Join the Jefit Group Exercise Contest Launching in October

The Jefit team is happy to announce the start of the second group exercise contest beginning in October. Groups can have up to five participants and earn points together for Jefit awards. Get your team together, there is still time to join, you have up until November 30, 2021. Winners of the group contest will earn the following:

  • Top three groups earn one-year of Elite membership and 12,000 consumable iron points.
  • 4th – 10th place finishers receive 6-months of Elite and 6,000 consumable iron points.

Sign Up for Jefit’s Group Exercise Contest Now!

Results From the First Group Exercise Contest

Members recently completed the first Jefit group exercise contest on both iOS and Android platforms. Each group, made up of three to five members, worked out together virtually using the Jefit app. The group contest took place over a three month period. In the end, the team earning the most iron points won. The winners of the first group exercise contest, using the Jefit app, included five men. The Jefit usernames from the winning team are mentioned below. Congratulations to each one of you!

  • j4last
  • River_West
  • RobRK
  • dwideman
  • JeremyMcJunkin

This group of five scored between 8,029 and 17,111 total iron points each when all was said and done. There overall total was an impressive 61,590 iron points. The individual with the most overall iron points, however, was BereniceG, on the third place team, with a great overall score of 21,111 points – terrific job! Below are some comments from a few question that we asked the winning team via Jefit’s first group exercise contest. We thought they were very insightful and wanted to share with our community. Good luck in the next individual or group contest that you choose to participate in!

Jefit Group Contest

Rather than give you a bunch of reasons why you should participate in one of the Jefit group or individual contests, instead, here are a few comments from some of the winners from the first group contest.

What did you like about the group exercise contest?

  • “I knew that consistency and engagement was super important for the contests.”
  • “I like competition in general so it sort of gave me something to look forward to beyond my normal workouts.”
  • “It seemed that the contest rewarded behavior we were all engaging in already so sticking to that was easy.”

 Was the group exercise contest motivating?

  • “having teammates kept me more accountable.”
  • “I can’t say that it was. Not because I don’t care, but l have external motivators that have a deeper meaning to me than the contest. It was really more of something for fun that I was invited to so I wanted to take the opportunity to maybe make some friends and compete in something.” 
  • I think the reason our group meshed well was because we’re all consistent in general as well as having members who are really active with community engagement.
  • “What I do find motivating is the social aspect of Jefit. Seeing other peoples workouts, commenting on them and receiving comments from others.”

Did it help your training for those 3 months?

  • “I didn’t want to let my teammates down. It got me up and to the gym more than once.”

Take advantage of both the group exercise and individual contests alike on the Jefit app. It’s a great way to change things up a bit, earn a bunch of iron points and receive Elite for a period of time. Stay strong with Jefit!

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App Now!

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has the 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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Helpful Tips You Need to Know About Jefit Iron Points

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The Jefit app offers members an opportunity to continually earn iron points for logging workout data, sharing items in the community and much more. Many Jefit users have said that iron points are a great motivational tool that helps them workout more consistently. One of the many great things about Jefit iron points is having the flexibility to cash them in for an upgrade to Jefit Elite.

The award-winning app has more than 9 million downloads currently on iTunes with a growing database of new users every day. Here are a few tips that spotlight the value behind Jefit iron points.

Helpful Tips About Jefit Iron Points

Jefit points are “consumable.” Did you know there are a few ways to get a free upgrade to Elite? First, each time you earn 1000 iron points, you’ll have the option to “cash in” those points for a free month of Elite. Nice! See the second way to get that upgrade to Elite further below in the article.

You have a maximum of 20 times a month where you can earn iron points for a valid workout session. The minimum length of time for a workout is currently set at 20-minutes. Note, there has been some discussion about lowering this time a bit because of shorter home workouts. We’ll keep you posted on that. Be sure to always…always…share your logs to the community. Sharing it means synchronizing the data to the web server thus earning valid points.

Here is another tip for you, the best way to maximize Jefit iron points is to consistently train and track your progress. Simple as that! Persistence definitely pays off here in the long run. Remember, train and log it. Jefit will handle the rest.

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The majority of people use the Jefit app to log, plan and track strength workouts. But don’t forget about doing cardio exercise and getting iron points for your time. You can earn 20 iron points for a minimum of 20-minutes of any type of cardio. Don’t miss out!

Also, engaging in and around the Jefit community is another easy way to earn iron points. Many members like to provide tips and advice regarding their friends workouts. The good news here? You earn more iron points for doing so.

Finally, millions of members use and love the Jefit app. By simply letting your family and friends know how great the app is could lead to a savings for you. When a friend eventually becomes an active user, for two weeks or longer, you guessed it, another free month of Elite comes your way!

One Thing to Watch Out For

Avoid working out twice in a 24 hour time frame. For example, your first workout starts at 9 am and then a second at 9 pm. There’s a built-in cooling period. It also keeps someone from point “stuffing” by entering bogus workouts one after the other in order to increase iron points.

Valid Scoring For Workouts Look Like This:

Finished a valid workout session, you receive 20 points!

Complete 2 workout sessions within 4 days, 5 points.
Finished 3 workout sessions within 6 days, 5 points.
Complete 4 workout sessions within 8 days, 10 points.

