. Using a pool post workout can be a crucial component of training, in turn, helping the body recover faster. There are many known benefits associated with active recovery sessions in the pool. This can come following a hard workout in the gym or after an athletic event. I remember back as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!), we typically put the football team in the pool as an active recovery following a weekend game. A recovery workout in the pool will help reduce muscle soreness, flush out lactic acid, and prevent a drop-off in athletic performance.

Research from a 2010 study in the International Journal of Sports Medicine concluded “swimming-based recovery sessions enhanced following day exercise performance.” A second study, in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, demonstrated an active pool recovery was the most efficient method at clearing blood lactate in the body, followed by massage, and finally passive recovery.

Swim to Recover Faster

Here is an easy to follow active recovery routine to try. Perform each movement for a lap or two depending on the length of the pool you’re in. Focus on working your muscles through their full range of motion with each movement. The water is great to do this in because there is almost no gravity placed on the body and only about 10 percent of your bodyweight is used in the pool due to the buoyancy.

  • Forward walking lunge with arm movement.
  • Swim underwater.
  • Backward walking lunge with arm movement.
  • Swim underwater.
  • Walk forwards.
  • Jump and dive repeats.
  • Walk backwards.
  • Carioca.
  • Squat and jump repeats.

One final note on swimming in general. Researchers at University of South Carolina followed 40,547 adults ages 20 to 90 for more than three decades. They discovered that swimmers, regardless of their age, were about 50 percent less likely to die during the study than were couch potato’s, walkers, or runners.

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Water Therapy Post Injury

Another great reason to get in the pool, in addition to helping the body recover faster from a workout, relates to injury recovery. The properties of water – buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, density – are highly effective for rehabilitation. These properties make water therapy an ideal modality to regain function, muscle strength, balance, and range of motion.

The simple act of deep water running can help reduce your recovery time drastically. Position a “noodle” around your back or chest and under both arms to help you float. Begin, going side-to-side in the pool for laps or designated time. As your endurance improves, start using the full length of the pool. Always use a full range of motion, maintain a tall posture, keep core engaged, and use proper arm action during each lap. Progress to wearing a floating vest or waist unit in order to execute better arms action. It can be a great workout especially after a few weeks of inactivity, it feels great to move pain-free in the water.

Research has shown that swimming laps for an hour burns 690 calories. Treading water – vigorously – expends about 11 calories a minute (same as running a 6-minute mile pace), to give you some context of energy expenditure via the pool.

Stay Active with Jefit

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It 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 and recover well using Jefit.

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Some of the Best Kneeling Exercises to Try

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We know that upright or standing exercises are usually some of the best movements you can perform. The majority of the exercises in a workout are typically done while standing or lying down on a bench. A standing exercise can mimic everyday activity and many sport-specific movements. Incorporating exercises that put the body in non-traditional positions, such as kneeling, can be extremely beneficial as well.

Many of the exercises you perform standing or seated can also be executed from either a kneeling (sitting on your shins), tall kneeling or a half kneeling position. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on the last two, tall kneeling and half kneeling positions.

Kneeling exercises can be added to an exercise routine because you’re working around an issue, like a foot injury. In addition, positioning the body in a kneeling or half-kneeling position can be beneficial from a flexibility or mobility stand point as well. Finally, working the body while maintaining these positions, comes with an added bonus, they stress the muscles making up the core.

Kneeling Exercises Offer a Great Core Workout

A kettlebell overhead press, curling dumbbells or executing a landmine press (see this recent Jefit Instagram post on how to do it), when performed from a kneeling position, offers an added bonus. The by-product is a great core workout. Keep in mind, when your lower legs are taken out of the equation, your abs, glutes, and lower back muscles have to really engage or “fire” or you’ll lose your balance.

Maintain Proper Body Position

Let’s start with a tall kneeling position. Begin in a kneeling position with your bodyweight evenly distributed on that’s right, both knees. Keep an 8-12 inch gap between the knees. The key with this, and the half kneeling exercise, is core engagement. Work on maintaining a tall posture throughout. There is no forward/backward or side-to-side bending with any exercise performed from this base position. Stay “locked and loaded” during any kneeling exercise.

