Some Of The Best Home Exercises To Start Doing

Anyone who likes to workout is always on the lookout for a new exercise to try. The following list includes some of the best home exercises for you to try. There are literally hundreds of exercises you potentially could choose. The following six are just a few of what we consider to be the best home exercises. The only thing needed with this group is your bodyweight or one piece of equipment. In addition, these exercises won’t break the bank and all work as a (low cost) workout option. Use the Jefit app, recently names best fitness app by Men’s Health, PC Magazine and Healthline, when planning and tracking your strength workouts.

Three Great Bodyweight Exercises

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T Push-Up

The T Push-up is an excellent progression to move to when you’ve exhausted other push-up variations. It is basically, a traditional push-up that transitions to an extended arm side plank. This particular variation places more load on the wrist, shoulder and core (obliques) than a regular push-up. As a result, you get much more bang for your buck. The exercise is a perfect choice for any bodyweight workout or circuit where you’re trying to utilize as much muscle as possible. The Jefit app offers this exercise in its database under push-up to side plank.

Box Jump

Any type of jumping is great to add to a workout. It can come in the form of single or double leg hops as part of a dynamic warm-up or more involved like split jumps or box jumps. In regard to box jumps, a 18-20″ plyo box or platform usually works best depending on of course on training experience. Box jumps work every muscle in the lower extremity allowing the hips and legs to train using triple extension. This is where the ankles, knees and hips are slightly flexed before jumping, followed immediately by an explosive extension using the same muscle groups.

Think about any explosive Olympic lift for a moment…that’s right, they all involve triple extension. One of the cool things is this can carry-over to basically every sport-specific movement.

Burpee

A burpee is a full body exercise that requires a great deal of flexibility, mobility and strength to perform. It is also one of the best home exercises to add to any workout. If technique is in question, try doing them initially in “slow motion.” Basically, break the exercise down into segments and see how you manage this before progressing to a faster pace. Keep the core engaged throughout the exercise.

The great thing is, you can eventually progress to adding in movements, like a push-up, as your technique improves. One area that many have trouble with is keeping the body rigid as they jump back into a plank or what some call a push-up position. You need to stick this part. Prevent your low back from “sagging” and your butt should not end up higher than the rest of your body. Keep a straight line through the knee, hip and shoulder. Think about staying as straight and solid as a board. If you need a regression, try a mountain climber first and see how you do with this exercise, which can also be found in the Jefit database. You can make a burpee a customized exercise in the Jefit app.

Three Minimal Equipment Exercises to Try

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Band Exercise(s)

More specifically, we’re talking about small band work used for side stepping, monster walks, back-peddling, etc. You can choose. Everyday life and many of the movements performed in the gym are typically repeated in the same planes of motion. Life and movement, like walking, stair-climbing is done in a linear fashion. When is the last time you performed side stepping on your leg day? This type of movement falls under the often neglected frontal plane. A good weekly workout should incorporate movement targeting all planes of motion.

To begin, place a small rubber band (from either Amazon, Perform Better or Power Systems) around your ankles or above the knees. Maintain a slight bend in the knees, with core engaged and toes pointed straight ahead at all times. Next, perform a side stepping movement for 10-15 yards and return in the opposite direction. This movement is ideal for firing up your hip abductors like glute medius. This area is usually weak or dysfunctional when it comes to most adults. The best way to incorporate these types of movement is to make them part of your dynamic warm-up.

Jumping Rope

This is considered one of the best and most effective exercises you can do at home (or when traveling or at the gym for that matter). A few minutes of jumping rope elevates respiration and heart rate, and strengthens the lower leg while burning maximum calories in minimal time. One study, in The Research Quarterly, found that 10-minutes a day of jumping rope was as efficient as 30-minutes a day of jogging when looking to improve cardiovascular efficiency. Add it to your workout as either part of a warm-up or as a component in a HIIT or circuit program. Build up your duration or number of toe taps over time.

Goblet Squat

Another great, functional movement that requires minimal equipment is a Goblet Squat. Typically performed with a kettlebell, dumbbell or a weight plate. This a great exercise if you have been doing barbell squats for a while. A Goblet Squat requires you to go below parallel. Meaning, if the mobility is there, the knees will be higher than the hips at the end of the movement. You’ll end up looking like a catcher playing baseball. Keep the weight close to your body throughout and elbows pointed down.