You Earn Iron Points for Individual & Group Contest and Now Assessments Too!

If you place well in a Jefit individual and group contest you can earn iron points. The top three groups to finish the current group contest (October-December 2021) will earn 12,000 iron points and a year of Elite.

There is also a new Jefit assessment feature found under the profile tab on both platforms. The first time you take the three exercise assessment (push-up/wall squat/plank) you’ll earn iron points as well.

Workout with Jefit

Take advantage of Jefit’s 1400 exercise database in your workouts. Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, and ability to track data. There is also a 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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Want to Get Stronger in the Gym? Develop Core Stability

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One of the leading back experts in the world is Stuart McGill, PhD. He has spent his career, spanning more than 30-years, researching spinal biomechanics at the University of Waterloo in Canada. His core stability program, known as the Big 3, is one of the most often performed core exercise programs. His routine is so good, we are going to show you what’s involved.

What is Core Stability Anyway?

When the body is inactive, muscle weakness occurs along with joint laxity which can lead to instability according to Dr. McGill. Core stability is the ability of the stabilizers in the lumbar-pelvic area to maintain the correct trunk and hip posture during static and dynamic movement. The stabilizers refer to the following muscle groups that make-up this important area. These are the transverse abdominis, internal and external obliques, and lumbar multifidus. Also playing a critical role are the spinal erectors and rectus abdominis. The key muscle in terms of spine stabilization, however, is the deep transverse abdominis. Why is all this important? Simply stated, if the area is strong, you move better. In essence, when the body has a stable base for the four extremities to perform from, the nervous system allows for greater force development to occur.

What is the McGill Big 3?

Through his research, Dr. McGill determined the combination of the following three exercises were most beneficial for developing core stability. Understand we’re talking muscle endurance here (not strength). The three exercises in his program include the side bridge, a version of the curl-up and a bird dog exercise. Each of the exercises are performed from their basic or beginner level before progressing, over time, to more advanced versions of the exercise. The key to each exercise is locking in with abdominal “bracing” prior to the start of each exercise and maintaining it throughout. Dr. McGill explains that the abdominal brace “enhances stability.” This is done by placing two fingers on both sides of the navel. Your fingers should be a few inches away from the navel, resting on the obliques. Now tighten the abdominal area and you should feel the fingers raise up a bit.

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Side Bridge
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McGill Curl Up
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Bird Dog

Side Bridge

The bridge or called a side plank by some, is a basic core exercise and is ideal for developing endurance in the core stabilizers like the internal and external obliques. It is also a great exercise to help strengthen the quadratus lumborum, an exercise that helps not only with low back pain but is important for pelvic stabilization too. The side bridge pictured above is considered more of a progression from a basic side bridge performed with knees bent and the arm positioned on hip not raised as seen in the picture. Lift hips off the floor and pause for 10-seconds and repeat for desired repetitions.

Curl Up

The idea behind this type of curl up is to protect the lumbar spine by keep that area flat. This is done by placing the hands under the lumbar curve. Begin by performing abdominal bracing. Once the scapula clear the floor pause for 10-seconds and return to the starting position. Look up towards the ceiling at all times not down at your feet.

Bird Dog

This is one exercise you may have done while in yoga class. The starting position for the McGill version is to actually not raise the arm. First, perform abdominal bracing. Begin by just raising the extended leg only. The opposite arm can be raised over time as you advance to the next progression. When this becomes easy to do, bring the extended arm down touching the knee of the opposite leg. Hold arm and leg extension for 10-seconds, return and repeat. Perform on both sides.

How Does Core Stability and Get You Stronger in the Gym?

The easiest way to start thinking about all this is in the vein of “transferring” power throughout the body when training. An underdeveloped or weak core will create a “leak” or an escape of stored energy via the trunk during exercise. We want to utilize 100 percent of this stored energy. An example would be lifting a barbell, dumbbell, medicine ball or kettlebell off the floor and pressing it overhead. When the core stabilizers are not up to par, and abdominal bracing is not utilized, these types of movements become extremely difficult to perform. Further, even if somehow you’re able to perform such an exercise, lacking core integrity, you’ll likely end up using poor body mechanics and a future injury is likely. Stay Strong and try the Big 3 as either a new core routine or as a warm-up prior to strength training.

Exercise Prescription

Exercise
Warm-up with Cat/Cow
Sets & Repetitions
8
1A. Side Bridge 6, 4, 2
1B. Curl Up6, 4, 2
1C. Bird Dog 6, 4, 2
*Perform in a circuit format – 1A, 1B, 1C – for 6 repetitions per set followed by 4, 2 repetitions for subsequent sets.

Use the Jefit App for All Your Workout Needs

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The 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. Stay strong with Jefit!

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Performing a Deep Squat is Valuable for Many Reasons

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There are a few exercises that are beneficial from both a functional perspective as well as an assessment standpoint. The deep squat is one such exercise. To be able to perform it or not perform it correctly is indicative of someones overall quality of movement. When an individual has difficulty performing a bodyweight deep squat, avoid loading the body with heavy back squats would be prudent.

This exercise can also tell you if there is any asymmetry throughout the body, meaning muscle imbalance, or mobility issues between the right and left sides of the body.

