Health Benefits of Performing Strength and Cardio Exercise

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.

Three Key Requirements for Muscle Growth to Occur

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There are three key requirements in order for muscle growth to occur. To ensure muscles grow, known as hypertrophy, you need an appropriate training stimulus. In addition, proper diet with adequate protein and of course plenty of sleep. A fourth factor, not discussed here, is the important role that genetics play. We all know people who train hard, eat well and get plenty of sleep. They typically get stronger but don’t really pack on lean muscle. There are many variables that can effect (1) how much and (2) how quickly your body responds to training and eventually adds muscle. This will depend on age, gender, genetic and hormonal factors. There is a saying out there when talking about the role genetics play: “If you want an Olympic athlete then you need Olympic parents.”

Appropriate Training Stimulus for Muscle Growth?

How do you stimulate muscle growth? When a persons muscles are challenged they adapt and change over time. Changes are dependent on the type of activity and types of muscle fibers used, the load exerted on the muscle, and the velocity and duration of the contraction. (Marieb, 2004) The point is to push through all your workouts, especially a heavy day. Because muscular growth or hypertrophy can only be accomplished through these adaptations and changes. “It takes about 16 workouts to have a noticeable ‘superficial’ effect. There is simply no other recipe to do this in a healthy, orderly, and long-lasting manner.” Try using the Jefit, a workout planner & tracker app to record all your workouts.

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Is the Current RDA for Protein High Enough?

This is a tough area for a lot of people. Their eating habits are just not where they need to be. In addition to eating well-balanced, highly nutritious meals, protein intake needs to be sufficient. If not, muscle growth to say the least, will be difficult if not impossible. The scientific research has shown different results over the years in terms of protein needs.

The question we should ask ourselves is – should we follow the suggested RDA of 0.8 grams/kg/day for protein intake or is it more in line with 1-2 gram/kg/day? The answer may depend partly on the volume of daily exercise you’re doing, if you’re a strength or an endurance athlete, and your age.

Adequate Nutritional Intake (Especially Protein)

A classic study was done in 1988 at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston. I was actually one of the younger test subjects in that particular study. The team headed by Meredith and colleagues, looked at the protein needs of 12 subjects. Six were young (26.8 +/- 1.2 yr) and six were middle-aged (52.0 +/- 1.9 yr) endurance-trained men. All subjects consumed either 0.6, 0.9, or 1.2 grams/kg/day of high-quality protein over three separate 10-day periods. They did this while maintaining their training and a constant body weight. The results of the study estimated that protein requirement was 0.94 +/- 0.05 grams/kg/day for the 12 men. The data from the study showed endurance exercise was associated with a specific dietary protein requirement. These needs were actually greater than the current recommended dietary allowance of 0.8 g/kg/day.

Since then, there have been several studies on individuals who engaged in regular aerobic exercise. The exercise, more vigorous in nature, demonstrated a higher protein need more in line with 1.1 to 1.4 grams/kg/day. This by the way is about 38-75 percent above the current RDA range. There is good evidence that the current recommended protein intake may actually limit muscle growth. This was seen in a study published in the Journal Applied Physiology. Some researcher’s report an optimal intake more in line with a protein range of 1.5 to 1.8 grams/kg/day which is 88 to 125 percent above the suggested RDA. The best way to make this happen is by ingesting 25-30 grams/protein with each meal and of course supplement with a post recovery protein drink.

Optimal Recovery (Sleep)

You can have the two other two boxes checked but if adequate sleep is not happening, muscle growth will not occur. For those individuals training extremely hard, periodic naps may also be needed. As training intensity increases, more recovery and sleep is needed. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), we need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Are you getting that? When this happens on a regular basis for you, you can check that third box. Here are their guidelines for recommended amounts of sleep by the NSF.

  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour, compared to younger children, to 8-10 hours.
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category).
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours.
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category).

Key Take Aways

Increasing strength and building muscle can often seem like a full-time job. You will need all the help you can get to make this happen, especially on the fronts discussed here. By checking all three boxes (training/nutrition/sleep), your odds of finally adding lean muscle will improve greatly. Be well and stay Strong!

Use Jefit to Record & Track 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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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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Two Popular 5×5 Split Strength Routines From Jefit

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The benefits of strength training performed on a weekly basis are well documented in the scientific literature, magazines and on the web. There are many digital health & fitness companies who have apps that enable you to build strength training programs. With so much information coming your way, it can be difficult to choose the best plan that fits your needs. In this case, when talking about results, we’re referring to gains in both strength and muscle development.