The six exercises mentioned here would be a welcome addition to any home exercise routine. Even better, add all six of them when you build your next Jefit interval-based workout. Perform 30-seconds of each exercise to start and build up your duration over time.

Add These Exercises to a Jefit Workout

The award-winning Jefit app 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 with Jefit.

Want a Powerful Bench Press? Try Adding Tricep Extension

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Who isn’t interested in improving their PR for bench press? I know we all are; a new 1-RM can make a day. But on that same note, we also hit plateaus with our beloved bench press. There are, however, certain exercise like dumbbell tricep extension and dips, for example, that have been proven to be beneficial. When you watch someone perform a bench press exercise they usually have no problem pushing the weight off the chest. Where they have more of an issue is performing “complete” arm extension required at the end of each repetition. This is a reminder that the chest may in fact have the necessary strength but the triceps need to be stronger. Enter dumbbell tricep extension.

Muscles Making Up the Tricep(s)

The tricep muscle is comprised of three unique heads that make up the tricep brachii muscle. Individually, we know that the medial head, which sits beneath both lateral and long heads, is made up of slow twitch muscle fibers. This is important because slow twitch fibers respond well to endurance training or a higher number of repetitions. The lateral head, though, is made up of fast twitch fibers and finally, the long head of the triceps is, you guessed it, comprised of both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers.

What EMG Research Can Tell Us

When in doubt about how well an exercise targets a muscle group, look at the research. In this case the research is based off electromyography (EMG) results. We can see what overall percentage of a muscle is activated for specific movement patterns or an exercise such as the dumbbell tricep extension. In the case of dumbbell tricep extension, one research study showed 76 percent peak muscle activation during the exercise. The long head showed more of an increase, 81 percent, while the lateral head decreased to 72 percent. Remember that the EMG device records the electrical activity of the muscle. Basically, the stronger the muscle activity, the higher the action potential, resulting in a stronger EMG signal.

Are There Better Exercises for Tricep Development?

Yes, of course. We are highlighting in this article just one of let’s say the top five exercise. Some of the other great exercises that build tricep strength are: diamond push-ups, kickback exercises and dips (bodyweight and weighted). The dumbbell tricep extension is just another good tool that should be in your tool box.

Tricep Extension Training Options

  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Dumbbell Standing One-Arm Extension
  • Pulley Extension
  • Standing Rope Extension
  • Supine Rope or Dumbbell Extension
  • Tricep Kickback
  • Barbell Skull Crusher
  • One Arm Tricep Kickback (one knee on bench)

Jefit Member Performing Classic DB Tricep Extension

Long-time Jefit Elite member Don Goldstein demonstrates how he performs his DB extension exercise – see here. Don actually goes on to say that, “by doing triceps overhead extensions and weighted bench dips it helps develop the tricep heads from different angles; in addition it helps prepare the triceps for increases in load when going heavy on bench. Basically if you don’t train your triceps, your bench won’t increase as they go hand in hand.”

Get Strong With Jefit

Looking to get back to the gym after taking a long break? Want to connect with like-minded people to keep you motivated? Download Jefit to track your workouts and join our members-only Facebook group. You can record your training, set a schedule, and talk to fellow Jefit members. Basically, everything you need to get back into the swing of things!

What do you do to get back to the gym after taking a long break? What tips work best for you? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know and hear from you too!

Home Exercise: Metabolic Conditioning Series

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It seems like we all could use a fun, effective workout these days with everything going on. Working out with a good home exercise routine needs to be creative as well as effective. The Metabolic Conditioning four-exercise series takes care of that and more. The goals of these demanding, intermediate programs are to improve general fitness, strength and aerobic capacity.

Bill Bryson, author of The Body, offers some amazing research from his latest book on the powerful benefits of what regular exercise can do for us. “Going for regular walks reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by 31%. Those benefits probably also improve when the intensity is increased a bit and strength training is added to the mix?

