Activities to Bring Your Exercise Routine to the Next Level

There are many activities to choose from when trying to get in or stay in shape. Some activities are better than others and may be more beneficial when added as part of a weekly exercise routine.

The following three activities are some of the best based on their high energy expenditure. Each is ideal in their own right because they offer multiple options. The following activities also fit well as part of a warm-up or for circuit training.

Add Jumping Rope to Your Exercise Routine

There is a great deal of research on the benefits of jumping rope. One such study, was led by John Baker of Arizona State University. He divided 92 male students into two groups. One half of the group skipped rope for 10-minutes a day while the other half jogged for 30-minutes a day. After six-weeks, the men were administered the Harvard Step Test to measure changes in cardiovascular fitness. Each group showed an equal level of improvement.

Baker concluded that 10-minutes a day of jumping rope was as efficient as 30-minutes a day of jogging. He meant meant more specifically, when looking to improve cardiovascular efficiency. He recommends jumping rope, which is less time-consuming than jogging, as a valuable component for any physical education program; especially when the goal is to improve endurance. A 2013 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found 10-minute “bursts” of exercise, like rope jumping, added to your daily quota of exercise, improves fitness.  It concluded that ‘some exercise is better than nothing’ and that by adding small bouts of exercise you can lead to a big impact.

Jumping rope will expend about a 750 calories an hour depending on bodyweight (at 120-140 turns per minute). This is equivalent to running close to a six-minute mile pace. When the intensity is increased, the caloric expenditure can increase to 1000 calories or more per hour. A boxer can hit 300 RPM in a minute of jumping rope. You can also experiment with a weighted jump rope or wear a weight vest to challenge yourself more.

Rowing is a Great Addition to any Exercise Routine

There is a reason why facilities like Crossfit, have ergs or Concept 2 rowing machines lined up. It is a complete, full body workout that uses about 85 percent of the muscles on the body. Rowing alone is a great exercise. It is ideal for a WOD or placed in a circuit. Finally, it can be a beneficial warm-up prior to hitting the weight. Try a 500 meter row prior to your next strength workout. If you want a great aerobic test, try to row 500 meters in about a minute thirty! For a great full body workout try the following routine:

30-20-10 Rowing Protocol – Start with an easy row for 3 to 5 minutes to warm-up. Then row 30-seconds at a low intensity, followed by 20-seconds using a moderate intensity and finally, row all out, high intensity, for 10-seconds. Repeat x 5 and cool-down. Progress to doing this x 10 rounds.

Try HIIT for Maximal Gains in Minimal Time

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise topic that arguably been studied more in the past decade than any other. It is highly likely, that every aspect of HIIT has been looked at. Research from Petrofsky and colleagues (2011) in the Journal of Applied Physiology is one such example. In that study, a 6-minute HIIT protocol elevated metabolism in test subjects for 36 hours. A second study, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning, showed similar results. Subjects in this study performed just 27 minutes a week of interval-based exercise. The study showed VO2 max and work output increased 11 and 4.3 percent respectively in just 6 weeks.

The Jefit app offers many HIIT options for all training abilities, with equipment or just bodyweight. In addition, cardio intervals are great for burning some calories on the days you don’t do strength training. Add some of these activities into your weekly training routines to take your program to the next level.

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5 Great Exercises That Will Help Build Muscle

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A recent New York Times article looked at the importance of getting stronger and to build muscle. It report that, according to researchers, only 6 percent of adults performed at least two strength workouts each week. Everyone knows that regular strength training is one of the best time and energy investments for better health. Compared to other countries, however, our physical inactivity and obesity numbers are simply embarrassing.

Why Build Muscle?

Because muscle starts to deteriorate when we reach our 30’s. After age 40, we lose on average 8 percent of our muscle mass every decade, and this phenomenon, known as sarcopenia, continues to accelerate at an even faster rate after age 60.

The good news is exercise scientists from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging found that doing just two strength training sessions each week can reverse age-related cellular damage that causes muscle atrophy.

Muscle Index

In 2014, researchers at UCLA Medical school found something very interesting. They followed more than 3,600 healthy subjects for about a decade. In that study they noticed a subjects muscle mass was closely linked to their lifespan. They found this out by pinpointing their “muscle index” or someones muscle mass divided by your height squared. “Those who were in the group with the highest muscle index had the lowest mortality, while those who had the lowest muscle index had the highest mortality rates.” Their published research “showed that muscle index was an even better predictor of premature mortality than obesity.”

To build and maintain muscle mass you need to engage in regular strength training. Here are what many consider five of the “better” exercises to perform in order to build muscle and maintain it as you age. Each exercise also offers progressions to try before attempting each exercise, if needed.