Squats at any depth are beneficial because they activate many different muscles since it’s a compound movement. Someones form and technique will depends on mobility, flexibility, range of motion, strength and training goals. Let’s look at why this exercise is in fact so valuable?

Four Benefits of Performing a Deep Squat

  1. More than Just a Leg Workout – Starting with the ankle joint and moving up through the legs, hips, core, back and shoulders. The muscles and connective tissue for each of these areas gets stressed and overloaded during the movement.
  2. Better Knee Stability – Years ago some though going below parallel would harm the knee joint; the opposite is actually true, lower is better. The end position actually strengthens the ligaments and improves stability in the knee.
  3. Hips Lower than Knees is a Good Thing – Dropping into a deep squat overloads the gluteus maximus and hip extensors more than a traditional squat would.
  4. Decreased Forces in Knee – While in a deep squat the forces acting on the knee ligaments are less because the knee is more stable in that position.

The Overhead Deep Squat Can Double as a Functional Assessment Tool

Many of the well-known movement experts like Gray Cook, MSPT, recommend using a bodyweight overhead deep squat as an assessment tool. He and many others use it along with four other exercises as part of their functional movement screening assessment. This one exercise turned into an assessment tool can gauge “bilateral symmetrical mobility of the hips, knees, and ankles.” When it’s combined with the hands held overhead, the test will also assess “bilateral symmetrical mobility of the shoulders, as well as extension of the thoracic spine,” according to Cook.

Movement Execution

  • Position the feet shoulder-width apart, keeping both feet pointed straight (don’t angle your feet out at all).
  • Raise the shoulders overhead, flexing and abducting the shoulders keeping the elbows fully extended.
  • Slowly lower the body as deep as possible into a squat.
  • Make sure hand position and length does not change during the movement.
  • Deep Squat

Deep Squat as an Assessment Tool

One of the best exercises you can use to assess yourself is the deep squat. Perform the test with a wooden dowel or a piece of PVC tubing. Use the technique mentioned above.

The goals are to determine if there is any pain or limitations during the movement. Where was the pain coming from? Could the movement be executed fully? If possible, have a picture taken of you or the person you’re working with from straight on and from a side angle too. You can also use your smart phone to video yourself. Gray Cook notes, “the ability to perform the test requires closed-chain dorsiflexion of the ankles, flexion of the hips and knees, extension of the thoracic spine, and flexion and abduction of the shoulders.”

Like all great exercise assessment tools there are various progressions dedicated to the overhead deep squat that can also be found in Cook’s book Athletic Body in Balance if needed. Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the many benefits of the deep squat, both as an exercise and an assessment tool. Stay Strong with Jefit!

Cook, G., Athletic Body in Balance, Human Kinetics, 2003.

Boyle, M., Advances in Functional Training, On Target Publications, 2010.

Cook, G., Movement: Functional Movement Systems, On Target Publishing, 2010.

Download the Award-Winning Jefit App Today!

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The 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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Try These Nutritious Breakfast Options to Energize Your Workout

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Let’s face it, we really are what we eat. We’re all aware of how important it is to properly fuel our body for sustained energy throughout the day. A nutritious breakfast or first meal is critical to this way of thinking. Choosing healthy food options can do wonders for both our mind and body. When used optimally, meaning, food quantity and meal timing, food fuels our brain and muscles like nothing else. No meal is more important, however, than that first meal of the day. This is your first food option in the morning or at noon if you’re into intermittent fasting (IF). How you initially fuel your body after waking, from a fasted state, will set the tone for the rest of the day.

You may have been like me in the past where you were focused on consuming food every 3-4 hours. It may have been important to eat healthy and often to build lean muscle and/or maintain blood sugar levels. As the body ages, eating habits may, however, change. Some people have a tendency to change eating habits, spacing their meal frequency further apart. Not eating for longer periods of time (12+ hours) has been shown through research to be a positive change. The body uses a combination of macronutrients to fuel the brain (carbs) and body (carbohydrates, fats and some protein). Not eating for longer periods of time will adjust the ratio of how the body utilizes carbohydrates and fats for fuel. A higher percentage of stored fat (instead of more carbs) typically get used when doing IF.

What Are Macronutrients and Micronutrients?

Macronutrients are large molecules that our bodies need to function optimally. The big three are carbohydrates, fats and protein. Water and fiber are also considered macronutrients. Conversely, micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals, are molecules that we need but in much smaller quantities. Both are very important and all are needed to help your human body function properly.

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The authors actual breakfast this morning (you guessed it, oatmeal)

Nutritious Breakfast Options

Eating eggs or egg whites in the morning may be your thing. Maybe its cold cereal or a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana. All, other than the cold cereal, are healthy, nutritious breakfast options. A combination of macronutrients in a breakfast or snack are important to fuel the body for long periods of time. One key macronutrient is fiber. Many breakfast options, like cold cereal, have minimal or no fiber. Eating fiber helps with gut health, it keeps us feeling satiated and will help reduce the sugar and fat cravings.

A healthy, nutritious breakfast option to give a try is oatmeal. Where not talking instant oat meal out of a package either. Try the type that you cook on the stove (for 5-minutes). It’s loaded with all the macronutrients including fiber. You can add things like nuts and fruit that will increase total calories but also the amount of fiber and protein. The following is a calorie breakdown of a typical bowl of oatmeal that I typically eat. Following that, are additional add-ons like fruit and nuts.