15 Benefits of Strength Training

  • Increases muscular strength
  • Builds lean muscle mass
  • Improves a muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose (blood sugar).
  • Weight management
  • Decreases body fat level (Improves muscle-to-fat ratio)
  • Improves mobility and balance
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis (increases bone density)
  • Will boost your self-confidence and improve your body image
  • Enhanced performance (on all levels)
  • Improves sleep
  • Decreases risk of injury
  • Improves posture
  • May reduce or prevent cognitive decline in older people
  • Prevents or controls chronic conditions such as heart diseasearthritisback paindepression, obesity and pain management
  • Increases lifespan

Take a look at the following 5×5 split routine found on the Jefit app. This particular weight lifting program was designed as a 3-day routine. Keep in mind, there are many other split routines you can find that offer 4-6 days versus 3-days.

Program Design: 5×5 Split Routine (3-Days)

All strength training sessions follow a 5×5 format using only two body parts to keep session times under an hour. The workout time range for the 3-day program was between 36 and 56 minutes. The recovery time between sets is a very important training variable that needs to be manipulated depending on load (sets x reps x weight). Adequate recovery is important in order to push that next heavy set. A key point to remember, using a short rest period of one-minute between sets means the muscle is only about 80% recovered. I used a 2:00 recovery time between most of the sets for this reason. That may have to increase if someone is using very heavy weight for all their exercises.

The routine gets its unique name from “splitting” up specific muscle groups and associating those body segments to different days of the week. The idea behind the design of this routine was to couple a leg day with pulling movements that overload the back on Day 1. The second day includes push movements that target the chest with a pull and push for the arms. On day 3 you have pressing movements that target the shoulders with a few core exercises. This routine is only a snapshot for one-week of training.

The 5×5 program used the following 3-day split format over the course of a week:

Legs & Back (4 exercises) – Day 1

Chest & Arms (4 exercises) – Day 2

Shoulders & Core (5 exercises) – Day 3

Sets and Reps. Scheme

Be realistic when designing any exercise program regarding the number of sets and repetition you use. More is not always better. Different exercises, sets, repetitions and recovery time will effect both short and long-term outcomes. Using a 5×5 setup gives you 25 repetitions per exercise and two movements per body part brings that repetition total to 50. That is more than enough to overload a muscle using a 5-RM. Many programs out there, when looking at sets and repetitions, equate to unrealistic expectations regarding length of workout. Here is a nice article on how to perform a 5-RM bench press test.

There are four important design elements regarding this particular 5×5 split routine. They are: (1) the use of compound movements, (2) large muscle groups, (3) the use of 5-RM on all exercises, and (4) sufficient recovery time. A 5×5 split routine is popular and has been shown to build strength and muscle size over time. Special emphasis should be placed on your 5-RM in this strength training routine. During anytime in the program, if you’re able to surpass five repetitions for any exercise – that’s right – you need to increase the weight. If for example, an exercise on your “core” day (see below) is too light – then hold a weight plate or wear a weighted vest (if available) to challenge yourself more. See the design and layout below.

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Jefit 5×5 Split Full Body Program

In case the first program does not peak your interest, here is a second 5×5 program Split that the Jefit team recently released.

This is considered a classic 5×5 strength training program designed to build muscle and add size. Each day focuses on different muscle groups (see below), you’ll perform three exercises for each body part (other than triceps). **IMPORTANT** Remember to use a heavy enough weight that will enable you to complete no more than five repetitions per set (probably 80-85% of 1-RM). Each workout session should take between 60 and 80 minutes to complete.

Program Design

Chest/Shoulder/Tricep. Involves seven different exercises, 5×5 – Day 1

Legs and Core. Includes seven different exercises, 5×5 – Day 2

Back and Bicep. Complete six exercises, 5×5 – Day 3

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I hope you enjoy the programs. If you have any questions on the above 5×5 Split Routine (3-day), now featured on Jefit app, or any other program for that matter, please reach out to me in the comment section on this blog or our online community via the app. Here is additional reading that you may find interesting on the topic of strength training. Be well and stay strong!

Use the Jefit App to Try More Programs Like These

Try doing what millions of others have already done, use the award-winning Jefit app as their workout log. This in turn, will help 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!

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Back to the Gym: Two New Jefit Strength Programs

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It has been over a year in the making, and all of a sudden there are many more happy people around. The reason is because gyms are open again! Now gym goers can get back to what they love doing, sweating in the gym. Jefit, an award winning strength training planning & tracking app, is trying to do their part. They have developed two new strength training programs to help everyone ease back into the swing of it at the gym, health club or home.

The two new programs the Jefit team recently created are the 3-Day Split Program and Dumbbell Full Body Workout. The first program is an off-shoot from a workout published by Jefit a few years back with a similar name. That particular program is the most viewed and downloaded strength training program in Jefit’s 11-year history.

