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.

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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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3 Exercises that Will Increase Your Bench Press

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Improving overall body strength can be beneficial when trying to increase your bench press. Developing upper body strength will always play a huge role but other areas like strong legs and core are just as critical. There are many exercises that you can try that will help your cause. The following three exercises will enable you to lift more weight when it comes to bench press.

Military Press

Strong, powerful shoulders, with out a doubt, have much value when it comes to executing proper bench press technique. This is because having strong shoulder stabilizers can help at various points during the tracking pattern required during bench press. This is especially so when maintaining a load overhead while in a supine position. Another important area regarding the shoulder is the anterior deltoid, which comes into play when you press the bar off your chest. Adding both barbell and dumbbell military press variations into your workouts will help increase your bench press.

Medicine Ball Ab Exercises

Another area that is important to develop and maintain strength is your core. There are 29 different muscles that make up the core. A strong core is helpful when it comes to maintaining good posture. A strong core is vital for any sport-specific movement and it’s also important when executing a chest press exercise. A great way to get strong, ripped abs is to incorporate the use of a medicine ball. Like with anything else, begin with a light medicine ball before progressing to a heavier ball once you master the technique. A medicine ball generates speed through various ranges of motion like spinal rotation and flexion. During exercises like medicine ball Russian twists or overhead slams.

A strong, functional core can help generate more power through the upper and lower body. When you perform a bench press exercise, it’s prudent to brace your body as you remove the weight off the rack and during the movement. A strong core, via medicine ball training, will improve the bracing posture needed to increase your bench press.

Barbell Squat to Increase Your Bench Press

When you perform a bench press, remember to maintain four points of contact at all time. This includes head, shoulder and back in contact with the bench and feet flat on the floor. Building strength in your legs and hips will help you to “push” your feet and legs into the floor, and as a result, you end up pressing more weight. One of the best ways to develop leg strength is with a great compound movement, the barbell squat.

Try Combination Movements

If you lack time to add these exercises into your training routine, you can combine some of the movements into one to get similar effects. An example of a combination movement would be a squat to overhead throw, performed with a heavy medicine ball. This will target your legs, core and shoulders all in one efficient, compound movement. You can try throwing the medicine ball overhead against a wall or just into the air and repeat.

Use Jefit to Record & Track These Exercises and More

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 also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has 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 as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Here Are The Most Often Selected Exercises For Jefit

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The award-winning Jefit app, was recently named best app for 2021 by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and others. The workout planning & tracking app includes a database of more than 1350 exercises. Of all the exercises featured on the app, Jefit members (more than 9 million), continue to choose three exercises more often than any others.

The most often selected Jefit exercises are:

1. Barbell Bench Press

2. Barbell Bicep Curl

3. Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

Let’s take a look at each one of these. Two of the three are multi-joint exercises (bench press and lat pull-down) and none surprisingly work the lower body. Only two leg exercises actually made our top ten list. The most often used exercises, if you were interested, are barbell deadlift followed by barbell squat.

Most Often Used Jefit Exercise – Barbell Bench Press

No surprise here that bench press is the most often used Jefit exercise. It has always been a long time staple in bodybuilding, traditional and sport-specific workout programs. Considered an ideal exercise because it develops upper body strength and power. It also helps pack on upper body muscle mass while targeting multiple muscle groups. As a result, it’s probably one of the best multi-joint exercises you can do. Not to mention, it’s a fun exercise to perform and you can easily track your progress in the Jefit app via 1-RM. Finally, don’t you always feels like you get an efficient upper body workout after completing a handful of sets of bench press?

Muscle Groups Worked: Chest, Shoulders, Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See the following study published in the Journal Human Kinetics (2017).

Barbell Bicep Curl

A fan favorite of just about everyone. Dumbbell curls have there place but a barbell bicep curl is terrific for adding size to the biceps. An old favorite of mine is barbell bicep curl 21’s. Even though barbell biceps curl is a favorite of gym-goers who use Jefit, check out the research paper (below. The study looked at the differences in EMG activity when using a barbell and an EZ curl bar.

Muscle Group Worked: Arms

EMG Activity: Read this study on differences between tradition barbel curl and EZ bar

Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

This wide grip lat pull-down is a great exercise to add to any program for overall back development. This is one of those exercises that can stress different aspects of the back and arms depending on hand placement. A wide grip recruits more of your back muscles and a close grip pulldown emphasizes the forearm muscles. Considered a great compound or multi-joint, upper-body strength movement, because it targets the back, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Depending on who you read, an over hand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width works best. Lean back slightly, pulling the bar down towards the chest, does a good job activating the biggest back muscle, the latissimus dorsi.

Muscle Groups Worked: Back & Arms

EMG Activity: See this paper that looked at muscle activity of three variations of lat pull-down. Here is a second paper published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2014) on various hand positions during lat pull-down.

Try adding one or all three of these exercises into your next strength training program that you build using the Jefit app and let us know how it goes.

Try Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge 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 and recover well using Jefit.

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