Old Fashion Oats Calorie Breakdown

Food Calories/Macronutrients
1 Cup Oatmeal150 calories/27 grams CHO/4 grams Fiber/5 grams Protein
1 Cup Almond Milk40 calories/1.5 grams CHO/3.5 g Fat/1.5 g Protein
1/2 Cup Walnuts392 calories/8 grams CHO/39 grams Fat/4 grams Fiber/9 grams of Protein
1/2 Banana45 calories/11 grams CHO/1 gram Protein/6 grams natural sugar
1/2 Cup Blueberries41 calories/10.5 grams CHO/1.7 grams Fiber/0.54 grams Protein/7 grams natural sugar
TOTAL668 calories/58 grams CHO/9.7 grams Fiber/17 grams Protein

There is sugar in this breakfast option, yes, but it’s natural occurring sugar found in fruit, as opposed to added sugar. Most of the fat comes from the walnuts, this can be optional, keep in mind their a healthy source of fat. To add a little more protein, substitute the walnuts with almonds. The big takeaway though – it contains about 10 grams of healthy fiber and 17 grams of protein. Bonus, adding in a scoop of healthy peanut butter (like this morning) will bring that protein number to 24 grams. Eat healthy, fuel up for your day and workout with smart, nutritious food choices like the ones mentioned here.

A Second Quick Option

When you don’t have the time in the morning to cook your breakfast, try this quick nutritious breakfast option. All you need is a blender and a few ingredients. Add 1-2 cups of almond milk, a scoop of whey protein powder, a banana or other fruit, nuts and sprinkle in some cinnamon and turmeric. This is a perfect high protein drink that will help you start your day off right. It also works as a pre/post workout option. You can go crazy and add the oatmeal to the mix.

Use the Jefit App

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The 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. Stay strong with Jefit!

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Master the Lat Pulldown Exercise for a Strong Back

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Walk into any gym around the country and you’ll see one thing for sure. Someone most likely performing a variation of a lat pulldown exercise. The lat pulldown has long been considered a staple multi-joint movement.

Lat Pulldown Exercise Not Only Builds Strength, It Helps Posture Too

Many people sit in front of a computer for hours at a time each day. This can negatively effect the neck and back areas by placing stress on the muscle and connective tissue resulting from a rounded back and forward head. The lat pulldown exercise can help correct this postural issue. A weak, unused, latissimus dorsi muscle, is typically the culprit. This can eventually change by strengthening the back area using different grips and a combination of narrow and wide hand positions during the pulling movement.

Most Effective Way to Perform the Pull Movement

Have you ever thought about what is actually happening during a lat pulldown exercise? We know that it is a compound movement where muscles surrounding the shoulder and elbow joints are actively working. The action of the lat pulldown results in a downward rotation and depression of the scapula, leading to scapula retraction, combined with adduction and extension of the shoulder joint.

The big, and often discussed, question that arises is how to perform the exercise correctly. Meaning, should a front pulldown or rear pulldown be used? The answer is a front pulldown is better and safer to perform than pulling the bar behind the neck. To begin with, pulling the bar down behind the neck can eventually lead to shoulder issues like an impingement. It can also lead to rotator cuff issues, specifically in the subscapularis, one of the four muscles making up this area.

Moreover, best technique includes using an overhand grip. In addition, hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width. A study in the Journal Strength & Conditioning Research determined this was the most effective way to perform the exercise. The study concluded the wide-grip lat pulldown exercise in the front produced greater muscle activity in the latissimus dorsi. Lastly, here’s a great thesis by Gary Pugh while at the University of Florida on front versus rear lat pulldown.

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Lat Pulldown Exercise Execution

First, make sure you an appropriate weight selected on the machine. Meaning, you should be able to perform 8-12 repetitions with proper form. If you cannot maintain good form, decrease the amount of weight until you’re in that range. Start by using an overhand grip. Lean back slightly. Engage your back muscles (latissimus dorsi) as you pull the bar down toward your chest. Think about pulling your elbows towards the floor. Visualize the scapula retracting (moving toward each other) as you execute the movement. Exhale as you pull the weight down and inhale on the way back up. Think, “exhale during exertion.” Keep your elbows in close to the body and maintain control as you lift and lower the weight. Engage the core to prevent rocking back and forth.

Primary Muscle Groups Worked

The lat pulldown activates the largest back muscle, the latissimus dorsi, during the movement. In addition, the biceps, posterior deltoid, rhomboid, trapezius and pec major, all come into play. A second study in the J. of Strength & Conditioning Research showed promising results using a front lat pulldown. The study found the pec major had the highest EMG activity during a front versus rear lat pulldown exercise. This study showed external rotation and abduction during a rear pulldown can be an issue for the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff has to work extremely hard to stabilize the head of the humerus in this position. Over time, shoulder pain and injuries like tendinosis can arise.

Adding the front lat pulldown exercise, using an overhand grip with arms slightly wider than the shoulders, will offer the best chance for highest overall muscle activation. Exercise options could include a narrow overhand grip, or a wider underhand grip to place more demand on the biceps while changing up the muscle activation involving the back. Use the award-winning Jefit app to help log and track all the exercises you add with the lat pulldown in your next workout. Stay Strong!

