Compound Strength Exercises Work Best for a Strong Body

When you’re looking to increase muscle size and build strength, you should focus on using more compound strength exercises. Research over time has 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).

An example of a compound (or multi-joint) exercise: Pull-up

Examples of Compound & Isolation Type Exercises

Compound (Multi-joint) ExercisesIsolation (Single-joint) Exercises
SquatLeg Extension
DeadliftLeg Curl
DipsTricep Extension
Military PressDumbbell Side Lateral Raise
Pull-UpsBicep Curl
Bench PressDumbbell 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.

An example of an isolation (or single-joint) exercise: 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.

To wrap things up, please read this great list of guidelines from strength expert, Charles Poliquin, that discusses the pro/con of using both compound and isolation type exercises. It’s definitely worth a read. Be well and stay strong!

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Workout Review: Strength & Cardio Circuit

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We all know that exercise is like medicine for the body. There are times though when you just want to move through your workout in minimal time. This where a good strength and cardio circuit comes into play. This is why circuit training is so efficient, it combines the perfect blend of strength and cardio in minimal time. The end result is usually the same, a great full-body workout and a body covered in sweat!

The cool thing about circuit programs are: they’re fast, fun and very effective at getting results. You never get bored because there are so many design options for a circuit routine. The featured strength & cardio circuit can now be found on the Jefit app.

What is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is training method that alternates between several exercises (usually 4 to 12) that target different muscle groups. A plan can even use different movement patterns (like push, pull, press, carry, etc.). The design of the program enables someone to move from exercise to exercise with minimal or no rest depending on their fitness level. Some of the many benefits of regular circuit training include improvements in body composition, muscular strength/endurance and aerobic capacity.

What is Interval Training?

Interval training, on the other hand, alternates between periods of moderate-to-high-intensity work with brief periods of active or passive rest. The main difference between circuit training and interval training is not what you’re doing but rather the intensity of the work being done. You have probably heard about HIIT (high-intensity interval training) before or seen it in some of the workout titles on the Jefit app.

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Equipment Need: Jump Rope, Weight Plate and Dumbbells

Circuit Design: UB/LB/Core/Cardio Sequence

The circuit session begins with four exercises group together following a brief warm-up. The session design alternates between an upper body exercise, a lower body exercise, and a core exercise before transitioning to cardio for 1-2 minutes. The program features 20 exercises (including four for warm-up) that comprise four rounds of “mini” circuits with four exercises in each group.

Here is what each of the four circuits (after the warm-up) look like in this latest Jefit circuit workout:

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I have personally been doing circuits for many years now and, like a lot of people, working through one never seems to gets old. In any event, circuits are fun and get great results, so why not give one a try for your next workout?

ADDITIONAL READING:

HIGH-INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODY WEIGHT: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment, ACSM Health & Fitness Journal, 2013.

Whole-Body Aerobic Resistance Training Circuit Improves Aerobic Fitness and Muscle Strength in Sedentary Young Females, J. of Strength & Conditioning, 2015.

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Simple Body Hacks to Improve Performance

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The majority of people who exercise or engage in individual or team sports often looks for ways to improve performance. With that, brings us to how we can better “hack” our body to improve performance, some also call this DIY science….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 do this basically because they have a strong desire to feel better and to see just how far they can push the human 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. Why does he do it? This Wired interview explains why.

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 effects everything from mediation to sports performance.

Breath Work: An Easy Way to Improve Performance

We all know how to breath intuitively and how importance breathing is since it gives us life. Go beyond this for a moment and listen to this great Wild Ideas podcast from REI. The podcast, comes out every other Monday, and just featured author, James Nestor, author a new book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. The book comes out in May. The podcast talked about his years of doing research and talking to medical experts on the science of breathing. He offers up some great easy-to-follow tips that you can use 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% and this helps the release of 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

Try closing your mouth and just breath 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.” This is what Nestor talks about in his book and in the podcast. 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? Listen to the podcast and give it a shot. 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?

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 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.

What are Some of the Better Hip Exercises to 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 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 exercise for 30-seconds then move to the next and repeat the circuit twice.

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Moving Towards a More 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 attempt to follow a healthy 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. 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 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

  • 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.

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. Be Well and Stay Strong!

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Strength Training Review: 5×5 Split Routine

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The benefits of strength training performed on a regularly basis are well documented in 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, what type of program is actually best at helping you get results? 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 & 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. A repetition goal of 25-50 is more than enough to stimulate muscle growth, as long as you’re using a 5-RM. 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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I hope you enjoy the program. If you have any questions on this particular 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 some additional reading that you may find interesting on the topic of strength training. Be well and stay strong!

