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.

Your Go-To Guide on How to Do More Pull-Ups

how to do more pull-ups

Pull-ups have always been a great exercise to do and you only need your bodyweight and a bar to do them. For those who can’t do a pull up yet, you may be looking to get your first one. For those who can, you’re probably looking to increase the number that you can do. So whether you can do one or 100, this is an easy to follow guide on how to do more pull-ups.

For this article we’ve made a workout to help you in your training. Check it out here.

Want to know how to do more pull-ups? Here are 5 tips

1. Dead Hang

Most people tend to skip this bit and go straight to the pull-ups, but being able to hang from the bar is an important step in increasing the number of pull-ups you can do. It is also fundamental to improving your grip strength. Without great grip strength, you can lose your grip fast, which will mean that you will do fewer pull-ups than intended.

Try to work on your dead hang by hanging from the bar with an overhand grip.

Hang for as long as you can. Then increase the time gradually. It’ll help you be able to hang from the bar for as long as you need to do crank out those pull-ups.

If you want to mix up the dead hang a bit, then add weights. You can wear a weighted vest or even just hold a dumbbell between your feet as you hang. There is also the option of one-armed hangs or even hang by your fingers. Yes, there are some people who can even do two-fingered hangs!

This will condition your grip strength and really get you used to hanging from a bar, so you can learn how to do more pull-ups.

2. Scapular Pull-Ups

Before you even try to do a full pull up, practice your scapular pull-ups first. This helps to activates the lats, which is what you need for this movement.

To do this from the bar. Depress your shoulder (sort of like a reverse shrug—your shoulders move downwards instead of upwards), without moving your arms. This will slightly raise your body. Return to your original position and repeat.

Doing scapular pull-ups will make your back stronger, while also increasing your awareness of the body movements needed for the pull-up.

3. Negative Pull-Ups

Negative pull-ups are a great way of increasing your pull up capacity. This exercise focuses on the part of the pull up where you lower yourself back down.

To do negative pull-ups, jump up from the ground, with your hands holding the bar above you, until you reach the top position of a pull-up. Then slowly lower yourself back down as slowly as possible. Try to do it for a count of 3 or 4 seconds, making sure this movement is controlled. Then repeat.

4. Assisted Pull-Ups

There is nothing wrong with using some gym accessories for help. Use resistance bands to help you get more pull-ups with some assisted pull-ups.

Wrap the band around the bar so it falls down in a loop. Place one foot in the loop while holding the bar above you. The resistance band should give you a springy floor to stand on. Then pull yourself up and lower yourself back down as if you were doing a pull-up.

The great thing about resistance bands is that they are versatile and come in different sizes. This means you can easily adjust the difficulty of assisted pull-ups by the size of the band you use. The thicker the band, the more supported you will be. You can also use two bands at the same time for extra guidance.

This is a great way to increase your muscular endurance. And if you are unable to do unassisted pull ups for more reps, just add a band to keep going.

If you have a pull-up machine at the gym, then you can use this too. While some machines differ, it will most likely give you a platform that you can stand/kneel on and adjust the weight depending on your preference.

5. Change Your Grip

There is the standard pull-up position that people use, but you can always change where and how your grip is. For example, you can make your hands narrower, wider, or even at an angle to help build up different muscles in your back and arms. This will assist in increasing your strength.

Some pull-ups machines will also have different grip handles so you can use them too.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that can help track your progress. Whether it is to do more pull ups, or lift heavier weights, Jefit can record it all. If you need additional help, then why not join the Jefit community? Jefit offers a members-only Facebook page where you can learn from others as well as share your own wins, advice, and stories. Come and join the community now!

Did this article help you learn how to do more pull-ups? How many pull-ups can you do, and what’s your goal? Let us know!

how to do more pull-ups