The half kneeling position requires the same tall posture and core focus. In this position, though, one leg is bent at a right angle out in front of the body. The other leg also maintains a right angle at the knee but that knee is directly below your hip. A half kneeling position, in and of itself, is a great position to maintain when trying to stretch the quadriceps and hip flexors. In order to maintain a strong base of support, make sure there is adequate space between the legs. The closer you bring your inner thighs (like trying to balancing on a 2×4) the more difficult the exercise becomes. Exercises performed from this position are also great for improving thoracic spine mobility.

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Three Tall Kneeling Exercises to Try

  • Tall Kneeling Bicep Curl – This is pretty much as it sounds. Start in a kneeling position. While on your knees, perform either a bicep curl, alternating bicep or hammer curl, using dumbbells or even a kettlebell.
  • Tall Kneeling Overhead Press – Again, pretty much as it sounds. You can go with a one-arm or bilateral movement here. Make sure when you press any weight overhead, you’re “locked-in” and the extended arm is back near your ear.
  • Tall Kneeling Trunk Flexion – This is basically a tall kneeling partial sit-up. Position yourself in front of a cable machine (the machine is behind you). Reach overhead and take hold of the handles or rope. Pull the cables up over the shoulders. Position the handles at upper chest height. From there, flex the trunk performing basically a tall kneeling “partial” sit-up. Perform no more than 30-45 degrees of trunk flexion. Keep in mind, there are other exercises that involve more trunk flexion where you basically touch the elbows to the thighs. This, however, is a different exercise.

Three Half Kneeling Exercises to Try

  • Half Kneeling Pull or Press – This could include a single or double arm pull or press exercise. For example, a pull exercise would be something like a one or two arm lat pull exercise. This could include a vertical or horizontal pull. The press movement is also a unilateral or bilateral pressing movement using a kettlebell or dumbbell.
  • Half Kneeling Pallof Press – This is a great “anti-rotational” core exercise. Get in position with the cable machine or exercise band to the side of you and drop to one knee. Your position should resemble a finished lunge, but with the back knee grounded. Press the cable or band handle out in front of you and hold for five to ten seconds, resisting the rotation, then return the handle back to your lower chest and repeat for desired repetitions.
  • Half Kneeling Rotational Exercises – This can be done with a medicine ball, off a cable machine or using a GIANT band or exercise band. Perform your rotational movement in towards the knee that is bent in front of the body.

Transitional Kneeling Movements

Transitional refers to any type of movement performed from a tall kneeling position. Meaning, you would start in a kneeling position but move away or jump out of that base position.

  • Ab Roller (see photo above) – you can use a traditional ab roller for this one. There is also an option for using an Olympic bar or EZ-curl bar instead. Finally, you can try sliders or a towel placed under the hands if non of the above are available.
  • Tall Kneeling to Squat – This is a great explosive, bodyweight exercise to add to your training program ever so often. Begin in Tall kneeling position, where your positioned on your knees or even your shins. From there, explode into a deep squat position and repeat for desired repetitions. This can also be perform in “slow motion”, one leg at a time, therefore becoming more of a hip mobility exercise.
  • Kneeling Leg Curl – You can use a partner for this one or secure the legs under a heavy piece of equipment that won’t move. Let the body slowly fall towards the ground, as the hamstrings lengthen. Then you “pull” the body back to the starting position using the hamstrings. You can also push of the ground if needed.

Change can be good for the body. With that said, change body positions periodically, incorporate various planes of movement, change ground surfaces, or transition from bi-lateral to uni-lateral exercises in your training program. Of course, try adding in a few kneeling exercises while you’re at it. How often? It really depends on your training goals. A good start may be to change things up every eight weeks or so and monitor how your body responds to any such changes.