Take a look at both of these free training programs and download one now. Give it a try to help get back in shape for your mid Summer push. Let us also know what you think of each program. For best results, stick to each strength program for 4-6 week following the prescribed number of training days.

Two of the Many New Jefit Strength Programs

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3-Day Split Program

This is a 3-day split routine. It is considered an intermediate level strength programs.

This program builds off the original 3-day Split Routine published by Jefit a few years ago. That routine, by the way, is the most viewed and downloaded program in Jefit’s 11-year history.

In this new, updated, 3-Day Split Program, you’ll work each major muscle group at least once throughout the week. The idea is to make sure your training volume is high to ensure you sufficiently overload each muscle group.

There is also an optional 4th workout session, in this program, that targets two body parts twice. Keep in mind it’s optional.

The routine is split by specific muscle groups on various days:

Chest & Triceps: Day 1

Back & Biceps: Day 2

Legs & Core: Day 3

Optional Workout: Day 4 (Repeat one from above each week)

You have the option of repeating one workout (listed above) twice during each week that you’re on the program. Jefit recommend following the strength programs for 4-6 weeks.

For example, in the first week, you can repeat chest and triceps again on day 4, in order to target these areas twice. The following week, add in back and biceps a second time. Finally in week 3: work legs and core twice.

Each week, you’ll complete a 10-minute bout of cardio post workout on day 3 (legs and core).

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DB Full Body Workout

This 3-day dumbbell strength plan is for a beginner or intermediate level gym-goer. Each of the three weekly sessions include nine exercises. The average workout time is about 50-minutes. Each day also includes multiple supersets to help you get through each workout session a bit faster.

Use Jefit to Plan & Track All Your Workouts

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.

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10 Tips to Create Your Best Fitness Routine

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Are you tired of always trying to stick to a new fitness routine only to later stop altogether? Perhaps this is because you feel other things get in the way, such as work, family obligations, or maybe you feel you always end up sabotaging yourself and you’re powerless to stop. Below, you’ll find 10 ways to finally stick to a fitness regime that will eventually make a huge difference in your life.

1. Make it Manageable to Start With

Make sure you make your fitness regime easy to begin with. The thing you should be focusing on to start with is not hour long workouts, but just building the habit by working out most days of the week. You can go to the gym, do it outside, or even in your living room – it doesn’t matter. If you just do 5 minutes, do 5 minutes. Do it and stop before it becomes a chore. It doesn’t matter how long it is or what you’re doing really, as long as you’re doing it every day to build that habit.

Building habits is something emphasized in the book ‘Automic Habits’ by James Clear. When you make it easy for yourself, without thinking ‘what’s the point?’, you’ll get used to going and be able to build up from there. 

2. Make Sure You Enjoy What You’re Doing 

Don’t do something just because you think you should be doing it – do it because you actually enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Zumba, strength training, or something different. Whatever you do, make sure you like it so much that you want to keep going. Your enjoyment is paramount and one of the only things that will ensure your adherence. If you’re the kind of person who says ‘I don’t like working out at all, no matter the kind of exercise’ then you probably haven’t tried enough. Try different classes and styles of workout to see what you like best. 

3. Track Your Progress 

Tracking your progress, with the Jefit app, is a really motivating way to see how far you’ve come. This doesn’t mean just looking at aesthetics to track progress. Looking good is just one benefit of a well-designed fitness routine and working out more. You have likely gotten stronger, faster, and healthier too. How can you measure this? Take pictures and measurements then download them into your profile on Jefit. Other motivating ways to keep you on track, test your 1-RM (one repetition maximum), see how fast you can run a mile, test how fast you can row 500 meters, see how heavy you can go on a squat. Pay attention to how you feel day by day. It certainly isn’t all about the way you look! 

4. Don’t Aim For Perfection

Aiming for perfection is futile. Perfection does not exist, and nobody can be expected to be perfect. You’re only human, so you will likely have a day off. You’ll likely eat a piece of cake. That’s fine, and even necessary. Balance is key when building a new regime. Being too strict is not healthy, and it’s the reason many people don’t stick to a routine in the long run.

5. Be Realistic About What You Can Do

Don’t tell yourself you must get six workouts in a week if you have kids and a full-time job. That probably won’t happen, at least initially. Some weeks you may be able to do it, and others you may only fit in three workouts. Being flexible and refusing to beat yourself up is key. 

