Three Key Requirements for Muscle Growth to Occur

There are three key requirements in order for muscle growth to occur. To ensure muscles grow, known as hypertrophy, you need an appropriate training stimulus. In addition, proper diet with adequate protein and of course plenty of sleep. A fourth factor, not discussed here, is the important role that genetics play. We all know people who train hard, eat well and get plenty of sleep. They typically get stronger but don’t really pack on lean muscle. There are many variables that can effect (1) how much and (2) how quickly your body responds to training and eventually adds muscle. This will depend on age, gender, genetic and hormonal factors. There is a saying out there when talking about the role genetics play: “If you want an Olympic athlete then you need Olympic parents.”

Appropriate Training Stimulus for Muscle Growth?

How do you stimulate muscle growth? When a persons muscles are challenged they adapt and change over time. Changes are dependent on the type of activity and types of muscle fibers used, the load exerted on the muscle, and the velocity and duration of the contraction. (Marieb, 2004) The point is to push through all your workouts, especially a heavy day. Because muscular growth or hypertrophy can only be accomplished through these adaptations and changes. “It takes about 16 workouts to have a noticeable ‘superficial’ effect. There is simply no other recipe to do this in a healthy, orderly, and long-lasting manner.” Try using the Jefit, a workout planner & tracker app to record all your workouts.

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Is the Current RDA for Protein High Enough?

This is a tough area for a lot of people. Their eating habits are just not where they need to be. In addition to eating well-balanced, highly nutritious meals, protein intake needs to be sufficient. If not, muscle growth to say the least, will be difficult if not impossible. The scientific research has shown different results over the years in terms of protein needs.

The question we should ask ourselves is – should we follow the suggested RDA of 0.8 grams/kg/day for protein intake or is it more in line with 1-2 gram/kg/day? The answer may depend partly on the volume of daily exercise you’re doing, if you’re a strength or an endurance athlete, and your age.

Adequate Nutritional Intake (Especially Protein)

A classic study was done in 1988 at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. I was actually one of the younger test subjects in that particular study. The team headed by Meredith and colleagues, looked at the protein needs of 12 subjects. Six were young (26.8 +/- 1.2 yr) and six were middle-aged (52.0 +/- 1.9 yr) endurance-trained men. All subjects consumed either 0.6, 0.9, or 1.2 grams/kg/day of high-quality protein over three separate 10-day periods. They did this while maintaining their training and a constant body weight. The results of the study estimated that protein requirement was 0.94 +/- 0.05 grams/kg/day for the 12 men. The data from the study showed endurance exercise was associated with a specific dietary protein requirement. These needs were actually greater than the current recommended dietary allowance of 0.8 g/kg/day.

Since then, there have been several studies on individuals who engaged in regular aerobic exercise. The exercise, more vigorous in nature, demonstrated a higher protein need more in line with 1.1 to 1.4 grams/kg/day. This by the way is about 38-75 percent above the current RDA range. There is good evidence that the current recommended protein intake may actually limit muscle growth. This was seen in a study published in the Journal Applied Physiology. Some researcher’s report an optimal intake more in line with a protein range of 1.5 to 1.8 grams/kg/day which is 88 to 125 percent above the suggested RDA. The best way to make this happen is by ingesting 25-30 grams/protein with each meal and of course supplement with a post recovery protein drink.

Optimal Recovery (Sleep)

You can have the two other two boxes checked but if adequate sleep is not happening, muscle growth will not occur. For those individuals training extremely hard, periodic naps may also be needed. As training intensity increases, more recovery and sleep is needed. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), we need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Are you getting that? When this happens on a regular basis for you, you can check that third box. Here are their guidelines for recommended amounts of sleep by the NSF.

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour, compared to younger children, to 8-10 hours.
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category).
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours.
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category).

Key Take Aways

Increasing strength and building muscle can often seem like a full-time job. You will need all the help you can get to make this happen, especially on the fronts discussed here. By checking all three boxes (training/nutrition/sleep), your odds of finally adding lean muscle will improve greatly. Be well and stay Strong!

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Workouts

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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4 Great Core Exercises You’re Probably Not Doing on Jefit

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The reason why the blog title includes “you’re probably not doing” is because each of these core exercises have been downloaded only a few thousand times. More popular exercises, found in the Jefit app exercise database, have been downloaded 1-2 million times. Take a look at each one and see if one or more works for you. Before you do that see how many of the five exercises below have been in any of your recent Jefit strength programs that you built or tried. These are the five most popular core exercises, all have more than one million downloads to date.

Each core exercise listed above is beneficial when performed correctly. Now, take a look at the core exercises mentioned below and let us know, in the Jefit community, if you agree about their value. If not for you, what other exercises would recommend to a Jefit user.

Dragon Flag

The dragon flag is considered an “expert” level exercise in the Jefit database. This challenging movement has been downloaded only 3,244 times to date. The exercise is shown first in the series of photos below.

How to Perform:

1.) Start off laying on a decline or flat bench and grabbing the end of it behind your head with both hands.

2.) Squeeze and create tension throughout your body so that you are able to feel your muscles and abdominals tighten

3.) Then from the starting position swing your feet upward so that your body is almost vertical.

4.) Keep your abdominals tight and your entire body as straight as possible as you are pointed up in the air.

5.) Hold this position for as long as possible, squeezing your muscles and abs as much as you can.

6.) Once you complete your repetition, slowly lower your feet towards the floor in a controlled manner.

Trainer Notes:

– It is important to brace your core prior to attempting all of these core exercises. You need to maintain this throughout the duration of the movement.

Oblique Crunches with Bench

This exercise, also known as elevated side bridge, in another efficient core exercise. This will work your obliques and also your deep back muscles, like your quadratus lumborum. The oblique crunch with bench, again, has been downloaded minimally (3,618) so let’s change that (exercise is shown in middle photo).