Stay Strong with Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit 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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Everything You Need to Know about Plantar Fasciitis

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Foot pain, especially plantar fasciitis, can be a difficult condition to deal with if not treated correctly. It can prevent people from doing simple tasks such as walking or getting around. Worse, sometimes you cannot even be sure where exactly the pain is coming from. Or, what is causing it, especially if you do not recall going through a painful injury. This happened to me recently. One day I was running and a day or two later, I was having trouble putting weight on my right foot.

Another important issue with foot pain that many do not realize is it can affect your posture and gait. The longer any foot injury persists, the greater the likelihood that you’ll have issues some where else, like your back.

Among the many causes of foot pain, plantar fasciitis is one of the most common. Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of the plantar fascia. This includes the long ligament that joins the heel at the back of your foot with your toes.

Plantar fascia is also responsible for supporting the arch of your foot, this enables the foot to support your bodyweight. Hence, any problems with this area of your foot could impact the ability of your foot to do its job.

Here is everything you need to know about plantar fasciitis.

What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?

Similar to other joints and muscles, the purpose of plantar fascia is to support the foot muscles and absorb stress. Hence, if the stress becomes too much, the plantar fascia will start to develop small tears. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation as a result of the body’s natural response to such injuries, thereby resulting in the development of plantar fasciitis. Although plantar fasciitis usually occurs for no specific reason, some factors can increase the risk of developing plantar fasciitis.

These include having high foot arches, wearing high heels frequently, and spending long hours each day standing. Athletes are also at higher risk of plantar fasciitis due to the repetitive, high-impact motions that come with running or jumping.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

The symptom of plantar fasciitis that is easiest to observe is a sharp pain in the heel of the foot, particularly when you take your first steps after having been lying down or seated for a prolonged period of time. If this happens to you quite regularly, it is best to see a specialist right away.

When you make an appointment, the doctor will immediately ask you about your symptoms and perform a checkup to determine where the pain in your feet is coming from. To be sure of the cause, you may then have to undergo different tests.

These include an X-ray, MRI or other imaging tests to rule out other possible causes, such as arthritis or fractures.

How Can It Be Treated?

Treatment of plantar fasciitis is actually quite simple and does not require surgery. Typically, a doctor will prescribe that you ice the area and avoid any activities that might increase the pain, such as sports and exercise. The doctor may also prescribe you some anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation and resulting pain.

Eventually, you may be advised to practice some physical therapy exercises and stretches to strengthen your leg and foot muscles to prevent another occurrence of plantar fasciitis. You may also be asked to wear more supportive shoes or to use sole inserts for better cushioning as you walk and run. Finally, get in the habit of using a foam roller targeting the lower body especially the calf area. Tight muscles and restricted fascia, if not addressed, can eventually lead to foot issues.

With proper lifestyle habits and medical advice, you should be able to fully recover from plantar fasciitis and prevent it from ever recurring. If you feel any symptoms, it is best to seek a professional’s opinion straight away for the quickest relief and recovery.

Try the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit 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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Some Of The Best Home Exercises To Start Doing

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Anyone who likes to workout is always on the lookout for a new exercise to try. The following list includes some of the best home exercises for you to try. There are literally hundreds of exercises you potentially could choose. The following six are just a few of what we consider to be the best home exercises. The only thing needed with this group is your bodyweight or one piece of equipment. In addition, these exercises won’t break the bank and all work as a (low cost) workout option. Use the Jefit app, recently names best fitness app by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and Healthline, when planning and tracking your strength workouts.

Three Great Bodyweight Exercises

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T Push-Up

The T Push-up is an excellent progression to move to when you’ve exhausted other push-up variations. It is basically, a traditional push-up that transitions to an extended arm side plank. This particular variation places more load on the wrist, shoulder and core (obliques) than a regular push-up. As a result, you get much more bang for your buck. The exercise is a perfect choice for any bodyweight workout or circuit where you’re trying to utilize as much muscle as possible. The Jefit app offers this exercise in its database under push-up to side plank.