6. Set Effective Goals 

You won’t meet your goals if they aren’t set properly. For example, a goal to ‘lose 10 pounds’ is not exactly something you can control. You can’t control how fast your body loses weight. Plus, weight is not always an accurate measurement of health. Two people of the same weight may look entirely different. Somebody else may workout for a year and completely recomposition their body, looking a totally different shape, but staying the same weight. Focusing on weight isn’t a great idea. Similarly, a goal to ‘get fitter’ is vague and you can’t really measure it. Better goals in a fitness routine could be:

  • Consistently workout 3 times a week or more
  • Do 8 pull ups 
  • Deadlift your own bodyweight 

The above goals and similar goals are better because you can control and measure them. You can easily say whether you have completed them or not, and you have far more control over whether you achieve them. 

7. Don’t Deprive Yourself

If you want some cake, eat some cake. If your friends are going out for lunch and you really want to go, then go. As this article has mentioned numerous times, it’s all about balance. When you feel deprived, you’re going to crave the thing you’re depriving yourself of even more. This can easily create eating disorders, but at the very least it’ll create a yo-yo dieter who never quite gets to where they want to be. 

8. Make Sure You Take Breaks 

You can’t workout intensely every single day. It’s not good for your body. The body needs a break, and stress and sleep are two crucial factors in your journey. Make sure you take at least one full day off a week. On days you feel too tired, try a less intense workout, work on your mobility or go for a walk. Listening to your body is so important. Getting 8 hours a night consistently and minimizing stress factors will also help maximize your fitness routine.

9. Act and Think Like the Person You Want to Be

Acting and thinking like the person you want to be can help you to make changes more effortlessly. Visualize the best version of you. How do they walk and talk? Where do they hang out and who with? How do they think? Start mimicking this as often as you can. 

10. Find the Right Balance For You

Get rid of that all or nothing mindset – this is about finding a balance that’s right for you. If you eat a burger, you haven’t failed. Not going to the gym because you ate a burger, or eating a multi pack of chocolate bars because you had a few squares just doesn’t make sense. There’s no need to sabotage yourself just because you’re not a robot. 

Use the Jefit App to Track Exercise in Your Fitness Routine

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.

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4 Reasons You Have Low Energy at the Gym

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Despite what sport or workout you do, recovery is crucial. Without taking the time to rest and recover, you risk overtraining and making yourself more prone to low energy and injury. You’ll also feel not as great as if you’ve had the proper rest that you need. So how do recovery methods differ for each workout? Find out here.

Different Recovery Methods to Avoid Low Energy

How to Recover from Cardio

Hydration is key to help avoid low energy. You sweat a lot from moderate to intense cardio so make sure that you replace lost fluid. If you weren’t drinking water throughout your workout either, drink even more.

If you’ve only done moderate level cardio, then It’s best to stay away from sports drinks that are marketed towards athletes. These drinks contain high levels of added sugar that aren’t needed for moderate workouts.

You can drink these sports drinks and other liquids with electrolytes after longer cardio sessions.

How to Recover from HIIT

HIIT, or High Intense Interval Training, consists of short bursts of extreme exercise followed by rest break. This definitely gets your heart ramping up a lot quicker than LISS or moderate exercise. You’ll also be burning calories after your workout thanks to a process called post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC refers to the amount of oxygen it takes to restore your body to its normal state. HIIT boosts this process.

As well as drinking fluids and making sure that you’re hydrated, make sure you eat a meal rich in carbs and protein (3:1 ratio is ideal). This way, you are feeding your body the fuel it needs by letting your muscles grow and restore glycogen stores.

HIIT is very taxing on the body so it is best to give yourself one full day in between to recover. Doing it every day or even multiple times a day can really increase your risk of overtraining. Do yourself a favor, and take a break in order to avoid bouts of low energy from too much intense exercise.

How to Recover from Running

After a run, you would have sweat quite a bit. So, surprise, surprise, you will need to restore your fluids. Water and/or electrolytes is your number one priority. Believe it or not, chocolate milk is one of the best post-running drink/snack that you can have. It embodies the 3:1 carb to protein ratio that you need, and of course, it’s delicious.

Have a well-balanced snack or meal as well.

Just remember to incorporate rest days into your schedule. Running puts a lot of stress and pressure on your joints, so it’s crucial to give them a break. At least one rest day a week is ideal, and maybe even two.

If you find it difficult to take a break, it doesn’t mean that you have to be sedentary the entire day. Go for a walk, or do some low-impact activities. Swimming is a great one because it takes the stress off your joints, while still allowing you to get some exercise in.

How to Recover from Strength Training

As strength training focuses primarily on building your muscles, you’ll need to make sure you consume protein and a good amount of carbs after a workout. You would have depleted your muscle stores so it’s important to refuel. This will aid in recovery, help avoid low energy, as well as promote muscle growth.