Research conducted in 2012, looked at the value of being active and showed an increase in life expectancy. Mr. Bryson reported that just 11 minutes of activity a day, for those 40 and older, “yielded 1.8 years of added life expectancy.” When that number increased to 60 minutes of activity a day, the yield improved to 4.2 years. The analysis included 655,000 test subjects who participated in the study.

Home Exercise Program Design

Taking a look inside the design of this program series shows eight individual exercises sessions. Exercise sessions are performed twice weekly. The deeper someone goes into the series, the more challenging the workout experience becomes. The final exercise session features the highest volume of exercise compared to any previous session. There are four bodyweight exercises that start off each session. Subsequent to this, the individual will complete six primary exercises. All bodyweight and exercises using resistance, are performed as compound sets.

Example of a Training Session

The following exercise session is included in the first week of the Metabolic Conditioning series. There are seven more exercise sessions in addition to this one. There are ten total exercises, between warm-up and primary exercises, in the eight sessions. Each one of the workouts is slightly more challenging than the previous session.

Bodyweight Warm-Up

Primary Exercises

The Jefit Elite series first two sessions can be found here and here. The following two sessions can be found here & here and that wraps up the full 8-weeks. Stay Strong!

You Can Get Stronger Doing Bodyweight Home Workouts

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Special times call for more creative home workouts. Even though we are all stuck at home because of CV19, life hasn’t stopped and neither should our workout. With local gyms still closed, the only option is working out in and around the home. The question is, can we keep our bodies strong with body weight home workouts?

Some people are more fortunate and have a home gym or some piece of home exercise equipment. The majority of people however don’t have either. The next best option is bodyweight home workouts. The Jefit app, has been helping on that front, by publishing strength-based and bodyweight home workouts to their 10 million members.

Exercise Progression is Key for Home Bodyweight Workouts

You may see improvements in strength initially with bodyweight only as a resistance. The key to a home bodyweight workout is figuring out how to safely progress your workouts over time. The body typically adapts to a new training routine within a few months depending on several factors. After this point it’s important to add exercise progression into the mix. This is done in one of three ways, either changing the sets, repetitions, or resistance. Generally speaking, the goal is in the 2-5 set range and 5-15 repetition range. This could change depending on the individual goals. The resistance needs to be challenging enough to enable you to reach and stay within those ranges. If someone is able to perform more than 12-15 repetitions, then the load is too light and weight should be increased. If bodyweight is the main resistance than you have to get more creative.

Changing the angle of how an exercise is performed (i.e. progress from kneeling push-up to a push-up to an elevated push-up) will also help. A second option is slow down the speed of each repetition in order to increase the time under tension. A third option would be to add an external weight source, like a weighted vest, chains, medicine ball or sandbag when performing the exercise. Finally, a fourth option is to add an incline (hill) or platform (plyobox) to challenge the body even more when doing specific exercises.

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Some of the Better Bodyweight Exercises

The human body cannot differentiate between various types of resistance. It only knows that a load is being placed on the muscles. Free weights typically work best for building strength because you can increase that resistance as the body adapts and gets stronger over time. It becomes more challenging to do that with a person’s body weight only. But if you are creative, you can in fact build strength with just your body weight. This may be challenging to do over a long-period of time though.

There are many great bodyweight exercises to choose from when putting together your bodyweight home workouts. Exercises that are multi-joint are considered best. These are exercise that engage more than one muscle group to perform the movement. These types of exercises are more beneficial than isolation exercises. Multi-joint exercises are also best for building strength and muscle size. Here are some of the best exercises, in no particular order, to add to your bodyweight home workouts. The majority of the exercises listed below are multi-joint exercises.

Bodyweight Exercises

  1. SQUAT
  2. LUNGE
  3. STEP-UP
  4. PULL-UP
  5. CHIN-UP
  6. PUSH-UP (and variations like T-PUSH-UPS)
  7. INVERTED ROW
  8. DIPS
  9. PLANK
  10. SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIDGE
  11. PISTOL SQUAT
  12. BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
  13. SINGLE-LEG ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

To answer the original question, can you get stronger doing bodyweight home workouts? The answer is yes. Research published in Physiology & Behavior showed that body weight exercise can be beneficial because muscle growth “can occur independent of an external load.” Additional research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology also showed gains in strength with a “no load” exercise protocol. Let us know if you have a favorite exercise that you’ve been using from home, that’s not listed here. Stay Strong!