Deadlift

The deadlift is easily one of the best exercise you can do to build muscle. It’s a valuable compound movement targeting the back, hips, legs and grip. It’s also ideal for developing posterior chain strength. The movement, however, can be challenging for some. If that is the case, there are some suggested progression options for you prior to the deadlift.

Progressions: Hex-bar deadlift and Romanian deadlift

Squat

Considered the king of the compound lower body movements for building muscle at any age. Best advice, especially if you’re young or a training novice, master the front squat prior to progressing to a barbell squat.

Progression: DB Wall Squat, Front Squat, Partial Squats

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Pull Ups

There is not a better compound back exercise you can do for the upper extremity. The movement recruits many muscle groups while offering multiple training variation like wide/close grip or assisted pull ups.

Progression: Inverted Row, Machine Assisted, Assisted (Band) Pull Ups, Chin-ups

Bench Press

Considered a favorite exercise for the majority of gym goers. It incorporates a large number of muscles to execute the movement. You can do it from an incline/decline position or use dumbbells, barbell, kettlebells or cables.

Progression: T-Push Ups, Incline/Decline Push Ups, Weighted Push Ups

Shoulder Press

A great compound exercise to build muscle for the deltoid group. It really works your entire body when performed from a standing position. Holding weight overhead also works the core.

Progression: Kettlebell Thrusters, Dumbbell/Barbell Push Press

One of the first things you might have noticed, all five of our suggested exercises are compound movements. Add some of these muscle building exercises into your next Jefit program. If they are not the answer to your current needs, try the suggested progressions to build up instead.

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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Health Benefits of Performing Strength and Cardio Exercise

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The health benefits associated with performing strength training on a regular basis, especially as one ages, are many. Cardiovascular exercise, from walking to running, is also key, especially when used as a “COVID-19 mood booster” or stress reliever. What are the benefits of combining strength and cardio in your workout?

Should we be doing both? Simply adding in short bouts of cardio (like jumping rope), with your weight training, can take a workout to the next level. It ends up challenging both your muscular and cardiovascular systems in one efficient workout. 

The Benefits of Combining Strength and Cardio Are Many

The goal of circuit weight training (CWT) is to move quickly from one exercise to the next with minimal rest. The design of a circuit can be as simple as performing an upper body, lower body and core exercise followed by a brief bout of cardio. The cardio could be jumping rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, basically anything that elevates heart rate. A 2013 study published in American Association for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, reported jumping rope can be one of the most effective cardio exercises. We’re talking better than running, swimming or rowing. Following six-weeks of jumping rope exercises (for 10-minutes/day), subjects displayed the same levels of cardiovascular efficiency as those who did 30 minutes of jogging.

There is also a hidden bonus with circuit-training, an “additional” calorie-burning benefit post-workout. The term associated with this is excess-post oxygen consumption (EPOC). This has the potential to occur when doing challenging circuit weight training programs. The body continues to expend additional calories for hours after the workout has been completed. The routine needs to be challenging though which this type of workout can definitely be.

Additional Research Backs Up the Benefits

According to a 2019 study published in the journal Obesity, those who combined strength training with cardio were less likely to become obese. A classic review study by Gettman and Pollock (1981) showed the average aerobic capacity increased by 5 percent while strength improved 7-32 percent. The good news with all the studies reviewed showed a 2-6 pound increase in muscle mass. The average length of the workouts reviewed was only 25-30 minutes. A second study by Wilmore and colleagues determined energy expenditure was 9 calories/minute for men and 6 calories/minute for women who performed circuit weight training programs. Finally, a 10-week study compared CWT to biking showing favorable results in multiple areas for CWT. This type of training was shown to  “lead to mild to moderate increases in aerobic capacity” and “muscle mass.”

Jefit Home Exercise Programs: 5 Circuit-Based Routines

Strength & Cardio Circuit. This is a 1-day routine that incorporates exercise and bouts of cardio. The only piece of cardio equipment needed, however, is a jump rope.

Home Circuit (30-minutes). This is a two-day program you can do that is a circuit using exercises only, no cardio. You move quickly from one exercise to the next with minimal rest between sets.

Home Bodyweight Circuit (Level 1). This program has only two circuits or rounds – compared to three – found in Level 2 and 3 of this program. When this routine becomes less challenging for you – progress to Level 2.

Home Bodyweight Circuit (Level 2). The design of these workout sessions consist of 5 body weight exercises that are repeated for 3 circuits or rounds. The session starts off with core work.

Home Bodyweight Circuit (Level 3). This program is designed as a circuit where you complete one round of 10 different exercises with minimal or no rest. Once completed, you return to the first exercise and move through another round of the circuit, until 3 rounds are completed.

This information presented hopefully offers additional insight into the value of performing circuit weight training more often. Continue to work hard and stay strong while using Jefit circuit-based workouts at home.