You’ll also need to ensure that you drink water and have a good, filling meal. Stick to the 3:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio to maximize recovery. You have probably heard the perfect recovery drink with this exact ratio is chocolate milk.

The recovery times and rest days in between strength training greatly depends on your workout schedule. If you split your days between muscle groups, such as back, shoulders, legs, etc, then you can get away with training 5-6 days with one rest day in the week.

If you train the same muscle group in a row, give yourself at least a days rest in between to recover.

Just Listen to Your Body

While the general rule of thumb is to give the same muscle group a rest day, minimum, in between workouts. Otherwise, you risk overtraining. And at the end of the day, just listen to your body. If you’re feeling the effects of training that transcends beyond normal DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), then take a break. You won’t ruin your progress by taking a couple of days off, in fact, you’ll probably help it. Use a foam roller post workout to help recover faster and help with DOMS.

Make sure that you always warm up before your workout and stretch afterwards. It’ll facilitate the muscle recovery process and help to speed it up. It might be a good idea to foam roll as well. This will lessen the recovery times for each activtity.

Workout with Jefit

Track your training, record your progress, and customize your workout plan with Jefit. Jefit is a workout log app that provides you with all the tools you need to hit your fitness goals. We even have a members-only Facebook group where you can connect with like-minded people and share fitness and nutrition tips and advice.

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5 Strength Training Disciplines That Will Build Muscle

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The words “strength training” have been thrown around the fitness industry for many decades now. It has been gaining a lot of traction, especially among females. There are different types of strength training disciplines that you can focus on and follow with your Jefit strength training tracker, depending on your fitness goals.

5 Strength Training Disciplines that Build Muscle

1. Bodyweight

Bodyweight refers to training that uses only your bodyweight exercises. There is no need for extra weights or machines. This is why bodyweight training is often overlooked by people when it comes to building strength and muscle. However, you only have to look at the world’s top gymnasts to know that this is a big mistake. Gymnasts, who are big on bodyweight exercises, are some of the strongest athletes in the world.

Pros

Workout anywhere: If you can’t make it to the gym, you can easily have an effective workout at home or when traveling. Just do bodyweight exercises!

Great for beginners: For those who want to ease into strength training, using your bodyweight is a great way to start. It can really make a difference in building your strength and confidence. After you get started with bodyweight exercises, you can move onto other strength disciplines such as gym weightlifting or powerlifting. Bodyweight exercises are also ideal for Tabata and circuit-type workouts because of the easy transition between exercises.

Cons

Hard to see your progress: With other training disciplines such as powerlifting, you can easily observe your improvements. This is when you are able to lift or squat a heavier load than your previous PR.

With bodyweight exercises, you don’t have the weights to tell you how far you have come. A great way to solve this is by using a strength training tracker to note and log your workouts so you can track your progress.

2. Gym Weightlifting

This is the most common type of strength training. It refers to the use of weight machines and free weights, such as dumbbells, as the primary method to build muscle.

Pros

Not as intimidating: This is great, especially for beginner gym goers, as dumbbells are easy and simple to use. Even machines have easy-to-follow instructions labelled on them. They’ll also have images that highlight the parts of the body in use so you know where you are supposed to be feeling the burn.

Versatile: You will have plenty of options with gym weightlifting. There are machines that have multiple uses in one so you can train more than one part of the body. Dumbbells can also be used in different ways. For example, you can use dumbbells for bicep curls and then an overhead press. You can mix and match exercises depending on what your fitness goals are, which means you will not be limited.

Good for beginners and seasoned gym goers:  Gym weightlifting is perfect for everyone. The equipment comes in a range of weights so whether you need 1kg or 40kg and more, you can find them. The same goes for the machines. You can adjust the load according to your personal preference.

Cons

Long wait: As gym weightlifting is so popular, during peak times, you may find that you have to wait to use the equipment. A way to get around this is by alternating turns with someone. For example, during your buddy’s rest time, you can complete your set and vice versa. Don’t forget to record your set with your strength training tracker so that you can keep a record of your progress.

3. Powerlifting

Powerlifting focuses on brute strength and consists of three primary movements:

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

The aim of powerlifting is to hit your maximum strength for one repetition for each of these exercises.

Pros

Builds strength: Powerlifting is one of the best ways to build up your strength as it is the main goal of powerlifters. Unlike other disciplines such as bodybuilding, powerlifting targets your strength ability as opposed to concentrating solely on aesthetics.

With powerlifting, you really will progress towards your strength and muscle goals, particularly in the legs, back and upper body. To help record your progress though, make sure you use a strength training tracker to log your workouts so you can see just how well powerlifting has improved your training.