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The 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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Build Strong, Powerful Shoulders With A Push Press Exercise

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Are you looking for a new exercise to add strength and size to your shoulders? A great movement that can help is the push press exercise. You may have seen someone at the gym doing it using either a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells. We love the versatility and effectiveness of this compound movement. The exercise engages both upper and lower body muscle groups. Any time you lift and hold something overhead, you get the added bonus of activating the muscles responsible for improving core strength.

Muscle Groups Used in a Push Press Exercise

The push press exercise requires full use of the legs and hips to drive the weight overhead. The upper body relies on the shoulders, chest and tricep muscles to extend the arms overhead. The muscles that make up the core are also activated during the push press, according to research published in the International Journal of Kinesiology & Sport Science. In that paper, by the way, it’s mention that the push press exercise is superior when compared to an overhead press in terms of overall muscle activation.

Muscles Involved:

  • Hips
  • Quadriceps
  • Core
  • Upper Back
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Arms

How to Execute the Push Press Exercise

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Addressing the Bar (Rack Positioning)

Take hold of an Olympic bar with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width. Try using a width similar to bench press. You can alway spread out the hands more if and when needed. An important point is the positioning of the elbows. The elbows should be as close to the bar as your body allows. What you don’t want is the forearms positioned vertically. After grasping the bar, let the elbows flare out a bit; make sure the elbows are not facing straight down as previously mentioned. Extend the neck slightly, looking upward.

The Dip

Just as it sounds, the dip is a small movement via the hips and legs. It refers to the hips dropping straight down (not back like a squat). The knees also flex slightly at this point. The cumulative effect of this is what initiates the push press movement. It should be perform using a smooth, controlled speed. The focus is on keeping the body upright and core braced.

The Drive

Here is where the push press exercise starts to come together. This is also where all your momentum will come from. Keep the chest upright. Let your hips and legs initiate the movement NOT your arms. If you feel you are “muscling it up” then you are doing the exercise wrong.

Overhead Position

When the bar is pushed upward, it should be positioned directly over the head. The arms should be extended and slightly back behind the ears. Watch the head going too far forward as the weight is driven overhead.

Exercise Variations

The push press exercise is typically performed with a barbell. But there are other ways the exercise can be done if a barbell is not available. Try the following four options:

  • Single Arm Push Press (dumbbell, kettlebell)
  • Dumbbell Push Press
  • Kettlebell Push Press
  • Behind the Neck Push Press

Workout with Jefit

Let the Jefit app help you record and track each repetition of exercises like the push press or 1400 additional exercises if you’re not into the push press exercise. Jefit is a fitness app that comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, as well as a members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, advice, and wins, to get you closer to your fitness goals today.

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Five Dynamic Stretches You Need To Be Doing Regularly

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Think about a few of the dynamic stretches you typically like to use. Now picture stretching a rubber band for a moment. Take hold of both ends of that imaginary band and simply pull. The size and thickness of the band allows you to stretch it only so far. The rubber band in this case could be either your connective tissue or a muscle. Let’s choose a muscle. One more thing I want you to do. Place that rubber band in your freezer for a few minutes. Take it out and try to pull both ends again and stretch it if you can. That’s right, you can’t. A cold rubber band has limited range of motion and is now stiff in the same way a cold muscle would be before it’s warmed up.

Many of us though, never allow extra time to dynamically warm-up a muscle or group of muscles prior to using them in a strength or cardio workout. Both our muscular and nervous systems perform significantly better when they are put through a series of dynamic warm-up exercises. This should be long enough to promote a light sweat prior to a workout or any athletic event. Our muscles and nerves “fire” and perform much better when warmed up compared to when they’re stiff and cold, like the example of the rubber band.

Do Muscles Perform Better in the Morning or Afternoon?

Many of us exercise in the early morning and if you’re one of those people, it’s even more important to make time to warm-up. Our muscles are typically weaker during the morning and gradually increase in strength throughout the day. The body’s muscles reach peak strength sometime around early evening. Knowing this and the fact that it takes a few hours from when you wake-up to “turn on” and fully activate our neuromuscular system; a warm-up using dynamic stretches becomes even more important to do.

Muscles Have Less Chance of Injury When Warm-up

There is research that shows a warm-up may be beneficial in terms of helping prevent injuries, as this 2012 review showed when looking at knee injuries. A well thought out and planned dynamic warm-up increases power, flexibility, range of motion and helps balance; and as we’ve said, may help reduce injuries. In a study of female college soccer players, non-contact ACL injuries were cut in half among players who followed a warm-up program that included dynamic stretching exercises. In a second study of college athletes, this time with golf, researchers at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania found golfers were nine times less likely to be injured if they warmed-up dynamically before they played.

Here are five easy-to-do dynamic stretches that you can start doing before you exercise.

INCHWORM

  • Begin in a standing position with your legs together.
  • Bend at the waist until both hands are flat on the ground (bend knees if needed).
  • “Walk out” forward with hands until back is almost fully extended and you’re basically in a plank position.
  • Maintain a strong, “engaged” core.
  • Keeping legs straight, inch feet towards hands.
  • Then walk hands out forward away from feet.
  • Repeat 5 times.