Use Jefit to Record and Track Your Strength and Cardio Workouts

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

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Important Facts About Lean Muscle and Body Fat

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The body is an amazing organism made up of different elements, including various types of tissue, bone, organ and fluid. Two of which, lean muscle and body fat, are discussed most often when it comes to exercise and living a sustainable lifestyle. We exercise and monitor our nutritional intake in order to build one, lean muscle, while trying to lose the other, body fat (also known as adipose tissue).

How Much Lean Muscle Does the Average Adult Carry?

Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in our body, accounting for approximately 42 and 35 percent of body weight in men and women respectively. In other words, an average male weighing 185 pounds has about 78 pounds of lean muscle tissue while a female weighing 140 pounds has approximately 49 pounds of lean muscle tissue (note: this is not an “exact” number). Take muscle and fat out of the equation, and bodyweight still has other constituents like, water, mineral, bone, connective tissue, and organ weight. Speaking of organ weight, did you know the average human heart weighs about 10 ounces while the brain weighs about 3 pounds? That same average male may have, on average, about 25 percent body fat (or “about” 46 pounds of fat) while that average female may have 30 percent body fat (or “about” 42 pounds of fat).

Did You Know This About Lean Muscle

One of the amazing things about muscle tissue is it has the ability through progressive overload, to increase in size (known as muscle hypertrophy). Donnelly and colleagues have reported that strength training studies (lasting from 8 to 52 weeks) have shown increases of 2 to 5 pounds of muscle mass. In addition to increasing in size, muscle tissue also gets stronger with prolonged training. A periodized strength training program can elicit changes in endurance capacity, power output and force production while keeping sarcopenia at bay.

Protein stores found in muscle can account for about 30,000 calories of energy. Muscle tissue can contribute approximately 20 percent of the body’s total daily energy expenditure compared to 5 percent for fat tissue (it would be great if we could tap into those fat stores more often).

Lean muscle tissue requires 3-4 times more calories to maintain compared to fat and is important in the process of energy metabolism. A pound of metabolically active muscle tissue requires 5-7 calories per pound to maintain while less active fat tissue, requires only 2 calories per pound.

Finally, lean muscle plays an important role in the aging process. With advancing age we experience a loss of exercise capacity. This is due to first, to a decline in skeletal muscle mass and strength during aging and then a decrease in maximal oxygen uptake mainly due to a drop in maximal heart rate, according to Henning Wackerhage, PhD, a Senior Lecturer in Molecular Exercise Physiology at the University of Aberdeen.

Did You Know This About Fat

Fat is found in the body in the form of triglycerides and stored in fat cells which are called adipocytes. According to Coyle, about 50,000 to 60,000 calories of energy are stored in fat cells throughout the body. Fat can also be stored within skeletal muscle cells.

Fat accumulated in the lower body is subcutaneous. While fat in the abdominal area is largely visceral. Where fat ends up on your body is influenced by several factors, including hormones and heredity.

The photo below shows equivalent amounts of fat and muscle. Lean muscle, however, is more dense and takes up one-third less space compared to fat. Five pounds of muscle and fat may in fact weigh the same but that is where the similarities end.

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Source: Reddit

One thing is for certain, everyone wants more lean muscle and less body fat. Regular strength training is a much needed critical component for everything from health to activities of daily living. Check out some of the many great strength training routines found on Jefit, like the FitBody Plan. Stay strong with Jefit.

References

Marieb, EN and Hoehn, K. (2010). Human Anatomy and Physiology (8th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.

Elia, M. (1999). Organ and Tissue Contribution to Metabolic Weight. Energy Metabolism: Tissue Determinants and Cellular Corollaries. Kinney, J.M., Tucker, H.N., eds. Raven Press. New York.

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., et. al. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

Wackerhage, H. (2014). Molecules, Aging and Exercise in Molecular Exercise Physiology. Routledge.

Wood, M. (2018). TBC30: 6 Steps to a Stronger and Healthier You. Wicked Whale Publishing.

Coyle, EF. (1995). Fat metabolism during exercise. Sports Science Exchange, 8(6):59.

Try The Award-Winning Jefit App Today!

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

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

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

Dragon Flag

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

How to Perform:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trainer Notes:

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

Oblique Crunches with Bench

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

How to Perform:

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

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

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

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

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

6.) Switch sides and repeat.

Trainer Tip:

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

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

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Plank with Side Kick

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

How to Perform:

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

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

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

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

Trainer Tip:

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

Push Up to Side Plank

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

How to Perform:

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

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

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

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

Trainer Tip:

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

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

Record & Track Your Core Exercises Using Jefit App

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

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Know the Health Benefits from Regular Strength Training

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

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

Benefits of Strength Training

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

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

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

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

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Additional Health Benefits

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

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

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

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

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App

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

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Compound Exercises are Best Choice for a Strong Body

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

What Are Compound Strength Exercises?