How to Perform:

1.) Start by placing a flat bench in front of you, then rest one are on the bench while extending your legs out, one foot on top of the other, in front of you until your body is parallel with the floor.

2.) While keeping your arms rested on the bench, elevate your body through your pelvis as this will be your starting position.

3.) From there lower your pelvis down towards the floor until you feel a stretch in your abdominals.

4.) Hold onto this position for a count then return back to the starting position.

5.) Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

6.) Switch sides and repeat.

Trainer Tip:

– It is important to make sure that your legs stay extended out in front of you and arm stays rested on the bench.

– The only movement that you want to make is within your obliques and pelvis as they extend down towards the floor and back up with each repetition.

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Plank with Side Kick

The third and final exercise is one of the best anti-flexion core exercises, plank with side kick. The exercise has been downloaded 4,061 times to date. Keep in mind when you perform this movement. The exercise is shown third in the series of photos.

How to Perform:

1.) Start off on your hands and toes in a modified push up position.

2.) Take one of your legs and bring them out to the side of your body, keeping it parallel to the floor, and hold for a few seconds.

3.) After feeling a stretch in your core, bring the leg back to the center and then return to the floor.

4.) Repeat this motion with the opposite leg and alternate.

Trainer Tip:

– There should be no movement in your hips or back, other than hip abduction with a straight leg, when executing the movement.

Push Up to Side Plank

The push up to side plank is a personal favorite. It is one of those core exercises that offers a lot of bang for the buck. The movement targets the chest, core and shoulder. The end phase of the exercise is shown above in the blog post main photo. The exercise has been downloaded only 2,930 times. It is a fantastic bodyweight exercise that you can add to any circuit or interval program on the app.

How to Perform:

1.) Start off in a push up position on the floor with your toes extended out and arms at shoulder level.

2.) Once in position perform a push up and then quickly come back up, but shift your weight to one side of your body twisting to one side and bringing the arm on the twisted side up towards the ceiling.

3.) Hold this position for a count then return back to the starting position for another push up.

4.) Repeat for as many repetitions and sets as desired.

Trainer Tip:

– Hand placement is important for this exercise because immediately following the push up phase you’ll go into an extended side plank. Also, keep your head in alignment throughout.

Try one of these four or another core exercise, that you have not previously tried, in your next Jefit strength training program.

Record & Track Your Core Exercises Using Jefit App

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 and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Know the Health Benefits from Regular Strength Training

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Currently, more than 83 percent of people living in Colorado exercise on a regular basis. There are a few other states that also top that 80 percent mark, like Hawaii, Utah and Vermont. With that, many states are still not even close to that percentage. Understanding the many benefits of strength training could hopefully get more people to jump on the band wagon.

On average, we spend just two hours per week being physically active. This according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Maryland, who analyzed data from the US Census Bureau. According to the latest CDC data, only about 23 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week (150-minutes a week). Here are just a few of the many health benefits you’ll receive from strength training on a regular basis.

Benefits of Strength Training

Duke University scientists discovered that 1,100 calories expended through weekly exercise can help prevent the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. This type of tissue is dangerous because belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Need a push? A British Medical Journal study reported people who exercised in groups boosted their average calorie burn by 500 calories a week.

University of Michigan scientists found men who completed three total-body strength workouts each week experienced significant health changes. The study lasted 2 months and subjects lowered their diastolic blood pressure by 8 points. That is enough to reduce your risk of stroke by 40 percent and heart attack by 15 percent.

Individuals who exercise, at any intensity level, for 2 hours a week see positive changes in mental health. That is an average of only 17 minutes a day. This group was 61 percent less likely to feel highly stressed than their sedentary counterparts, according to researchers from Denmark.

People who regularly participate in strength training are about 20 to 30 percent less likely to become obese. Individuals who performed 1–2 hours a week or at least 2 days a week of resistance exercise, had a 20–30 percent reduced risk of obesity, even after adjusting for aerobic exercise. Researchers at Iowa State University, and other institutions, decided to look at the relationship, if any, between weights and waistlines. They observed tens of thousands of patients who visited the Cooper Clinic in Dallas between 1987 and 2005. Subjects who worked out aerobically and lifted weights were much less likely to become obese. But so were those who lifted almost exclusively and reported little, if any, aerobic exercise.

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Additional Health Benefits

A new study out of the University of South Wales, looked at the strength of younger adults (18-50). The data suggests that men and women can achieve similar relative muscle size gains. In this meta analysis (30 studies), females actually gained more relative lower-body strength than males. Males gained more absolute upper-body strength, absolute lower-body strength, and absolute muscle size.

In a 2014 study published in the journal Obesity, Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men over the course of 12-years and found that strength training was more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise.

A 2013 research in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated young men who did strength training hd a better-functioning HDL, or good cholesterol, compared with those who never lifted weights.

Finally, probably the most important benefit of strength training is a longer life span. A 2015 study in The Lancet showed that grip strength accurately predicted death from any cause. A 2017 report in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care suggests that muscle strength and lean muscle mass both serve as better measures of someones overall health than body mass index or BMI. Time to rethink BMI.

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts. It also helps gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Compound Exercises are Best Choice for a Strong Body

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When you’re looking to increase muscle size and build strength, incorporating more compound strength exercises into your routine would be prudent. Research studies have demonstrated compound exercises are superior compared to other types of exercise. In fact, a 2017 study published in Frontiers in Physiology looked at exercise subjects who used compound versus isolation exercises over an eight-week period. The study showed that the group who focused on compound strength exercises had greater gains in both strength and VO2 max. A second study published in 2019, also supports the use of multi-joint (MJ) over single-joint (SJ) exercises when looking to improve strength in this case, in the lower body. Researchers reported significant strength increases in both SJ and MJ groups, but the MJ group saw significantly greater increases in 1-RM for all leg exercises that were tested in the study.

What Are Compound Strength Exercises?