Box Jump

Any type of jumping is great to add to a workout. It can come in the form of single or double leg hops as part of a dynamic warm-up or more involved like split jumps or box jumps. In regard to box jumps, a 18-20″ plyo box or platform usually works best depending on of course on training experience. Box jumps work every muscle in the lower extremity allowing the hips and legs to train using triple extension. This is where the ankles, knees and hips are slightly flexed before jumping, followed immediately by an explosive extension using the same muscle groups.

Think about any explosive Olympic lift for a moment…that’s right, they all involve triple extension. One of the cool things is this can carry-over to basically every sport-specific movement.

Burpee

A burpee is a full body exercise that requires a great deal of flexibility, mobility and strength to perform. It is also one of the best home exercises to add to any workout. If technique is in question, try doing them initially in “slow motion.” Basically, break the exercise down into segments and see how you manage this before progressing to a faster pace. Keep the core engaged throughout the exercise.

The great thing is, you can eventually progress to adding in movements, like a push-up, as your technique improves. One area that many have trouble with is keeping the body rigid as they jump back into a plank or what some call a push-up position. You need to stick this part. Prevent your low back from “sagging” and your butt should not end up higher than the rest of your body. Keep a straight line through the knee, hip and shoulder. Think about staying as straight and solid as a board. If you need a regression, try a mountain climber first and see how you do with this exercise, which can also be found in the Jefit database. You can make a burpee a customized exercise in the Jefit app.

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Three Minimal Equipment Exercises to Try

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Band Exercise(s)

More specifically, we’re talking about small band work used for side stepping, monster walks, back-peddling, etc. You can choose. Everyday life and many of the movements performed in the gym are typically repeated in the same planes of motion. Life and movement, like walking, stair-climbing is done in a linear fashion. When is the last time you performed side stepping on your leg day? This type of movement falls under the often neglected frontal plane. A good weekly workout should incorporate movement targeting all planes of motion.

To begin, place a small rubber band (from either Amazon, Perform Better or Power Systems) around your ankles or above the knees. Maintain a slight bend in the knees, with core engaged and toes pointed straight ahead at all times. Next, perform a side stepping movement for 10-15 yards and return in the opposite direction. This movement is ideal for firing up your hip abductors like glute medius. This area is usually weak or dysfunctional when it comes to most adults. The best way to incorporate these types of movement is to make them part of your dynamic warm-up.

Jumping Rope

This is considered one of the best and most effective exercises you can do at home (or when traveling or at the gym for that matter). A few minutes of jumping rope elevates respiration and heart rate, and strengthens the lower leg while burning maximum calories in minimal time. One study, in The Research Quarterly, found that 10-minutes a day of jumping rope was as efficient as 30-minutes a day of jogging when looking to improve cardiovascular efficiency. Add it to your workout as either part of a warm-up or as a component in a HIIT or circuit program. Build up your duration or number of toe taps over time.

Goblet Squat

Another great, functional movement that requires minimal equipment is a Goblet Squat. Typically performed with a kettlebell, dumbbell or a weight plate. This a great exercise if you have been doing barbell squats for a while. A Goblet Squat requires you to go below parallel. Meaning, if the mobility is there, the knees will be higher than the hips at the end of the movement. You’ll end up looking like a catcher playing baseball. Keep the weight close to your body throughout and elbows pointed down.

The six exercises mentioned here would be a welcome addition to any home exercise routine. Even better, add all six of them when you build your next Jefit interval-based workout. Perform 30-seconds of each exercise to start and build up your duration over time.

Add These Exercises to a Jefit Workout

The award-winning Jefit 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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Do Benefits of Exercise Get Lost Sitting Too Much?

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Research has demonstrated often that sitting too much is bad for us. Individuals who sit ten or more hours a day are at greater risk of premature death. Too much sitting can cause a host of health problems especially if exercise is absent.

We have all heard that sitting for extended periods of time can take years away from our lives. New scientific research has backed this up and now sitting for long periods of time has been linked to various forms of cancer.

