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.

The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists

As cyclists, we all long for that extra strength to break from the pack or catch up with our opponents in a race. And while cycling is the best workout for improving our cycling fitness and helping us improve our skills, hitting the gym is the only way we can improve our strength. But deciding which are the best strength exercises for cyclists can be quite challenging. After all, there are numerous exercises and workouts that can help cyclists improve their strength.

Therefore, when picking the right strength workouts, you should start by examining which parts of the body need strengthening. When cycling, you use one leg at a time; therefore, you need repeated force production to pedal. You also need a strong core to handle the bike, especially when tackling tough terrains. Therefore, your workouts must address these needs. So here are some of the best strength workouts you can do at home or in the gym.

Top 5 Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists

1. Planks With Variation

Plank is a unique exercise that works your willpower, upper body, and core. The plank is a great workout for cyclists as it focuses on both sides of your body separately. Plus, it’s ideal for your hips as you have to keep both sides level, making sure that no side dips. And just like press-ups, the plank has numerous variations that you can try to make the workout as hard or as easy as possible. Therefore, Cycling Hacker recommends that you start with the basic one on the floor, and once you have mastered the technique, you can try other variations.

The exercise: start by lying down facing the floor with your palms facing downwards under the shoulders. Push your body up as if you are doing a push-up, and then hold the position while engaging the core, leg, back, and shoulder muscles. Try and hold that position for as long as possible and then repeat a few times. If a full plank is challenging to you, you can try resting on your elbows instead of extending your arms or putting your knees on the floor.

You can make it more challenging by introducing a gym ball. All you have to do is start with the plank position with the feet on the gym ball and then start pulling the ball towards you using the core muscles. Hold the ball in that position for a while before rolling it back to the starting position. 

2. Push-ups

Being able to easily handle your weight is crucial when it comes to cycling, as it will help you absorb the impacts while cycling downhill. And one of the best exercises that can help you handle your weight is push-ups. If you have trouble with push-ups, then you can start by putting your hands on a chair or steps. And then work your way to full push-ups, and the more consistent you are, the quicker you’ll perfect it. With time you can start incorporating balance or weights into your routine.

The exercise: move in the plank position and then engage your core and lower your body by bending your arms. Hold the position without allowing your body to touch the ground and then return to the starting point. But it’s crucial that you keep your core tight, your back in line with your head, and your entire body straight.

3. Squats

Squats are very important for cyclists. They works on every muscle in your legs, knees, and hips, helps with athletic movements, and increases flexibility. And if done correctly, this workout will help your muscles grow while giving you the needed strength.

The exercise: you can start with three sets of ten reps with about a 90-seconds rest between each set. To do the squats correctly, you should stand by placing your feet shoulder-width apart and lower the body to a sitting position by simply pushing your hips backward and bending the knees. Lower your body as far as you can, hold the position and then rise.

4. Lunges

Lunges are ideal for cyclists who want to increase their on-bicycle strength. This workout exercises each muscle on your lower body, particularly the hamstrings, quads, and hips. In fact, lunges are ideal for individuals who plan on working out at home. In the gym, you can mix it up with things like walking lunges and weighted lunges. But make sure you keep the core straight with the head straight and lead with your chest while ensuring that the knees never go beyond your toes.

The exercise: you can start with three sets of ten reps with about 45 seconds of rest between the sets. Start by stepping forward from a standing position with your right leg. And then bend your left one until its knee is almost touching the ground. Finally, you can push yourself up using the right foot and repeat this procedure with your left foot.

5. Deadlifts

The deadlift is a unique exercise that activates your core, back, and leg muscles. Deadlift is a simple routine that will help increase your power and overall muscle strength while supporting the critical movements necessary to make you a fast and efficient cyclist. The deadlift is an ultimate compound movement that is considered one of the best strength exercises for cyclists.

The exercise: you can start with 4 sets of 8 reps with about a minute rest. Stand in front of the barbell and then squat and grip the barbell. Make sure your forearms can easily brush the outer part of your thighs. And then push your shoulders back and lift the weights until the barbell levels with your thighs. Hold the position for a while and lower the weight before repeating the same procedure.

Final Thoughts for Cyclist

Cycling is a fun activity with numerous health and mental benefits. And when done correctly, cycling can do more than help you stay fit. Cycling can help you lower your stress level. And the only way you can tackle long and tough terrains is by improving your strength with the above simple workouts. But make sure you don’t hit the gym immediately after you have finished cycling. You should allow yourself at least 6 hours between cycling and strength workouts.  

Use Jefit to Track Your Strength Workouts for Cycling

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. In addition, the app 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.

5 Most Often Selected Leg Exercises on the Jefit App

Following a review of the Jefit app exercise database, the most often selected leg exercises, have been determined. With more than 1350 different exercises at their disposal, Jefit members picked the following leg exercises most often. The number at the end of each each exercise name is where each of the exercises ranked on our top 25 list, which can be seen below.

Most Often Selected Leg Exercises

  1. Barbell Deadlift (5)
  2. Barbell Squat (6)
  3. Lying Leg Curl (11)
  4. Barbell Lunge (20)
  5. Leg Extensions (25)

Let’s take a look at each of these five exercises. Three of the five are compound exercises, the deadlift, squat, and lunge. When you are short on time, compound exercises are ideal. This type of movement is obviously great under any training circumstance. Compound exercises incorporate a great deal of muscle mass while performing movement utilizing multiple joints. The other two, leg extension and leg curl, are not the most functional as we all know, but will always have a place in certain strength programs.

Top 5 Leg Exercises According to Jefit App Users

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Most Often Selected of All Leg Exercises is Barbell Deadlift

The deadlift is a great exercise for strengthening not only the legs but the hips and back muscles as well. A classic compound exercise, this multi-joint exercise made the top 5 most often selected exercises determined by users of the Jefit app. It also takes top honors for the most often selected leg exercise.

Barbell Squat

The barbell squat is another great, classic, compound movement that seems to always find its way into most strength training programs. Considered a truly functional strength exercise that will pack on muscle size in the lower body. Also ideal for developing overall strength and power. Anytime you can hold or carry a load on the back and shoulders, a by-product will be an improvement in core strength.

Lying Leg Curl

A single-joint exercise that will help develop posterior chain strength, specifically in the hamstring group. Not a very functional exercise. Most likely better off performing single-leg Romanian deadlifts instead, still, came in just outside of our top 10.

Barbell Lunge

Another great multi-joint exercise that many gym goers love. It is a perfect compliment exercise to any leg routine because of the demand the movement places on the hips and legs. The exercise is the twentieth most selected exercise in the entire Jefit exercise database and fourth best rated leg exercise.

Leg Extension

This is the final leg exercise and second single-joint exercise, with the leg curl, to make the Jefit list. Not one of the most functional exercises but a great exercise to superset legs with or to place in a machine circuit. Ideal for the bodybuilding community to utilize for their training programs. Also, like leg curl, it’s a safe exercise to perform for many people such as older gym goers or someone coming back from an injury.

Let us know if your favorite exercise made or didn’t make our top most often selected leg exercise list. Below is the complete list of top 25 exercises that are most often selected by Jefit members.

Jefit App Top 25 Most Often Selected Exercises

Try The 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.

Here Are The Most Often Selected Exercises For Jefit

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.