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time (ACSM). An example would be a Barbell Squat which works many muscle groups like the core, legs, hips and back. Another example would be a Bench Press exercise which works the muscles that make up the chest, shoulders and arms. Compound strength exercises are a staple in many exercise programs because they are ideal for building strength and adding size. In addition, a compound exercise will recruit more muscle fiber and in turn burn more calories per minute than a single-joint or isolation exercise. Compound exercises can be performed using body weight, exercise bands, dumbbells or your best option a barbell. This is because the average gym-goer can lift 20% more weight using a barbell compared to dumbbells. Compound exercise are also important because they mimic activities of daily living (ADL’s).

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Sport, fitness, training and happiness concept – sporty woman with barbell in gym

Examples of Compound & Isolation Type Exercises

Compound (Multi-joint) ExercisesIsolation (Single-joint) Exercises
SquatLeg Extension
DeadliftLeg Curl
Bent-Over RowTricep Extension
Military PressDumbbell Side Lateral Raise
Pull-UpsBicep Curl
Bench Press Dumbbell Chest Fly

What are Isolation Strength Exercises?

Isolation exercises work only one muscle or muscle group and only one joint at a time (ACSM). Examples of isolation exercises include the Biceps Curl or a Leg Extension exercise.

Combining both mult-joint barbell and single-joint dumbbell exercises in a workout has been shown to work well. This type of combination can be seen in the new Jefit program, Compound Strength Routine. Many machine-based strength training products are designed with isolation exercises in mind. Some research has shown, however, that an isolation or single-joint exercise, like a biceps curl, can increase muscle hypertrophy more than a multi-joint exercise.

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An example of an isolation exercise, Dumbbell Bicep Curl.

Jefit’s New Compound Strength Routine

A new advanced strength program designed around multi-joint exercises is the Jefit Compound Strength Routine. The 3-day, advanced, strength training program includes 9-10 strength exercises in each workout. The routine offers three different strength programs, using barbell and dumbbells, and includes 1-3 supersets in each exercise session. This type of program design makes for a faster workout and in turn keeps all the session times less than an hour. Stay Strong with Jefit!

Use Jefit to Keep Track of all Your Workouts

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Most Popular Jefit Exercise for Major Muscle Groups

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The following list includes the top 12 most popular exercises for each muscle group currently used on the Jefit app. The list was put together based on exercise popularity which equates to the most downloads. The ranking (1-12) in each column, shows the number of times each exercise has been downloaded over the past decade. This list includes only barbell, dumbbell and machine exercises, not bodyweight, kettlebell or exercise band.

The list was generated to help anyone who uses the award-winning Jefit app build their strength programs more easily. The Jefit app currently includes about 1300 exercises.

*Each column below includes the following format: Barbell (left), Dumbbell (middle), and Machine-based exercises (right).*

Most Downloaded Leg Exercises

  • Barbell Squat
  • Barbell Lunge
  • Barbell Full Squat
  • Barbell Front Squat
  • Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Barbell Hack Squat
  • Barbell Clean Deadlift
  • Barbell Clean
  • Barbell Front Squat
  • Barbell Wide Stance Squat
  • Barbell Step Up
  • Barbell Single Leg Squat
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Dumbbell Squat
  • Dumbbell Step Up
  • Dumbbell Walking Lunge
  • Dumbbell Rear Lunge
  • Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Pile Squat
  • Dumbbell Bench Squat
  • Dumbbell Iron Cross
  • Dumbbell Lateral Lunge w/ Bicep Curl
  • Dumbbell Jump Squat
  • Dumbbell Single Leg Squat
  • Prone Leg Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Leg Press
  • Seated Leg Curl
  • Smith Machine Squat
  • Hack Squat
  • Thigh (Hip) Abduction
  • Thigh (Hip) Adduction
  • Cable Standing Leg Curl
  • Smith Machine Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Machine Squat
  • Leg Press (Narrow Stance)

Best Back Exercise

  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Bent Over Row
  • T-Bar Row
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Barbell Good Morning
  • Reverse Grip Bent Over Row
  • Barbell Pullover
  • Barbell Bent Over One-Arm Row
  • Barbell Inverted RowRack Pulls
  • Incline Bench Row
  • Lying Cambered Row
  • Reverse Grip Incline Row
  • Dumbbell One-Arm Row
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Row
  • Deadlift
  • Back Shrug
  • Palms In Bent Over Row
  • Pullover on Stability Ball
  • Lying Rear Deltoid Row
  • Palm rotational Row
  • One-Arm Pullover
  • Reverse Grip Incline Row
  • One-Arm Lying Rear Row
  • One-Arm Row on Stability Ball
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Cable Seated Row
  • Back Hyperextension
  • Close Grip Front Lat Pulldown
  • Wide Grip Behind Head Pulldown
  • Cable V Bar Pulldown
  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdown
  • Cable Underhand Pulldown
  • Smith Machine Deadlift
  • Seated Machine Row
  • T Bar Lying Row
  • Smith Machine Bent Over Row