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

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

Examples of Compound & Isolation Type Exercises

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

What are Isolation Strength Exercises?

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

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

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An example of an isolation exercise, Dumbbell Bicep Curl.

Jefit’s New Compound Strength Routine

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

Use Jefit to Keep Track of all Your Workouts

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

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Most Popular Jefit Exercise for Major Muscle Groups

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

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

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

Most Downloaded Leg Exercises

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

Best Back Exercise

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

Top Chest Exercise

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

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

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

Core Exercises

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

Final Thoughts

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

Use Jefit to Record & Track All Your Exercises

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

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Can Grip & Hand Position Maximize Your Lat Pulldown?

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

Hand Grip & Placement in Lat Pulldown

Overhand Grip

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

Underhand Grip

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

Wide Grip

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

Narrow Grip

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

Research Review on the Topic

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

Subsequent Study

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

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

Try the Jefit App

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

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6 Outdoor Exercise Ideas to Add to Your Cardio Routine

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

Trampoline Workouts

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

Rock Climbing

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

Rowing

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

Long Boarding

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

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Stair-climbing Workout

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

Trail Running

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

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

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Cardio Workout

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

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Doing HIIT

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

Is HIIT Good for Me?

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

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

More on HIIT

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

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

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

Advantages of HIIT

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

Shorter Sessions

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

Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

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

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

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Better for Long-term Fat Loss

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

Helps with Muscle Retention

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

Disadvantages

More Demanding on the Body

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

Longer Recovery Time

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

Can be Intimidating for Beginners

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

So Should I Choose HIIT?

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

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

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

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Want to Build Muscle? Then Try This Popular 3/7 Method

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Many gym goers don’t mind working hard if they can ultimately add muscle via the routine they’re on. The popular, and fairly new, 3/7 strength training method does just that! Many of the training programs, however, circulating around gyms don’t always end up building muscle for different reasons. Gym goers, for the most part, understand the need for high intensity and volume (sets x reps. x load). Especially when a building phase is called for in a training plan.

The majority of individuals who workout like to use a traditional sets and repetitions based training program. Meaning, performing a Barbell Squat, is typically done, using 4×6, or four sets of six repetitions, with a few minutes recovery between sets. The 3/7 Method allows you to stay on one piece of equipment, performing more overall sets back-to-back, but in less time.

The Jefit team recently created two new strength programs (free wight and machine) using this type of training protocol. Click the title of each program below to be taken to the specific program.

3/7 Method Research Review

Personally, if you really want to know the efficacy of a strength training program, explore the research. If there are research papers published on a topic, like the 3/7 Method, that’s usually a step in the right direction.

In a 2019 study published in the European Journal of Physiology, the 3/7 Method compared well to a more traditional 8×6 program. Stragier and colleagues tested elbow flexor strength using 70 percent of 1-RM. The goal was to test the efficacy of a new strength training method on strength gain, hypertrophy, and neuromuscular fatigability.

The new training protocol (3/7 method) consisted of five sets of an increasing number of repetitions (3 to 7) during successive sets and brief inter-set intervals (15-seconds). This format was repeated two additional times after 150-seconds of recovery compared to a method consisting of eight sets of six repetitions with an inter-set interval of 150-seconds (8 × 6 method). Subjects trained two times per week for a period of 12-weeks. 

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Young beautiful woman training in the gym. Concept of fitness, workout, sport, health

In a second study (2016), Laurent and colleagues looked at untrained subjects performing Smith Machine Bench Press, twice a week for 8-weeks. Subjects were assigned to one of three groups:

1.) A group that trained the exercise with the 3/7 method.

2.) A group that trained the exercise with 4 sets of 6 repetitions (with 2.5 minutes of rest between sets).

3.) A group that trained the exercise with 8 sets of 6 repetitions (also with 2.5 minutes of rest between sets).

Training Results

In the first study mentioned, the 3/7 and 8 × 6 methods significantly increased both 1-RM load (22.2 ± 7.4 and 12.1 ± 6.6%, respectively) and MVC force. The 3/7 method provided a better training stimulus for strength gain and muscle hypertrophy than the 8 × 6 method.

In the second study, each of the three groups used 70 percent of their 1-RM for bench press. Following the study, the researchers found the 3/7 method increased bench press strength to a greater extent than training with 4 sets of 6 repetitions. Compared to a moderate volume classical method (4 sets of 6 repetitions), the 3/7 method was superior. But, compared to a higher volume classical method (8 sets of 6 repetitions), the 3/7 method wasn’t as effective. However, the 3/7 Method was performed in about a third less time compared to the other groups due to the short (15-seconds) bouts of recovery between sets.

Hopefully these great results that we came across for the 3/7 Method, opens up some eyes and you hopefully give one of the programs above a try. Stay Strong with Jefit!

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Progress

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 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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