A large meta-analysis was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looking at 43 observational studies with approximately 69,000 cancer cases. The study reported the lowest and highest “sedentary time” in subjects and concluded higher sedentary times were associated with an “increased risks of certain types of cancer.” The researchers found “sitting is associated with a 24 percent increased risk of colon cancer, a 32 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21 percent increased risk of lung cancer.” The good new, however, is only 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day “substantially weakens this risk”. Time to start standing and moving more!

“Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

Edward Stanley, 1873.

Four Tips if You are Sitting Too Much

Assuming the above statement is true, then how can we add more activity into our daily routine to help us add more years to our lives rather than the other way around? Here are four easy ways to get you started.

1. Use a Pedometer. Research has shown repeatedly that people who walk more during the day are thinner than those who don’t walk as much. Pedometer users take approximately 40 percent more steps throughout the day than non-pedometer wearers. Build up to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Keep in mind there is no magic number here. The research shows anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day is optimal for health and keeping your bodyweight in check.

2. Increase Office Activity. When you need to make or take a call, do it standing preferably while walking outside; make it a walking conference call. Always take the stairs rather than use an elevator. Hard to imagine but the worldwide average for using the stairs is only 5 percent. Get out for a 15-minute walk at lunch time. If possible, get a walking treadmill desk, standing desk etc. You get the idea.

3. Turn Sunday into a Funday. This of course could be any weekend day. Have a predetermined plan and schedule an activity that is done with family or friends. Get together for a hike, a long bike ride, walk/run, stadium stair climb, run a road race together, kayak/SUP trip, etc.

4. Take a Short Walk After Dinner. This can be a big one for paying back strong health dividends. Research shows, a short 15-20 minute walk following dinner can improve digestion, decrease stress level, regulate blood sugar (great after a high carb meal), and improve sleep.

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Additional Research on Sitting Too Much

A great reference for me lately has been the new book, “Exercised” by Harvard University researcher, Dr. Daniel Lieberman. He has a ton of health and fitness information in the book that is heavily referenced with some great longitudinal studies. According to Lieberman there is a lot of hyperbole out there with respect to research on sitting. He goes on to say, however, that there also well-publicized studies that have determined “sitting more than three hours a day is responsible for nearly 4 percent of death worldwide.” In addition, “replacing an hour or two of daily sitting with light activities like walking can lower death rates by 20 to 40 percent”.

Dr. Lieberman looks at three main concerns with too much sitting. First, when we spend 9-12 hours a day sitting, we could be using more of that time standing and adding more physical activity into our day. Second, long periods of “uninterrupted inactivity elevate levels of sugar and fat in the bloodstream”. Finally, his third concern is the most alarming, hours of too much sitting could “trigger our immune systems to attack our bodies through a process known as inflammation”. Keep in mind this is one of the more important reasons for strength training beyond building and maintaining muscle mass as we age. Muscle makes up about a third of of the body and lean muscle mass “has potent anti-inflammatory effects”. Just one more reason why EVERYONE should be committed to regular strength training.

Hopefully, reading a few of these statistics will help to change your mindset and get you moving a little bit more. I’m going to stand up now, how about you? Stay active and be safe.

Try the Jefit App to Increase Your Activity

The award-winning Jefit 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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5 Useful Health & Fitness Products Now and After the Pandemic

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Hard to imagine but we’ll soon be ending a year of dealing with this tragic pandemic. One of the by-product of this is we’re more motivated to work at staying healthy and strong for 2021. The following list of health & fitness products will shed some light on a few additional ways to stay fit this year.

One of the more important areas where many need help is with nutrition. Healthy eating during stressful times has a tendency to go out the window. When the body gets stressed, a hormone known as cortisol is released. “Cortisol shunts sugar and fats into our bloodstream” and as a result, makes us crave sugar and fat-rich foods. Now you understand why you get cravings for sweets or junk food. Cortisol is important because it’s needed to regulate metabolism while helping the body to also manage stress.

This hormone, known as the stress hormone, “directs us to store visceral fat rather than subcutaneous fat” according to Professor Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University and author of the new book, “Exercised”. A little cortisol in the body is normal. Chronic low levels of it, however, “are damaging because they promote obesity and chronic inflammation”.