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Want Abs? Decrease Your Added Sugar

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There is nothing more upsetting than not getting results after dedicating yourself to dieting and exercise over the course of a few months! You pushed the weights regularly, did cardio and improved your diet, but in the end, there was still that unwanted layer of body fat covering your abs. It may have been because you did not focus enough on controlling one very important item…added sugar.

Are Doing Sit-ups Enough?

The answer to that question is NO. A study done in 1984 at the University of Massachusetts looked at various fitness outcomes of subjects who performed 5,000 sit-ups over the course of a month. Performing hundreds of sit-ups on a daily basis wasn’t enough to lose abdominal fat. The subjects, a group of college students, had body measurements taken as well as a painful muscle biopsy procedure. The subjects body fat didn’t change and not even an inch was lost around the abdominal area by the end of the study. In the end, they had much stronger abs but their body fat and girth remained unchanged.

Many factors can influence the way you look and feel on a daily basis as well as over the course of your lifetime. A healthy, sustainable lifestyle also plays a huge part in how lean you ultimately get. You have probably heard that genetics are also important. True. Don’t forget about physical activity (in and out of the gym), this plays a significant role too. The missing “ingredient” in most exercise plans though is cutting back and monitoring added sugar.

What is Your DASI? Daily Added Sugar Intake

The term, DASI, is an acronym that I coined and stands for daily added sugar intake. It’s an important component of any nutrition program and it’s a game changer for those looking to get ripped. For the majority of people, getting a lean, ripped mid-section will be a lifelong challenge. Some never seem to realize that how they fuel their body in turn effects their midsection and abdominal area. This goes well beyond doing a daily plank challenge. Learn from the story of the UMass college students.

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Follow These 3-Steps to Get Strong, Ripped Abs

  • Beware of added sugar in all foods and drinks. How? Start reading food labels and keep track of your daily added sugar. Put yourself on a sugar budget. Eat no more than 150 calories of added sugar a day for men. That’s about 38 grams a day for men and 100 calories or 25 grams a day for women. Carbohydrates (sugar) contain 4 calories per gram. There are two types of sugars, natural sugar and added sugar. Added sugar is hidden in just about everything we eat and drink. Examples of natural sugar are milk and fruit, and unlike added sugar, they contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Added sugar has minimal nutrients, basically no fiber, and can quickly raise blood sugar levels like all fast food or junk food.
  • Add a weekly HIIT session on the cardio side, in addition to your weekly strength training sessions. Do this by adding intervals into a cardio session with bouts of hard work followed by brief periods of recovery and repeat several times. A whole cardio session could be an interval-based workout for 15-20 minutes or you can periodically add it to the cardio work you’re doing now. Any type of cardio will do the trick from jogging to rowing.
  • 1-RM Test. Push your strength training workouts. Use one day to determine a new 1-RM (one repetition maximum) involving all your major exercises, like bench press, shoulder press and squat and do a reset on your current program. This can be done every 12-weeks.

Changing things up from what you had been doing is a great way to stimulate not only your body but also your mind. Finally, incorporating the three tips above into your new routine, will definitely move you in the right direction of getting the long wanted ripped abs. Use the Jefit app to help track your progress and keep you moving toward your goals. Remember, you don’t own it until you right down or record it, so use the app. Good luck Stay Strong!

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What’s a 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 2020 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.

Age-Related Body Fat Levels

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 body weight is not as important as how much body fat you’re carrying. Once you can determine your body fat level, you then have a better understanding of the ratio of muscle to fat that you have.

For example, a women who weights 145 pounds and 33% body fat, can calculate that she has 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 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 the goals are.

Monitoring your body fat is important, and in turn, offers great insight into the status of your overall health & 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.

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Designing Your At-Home Workout Program

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The at-home workout program has unexpectedly become the new norm due to area gyms closing as a result of COVID-19. A by-product of this is that we are spending more of our time inside. Many are now wondering how we can take our old workout plan we did at the gym and incorporate it into a new home routine?

Now that we are home-based, there seems to be additional questions we need to think about and work around. In addition to the question above, there are other matters to worry about too, like when you’re going to exercise, space availability, and equipment needs.

Approaching Your At-Home Workout Program Differently

A paradigm shift is a “a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.” This may be a perfect time to start thinking differently about how we exercise at home, meaning, how we structure and execute our training routine. Change can be a very good thing when it comes to an individuals body and how that body adapts and progresses during a training cycle.