SCORPION

  • Lie prone (on stomach) with arms outstretched, palms down and feet flexed so only toes are touching ground.
  • Kick right foot toward left arm, return to start and then kick left foot toward right arm.
  • Do not force anything – follow your breath and relax as you perform the movement.
  • Begin slowly and repeat 5-8 times to each side.

HIP SWING (Hip Abduction/Adduction)

  • Face a solid wall placing both hands on the wall, keeping arms extended.
  • Start with feet pointed straight and hip-width apart.
  • Move the right leg away from the body (abduction) the swing back in front of the body
  • Keep the leg fully extended and foot straight during the movement.
  • Repeat on the opposite.
  • Perform 5-10 repetitions on each side.

TOY SOLDIER

  • Begin with feet shoulder-width and toes pointing straight.
  • Maintain a tall posture and engaged core.
  • Flex one leg upward like you were kicking a ball.
  • Have the arms extended and straight out in front of the body.
  • Attempt to kick to the height of the extended arms (if possible).
  • Return and try on the opposite side as though you were marching.
  • Move forward with each step as you kick.
  • It’s important that the core muscles are engaged throughout.
  • Perform 5-8 repetitions with each leg.

SIDE LUNGE

  • Begin in tall, standing posture with feet shoulder-width.
  • Keep both feet pointed straight ahead at all times.
  • Step out to the side with your left foot.
  • Make sure the toes are straight and that knee does not move beyond the toes.
  • You want to sit back as you lower into the lunge position.
  • Keep your core engaged, hands out in front of you, making sure not to lean forward with the upper body.
  • Your non-involved leg should remain straight with the whole foot in contact with the ground.
  • Push off from the left foot and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 5-6 repetitions before switching legs.

Adding these five dynamic stretches to your program is a good start. There are literally hundreds of different dynamic movements available. Making the extra time before each workout will prepare your body much better for the upcoming workout. Stay Strong!

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The 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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Make Your Coaching Business More Profitable With Jefit Coach

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There are tens of thousands of coaches and personal trainers who are trying to gain a foothold with their business. With all the competition, especially now in the Covid era, it can be difficult to grow and be successful. This is where Jefit Coach comes in. In these changing times, more and more coaches and personal trainers are trying to gain traction with some type of hybrid or online business model. Compounding the problem at this time, activity at gyms and health clubs across the country has decreased. This is where Jefit Coach can help coaches and personal trainers manage and scale their businesses. The Jefit Coach platform can help a coach or trainer transform their business in the following four ways.

TRAINING

Coaches and trainers have the ability to create customized exercise plans from Jefit’s premium exercise library that includes more than 1350 exercises. There are also thousands of exercise programs already developed that coaches can recommend to their clientele. Trainers can also build their own strength training workouts and track their clients progress over the course of a training program. The training options are plentiful, like the ability for clients to try interval-based programs, split routines, choose programs with supersets, at-home workouts, or even sport-specific programs.

STRENGTH ASSESSMENT

Jefit recently launched a new strength assessment feature. The Jefit assessment can be found under the profile tab. The assessment involves three tests, including total number of push-ups in a minute. In addition, you will be asked to perform a plank and wall squat for time. You accumulate points for each and have the option of getting tested every three months following the initial baseline and follow-up.

An exercise program can easily be manipulated by a coach for a client. There are many tools and unique features that Jefit Coach offers. For example, based on a clients 1-RM scores, a coach can adjust training volume in a workout, add or replace an exercise, or even suggest exercises to test a client or athletes on. This can be done for an individual, a group of clients or even a team. A coach can build a periodized strength training plan based on their clients short and long-term training goals. A coach can then monitor that program and track a clients progress over time and even suggest a test like a 225-lb. bench press test for repetitions.

INSTANT MESSAGING

Communication is paramount for any coach or trainer and their clients. The Jefit Coach platforms is a communication tool that allows coaches to have a dedicated channel to talk with one or hundreds of clients at a time. Just having the ability to stay connected to clients remotely 24/7 regarding aspects of a workout or training program is well, priceless.

COACH BRANDING

Trying to separate yourself and your business from the rest of the pack can be a full-time job. Having a seat at the table with the Jefit Coach platform will help both you and your brand stand out. You can build an online profile and presence that highlights your expertise and experience.

ELITE MEMBERSHIP FOR ALL

An added bonus, coaches and all their clients have access to Jefit Elite, a premium training package upgrade. This allows coaches to have the ability to use all the Elite functions and health & fitness content to share with their clients.

Check out Jefit Coach and sign-up for a FREE 7-Day Trial now. For more information, please email product@jefit.com and Stay Strong with Jefit.

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Use Jefit App to Record & Track Your Workouts

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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The Secret to Better Training? Improve Grip Strength

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One of the most overlooked areas of strength in training is grip strength. Your grip strength can really make a huge difference in your workout and in your everyday life. It may seem like a small thing but it is these little details that can really enhance your training.

Why Should You Improve Grip Strength?