Top Chest Exercise

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Wide Grip Bench Press
  • Front Raise and Pullover
  • Wide Grip Decline Press
  • Barbell Neck Press
  • Decline Pullover
  • Wide Grip Decline Pullover
  • Pullover and Press
  • One Arm Floor Press
  • Reverse Grip Incline Bench
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Incline Press
  • Dumbbell Fly
  • Incline Fly
  • Straight Arm Pullover
  • Dumbbell Deep Push Up
  • Bent Arm Pullover
  • Hammer Grip Incline Bench
  • Decline Press
  • Incline Fly w/ Twist
  • Around the World
  • One Arm Bench Press
  • Machine Fly
  • Cable Crossover
  • Machine Bench Press
  • Incline Chest Press
  • Smith Machine Bench Press
  • Cable Lower Chest Raise
  • Machine Butterfly
  • Smith Machine Incline Bench
  • Cable Incline Fly
  • Inner Chest Press
  • Decline Chest Press
  • Leverage Incline Chest Press
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Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Barbell Shrug
  • Upright Row
  • Standing Military Press
  • Front Raise
  • Shrug Behind the Back
  • Push Press
  • Clean and Jerk
  • Seated Military Press
  • Bradford Rocky Press
  • Rear Deltoid Row
  • Standing Front Raise Overhead
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Shoulder Press Shoulder Shrug
  • Front Raise
  • Arnold Press
  • Standing Press
  • Bent Over Deltoid Raise
  • Upright Row
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Seated Side Lateral Raise
  • Lying Rear Lateral Raise
  • Standing Alternating Front Raise
  • Cuban Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Machine Shrug
  • Overhead Shoulder Press
  • Machine Upright Row
  • Cable Upright Row
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • Cable Front Raise
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Cable Sgrug
  • Cable Standing Deltoid Raise
  • Cable Internal Rotation
  • Cable Rope Rear Deltoid Row

Most Often Used Arm Exercises (top 6 Bicep/Tricep exercises)

  • Barbell Curl
  • Preacher Curl
  • Drag Curl
  • Standing Wide Grip Bicep Curl
  • Standing Close Grip Bicep Curl
  • Bicep Curl Lying Against an Incline
  • ———————————
  • Barbell Lying Tricep Extension
  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Barbell Lying Tricep Press
  • Seated Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Reverse Tricep Bench Press
  • Close Grip Behind Neck Press
  • Dumbbell Alternating Hammer Curl
  • Alternating Bicep Curl
  • Bicep Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  • Alternating Incline Curl
  • Dumbbell Zottman Curl
  • ————————
  • Standing Tricep Extension
  • Tricep Kickback
  • Lying Tricep Extension
  • One Arm Tricep Extension
  • Alternating Kickback
  • Dumbbell Tate Press
  • Machine Bicep Curl
  • Cable Close Grip Curl
  • Preacher Curl
  • Cable Standing Bicep Curl
  • Cable One Arm Bicep Curl
  • Cable Reverse Curl
  • ———————-
  • Machine Dip
  • Cable Rope Tricep Extension
  • Cable Tricep Pushdown
  • Cable Rope Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Pushdown V Bar
  • Weighted Tricep Dip

Core Exercises

  • Barbell Ab Rollout on Knees
  • Barbell Seated Twist
  • Barbell Standing Rollout
  • Barbell Side Bend
  • Barbell Press Sit Up
  • Dumbbell Side Bend
  • Two Arm Side Bend
  • Wood Chop
  • Alternating Prone Cobra (Stability Ball)
  • Standing One Leg Cobra
  • Machine Decline Crunch
  • Cable Crunch
  • Ab Crunch Machine
  • Knee Hip Raise on Parallel Bars
  • Cable Wood Chops
  • Cable Side Bends
  • Cable Kneeling Pulldown
  • Cable Russian Twist
  • Cable Seated Crunch
  • Parallel Bar Leg Raise
  • Cable One Arm High Pulley Side Bend
  • Cable Pallof Press with Rotation

Final Thoughts

As a Jefit member, look to use some of these great exercises in your future strength workouts. There are many hidden gems making up this list that should be rated even higher, like cable pallof press with rotation. This is considered an excellent anti-rotational core exercise. Another key exercise to use is cable internal rotation. Not making the list is cable internal rotation. Perform both of these rotator cuff exercises in your next workout using a lighter weight and higher repetition count. A great exercise that is also low on the list is barbell step up – try this great compound leg movement in a future strength program as well. Stay Strong with Jefit!

Use Jefit to Record & Track All Your Exercises

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 and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features 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 as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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Can Grip & Hand Position Maximize Your Lat Pulldown?

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One of the more popular exercises used to develop the back is the lat pulldown. Many gym goers seem to like is the versatility of this compound exercise. It is an exercise that offers multiple grip variations. In addition, most gyms typically have 3-4 attachments that you can switch to. Does it make a difference though how you hold these attachments? Let’s take a deeper look and find out.

Hand Grip & Placement in Lat Pulldown

Overhand Grip

The overhand grip is used most often when performing a lat pulldown. In one study, published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal, the lat pulldown was examined for muscle activation. The study showed a pronated, or overhand grip, demonstrated greater muscle activation. The overhand grip was compared to both supinated (underhand grip) and a neutral grip.

Underhand Grip

When you look at this from a biomechanic standpoint, underhand grip does have its benefits. The underhand grip provides a far superior muscle contraction of the lats at the bottom of the movement. You can also handle more weight using an underhand grip compared to an overhand grip. Finally, the closer your hands are positioned on the bar, the more activation you get in the center of your back.

Wide Grip

Many gym goers believe if you use a wider grip you’ll get wider (“thicker”) lats. Placing your hands wider on the lat pulldown bar, decreases the range of motion in the latissimus dorsi. The best bet is to use a diverging movement pattern machine. Wider hand placement means the range of motion at the shoulder increases. Therefore, the lats work through a greater range of motion. See here in this Jefit Instagram post. The wide grip lat pulldown activates significantly more lats and upper back. This is due to the position of the arms (external rotation).

Narrow Grip

Changing the hand placement to narrow (or a close grip) allows more internal rotation of the arms. The narrow grip shifts some of the load away from the lats and puts it on your chest. Even though a wide grip gets a little more activation of the lats, the narrow grip lat pulldown puts your arms in a stronger position, and you can generally pull more weight.

Research Review on the Topic

A 2010 electromyographic study (EMG) study was published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. The study compared four variations of lat pulldowns. The study used a dozen test subjects who performed all four variations pulling from in front of the head with a predetermined load, about 70 percent of their one repetition max. Muscle response from the latissimus dorsi, middle trapezius and biceps brachii muscle groups were measured during all four lat pulldown variations. The study showed that there was a minor advantage to using a medium grip (i.e. shoulder-width) over narrow and wide grips.