5 Basic Human Movement Patterns

Whether your training plan is geared towards a full-body, split routine or circuit-training, should not be the focus. What really matters most is training movements not muscles. Do not rely on specific exercises, instead, make sure you add-in specific movement patterns during each training session. Movement patterns are exercise classifications and can be thought of as the movement direction of the exercise. There are different schools of thought on how these movement patterns are categorized and even talked about.

The following is a modified version of some of the basic human movement patterns that should be included in the design of any training program. This list could also include other categories like hip dominant, knee dominant, rotational and anti-rotational categories. For the purposes of this article though, we will refer to the following five basic categories.

Squat

Any variation of a Squat is considered one of the best compound movements you can do. Exercises listed in this category are considered hip or knee-dominant by some. You can think of this category as exercises that utilize muscles around the hip and knee, like a Barbell Squat, Dumbbell Squat, or a Goblet Squat, as examples.

Hip Hinge

This particular category of exercises consists of movements that involve a “hinging” motion at the hip joint, and have little to no movement at the knee. Classic examples of exercises that incorporate a hip hinge are a Kettlebell Swing and a Romanian Deadlift.

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Hip Hinge Category: Kettlebell Swing exercise

Pull: Vertical & Horizontal

The vertical pull includes moving a weight or body weight vertically, relative to the position that your body is in. Examples of these types exercises would include Pull-ups and Lat Pull-down.

The horizontal pull include any exercise that moves the weight toward your body horizontally. A few examples include: Bent-over Rows, Inverted Row or a Seated Row.

Push: Vertical & Horizontal

This category combines both vertical and horizontal in order to make life easier for you. The vertical push, includes exercises that move a load or weight vertically in relation to the torso, like a Military Press or Push Press.

Horizontal push is a category of exercises that involves moving a weight straight out in front of you, away from the body, like a Bench Press.

Weighted Carry

Many strength and conditioning experts agree that a Weighted Carry is the best, all-in-one exercise a person can do. The Carry is ideal for increasing overall strength, especially back, core and grip strength. The exercise benefits don’t stop there though; it’s also ideal for improving stamina and functionality. A simple definition of a Weighted Carry is picking up a weight or a load and carrying it for distance or time. The best exercise example is a Farmer’s Carry.

The importance of adding these five movement patterns into your at-home workout program is invaluable. It offers someone a better way to design and customize their training program to meet all their needs. It also assures that an individual will work through the various planes of motion more often during training compared to a traditional training plan. The benefits of focusing on movement patterns instead of working specific muscles ensures a well-balanced, strong, functional body.

Exercise Program Design

Now that you have a better understanding of movement patterns, it’s important to use them in your next at-home workout. To experience measurable gains with your at-home training program, it’s important that you understand the basic concept of periodization.

  • “Periodization is an organized approach to training that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time.” Len Kravitz, PhD

To get the most benefit out of any at-home workout program, a periodized training plan should be followed. This is where adjusting the various training variables over time (i.e. sets/reps/rest/load/time under tension) comes into play. The idea is to control these variables during each training day and over the course of a full training year. By following such a training format over time, you’ll ensure maximal gains long-term, safely and effectively. Think about that for a moment. If you have not had strength gains in a while, maybe a lack of periodization is the culprit?

Use the Jefit App for Additional Workout Guidance

The JeFit app makes thousands of strength training routines accessible. It comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group page. Check it out!

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The Benefits of Working Out At Home

Different Kinds of Pushups

It seems like the whole world is now moving life indoors due to COVID-19. The new playground for families and individuals has transitioned from outdoors to inside the home. You can take advantage of this opportunity in the coming months by taking back control of your health and fitness. We may not be able to control certain outcomes regarding the coronavirus, but what we can control, is our overall health and wellbeing during this stressful time. One of the first steps down this path is making the commitment to work out regularly at home.