Grip strength is said to be a good indicator of overall body strength, muscular endurance as well as heart health. The stronger your grip strength, the lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Not only that but working on improving this area can also prevent further injuries to your wrist and elbow. This is especially important to those who play sports that involve a lot of hand movements such as climbing, tennis (tennis elbow) or golf (golfers elbow).

Does your grip tend to give out first?

Weak grip strength can also become a limiting factor in training, especially strength training. If you have a weak grip, then you may find that your grip fails during an exercise even if you are capable of doing more. For example, while you have the arm strength to do another pull-up, your grip strength may prevent you from doing this, or if you can do another deadlift, your hands may fatigue before your legs/back first.

Three Grip Types and Exercises to Improve Grip Strength

There are three grip types: crush grip, pinch grip and support grip. To improve grip strength and have a well-rounded grip, it is important to practice exercises that involve all three.

Crush Grip

This is what people usually think of when they hear the word “grip”. It involves the area between your palm and fingers – think of a handshake.

Exercises to improve crush grip strength:

Use hand strengthening devices – There is an array of hand strengthening devices on the market that you can use that are relatively cheap as well.

You can use hand grippers or even a stress ball. Squeeze and hold for a few seconds before releasing. This is an easy and simple exercise that you can do while at your desk or even watching TV.

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Pinch Grip

This grip refers to the hold between your fingers and thumb. It typically does not involve the palm.

Exercises to improve pinch grip strength:

Plate Pinch – Rest two weighted plates together on the floor between your finger and thumb. Pick it up while you stand up, with your elbows slightly bent. Hold the plates for as long as you can before putting it gently back on the ground.

Plate Orbit – Hold two weighted plates together in the pinch grip. Pass the plate to your other hand in front of your body and then vice versa, this time behind your body in a clockwise direction, then change directions. You can gradually increase the weight or number of plates as your grip strength improves.

Sandbag Deadlifts – Use a commercial sandbag or make your own by filling a duffle bag with sand. Then try to pick it up like you are doing a deadlift. The key here is to not use the handles; pinch the material instead.

Support Grip

The support grip is the form your hand takes when you are holding something like a grocery bag.

Exercises to improve support grip strength:

Farmer’s Carry – This involves picking up and holding on weights with both hands (one on each side) and walking from point A to point B. This may sound easy but if you lift heavy weights, you will definitely feel it. You can use different equipment such as dumbbells or kettlebells.

Dead Hang – Hold onto a pull-up bar and hang until your grip fails. Make sure that your arms are straight.

Varied pull-ups – Doing pull-ups can really help improve grip strength, especially as you are using your entire body for this exercise, naturally adding weight. Try changing your grips so you can exercise different parts of your hand. You can also try thumbless pull-ups, add a weighted belt or hold a dumbbell between your legs.

Our wrists and forearms become weaker when the object we are holding has a larger width, so you should try to use a thicker bar for these exercises. If there is only a thin bar available, then try wrapping your towel around it.

Don’t Wear Gloves

Another thing that you should know is that if you want to improve grip strength, you should not wear gloves. Yes, you will get callouses on your hands and your skin will go hard but it is the best way to enhance strength in your hands and toughen your skin.

Grip strength is such an integral component in training even though gym goers tend to overlook it. But now that you know how important it is and how to improve grip strength, you may be able to see changes in your training for the better!

Use Jefit App

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

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Get Strong Abs With These Jefit’s Core Programs

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Got strong abs? Looking for strong Abs? Jefit has a series of programs called Core Challenge. The three free programs are geared towards all fitness levels. Each of the programs take about 15-30 minutes to complete. A nice goal for a program, in terms of a way to progress, is to have it become more of an individual challenge or competition with the Jefit community and friend groups. The idea is to see how quickly a user can move through the program based on time and challenge others. With that said, you can also try the new Jefit Assessment found on both iOS and Android platforms. One of the three tests is a plank challenge.

The series of programs that make up the three core routines include 5 to 10 exercises with between 10-15 repetitions depending on the level. The exercise selection includes a wide array of bodyweight exercise as well as the use of some equipment like medicine ball, stability ball.

Beginner Level: Core Challenge 50

As the name implies, the beginner-level routine includes 50 total repetitions using 5 different exercises. The five exercises that make up this routine are basic core exercises. The list of exercises include Crunch, Oblique Crunch, Heel Touches, Reverse Crunch and Air Bike, also known as Bicycle Abs. The goal is to perform 10 repetitions of each exercise. No exercise equipment is needed to execute this routine. A good goal to strive for is less than 15-minutes to complete. When this routine becomes less challenging, progress to Core Challenge 100.

Intermediate Level: Core Challenge 100

Following completion of Core Challenge 50, it’s now time for a new challenge, where the number of exercises and repetitions both increase. This program utilizes bodyweight only and no equipment is necessary. Some of the exercises do, however, are more challenging, such as V-Ups, and Leg Pull-ins. As the title suggests, expect to perform 100 repetitions spread over 10 different exercises. A respectful goal for this routine is under 30-minutes to complete.

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Want Strong Abs? Work on Finishing Core Challenge 150 in 30-Minutes or Less!

The Core Challenge 100 will push most people. The Core Challenge 150 is a whole different ball game. The number of exercises may stay at 10 but the number of repetitions increase to 15. Exercise equipment is also brought into play for this routine (see below). In regard to exercise selection, you’ll find Ab Rollout, Double Leg Hundred, Weighted Russian Twists, Stability Ball Pull-ins and V-Ups, to name a few.