ADDITIONAL READING

How to Grow Stronger Without Lifting Weights, Scientific American, Clayton Mosher, 2014.

Moving Towards a More Healthy Lifestyle

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No one needs to tell us that we’re currently living in unprecedented times. The health of everyone in this country, and worldwide for that matter, is at the forefront of all our minds. It is more important than ever to attempt to follow a healthy lifestyle. How do you know if you’re living a healthy lifestyle in the first place? Harvard Health reports you’re considered healthy if you can answer “yes” to all the following criteria. (1) healthy diet, (2) healthy body weight, (3) never smoked, (4) consume moderate amounts of alcohol and (5) exercise regularly.

What’s Considered a Healthy Lifestyle?

According to Harvard Health, one important component to this type of lifestyle is a healthy diet. Meaning, an “intake of healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids”. In addition, avoid unhealthy foods like “processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fat, and sodium.” No smoking in a no-brainer. A healthy body weight according to the site, is a body mass index (BMI), between 18.5 and 24.9. But to be honest, this is not the best metric to monitor, instead focus on your percent body fat. On the alcohol side, no more than one drink/day/women and two drinks/day/men. A healthy physical activity level means roughly 30-minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days of the week.

Does Living a Healthy Lifestyle Actually Add Years to Your Life?

The research does in fact demonstrate that living a healthy lifestyle can add years to your life. Individuals who met the criteria for all five habits (listed above) enjoyed living longer lives than those who had none: 14 years for women and 12 years for men to be exact. People who had none of these habits “were far more likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease.” There is also additional research that reports similar findings to this in the Journal of American Medical Association.

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Are you getting a minimum of 30-minutes of moderate or vigorous activity most days of the week?

You probably have the exercise piece down already, especially if you’re using the Jefit app to help record and track your workouts. Here are some additional ways to move towards a healthy lifestyle, in addition to the five criteria mentioned in the research studies above.

10 Ways to Help You Live Better and Longer

Exercise

  • Burn 1,100 Calories a Week. Duke University scientists discovered that this amount of calories expended from exercise prevents the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (fat). This type of belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Are you falling short of this number? Try joining a sports a league. One study reported that people who exercised in groups boosted their average weekly calorie burn by 500 a week.
  • Hit the Weights. University of Michigan scientists found that people who completed three strength workouts/week for two months lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of eight points. That’s enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 40% and heart attack by 15%.
  • Find the Time to Exercise. People who exercise for 2 hours/week are less likely to feel stressed than their sedentary counterparts, say researchers from Denmark.
  • Get on Those Daily Chores. Doing 150 calories’ worth of chores a day can lower blood pressure by 13 points, according to Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The reduction lasts only 8 hours, but make it a daily habit and you can lower your blood pressure in the long term.

Diet & Nutrition

  • Drink Five 8-Ounce Glasses of Water a Day. Those drinking this amount of H2O were 54% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack compared to people who drank two glasses a day.
  • Try a Natural Remedy. Israeli scientists found eating one grapefruit a day lowers cholesterol by 20% even in people who don’t respond to statins.
  • Cut Down on Sweets. Tufts University researchers found low-sugar diets had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who consumed all types of carbohydrates. The happier people also limited their total carbohydrate intake to 40% of their daily total calories.
  • Enjoy Your Joe. Brooklyn College researchers discovered drinking 4 cups of coffee a day lowers your risk of dying of heart disease by 53%.
  • Indulge Your Chocolate Craving. A 15-year study by Dutch scientists found men who ate 4 grams of cocoa/day had half the risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate less. That’s the equivalent of two 25-calorie Hershey Kisses – an amount that can fit into any diet.

Lifestyle

  • Try to Laugh More. A 15-minute funny video improves blood flow to your heart by 50%, reported by the University of Maryland. “This may reduce blood-clot formation, cholesterol deposition, and inflammation,” says study author Michael Miller, MD.

Hopefully this article has offered you a little more insight on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. If so, maybe you feel like you’re more equipped now to live a more healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Continue to focus on improving your mind body & spirit a bit more each day. Be Well and Stay Strong!