Make Working Out at Home a Priority

Exercise for most people is never a priority. There is now plenty of time to workout even with the kids stuck inside and you working remotely. The average adult still spends too much of their time sedentary, according to research from the Journal of the American Medical Association. Those numbers are going to potentially increase with COVID-19 lingering for the coming months. The goal is to find a time to exercise that works best for you and your schedule; maybe it’s in the morning, after work, or small bouts throughout the day. Check out the following suggestions to make your workout from home a good overall experience:

  • Schedule your workout each day as an appointment and put into into your calendar or smartphone and set a daily reminder.
  • Morning workouts are a great way to start the day off right and it puts you in a great mood once you’re done by releasing endorphins.
  • Turn your workout routine into a habit by staying on track by “just “doing it” for the next 3-weeks. Daily exercise should eventually become part of your lifestyle like eating or brushing your teeth. It needs to become part of your regular day.
  • Make it social (make it a family affair, join your spouse or get the kids involved if need be).
  • Do a periodic self-assessment to track progress and keep you motivated. Keep track of particular strength gains, body composition changes, etc. You can test yourself, for example, every 4, 8, or 12-weeks and document it using the Jefit app.

Home Equipment Options

There are many different roads someone could travel down when looking at options to meet all their exercise needs. There are now a variety of virtual classes on everything from yoga to HIT classes but many include costly monthly subscriptions. We have taken all the guess work out of deciding what you need in terms of getting started. The following article, published on the Jefit blog, offers the best exercise equipment options on a budget.

Your Assistant Coach: the Jefit App

The JeFit app makes thousands of strength training routines accessible. It comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group page. You can choose new workouts and track your progress with the app so that you can see how close you are to your fitness goals.

Don’t forget to join the Jefit community so that you can be a part of it too!

Different Kinds of Pushups

The Best Home Gym Equipment on a Budget

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We are currently living in very turbulent times, and now more than ever, the benefits of choosing the best home gym equipment goes beyond increasing just strength. We are hearing, thinking, and reading more and more about the growing COVID-19 outbreak. It looks like living with the coronavirus will be the new norm for a while and it’s enough to raise anyone’s stress level. A continued, elevated stress level, coupled with no exercise could potentially suppress your immune system.

Benefits of Having a Home Gym

One of the best and safest options you have for getting in great shape is doing it right from the comfort of your own home or apartment. Not to mention, this seems to be a no-brainer with COVID-19 hanging around for months to come. In addition to the many health & safety benefits, there is also an associated cost savings resulting from your gym temporarily closing.

Cost Savings Benefit

You do not have to spend a ton of money setting up your home gym. There are many different pieces of equipment you could use but it will depend first on budget and then on availability of space and of course training experience. Let’s assume that space, budget and experience are somewhat limited.

Exercise Equipment Needs

The following lists include multiple options for exercise products that are ideal for home use and can be purchased online. Each list offers versatile equipment, and is practical in terms of staying within a budget.

You can take care of your equipment needs while the Jefit team can help in terms of finding the best strength-training routines to help you get started.

Home Gym Option #1

Stability Ball

This product reaches far beyond just sitting on it for basic core work. Try lying in a supine position with your feet on the ball. Engage your core and raise your buttock off the floor, pause, and return to your starting position. Following a set of hip extension, perform the same movement with your feet on the ball and knees bent. Lift your buttock off the floor and hold in a bridge position, slowly lower and repeat. After completing these two movements, start in the same position but this time pull both feet in towards your buttock, performing a leg curl movement.

Foam Roller

If you’re not rolling out on a regular basis, then you should honestly start. There are many benefits of adding in a few minutes of foam rolling before and even after your exercise session. Maintaining healthy fascia should be top of mind for you. Remember, restriction (i.e., connective/muscle tissue) is associated with disfunction and this can lead to a limited range of motion; and yes, this will eventually effect your performance.

Exercise Bands

Regular band work can be ideal for any exercise level. Bands are great to utilize in circuit-type exercise routines or as part of your dynamic warm-up. Different colored bands typically equate with different intensity levels. These are very inexpensive to purchase and can be brought anywhere for an exercise session.

Medicine Ball

This is another great tool for your exercise toolbox, if used correctly. It’s ideal for adding resistance to various moves like squats, lunges or a step-up with a shoulder press. In the hands of the right person, a medicine ball can be a welcome addition to any home gym.

Jump Rope

One of the best forms of cardio exercise you can do is jumping rope. It’s great for elevating your heart rate and easy to transition to – so it’s ideal for any circuit-type or HIIT training program at home. Below is an example of how the JeFit app can help you keep track of this and many other exercises that you’ll now be doing from home.

Home Gym Option #2

Adjustable Bench

This is a versatile piece of equipment for any gym. This multi-purpose bench will allow you to do many different upper body exercises and can even double as a “plyo-box” for steps-ups etc.

Dumbbells

A must for any home gym. Dumbbells, take up minimal space. A good pair of dumbbells can be used for just about any upper/lower body strength exercise. Start by purchasing a few pairs of dumbbells and build up to a full set over time.