Give More Attention to Nutrition

Over the past year, eating poorly, less exercise, minimal sleep, and feeling stressed-out, have become the new norm. After almost a year of dealing with with the pandemic, and everything that comes with it, we are starting to witness changes in our body. Both physical and mental changes that are just a few of the many by-products via the pandemic.

One of the best ways to help yourself with all of this is to get your diet under control. You can do this by starting to record what you eat. Do this for 5-7 days and include a weekend. Be honest with your food tracking. Use one of the many nutrition apps on the market to help analyze your macronutrient intake. You may be surprised at what you’re actually eating. This can act as a first step to begin to get things under control. Make sure you take a look at your daily added sugar intake while you’re at it. Here are some suggestions to help get you started: Myfitnesspal, LoseIt, Lifesum, MyPlate and Fooducate. These are five of the better health & fitness products when it comes to nutrition apps.

In addition, think about moving to a plant-based diet or a better way of eating, like following a Mediterranean diet, can end up being good for overall health. They each come with a ton of research showing this type of eating can, among other things, bolster your immune system. Lastly, work on adding more fruit & vegetables to your diet, in case you’re not interested in the diets mentioned above. It is a great, inexpensive way, to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Specifically, more Vitamin A, B12, B9, Vitamin C, D, and zinc. A pill or a handful of vitamins will not have the same effect.

Some of the Best Health & Fitness Products – Meditation Apps

Find time to engage in this because it will undoubtedly help to manage your stress. Honestly, it’s one of the best health & fitness items on our list. Finding even a few minutes a day to shut things down to “reboot” and “reset” via meditation will do wonders for your overall health. There are many meditation apps you can download to your phone, two of the best ones are Headspace and Calm. They are both great as an introduction into the therapeutic world of meditation.

Another side avenue to explore is listening to a good podcast during your walk or run outside. Millions of people already know that a good podcast is a great way to create “headspace” not to mention, it keeps the listener informed on topics of interest. For me, listening to “The Daily” published by the New York Times, fits the bill.

Add Bouts of Weekly Recovery

Restoration or “recovery” is needed just as much as a vigorous workout, especially if you’re training hard or a bit older. Recovery can mean different things to different people, but basically the goal is to commit time each day to work on restoring your body. It may come in the form of foam rolling pre/post workout, a therapeutic massage, cryotherapy, or maybe a myofascial release session from a qualified physical therapist. Maybe it’s as simple as having a good old fashion foot soak with epsom salt for 30-minutes one evening to treat your neglected feet. When is the last time you did that? The body also benefits from a good stretch or mobility session. Try an online yoga class or something totally out of your realm to help restore your body. You get the idea. Now is the best time to work on self-betterment.

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Exercise Outside: Solvitur Ambulando

We are probably all sitting a little too much these past few months. Make time to get out and exercise. “The total time Americans spend sitting has increased 43 percent between 1965 and 2009”. One of my favorite and most used apps on my phone is called All Trails. It shows the best spots to hike, bike or run – no matter where you’re located or traveling in the U. S. – check it out and find a great course or trail that you never tried in your area. It is also perfect to use when you’re not really familiar with the area while on vacation or away on a business trip. Remember, solvitur ambulando, meaning, it is cured with walking.

Use Jefit App to Track & Assess Your Workouts and More

The award-winning Jefit 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 to shake things up a bit. Stay strong with Jefit.

We hope by incorporating some of these options into your lifestyle, they in turn, end up helping you on multiple levels (i.e. improving mind/body/spirit). For the most part our list of health & fitness products are inexpensive ways to improve the way you look and feel.

Reference

Lieberman, D., Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. Pantheon Books: New York, 2020.