Subsequent Study

A 2009 EMG study looked at the muscular activity difference between a lat pulldown in front of the head versus behind the head as well as a lat pulldown using a ‘V’ bar.  The study used 24 test subjects performing five repetitions at 80 percent of their one rep max. EMG data was recorded from the pectoralis major, posterior deltoid and biceps brachii as well as the latissimus dorsi muscle groups. There was no difference in muscular activity for the latissimus dorsi when comparing the three variations. The study, however, concluded when the primary objective of a lat pulldown is considered, the front of the head is a better choice than behind the head due to shoulder safety issues.

For best results, you can’t go wrong changing up both your grip and hand placement every few training sessions.

Try the Jefit App

Jefit is an award-winning gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep track of their fitness goals. Not only does it give you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers weight training, cardio and flexibility.

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6 Outdoor Exercise Ideas to Add to Your Cardio Routine

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Hitting the gym for strength training is one thing but sweating on a treadmill doesn’t sound too appealing and it can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel at times. Now that the weather is warm, you can spice up your cardio routine with various outdoor activities that will not only help you sculpt your body, but also allow you to spend some time in nature, which is extremely beneficial for your overall health. Here’s a list of outdoor exercise ideas to bust out of your fitness rut.

Trampoline Workouts

Yes, we are serious. Trampolining is usually perceived as an activity suitable for kids’ playdates, but this is just a common misconception. It’s true that jumping and bouncing on a trampoline is exhilarating and it helps kids’ channel their energy while having a lot of fun, but it’s also an amazing way for adults to burn fat and get some outdoor exercise. A research study by NASA has shown that it’s even more effective than jogging when it comes to staying fit, so a 10-minute trampolining session makes for better cardio than 30 minutes of jogging. In other words, if you want to train hard without even realizing it, find the nearest outdoor trampoline or you can purchase a small one for your backyard online.

Rock Climbing

This one might seem too extreme, but what’s actually extreme about it is how many calories you can burn in just one hour: 800. Rock climbing will perfectly tone and shape your arms and legs, while strengthening your core in the process, too. The fitness benefits of this exercise are obvious, but what many people don’t take into consideration are its psychological and social implications. Namely, there’s no better way to face your inner fears and obstacles, learn how to overcome them, and boost your self-confidence than rock climbing. This is a team sport, which means you’ll also develop a sense of belonging and connect with your teammates on a deeper level. During the colder months you can hit an indoor climbing wall. If this is too difficult for some, try getting outdoor exercise via hiking.

Rowing

Why spend your time at the stuffy gym on a rowing machine when you can have the real McCoy? Rowing is a perfect cardio workout and it engages 9 major muscle groups. An hour of moderate-effort rowing or canoeing can burn up to 400 calories. What’s also great about this low-impact activity is that although it practically melts fat, you can stay injure-free as there’s no pressure on your joints and knees. It’s equally effective for upper and lower body muscles, as well as for strengthening the core. Last but not least, rowing is a fun, exciting, and invigorating way of shaping up.

Long Boarding

Long boarding has become increasingly popular over the past few years and for good reason. This isn’t your traditional sport but, believe it or not, it can be even more beneficial than running, even though it’s significantly less physically demanding. With 4 to 7 calories burned per minute, long boarding qualifies as effective cardio training. A list of its positive effects is long, and it’s topped by the fact that your balance will be greatly improved. Even when you’re too busy to fully dedicate your time to exercising, you can use your longboard as a means of transportation. What better way to get some outdoor exercise. Of course, it can’t be denied that proper equipment is crucial if you want to stay safe when you hit the road, but luckily, finding a well-stocked, specialized skate shop in the US isn’t a problem.

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Stair-climbing Workout

Regular stair-climbing workouts can do wonders for all those who aren’t exactly adrenaline junkies, and who like to keep it simple. If you’re strapped for time, but still want to do something for your body and health, all you have to do is put on your sneakers and go to a nearby tall building. It’s effective, affordable, and it only takes half an hour or so. When it comes to caloric expenditure, an average 140-lb person can burn more than 80 calories by running up seven flights of stairs in 5 minutes. The effect is even better if you carry a heavier object or a weighted vest. Personally, I like walking/running stadium stairs at a nearby high school and university. Check out running stadium stairs at Harvard University, which I’ve been doing since the late 1980’s and talk about a fantastic outdoor exercise.

Trail Running

No workout list is complete without running, but it would be a good idea to change your urban scenery for a more beautiful natural setting and enjoy some fresh air. Many people find track running boring and monotonous, and trail running can provide them with much-needed excitement. It is a great outdoor exercise too. Due to the uneven terrain, you’ll have to adjust your pace and put even more effort into covering steep slopes. All this will result in a 10% increase in your calorie burn, not to mention that this kind of cardio puts less strain on your joints and bones compared to running on the sidewalk.

As you can see, there are many interesting cardio workouts that will not only help you stay fit, but also improve your mental health, and overall well-being. If you’re looking to take the last two activities to the next level, try using trekking poles for both added calorie burn and more of a complete workout.

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Cardio Workout

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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What is Your Healthy Body Fat Range?

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It seems like every time we pick up a magazine or surf the web we’re overwhelmed with outlandish weight-loss claims. Let’s do a reset on this for 2021 and change the narrative. Rather than focus on weight loss like so many of us do, let’s start looking more at our percent body fat level. Do you know what your current body fat level is? You should know this number and monitor it over time.

The ideal body fat percentage for an adult varies depending on the age of the individual. Other variables that also come into play are gender, genetics, bone structure and their exercise level. College-age men typically carry 15% body fat while women have 23%, keep in mind that these numbers are for non-athletes.