Kettlebells

One of the many great things about this product is its wide scope of usage. You can use kettlebells for basic, traditional exercises to more advanced movements like a Carry exercise or a Turkish Get-up.

Ab-Roller

Another unique product that really targets your core and is great for developing core strength. It’s one of those exercises that can really overload your core area so start slow and gradually build your repetitions and/or hold time.

TRX System

This training-system has become well-known and a staple used in everything from boot camp classes to home gyms. One of the best exercises you can do, in my opinion is an inverted row. If you ever want to test your strength level try completing 10 repetitions using strict form with a full range of motion.

It may be more of a challenge for some people to workout at home alone especially if they have a history of working out at a gym with others. If you need a little “motivational push” then read this.

Workout with Jefit at Home

The JeFit app comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group. You can choose new workouts and track your progress with our app so that you can see how close you are to your fitness goals.

Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions about a particular piece of equipment that you were thinking of getting for your gym.

Don’t forget to join our Jefit community so that you can be a part of it too!

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6 Ways to Get Your Gym Motivation Back

get your gym motivation back

Ever get to the gym, but find that you’re just too tired or not bothered to actually work out? It’s a completely normal feeling and there could be several reasons behind it. Here, we list why you may be feeling this way and recommend some solution to try and get your gym motivation back.

How to Get Your Gym Motivation Back

1. Get some sleep

Sleep deprivation can actually affect us much more than people think. If you’ve had a bad night or nights, then it can really impact your performance, as well as your mindset. Feeling tired and suffering from lack of sleep will really demotivate you.

Try to set a bedtime routine that you stick to. Go to sleep 7-9 hours before you have to wake up so that you can ensure you get enough sleep. Even if you may struggle at first, eventually, your body clock will remember and you’ll be able to follow your sleep schedule.

2. Take a few days off

Yes, spending too much time at the gym can be a potential reason why you’ve lost motivation. When you train, you’re constantly putting your body under stress. This is why rest days are important—this is when your body recovers. If you don’t give yourself rest days, then your body doesn’t have the time to recover properly. Sooner or later, you’ll start to feel it.

So if you get to the gym and don’t feel like working out, then take some time off. A day or two, or even more will help you take the time you need to recuperate. See how you feel after taking some gym time off.

3. Change your routine

Most of us tend to keep to the same workouts that we know. We stick to what is familiar and what we know works. Eventually, we become bored. If you’re feeling unmotivated to go the gym, it could be because your fitness routine has become stale and stagnant. Doing the same workout over and over again will no longer challenge you. Without stimulation, we lose our motivation.

Try mixing up your training. Jefit has plenty of exercises that you can choose from to make a new workout plan and keep things exciting. Putting together something new and renew your motivation and get your gym mojo back.

If you want a change from the gym, then you can even try heading outside for a run or do some bodyweight exercises in the park. Join a new fitness class that you haven’t tried before like boxing or cycling. A change of scenery might do you some good as well.

4. Define your goal

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not having a fitness goal. Whether it’s about losing weight, gaining muscle, hitting a new squat PR, or being able to run a half marathon in a certain time, having something to work towards makes the biggest difference in the gym.

Set an S.M.A.R.T goal that gives you this motivation.

5. Track your progress

Another reason why you may be feeling burnt out for the gym is that you don’t see the progress you’re making. If you’re not tracking your progress, recording your workouts, taking progress pictures, then you won’t be able to see how far you’ve come. It can be easy to fall into the rut of thinking that you haven’t made a difference or that things have changed. This is why it’s important to keep track.

Nothing can renew your motivation to get back into the gym than seeing where you were before and where you are now. It can help you picture where you will be in the future. Use a journal or a workout app (like Jefit!) that makes it easy for you to log everything and help get your gym motivation back.

6. Make it a habit

This may sound counterintuitive but you need more than motivation. Motivation is temporary and as you probably know, it comes and goes. To make sure that you keep going to the gym, even when you have no motivation, you need to make it a habit.

Set a fitness routine that you stick to, whether it’s going to the gym before work or after work, or even during your lunch breaks. It can be difficult to start but if you keep it up, over time, it will become an integral part of your routine. Then you’ll find yourself going to the gym even if you don’t want to—because it’s a habit. It’s a great way to get your gym motivation back.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout app that comes with a customizable workout planner, an extensive exercise library, and a members-only Facebook group. You can choose new workouts and track your progress with our app so that you can see how close you are to your fitness goals.