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Strong, Functional Hips: A Must for an Active Lifestyle

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Strong, functional hips are beneficial both in and out of the gym. Powerful hips are the driving force that connects a strong upper and lower body. The hip is considered the most powerful joint in the body because of all the musculature needed to function properly. If the hips are not functional they will hinder the body and end up producing less force in compound movements. Think about how less efficient you will be if your hips are weak or dysfunctional. Everything from performing squats and deadlifts to holding a yoga pose will be negatively affected. According to Michael Reiman, PT and his colleagues, as stated in the International Journal Sports Physical Therapy, “Restricted (hip) mobility can consequently have deleterious effects not only at the involved joint but throughout the entire kinetic chain”.

What Movements do the Hips Perform?

The hip joint is your basic ball-in-socket joint that allows movement in three degrees of freedom. Strong, functional hips, are developed over time using these seven movements:

  • Flexion
  • Extension
  • Abduction
  • Adduction
  • Circumduction (Rotation)
  • Internal Rotation
  • External Rotation

A Hip Dynamic Warm-up is Extremely Beneficial

One of the big injury culprits in todays society is inactivity, which includes the big one, sitting too much. Daniel Lieberman, PhD, a Harvard University evolutionary biologist, reports in his new book, Exercised, that the average American adult is inactive 55-75 percent of the day. One way to offset this inactivity is with regular, focused movement, that incorporates the seven areas of movement mentioned above. Therefore, adding 15-minutes of dynamic warm-up prior to exercise is a great start. This will help develop strong, functional hips. Here is a quick dynamic warm-up you can try before your next Jefit strength workout.

  1. High Knee Marching or Running (to target hip flexion).
  2. Standing Hip Extension (hip extension).
  3. Standing Side Leg Swings (hip abduction/adduction). Runners love this one.
  4. Supine or Standing Knee Circles (rotation).
  5. Moving Side Step-Over (internal/external rotation).

Perform (#1 & 5 above) for 10-15 yards each. The remaining ones can be done for repetition or time. Change up the direction as you progress, meaning perform forward/backward etc. As with the first one, High Knee Marching, one day move forward and the next, try to perform it as you walk backward.

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Major Muscle Groups Used to Move the Hip

  • Flexion: Iliopsoas group (iliacus and psoas major).
  • Extension: Gluteus maximus.
  • Abduction: Gluteus medius and minimus.
  • Adduction: Adductor brevis, longus, and magnus along with pectineus and gracilis.
  • Rotation: Lateral rotator group of muscles including the biceps femoris, sartorius, and gluteus medius and minimus.
  • External Rotation: Gemellus superior and inferior, obturator internus and externus, quadratus femoris and finally, the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.
  • Internal Rotation: Tensor fasciae latae (outer hip) parts of the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus (upper buttocks) the adductor longus, brevis, and magnus (inner thigh) and finally, the pectineus (upper frontal thigh).

Effective Hip Exercises

This list of hip exercises are in no specific order. The first ten are performed as bodyweight exercises. You can progress to carrying a load. The second ten are some of the better strength training exercises. What are your favorite exercises on this list? What exercises do you see great results with that did not make our list? Again, these are not the BEST, just a few that came to mind first.

  1. Multi-directional Lunges (forward, reverse, side)
  2. Step-ups
  3. SLRD (single-leg Romanian Deadlift)
  4. Plyo Box Jumps (single & double le)
  5. Explosive jumps (broad jump, star jumps etc.)
  6. Child Pose (yoga)
  7. Pidgeon Pose (yoga)
  8. Bodyweight Squat (regular & deep)
  9. Medicine Ball Squat to Explosive Push
  10. Side-Lying Hip Abduction
  11. Traditional Squat – Front/Back – (barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell)
  12. Kettlebell Hip Thrust
  13. Wide-Stance Squat (progress to below parallel)
  14. Sumo Squat
  15. Goblet Squat
  16. Barbell Hip Thrust
  17. Bulgarian Split Squat
  18. Deadlift
  19. Kettlebell Swing
  20. Walking Lunges (barbell/dumbbell/kettlebell)

*Bonus: Monster Walks (using a band) and Band Side Step

Get Strong with Jefit

The award-winning Jefit 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Three Helpful Tips When Recovering From An Injury

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Many of us have already been there, with respect to an injury. If not, the odds are you will probably be there at some point; recovering from an injury. It comes with the territory of working out.