Good technique: One of the most important aspects of fitness is making sure that you have the correct technique. If you don’t, you dramatically increase the risk of injury which is very dangerous.

Powerlifting has a big focus on technique. With only 3 primary movements, people can spend more time learning the right forms and techniques without rushing.

Cons

Narrow focus: Powerlifters can potentially disregarding other important exercises to only focus on the big 3, or only view them as “accessory” training.

Unless you are a competitive powerlifter, it is good to incorporate other movements into your training program as well so you can get a well-rounded workout.

No cardio: With an emphasis on absolute strength, powerlifters tend to neglect other aspects of fitness such as cardio. It is good to include some exercises that elevate your heart rate so that you can get in shape and stay in shape.

4. Olympic Lifting

In comparison, Olympic lifting, also known as weight lifting, has two main movements: the clean and jerk, and snatch. These moves are explosive, meaning that there isn’t just a focus on strength but also velocity. The aim is to move the bar as quickly as possible in these overhead vertical movements. To do so requires more than strength; flexibility, agility and mobility play a big part in weightlifting as well.

Pros

Uses all the muscles in the body: If you want to work out all your muscles at once, then Olympic weightlifting is the way to go. This is particularly helpful for those who want a more time-efficient way of training and have limited time at the gym. You’ll still get optimal results.

Works on speed: As I mentioned before, weightlifting is more than just a measurement of strength but speed as well. Weightlifters simultaneously perform high-velocity movements with heavy loads so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Fun: Olympic lifting is also fun. Due to the movement’s dynamic and ballistic nature, it isn’t as easy or simple as bicep curls or other typical workouts.

Cons

High injury risk: While all workouts do have an injury risk, Olympic weightlifting has the worst reputation for being more prone to injury. To minimize these chances, it is important that you learn the correct form and technique to be able to properly and safely execute these moves. Bear in mind the slow and steady is the key in progressing your strength training. Do not rush and load up on heavy weights as this is actually detrimental to your performance and health.

Keep in mind, slow and steady is the key in progressing your strength training. Do not rush and load up on heavy weights as this is actually detrimental to your performance and health. A common progression in terms of load is a 5 percent increase in upper and 10 increase in lower body exercises.

Use a strength training tracker to follow your progress so you can steadily improve while still being safe and smart about it.

5. Strongman

Strongman focuses on strength endurance as opposed to just brute strength. It consists of functional strength movements such as moving heavy weights over long distances. It takes us back to our primal instincts and movements such as pushing, pulling, walking, lifting, carrying, and bending with heavy loads.

Pros

Functional strength: One of the biggest benefits of strongman training is that you can use the strength you have built in the real world. As it replicates primal, human movements, you are able to use the skills that you develop with strongman training in your everyday life.

Variety of exercises: It is easy to never get bored with Strongman as there is a wide range of movements to try.

Cons

Hard to find equipment: It can be difficult trying to find a gym that caters to this discipline. Strongman uses equipment such as large (really large) tires and yoke for motion-based exercises. You will have to find a specialized gym.

High risk of injury: Because you are not only lifting heavy loads but carrying and moving them around, there is a high risk of injury involved. You need to really be careful with these motion-based workouts. Make sure that while you push yourself, you are still smart about it.

As you can see, there are many types of strength training that you can try. While each has their own advantages and disadvantages, find the one (or even two) that you enjoy the most and is more suited for your fitness goals. And remember, to really know whether it is working for you, make sure you use a strength training tracker that will help to log your progress and results.

Jefit is a gym workout app that also functions as a strength training tracker. You can easily maximize your training by using the workout log to track your strength training, share your progress and results with others, and be part of a supportive community.

Which strength training discipline do you enjoy the most or want to try? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!

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Exercise Training Tips for Beginners

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By now, you should already have a mindset for success and your fitness goals in mind—what you want to achieve and why. Now, it is time to implement a plan that will get you closer to these ambitions. This article will give you training tips, the different types of exercises you can do, and the benefits of each.

Why you should exercise

Alongside a nutritious diet, exercise is critical to being fit and healthy. Strictly speaking, if your goal is to lose weight, you can do this without spending hours in the gym. But not everyone’s goal is to lose weight, and it also means you will be missing out on multiple health benefits from exercising.

Most importantly, exercising contributes to your health. It can prevent a range of health problems, as well as help to manage some of them as well. This includes arthritis, high blood pressure, and heart disease, just to name a few.

And it isn’t only your physical health that will benefit but your mental health. Exercise assists in relieving stress and anxiety, improves your mood with the release of endorphins, and can help boost your confidence.