Join our Jefit community so that you can be a part of it too!

get your gym motivation back

3 Common Gym Injuries and How to Fix Them

common gym injuries

While you can try your best to avoid injuries, unfortunately, most people will experience them once in a while. If you are injured, then it’s best to see a physical therapist or professional that can properly treat it. However, there are some common gym injuries, and here are some solutions to treat them.

How to Treat These Common Gym Injuries

1. Muscle Pulls and Strains

Other common gym injuries include pulling or straining your muscle. This is when a muscle is torn or overstretched. While this can occur anywhere on your body, the most common places are straining your hamstring, or neck and back.

It can occur due to overexertion, being overstretched, and not warming up properly.

Pulling or straining your muscle will limit your mobility and can cause pain once you hit a certain threshold. You may also experience stiffness, swelling or weakness. It can also range from mild to severe.

How to treat it

Depending on how severe it is, there are different ways to treat it. Resting the affected muscle is paramount. It can be tempting to “work through the pain”, however, this can make it worse. So take a couple of days off before slowly starting to incorporate movement with the muscle. Bear in mind though, too much rest can also cause stiffness so you don’t want to keep it immobile for long. Try to find a good balance.

When you do start using it again, don’t push it too much. Overdoing it can exacerbate it.

How to prevent it

Warming up is crucial in preventing these common gym injuries. You need to properly prepare your body for your training session instead of jumping straight in. If your muscles aren’t warm, then you risk tearing it.

A good warmup should be specific. For example, if you’re planning on squatting, then do some air squats to mimic the same movement that you’ll be doing, just without the weight. It may seem tedious but taking the time to warm up can really improve your athletic performance, while also prevent muscle strains and pulls.

Listening to your body and knowing the difference between pain and good pain is important. Good pain is when you’re challenging yourself but not going over your threshold. The bad pain that you don’t want is when you’re hurting yourself to the point where you can potentially pull or strain a muscle.

2. Runner’s Knee

A common gym injury is Runner’s Knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is when you feel pain or soreness around the kneecaps or have trouble sitting, standing, walking. The pain may be exacerbated when you try to walk downwards as well.

It occurs when the kneecap (patella) is misaligned. Weak or tight thigh muscles and overuse of the knee can also cause it.

Despite the name, runner’s are not the only people who can experience this, although it is prevalent among them because running places much demand on the knees. Any other exercise that requires a lot of use of the knee can cause it.

How to treat it

If you feel pain in and around the knee then the first thing that you can do is rest it. Take 3-4 days of training off. If you do exercise, then try to avoid training that involves the knee such as lunging and squatting.

Another good idea is to ice it. Icing it will assist in reducing any swelling.

How to prevent it

Find a good pair of shoes that can offer really great support. This will help reduce the demand on your knee so that you can decrease the risk of getting runner’s knee again. Arch supports will also help with this as well.

Incorporate strengthening exercises into your fitness routine for your knee. Work on your lower body such as your quads, lower back, hips, and abs. This can strengthen the areas around the knee and reduce the stress placed on them. Try the plank and glute bridges.

3. Sprained Wrist

The wrist is an easy area to overload and put too much pressure on. Because it is used in a variety of exercises and takes a lot of weight, wrist strain is a common gym injury.

There may be swelling and tenderness. It’ll also hurt to put pressure on your wrists.

You can get a sprained wrist through repetitive movements that can cause chronic wrist strain. On the other hand, acute wrist strain is when it occurs suddenly such as bending the wrist past the normal threshold.

How to treat it

Ice your wrist to reduce swelling. Also, make sure you rest it. Adding more pressure to it will only make it worse. This means that you should avoid any exercises that involve putting stress on or bending the wrist.

How to prevent it

If you’re prone to wrist strains, then try modified versions of your favorite exercises. Front squat by crossing your arms across your chest instead of using your wrists. Push-ups can also be done by folding your hands into fists so that your wrists remain straight instead of bent.

Wearing a wrist strap can also really assists in taking the pressure off the wrist.

See a professional

If you are experiencing one of these common gym injuries do not improve, then see a professional physiotherapist or doctor. Your physio can properly examine you and provide specific solutions to your needs.

Workout with Jefit

Want a workout app that can recommend some great exercises, help you schedule your workouts, and offers a supportive online community? Jefit is an app that can do all those things and more. It comes with an extensive exercise library, customizable workout planner, as well as a members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members.

Click here to become part of the community now!

common gym injuries