Women:

  • 20-40 yrs old: Low fat: under 21 percent, Healthy: 21-33 percent, Overweight: 33-39 percent, Obese: Over 39 percent
  • 41-60 yrs old: Low fat: under 23 percent, Healthy: 23-35 percent, Overweight : 35-40 percent Obese: over 40 percent
  • 61-79 yrs old: Low fat: under 24 percent, Healthy: 24-36 percent, Overweight: 36-42 percent, Obese: over 42 percent

Men:

  • 20-40 yrs old: Low fat: under 8 percent, Healthy: 8-19 percent, Overweight: 19-25 percent, Obese: over 25 percent
  • 41-60 yrs old: Low fat: under 11 percent, Healthy: 11-22 percent, Overweight: 22-27 percent, Obese: over 27 percent
  • 61-79 yrs old: Low fat: under 13 percent, Healthy: 13-25 percent, Overweight: 25-30 percent, Obese: over 30 percent

Stepping onto a bathroom scale does not tell you the real story about your overall health. Your bodyweight is not as important as how much body fat you carry. Once you can determine your body fat level, you then have a better understanding of the ratio of muscle to fat that make up your overall bodyweight.

For example, a women who weights 145 pounds and has 33% body fat, can calculate that she has “about” 48 pound of fat and 97 pounds of muscle, bone and fluid. A male, who is 205 pounds and has 25% body fat can determine he is carrying “about” 51 pounds of fat weight and about 154 pounds of muscle, bone and fluid. Once this is known, you can start using the Jefit app to keep track of how this number changes over time. In both of these cases, the goal would be to lose fat weight while maintaining or gaining muscle, depending of course what your goals are.

Monitoring your body fat is important, and in turn, offers great insight into the status of your overall health and fitness. As you see, it’s a valuable metric to follow and offers insight into understanding if a particular strength training program is actually working.

Use Jefit to Record & Monitor Your Body Fat and More

Try doing what millions of others have already done, use the award-winning Jefit app as their workout log. This in turn, will help you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Try These Body Hack Techniques to Improve Performance

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The majority of people who engage in exercise or team sports often look for ways to improve their performance. With that, brings us to how we can better “hack” our body to improve performance, some also call this DIY science….or biohacking. Dave Asprey, a biohacker who created the company Bulletproof, defines biohacking as “the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you so that you have full control over your own biology.” 

Why Try to Hack Your Body Anyway?

There are many people out there who try to hack their body to improve performance, on some level. They typically do this basically because they have a strong desire to feel better and to see just how far they can push their body. A lot of people are hacking their body essentially to try and live as long as possible. Dave Asprey as an example, has been quoted as saying he wants to live to 180 years old.

Another well-known body or bio hacker is Tim Ferris, author of the best-selling book, The 4-Hour Body. Ferris has a well-known reputation for trying to hack just about everything related to his body. He does a great job chronicling his experiences on his website and through his books.

Now that you have a better understanding of what trying to hack your body is all about, check this out.

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Mindful breath work can have a positive impact on everything from stress reduction to improved sports performance.

Breath Work: An Easy Way to Improve Performance

We all know how to breath intuitively and how important breathing is since it gives us life. Best-selling author, James Nestor, author a new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art looks into the science behind your breath. He offers up some great easy-to-follow tips that you can use in your practice right now. I actually tried his 6-second breath technique on my morning walk today. You can try this when seated (or like me, walking). Take in a long, slow breath through your nose only, for 5-6 seconds. Then exhale slowly for the same amount of time and try this for about 6 repetitions. The goal of this type of breathing, is to help more nitric oxide enter your body and tissues. It’s been reported that when you breathe through your nose, nasal resistance increases by 200 percent and this in turn helps release more oxygen. If you were wondering, mouth breathing does not let your body take advantage of the sinuses production of nitric oxide.

Nasal Versus Mouth Breathing

Take a moment and try this now. Close your mouth and breathe slowly in/out through your nose for about minute. According to a lot of the science out there, “breathing through your nose is one of the most beneficial things you can do for the overall health of your body and for your longevity.” You may already know the value of breath work, if you practice yoga on a regular basis. Think about this for a minute. How great would it be if we could get a legitimate boost in performance by simply breathing slowly through our nose only? For additional reading, check this great article out on the science of breathing by Sarah Novotny and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. and this research paper on effects of nasal breathing in runners.

There are many experts and researchers who think breath work should become a component in health & fitness model. Meaning, you work on strength, flexibility, cardio, nutrition, etc. – why not also incorporate breath work as part of your daily routine? Try adding it in when you warm-up or as part of your relaxation/meditation time during the day.

Mobility: Unlock Tight Hips to Improve Performance

We typically spend a great deal of our time in the gym pushing weights or doing cardio. One key area that often gets overlooked is mobility. Mobility can be defined as freedom of movement without pain through a full range of motion. Mobility exercises can be done as part of a warm-up if you’re always rushed for time. They are great for reducing joint pain, improving a fuller range of motion and can even reduce the chance of injury. We all know tight muscles and connective tissue are an accident waiting to happen.

When you want to squat, lunge, or lift weights better, mobility work is key, especially when it comes to the hips. You may have limited hip mobility because of an old injury, you don’t work on mobility or you may sit or drive all day for work. In any event, tight hips can cause, over time, a chain reaction resulting in dysfunctional movement. Over time your hip joints will become tight if not addressed appropriately, you’ll begin to notice issues when performing exercises like Squats and Deadlifts.

Some of the Better Hip Exercises You Should Do?

There are a lot of different directions you could go here. This is an opportunity to use the Jefit app and perform this series of exercises. Complete each exercise below slowly, working through a full range of motion. Perform each exercise as a hip and glute warm-up prior to working out, especially on leg day, and you’ll eventually see an improvement in hip mobility. Some may not be pure hip mobility drills but doing these will in turn improve glute/hip function. Perform each movement for 30-seconds then move to the next and repeat the circuit twice. Over time you can increase your time spent on each one.