The difference between body fat and muscle mass

Most of the time, when people want to “lose weight”, they really mean that they want to lose fat but maintain muscle. Exercise can really assist with shaping your body composition so you have less fat and more muscle.

Does this really make a difference in how you look? The answer is yes.

A person who weighs 150 pounds with a high body fat percentage and lower muscle mass will look different to another person who also weighs 150 pounds but with a lower body fat percentage. The latter will look more toned and shapely.

So exercise is vital in working on that body composition.

Training Tips: Cardio vs. Weights

There are a plethora of workouts you can choose from, and the main two categories that are most talked about are cardio and weights.

Cardio?

Cardio refers to any exercise that elevates your heart rate for a period of time. It assists in improving your cardiovascular health and overall endurance.

Some examples of cardio include:

  • Running
  • HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)
  • LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State cardio)
  • Treadmill
  • Elliptical machine
  • Spin (Peloton-type workouts)
  • Rowing (erg)

The American Heart Association recommends, for the average person, cardio training at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. So make sure that you do some cardio to get that heart rate up.

Strength Training

To build muscle and become stronger, you need to strength train. Strength training comes with an array of benefits. It:

  • Builds overall muscle and strength
  • Boosts metabolism – Compared to cardio, strength training has a higher level of excess post-oxygen consumption. This means that your body needs to do more work to return itself to its normal, original state, aka the state prior to your workout. So you will be working more, even after your training! Not to mention, it takes more calories to maintain muscle than it does to maintain fat. So the more your strength train and the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn.
  • Increases bone density – This is especially great for older people and pregnant women, who may experience a decrease in bone density. Weight training will help counteract that.

Not only that, but it also helps heart health, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and improves your mood!

Should I do cardio or strength train?

One of our training tips is to try your best to do a mixture of both to get a well-rounded workout regime. You’ll be surprised by how helpful cross training can be. For example, runners may focus a lot on cardio but weight training can actually help them with their sport. Working on their muscles, particularly leg day, can assist in improving their speed, power, and endurance!

It also does depend on your fitness goals, so work accordingly. For example, if you want to get really strong, then you may have more strength training days than cardio and vice versa.

Can women lift weights?

The question isn’t really whether women can lift weights, but more, should they lift weights? In which the answers to these questions is yes, yes yes.

Ladies, adding strength training to your exercise regime is a great way to lose weight, maintain and build muscle and become stronger. And if you are afraid of getting too bulky, this will not happen. You will not get bulky by lifting weights in the gym. You will get lean and stronger.

Focus on compound movements

Try to make compound movements your main exercises for your training—isolation exercises can be used as accessory work. Compound movements are exercises that use 2 or more joints as opposed to isolation which uses just the one.

Beginners will greatly benefit from compound movements as it stimulates overall muscle growth rather than focusing only on one group. You can also work out more muscles in less time.

Examples of compound movements include the squat, deadlift, bench press, pull-ups, Olympic lifting (clean & jerk, snatch).

So how heavy should you lift?

Here are some training tips for you. It is good to go heavy with fewer reps. However, this doesn’t mean you should shun high volume work. High volume training can also help condition your body to lift heavier without fatiguing as early, while also using the correct form (very important!).

Training Tips: Stretching

Warming up and cooling down is vital regardless of whether you are doing cardio and strength training. However, stick to dynamic stretching before your session and leave the static stretching to afterwards.

Foam rolling is also a great way to help with recovery and loosen any tight muscles.

Build a routine

Don’t overthink it—go with what is best for your lifestyle. Some people advocate for morning workouts, whereas others only have time at night. The best routine is the one that you can stick to. Consistency is key in making progress so be realistic at the start of your journey. If you can only go 3 times a week, then do that. As you become more confident, then try to make time for 4 days a week.

Track your workouts

The best way to make sure that you are on track to your fitness goals is to track your progress. Use a notebook or a workout log app like Jefit to record your training.

Tracking your workouts will make it easier for you to see what you did the week before and what you need to do to improve on it. It’s also a really great motivational tool. You look back on your training and see just how far you have come.

Hopefully, these training tips will help you get started on your health and fitness journey. 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!

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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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Did You Know Exercise Offers These 12 Health Benefits?