EXERCISE EQUIPMENT NEEDED

  • Weight Plate (or substitute medicine ball or dumbbell if no weight plate is available).
  • Cable machine (or substitute and exercise band instead).
  • Olympic Bar (22 or 45 lbs. – or substitute with an Ab Roller, Stability ball, for Ab Rollout).
  • Stability Ball
  • Medicine Ball

A Quick Word on Nutrition

There have been plenty of articles and scientific research published showing all the sit-ups in the world are not enough to get ripped abs. Any well-designed, long-term training program that focuses on execution and technique, will eventually develop strong abdominal muscles. The key ingredient to get ripped abs, though, is to eat a clean, healthy diet that focuses on reducing highly processed foods and added sugar. Eat real food. Sounds easy but this is where most people drop the ball.

A Strong Core

There are more than 35 muscle groups that make up the core. You need to move beyond simply sit-ups or planks (unless you have back issues) in order to get strong, ripped abs. Incorporate various movement patterns into your core work. Instead of doing traditional sit-ups (spinal flexion), add in movements that involve lateral flexion, rotation (Russian Twist), anti-rotation (Palloff Press), stability training (Plank variations) and combinations of these movement patterns.

The three new Jefit core routines focus on doing this – especially Core Challenge 100 and 150. Some of the exercises are perform while lying down (to save time). A well-rounded, functional program would include more standing exercises like the medicine ball slam found in the advanced 150 program.

Perform a Plank for time before you begin to use any of these routines. Use a routine 2-3x/week over 4-6 weeks and try that timed Plank exercise again. You may be surprised at how much easier it is to now hold. Stay Strong and Eat Clean!

Use Jefit for Your Strength Training Needs

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

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Are Protein Supplements Really Worth Your Money?

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Are the protein supplements you take post workout even worth your money? More importantly, are they helping you build muscle? Let’s take a look.

For the human body to build muscle, the body must be in what is known as an anabolic state. If this is not the case, muscle growth will simply not occur. In very basic terms, anabolism requires energy to grow and build while catabolism uses energy to break down. Hormones also play a vital role in both processes. Specific hormones associated with the process of anabolism are growth hormone, insulin, and testosterone, to name a few. There are other hormones like cortisol (known as the stress hormone) and glucagon that are associated with the process of catabolism. When it comes to bodybuilding, think of anabolism as the building up of muscle tissue while catabolism is the breaking down of muscle tissue.

Right from that last sentence you can see if you are putting in all this energy and time to build muscle mass, you DON’T WANT TO BE IN A CATABOLIC STATE, yet many people are. Too much cardio, inadequate protein intake, lack of sleep or recovery, and elevated stress, keeps the body in a catabolic state. To give the body the best chance for muscle growth to occur, the body must be kept in an anabolic state. For this to happen, you need a sufficient training stimulus, surplus of calories (especially protein), less cardio and stress, and plenty of sleep.

Are You Getting All Your Amino Acids?

Amino acids are basically building blocks that help (synthesize) form protein. There are actually hundreds of amino acids but only 20 appear in the genetic code. Of these 20 amino acids, 12 are considered non-essential while 8 are designated as essential, meaning they need to be supplied in the diet. One essential amino acid to keep an eye on is leucine. Again, the body does not produce this so it must come from the diet. Another way to ensure you get adequate leucine is through daily nutrition and protein supplementation. A protein supplement, with 2-5 grams of leucine, taken post workout will help your muscle building cause. Leucine, is a branch chain amino acid, that is responsible for “triggering” protein synthesis.

Protein Needs in the Diet

An average adult may need only 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight but anyone involved in strength training needs more. But how much more? That honestly depends on a litany of things like, training, age, gender, body size etc. Research shows that protein intake to promote muscle growth needs to be more in the area of 1.2 to 1.9 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

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“Even the American Dietetic Association, Dietician’s of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine state that protein intake must be > 1.6 grams per kg/day for gains in muscle mass.”

Journal Strength & Conditioning (2007).

Importance of Nutrient Timing During Strength Training

There has always been what’s considered a “window” for protein intake post workout to optimize results. The optimal window was considered to be 45 minutes to 1 hour post workout. Research has since shown this is not necessarily true. Research reported taking a protein supplement 3 hours versus 1 hour post workout showed no difference. As long as you’re getting some of your daily protein in during pre and post workout you’ll be good. In addition, it would be beneficial to take it a minimum of 25-30 grams of protein with each meal. Some people may need to add in an additional small meal in order to meet their daily protein requirement.

This article, along with suggested research, is favorable towards protein supplementation in order to optimize protein synthesis and promote gains in muscle mass. With any increase of protein should come an intake of water to prevent any possible long-term issues associated with your kidneys. Adequate protein is important, yes, but other key components include adequate training stimulus, challenging enough for adaptation to take place, and of course plenty of healthy calories and ample recovery between bouts of exercise. Finally, muscle growth occurs away from the gym. Getting enough sleep is vital, so make sure you get plenty of it. Good luck. Stay Strong!

The Award-Winning 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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