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Use the Jefit App

Jefit is an award-winning gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep track of their fitness goals. Not only does it give you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers weight training, cardio and flexibility.

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10 Tips for Helping You Sustain a Healthy Lifestyle

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No one needs to tell us that we’re currently living in unprecedented times. The health of everyone in this country, and worldwide for that matter, is at the forefront of all our minds. It is more important than ever to try and follow a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. How do you know if you’re living a healthy lifestyle in the first place? Harvard Health reports you’re considered healthy if you can answer “yes” to all the following criteria. (1) healthy diet, (2) healthy body weight, (3) never smoked, (4) consume moderate amounts of alcohol and (5) exercise regularly.

What’s Considered a Healthy Lifestyle?

According to Harvard Health, one important component to this type of lifestyle is a healthy diet. Meaning, an “intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids”. In addition, avoid unhealthy foods like “processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.” No smoking in a no-brainer. A healthy body weight according to the site, is a body mass index (BMI), between 18.5 and 24.9. But to be honest, this is not the best metric to monitor, instead focus on your percent body fat. The reason why BMI may not be great is because it doesn’t take into account the amount of muscle mass you have. On the alcohol side, no more than one drink/day/women and two drinks/day/men. A healthy physical activity level means roughly 30-minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week.

Does Living a Healthy Lifestyle Actually Add Years to Your Life?

The research does in fact demonstrate that living a healthy lifestyle can add years to your life. Individuals who met the criteria for all five habits (listed above) enjoyed living longer lives than those who had none: 14 additional years for women and 12 years for men to be exact. People who had none of these habits “were far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.” There is also additional research that reports similar findings to this in the Journal of American Medical Association.

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Are you getting a minimum of 30-minutes of moderate or vigorous activity most days of the week?

You probably have the exercise piece down already, especially if you’re using the Jefit app to help record and track your workouts. Here are some additional ways to move towards a healthy lifestyle, in addition to the five criteria mentioned in the research studies above.

10 Ways to Help You Live Better and Longer

Exercise

  • Burn 1,100 Calories a Week. Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of calories expended from exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (fat). This type of belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Are you falling short of this number? Try joining a sports a league. One study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average weekly calorie burn by 500 a week.
  • Hit the Weights. University of Michigan scientists found that people who completed three strength workouts/week for two months lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40% and heart attack by 15%.
  • Find the Time to Exercise. People who exercise for 2 hours/week are less likely to feel stressed than their sedentary counterparts, say researchers from Denmark.
  • Get on Those Daily Chores. Doing 150 calories’ worth of chores a day can lower blood pressure by 13 points, according to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The reduction lasts only 8 hours, but make it a daily habit and you can lower your blood pressure in the long term.

Diet & Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Drink Five 8-Ounce Glasses of Water a Day. Those drinking this amount of H2O were 54% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack compared to people who drank two glasses a day.
  • Try a Natural Remedy. Israeli scientists found eating one grapefruit a day lowers cholesterol by 20% even in people who don’t respond to statins.
  • Cut Down on Sweets. Tufts University researchers found low-sugar diets had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who consumed all types of carbohydrates. The happier people also limited their total carbohydrate intake to 40% of their daily total calories.
  • Enjoy Your Joe. Brooklyn College researchers discovered drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53%.
  • Indulge Your Chocolate Craving. A 15-year study by Dutch scientists found men who ate 4 grams of cocoa/day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That’s the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey Kisses – an amount that can fit into any diet.

Stress Free Lifestyle

  • Try to Laugh More. A 15-minute funny video improves blood flow to your heart by 50%, reported by the University of Maryland. “This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation,” says study author Michael Miller, MD.

Hopefully this article has offered you a little more insight on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. If so, maybe you feel like you’re more equipped now to live a more healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Continue to focus on improving your mind body & spirit a bit more each day.

Use the Jefit App to Help You Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Two Popular 5×5 Split Strength Routines From Jefit

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The benefits of strength training performed on a weekly basis are well documented in the scientific literature, magazines and on the web. There are many digital health & fitness companies who have apps that enable you to build strength training programs. With so much information coming your way, it can be difficult to choose the best plan that fits your needs. In this case, when talking about results, we’re referring to gains in both strength and muscle development.

15 Benefits of Strength Training

  • Increases muscular strength
  • Builds lean muscle mass
  • Improves a muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose (blood sugar).
  • Weight management
  • Decreases body fat level (Improves muscle-to-fat ratio)
  • Improves mobility and balance
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis (increases bone density)
  • Will boost your self-confidence and improve your body image
  • Enhanced performance (on all levels)
  • Improves sleep
  • Decreases risk of injury
  • Improves posture
  • May reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people
  • Prevents or controls chronic conditions such as heart diseasearthritisback paindepression, obesity and pain management
  • Increases lifespan

Take a look at the following 5×5 split routine found on the Jefit app. This particular weight lifting program was designed as a 3-day routine. Keep in mind, there are many other split routines you can find that offer 4-6 days versus 3-days.

Program Design: 5×5 Split Routine (3-Days)

All strength training sessions follow a 5×5 format using only two body parts to keep session times under an hour. The workout time range for the 3-day program was between 36 and 56 minutes. The recovery time between sets is a very important training variable that needs to be manipulated depending on load (sets x reps x weight). Adequate recovery is important in order to push that next heavy set. A key point to remember, using a short rest period of one-minute between sets means the muscle is only about 80% recovered. I used a 2:00 recovery time between most of the sets for this reason. That may have to increase if someone is using very heavy weight for all their exercises.

The routine gets its unique name from “splitting” up specific muscle groups and associating those body segments to different days of the week. The idea behind the design of this routine was to couple a leg day with pulling movements that overload the back on Day 1. The second day includes push movements that target the chest with a pull and push for the arms. On day 3 you have pressing movements that target the shoulders with a few core exercises. This routine is only a snapshot for one-week of training.