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Some pass judgement on their diet and exercise plan by what the bathroom scale reads. But that should not be the case. With regular exercise, we improve many aspects of our health and fitness. Sometimes the benefits are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of exercise that you receive from lifelong exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise (Strength & Cardio)

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Health Benefits of Strength Training

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. This in turn can rev up a sluggish metabolism and improve functional ability. All by performing strength training at least two to three times a week for the rest of your life.
  • Strength training slows or prevents sarcopenia – which literally means the “loss of flesh.” We all lose muscle mass as we age – and you can begin to lose muscle around 30 years old. You can also expect to lose muscle at a rate of 10 percent each decade starting at age 50.
  • It plays a role in disease prevention – like preventing or managing type 2 diabetes, as an example.
  • Helps improve the way you move your body resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • An additional health benefit of exercise is – it spares the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1 percent of their bone mass after age 35 and this can increase following menopause.
  • According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 8 pounds of muscle every ten years, with a by-product being a reduction in metabolism of about 50 calories a day.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Regular aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD.
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping, etc. will “load” your bones and in turn make them stronger.
  • Regular aerobic-type exercise improves heart function, lowers your resting heart rate, and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • Speaking of a lower heart rate, here is a health benefit of exercise many people don’t realize. Decreasing your resting heart rate a small amount can he beneficial. Lowering heart rate from 70 to 60 beats per minute, the heart beats 14,400 less times over the course of a day. by the end of a year, that equates to more than five million less beats!
  • The American College of Sports Medicine reports that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in disease risk.

Build Strength with 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.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

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Do This Quick Warm-up Before Strength Training

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There is not a person on this planet who does not want to improve their training output in the gym. Many people typically do just a few quick stretches or repetitions of the upcoming exercise and that’s it. A specific warm-up preceding strength training – geared towards individual needs – improves how your body feels and moves in a workout. Period. This so-called warm-up box should always be checked prior to any strength training session. If you want to get more out of the workout that is.

The key is to first find what works for your body. Some gym-goers require an easy dynamic warm-up to break a sweat, while another responds to targeted mobility work. This in turn, opens up tight, restricted muscle and connective tissue. Sometimes a few warm-up sets prior to lifting just doesn’t do the trick. The following sequence is great to do before any strength or cardio workout. It is specifically targeted to prepare the thoracic spine, commonly referred to as the T-spine, for the upcoming workout.

The majority of Americans, both young and old, spend hours each day sitting. As a result, muscles shorten and connective tissue (fascia) becomes restrictive. A quick mobility series like this one will increase blood flow to these areas and as a result you’ll feel, move and lift better in the workout.

Try This Warm-up Before Strength Training

Take a pair of tennis balls and either tape them together with electrical tape or place them in a sock and tie off the end. There is also a product you can purchase called a peanut that will also work nicely. The idea is to place the tennis balls in contact with your back. Each of the tennis balls end up on the left and right sides of your erector spinae muscles away from your spine. Then lie down on it. Begin at the first thoracic vertebrae below the seventh cervical, where when you flex your neck you can feel the “bump” and slowly move (“roll”) down towards your lumbar spine. Spend about 30-45 seconds manipulating the tennis balls into the muscle before moving down 1-2 inches. There are twelve thoracic vertebrae so you will need to reposition your body that many times. View the the following Instagram clip to see how to correctly position your body and perform the exercise.

Easy 3-Step Thoracic Mobility Series

After you spend a few minutes having fun with your tennis balls, try these three mobility movements. The idea is to “insert here” the specific mobility drill your body may need. I’m showing you just one area (thoracic spine), it may be a different area altogether, like the hips, shoulder – whatever. Check out the following Instagram clip on how to perform each movement in this 3-step mobility series. Below are pictures (start/finish) of each of the three movements that make up this mobility series.

Kneeling Thoracic Rotation (start/finish)

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Start

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Finish (end point)

Side-Lying Thoracic Rotation

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Supine Thoracic Rotation (Windmill)

Note: The finish (end point) should be (eventually) with the lower leg making contact with the foam roller (looks like somebody is tight in that photo). You can also use a yoga block, small medicine ball or whatever else is of similar height to support the leg. Finally, you can also perform this particular movement on your side with the hips and knees kept at right angles without the aid of any props. The arms are positioned the same way and the movement occurs in the same manner as pictured.

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Mobility Warm-up Before Strength Training (Prescription)

Week 1-2: Perform 4-6 repetitions x 1 (3x/week)

Week 3-4: Perform 8-15 repetitions x 2 (4x/week)

Just a week of incorporating these movements into your warm-up or post workout will lead to a big pay off. You will notice your body feels and moves much better, even after the first session. Enjoy the additional freedom of movement you’re going to get if you make this a regular occurrence.

Jefit was recently named one of the best fitness apps by eftm.com and PC Magazine for 2021. Jefit is a workout app for gym and home. It helps you plan and stick to your workouts on a regular basis. While there are already over 3800 complete training routines available, it also comes with a customizable gym workout planner. This way you can personalize your own regime that works with your specific fitness goals. Stay strong!

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