All You Need to Know for Effective Fat Loss

If you want to lose body fat, you’re not alone. Effective fat loss, however, can seem impossible at times, especially if you try to overcomplicate things. Many magazines, articles, Instagram “experts” and YouTubers like to share their opinions on the matter, and this can make it seem even more complicated. Below, you’ll find four simple items that you need to remember for effective fat loss. Stick to them, and it’ll work for you too.

Find a Type of Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is important but not the most important aspect of fat loss, believe it or not. It can help, though, and a ton of additional benefits come with it. Finding a type of exercise you enjoy regularly will make it so much easier. Switch it up occasionally and just have fun with it. 

Get Your NEAT Up 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is the energy your body uses for daily movement other than exercise. Len Kravitz, PhD, defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of daily activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and talking – all activities that are not considered planned physical activity of a person’s daily life.” It is basically the “micro” exercise you do each day while going about your daily activities. By walking more and aiming to be more active day to day, it will, collectively, make a big difference.

In one research study it was determined that lean subjects (higher NEAT level) expend approximately 350 more calories a day (i.e. walking and standing) when compared to obese subjects (lower NEAT level). That amount of calories over the course of one year (with all other factors being equal) would equate to a weight-loss of 36.5 pounds!

Control Sleep and Stress 

Sleep and stress play a huge role in fat loss. Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 8 hours a night, and keep your stress levels under control. Look after yourself and get into a routine with it. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that individuals who got less than 5.5 hours of sleep each night, lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep.

Eat a Balanced Diet 

The most important aspect of fat loss is how you eat. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistent. Fad diets should be avoided, and instead, a balanced, healthy eating approach should be taken. Finally, remember the following quote from exercise scientist, Tim Noakes, MD, PhD, “the benefits of exercise are unbelievable, but if you have to exercise to keep your weight down, your diet is wrong.”

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

Dips Are One of the Best Exercises for Building Strength

When you do your next workout make sure you add a few sets of bodyweight dips into the mix. This effective, multi-joint exercise is considered one of the best bodyweight exercises available. Talk about getting a lot of “bang for your buck” from one single compound movement. Let’s take a deeper look at why this exercise is so beneficial.

Muscle Recruitment During the Movement

One of the many great things about performing dips is, depending on how the body is positioned, will ultimately dictate how the load is placed on the prime muscle groups. Meaning, as you lean forward slightly (45-degree angle), you’ll put more demand on the chest muscles as the movement is executed. When trying to involve more chest, the arms are angled away from the body slightly. In contrast, when the body is positioned and held more vertical, the demand shifts more towards the triceps. If the goal is to target the triceps more, then keep the arms closer to the body. As seen in the left photo below.

Exercise Technique

  • Take hold of each handle with a firm grasp. Extend both arms until they are almost locked out and the body is vertical.
  • Engage the core by drawing the navel in towards the spine.
  • Inhale as you lower the body downward by flexing the arms.
  • Slowly lower the body until the triceps are parallel to the floor while keeping forearms vertical. Arms should be at a 90-degree angle.
  • The upper body is leaning forward slightly throughout movement. Pause and return to the starting position as you exhale.

Primary Muscle Groups

The exercise is ideal for building strength and muscle mass in both the chest (pectoralis major, pectoralis minor) and arms (triceps brachii). There is also demand placed on the shoulders, especially the anterior head of the deltoid. In addition, the back also gets worked (latissimus dorsi, rhomboid and trapezius). This is one reason why it’s considered, by many, one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do!

Exercise Options

One of the great things about this particular movement is its versatility. The options and exercise variations are many.

  • Machine-based dips
  • Machine-assisted dips
  • Bench dips (feet on the floor)
  • Bench dips (feet elevated)
  • Traditional dip (as pictured)
  • Weighted dip (*hold off until you can perform 10-12 bodyweight repetitions using good form*).

Muscle Recruitment During the Exercise

The great thing about performing bodyweight exercises like dips is depending on how you position the body, can dictate the load placed on different muscle groups. Meaning, as you lean forward slightly (45-degree angle), on the upward and down phase, you’ll put more demand on the chest muscles. When the focus is the chest, the arms are angled away from the body slightly. In contrast, when the body is positioned and held more vertical, the demand shifts more towards the triceps. If the goal is to target the triceps more, then keep the arms closer to the body. As seen in the left photo below.

How Dips Help Other Exercise (like Bench Press)

By doing dips, you’ll end up getting not only stronger, you’re able to push through plateaus better for exercises like bench press. Research shows that exercises that require you to move your body through space, versus stationary exercises, require more muscle recruitment. This is why an exercise like a squat will always be superior to a stationary or supported movement like a leg press. A dip exercise also develops a large proportion of muscle that sits on the upper body. Dips will get the chest and arms stronger as well as the shoulder muscles. The shoulder muscles are used as stabilizers during the movement. As a result, performing dips will increase strength in the shoulder joint. If you have any type of shoulder issues or have a shoulder impingement, this should be a contraindicated exercise.

Try the Jefit App

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

Performing a Deep Squat is Valuable for Many Reasons

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

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

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

Four Benefits of Performing a Deep Squat

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

The Overhead Deep Squat Can Double as a Functional Assessment Tool

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

Movement Execution

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

Deep Squat as an Assessment Tool

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the Award-Winning Jefit App Today!

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

Master the Lat Pulldown Exercise for a Strong Back

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

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

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

Most Effective Way to Perform the Pull Movement

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

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

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

Lat Pulldown Exercise Execution

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

Primary Muscle Groups Worked

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

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

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

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

Build Strong, Powerful Shoulders With A Push Press Exercise

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

Muscle Groups Used in a Push Press Exercise

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

Muscles Involved:

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

How to Execute the Push Press Exercise

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Addressing the Bar (Rack Positioning)

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

The Dip

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

The Drive

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

Overhead Position

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

Exercise Variations

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

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

Workout with Jefit

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

Five Dynamic Stretches You Need To Be Doing Regularly

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

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

Do Muscles Perform Better in the Morning or Afternoon?

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

Muscles Have Less Chance of Injury When Warm-up

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

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

INCHWORM

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

SCORPION

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

HIP SWING (Hip Abduction/Adduction)

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

TOY SOLDIER

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

SIDE LUNGE

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

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

Try the Award-Winning Jefit App

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

The Secret to Better Training? Improve Grip Strength

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

Why Should You Improve Grip Strength?

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

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

Does your grip tend to give out first?

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

Three Grip Types and Exercises to Improve Grip Strength

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

Crush Grip

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

Exercises to improve crush grip strength:

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

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

Pinch Grip

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

Exercises to improve pinch grip strength:

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

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

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

Support Grip

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

Exercises to improve support grip strength:

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

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

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

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

Don’t Wear Gloves

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

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

Use Jefit App

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

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.

5 Great Exercises That Will Help Build Muscle

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

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.