The 5×5 program used the following 3-day split format over the course of a week:

Legs & Back (4 exercises) – Day 1

Chest & Arms (4 exercises) – Day 2

Shoulders & Core (5 exercises) – Day 3

Sets and Reps. Scheme

Be realistic when designing any exercise program regarding the number of sets and repetition you use. More is not always better. Different exercises, sets, repetitions and recovery time will effect both short and long-term outcomes. Using a 5×5 setup gives you 25 repetitions per exercise and two movements per body part brings that repetition total to 50. That is more than enough to overload a muscle using a 5-RM. Many programs out there, when looking at sets and repetitions, equate to unrealistic expectations regarding length of workout. Here is a nice article on how to perform a 5-RM bench press test.

There are four important design elements regarding this particular 5×5 split routine. They are: (1) the use of compound movements, (2) large muscle groups, (3) the use of 5-RM on all exercises, and (4) sufficient recovery time. A 5×5 split routine is popular and has been shown to build strength and muscle size over time. Special emphasis should be placed on your 5-RM in this strength training routine. During anytime in the program, if you’re able to surpass five repetitions for any exercise – that’s right – you need to increase the weight. If for example, an exercise on your “core” day (see below) is too light – then hold a weight plate or wear a weighted vest (if available) to challenge yourself more. See the design and layout below.

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Jefit 5×5 Split Full Body Program

In case the first program does not peak your interest, here is a second 5×5 program Split that the Jefit team recently released.

This is considered a classic 5×5 strength training program designed to build muscle and add size. Each day focuses on different muscle groups (see below), you’ll perform three exercises for each body part (other than triceps). **IMPORTANT** Remember to use a heavy enough weight that will enable you to complete no more than five repetitions per set (probably 80-85% of 1-RM). Each workout session should take between 60 and 80 minutes to complete.

Program Design

Chest/Shoulder/Tricep. Involves seven different exercises, 5×5 – Day 1

Legs and Core. Includes seven different exercises, 5×5 – Day 2

Back and Bicep. Complete six exercises, 5×5 – Day 3

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I hope you enjoy the programs. If you have any questions on the above 5×5 Split Routine (3-day), now featured on Jefit app, or any other program for that matter, please reach out to me in the comment section on this blog or our online community via the app. Here is additional reading that you may find interesting on the topic of strength training. Be well and stay strong!

Use the Jefit App to Try More Programs Like These

Try doing what millions of others have already done, use the award-winning Jefit app as their workout log. This in turn, will help you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing HIIT

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While we all know that finding the time for our daily exercise is important to everyone, there is much debate about what kind of exercise is best for us. Especially when it comes to cardio training. One of the more popular forms of cardio is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It comes with its own set of pros and cons, though. Here is what you should know about this time saving workout.

Is HIIT Good for Me?

High intensity interval training has become a buzzword in the fitness industry, gaining momentum in popularity over the past decade. The American College of Sports Medicine published their annual report on most popular activities and HIIT has been in their top ten list or years.

This type of training has been researched often and is considered one of the best forms of exercise someone can do. Like anything else, ease into it, adding it periodically as part of your training routine.

More on HIIT

HIIT consists of shorter more intense sessions using typically 10-60 seconds of work. This is alternated with rest or light activity between bouts (this is where the interval part of the name comes in). HIIT has the potential to elevate your heart rate to 70-90 percent of your maximum heart rate, depending on your current fitness level.

The demand placed on the body for oxygen increases proportionately with the intensity level of your workout. During intense exercise, your body needs more oxygen than breathing can provide. Thie gap between the demand for oxygen in the muscles, and the actual amount of oxygen delivered, is called oxygen debt.

HIIT is considered anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise because your body uses more oxygen than it can be supplied. This is why with HIIT, you’ll run out of breath more quickly than traditional steady state cardio exercise. Your muscles will utilize more oxygen (caused by the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles). The rest periods in HIIT are important because it allows your body to clear the lactic acid and restore oxygen levels.

Advantages of HIIT

Here are a few advantages of high intensity interval training that may help you decide if HIIT is right for you.

Shorter Sessions

If you are deciding between HIIT or other long, slow duration cardio, the time factor may be a big key to consider. HIIT sessions are much shorter and more time efficient than typical cardio sessions. This is because the intensity levels are higher so you will become fatigued more quickly.

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

Unlike with steady state cardio, HIIT workouts help keep your body burning calories long after your session is done because of EPOC. EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, refers to the amount of oxygen required to return the body to its normal metabolic level (called homeostasis). The higher the intensity level, the longer the EPOC will be.

The body has to work hard to restore the oxygen levels up that it lost during the session, which is why you continue to burn calories (and fat) post-workout, even for up to 24 + hours, according to research.

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Better for Long-term Fat Loss

While people see great results with steady state aerobic exercise at the start, HIIT has been shown to be better for long-term fat loss results.

Helps with Muscle Retention

One reason why hard core gym goers tend to avoid cardio is that they do not want to lose muscle. HIIT helps retain muscle because it can include movements that activate the muscles the same way that strength training does.

Disadvantages

More Demanding on the Body

Due to the high intensity nature of HIIT, you do place a lot more stress on the body. This also means that there is an increased risk of injury.

Longer Recovery Time

It does take longer to recover from a HIIT workout so due to the physical demands, it can be challenging to complete a HIIT workout every single day so you will have to find alternate workout options in between to give your body a break.

Can be Intimidating for Beginners

It can be intimidating for new gym goers to give it a go at first. It does look intense because it is intense but also very rewarding!

So Should I Choose HIIT?

The final answer does depend on your preference and lifestyle. If you find yourself skipping workouts because you’re dreading the hour-long jog, then try giving HIIT a go. If you hate the intensity of HIIT, then turn to steady state cardio. A good idea, however, would be to do both on alternate days and rotate between the two so that you can reap the benefits of each.

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App for All Your Training Needs

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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