The National Health Statistics Reports reported 8.6 million sports injuries, a rate of 34.1 per 1,000 individuals. A second report by the National Safety Council Injury Facts noted 44.5 million injuries in the United States. This past year, the number for exercise-related injuries alone were approximately 500,000; while biking and basketball reported more than 400,000 injuries apiece.

The odds are pretty high that you’ll probably have to deal with an exercise or sports-related injury at some point during your lifetime. The best exercise advice, post injury, is to “just do it” building-up slowly with your exercise duration and intensity. If you’re thinking about taking an exercise class or participating in small group training, beware of the tendency to push a little harder and go beyond your normal limits when working out with others. Avoid the urge to “show off” due to the group dynamic and instead work within your own abilities.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind whenever you get laid up and are dealing with an injury.

The Psychological Toll May Be Greater Than Initially Realize

If an injury progresses from short-term to a chronic issue, you may be effected psychologically more than you realize. You may even experience a bout of mild depression because you are no longer able to reap the “feel good” benefits of daily exercise like you did prior to injury. This could eventually take its toll on your mind, body and spirit. If this is the case, you may want to talk to someone with a medical background. Other possible suggestions that may help are yoga or daily meditation. Remember, “we become what we think about.” Injuries also have the potential to increase stress levels (like cortisol) in our body and the options mentioned here, may be just what the doctor ordered during the recovery process.

Reduced Physical Activity Means Nutritional Modification

This is a must do. When recovering from an injury, your daily activity level decreases. You will no longer expend the same amount of calories as you did previously and consequently, need to eat less. Be cognizant of the fact that if you continue to consume the amount of calories you were eating pre-injury, you most likely will experience an increase in body weight. Talk about another added stress! You are no longer creating a negative deficit or maintaining a “balance” regarding calories in versus calories out. As an example, your number of steps may decrease from an active 10-12,000 steps a day to a sedentary 3,500 steps following a foot injury. If caloric intake is not monitored – you guessed it – an increase in body weight will occur.

Again, this comes down to the type of injury and if you’re totally sedentary or able to do some type of activity. An idea may be to keep a food journal for a few days to look at what you’re consuming. Also, try using an app in order to offer better insight into your nutritional intake. I typically recommended using MyFitnessPal app. This is a very helpful app that offers insightful metrics in respect to what your eating. It also has a great barcode scanner that can take pictures of food or drink products. Finally, it is equipped with a chart showing macro and micronutrient breakdown of meals and snacks. Personally, I like it because it makes life much easier when it comes to monitoring both overall calories and daily sugar consumption.

Find an Alternative Form of Exercise When Recovering From An Injury

The location of your injury will ultimately dictate what you can and cannot do. A foot injury, for example, may allow you to get back into biking or to do some pool therapy.

You can also check out an ElliptiGO SUB (stand-up bike), a cool, fun to use, product that I highly recommend. One of the great things about the SUB is it burns 33 percent more calories than a traditional bike and will avoid any low-back or neck pain typically found using a traditional bike. How about doing more SUB and SUP if you’re able during the recovery process? Two great full-body workouts that burn maximal calories in minimal time without loading the body like other activities.

There are a multitude of factors that can lead to an injury. When you’re recovering from an injury, think about the root cause of your injury and become more mindful of the exercise equipment you’re using. Take a look at what you’re wearing when you workout, for example, are the bottom of your sneakers worn away? Maybe you have logged 500-600 miles in them already? This will change the way you strike the ground not to mention your gait.

In addition, think about being more preventative by adding “pre-hab” exercises to your workout. Always make time to warm-up your body prior to any type of exercise. Finally, adding more restorative work like massage and mobility while paying more attention to post-recovery diet, may also help your cause. Keep your body injury free by becoming strong with Jefit.

Stay Strong With The Jefit App

Join the more than nine million members who’ve had great success using the Jefit app. The award-winning 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. Stay strong with Jefit.

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