The Benefits Of Multi-Joint Exercises

Many people are following exercise routines set out in magazines, told to them by friends or written for them by the fitness instructor at their local gym. But how many of them are getting the results they want?

Many gym routines nowadays focus on bicep curls, chest presses, sit-ups and so on…. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for these exercises, they can be very useful when used at the right time and when necessary.

However, they will not give 90% of people the results they want/need. These single-joint, muscle isolation exercises are adding to dysfunction and could be the cause of many of today’s exercisers’ aches and pains.

You see, in nature, we rarely if ever use one muscle on its own. I honestly couldn’t think of any situation where you might need to perform a bicep curl without some degree of shoulder flexion or rotation. The bicep will never work on its own. There will always be activation of surrounding muscles, and 99% of the time, core muscles too.

Now I’m just using biceps as an example here, there isn’t a muscle in your body that’s any different. All muscles will always work with other muscles to create the movements we use day in, day out.

So in order for workout to be representative of the movements we use on a regular basis, we need to stop isolating muscles and start working movements. This means using large movements that take as many joints as possible through their available range of motion.

A multi-joint exercise is one that uses movement across two or more joints. Going back to our bicep curl that would mean using the elbow and the shoulder.

These multi-joint exercises not only better imitate our natural movements but also work more muscles in the process.

All of the muscles and joints in your body are linked, so movement in one area will in some way affect the rest of your body. This is called the Kinetic Chain.

As with any chain, it is only as strong as it’s weakest link, so by isolating one muscle you are making one link stronger than the rest of the chain. This will cause an imbalance, and therefore dysfunction (which could present itself as pain).

In order to create optimal function you need to ensure that all the links are as strong (relatively) as each other. This will mean your body is in balance and functioning at its best.

These multi-joint or compound movements will not only carry over more readily into everyday movements, but will also save you lots of valuable gym time by working many muscles at the same time as oppose to concentrating on single joint, single muscle exercises which are very time consuming and usually call for gym routines to be split to training a particular muscle group one day, and another the next and so on. Doing this means you can get all of your muscles worked in one gym session, and therefore each muscle group will be worked more than just once a week as with a split routine.

These compound exercises are also proven to produce more strength gains than isolation exercises. So if you want to bulk up, these are the movements you should be training! That’s not to say that those of you who don’t want to get big or simply want to burn fat shouldn’t be doing these exercises though.

As it is muscle that burns energy (calories), it makes sense that the more muscles you are working, the more calories you are burning. So for fat loss and definition, these are also the exercises for you!

Two of the best multi-joint exercises are the squat and the deadlift. These are great for improving overall strength and work nearly every muscle in the body. However you can’t do just these exercises every time you train or you may get a little bored. So try adding some other movements such as press-ups, dips, lunges, chins (pull-ups), and make use of the many new training tools we have available to us nowadays such as medicine balls, cable machines, resistance bands etc. These all make it even easier to add some rotational exercises into the mix, which are also very important, every day movements that will incorporate many joints and muscles groups.

In review, multi joint exercises provide more muscular stimulation than their single-joint alternative which means shorter, more efficient workouts, greater strength gains, and more calories burned per workout.

So whether you’re looking to build strength, lose weight, gain definition or just improve overall function and fitness, try a multi-joint exercise routine for a few weeks. When done properly you’ll notice the benefits within a few weeks, particularly if you play sports.

Good luck,

Mark Broadbent

Dip. PT, Dip. IIST, KCA

Source by Mark Broadbent

How Blue Light From Your Phone May Be Hurting Your Eyes (and What to Do About It)

Your alarm goes off in the morning: You roll over, and check your email and social feeds on your phone. Then you head off to work, where you’ll stare at a computer for the next eight hours. Later that night, you sink into the couch and chill with a few episodes of your latest Netflix obsession. How do your eyes feel?

Many of us spend a good chunk of the day glued to a screen. Last year, a Nielsen Company audience report revealed that the average adult in the United States spends 8 hours and 47 minutes a day on a device.  Which begs the question: How is all that screen time affecting our eye health and more?

The answer isn’t so clear. Some doctors worry that exposure to blue light from electronic devices may have a negative impact on our eyes. “Blue light is concerning because the cornea and the lens don’t filter it out, so it goes right to the back of the eye,” says Anam Qureshi, MD, clinical assistant professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone in New York City. She says some experts think it might damage the retina and lead to conditions like macular degeneration—though there isn’t any research to back up those concerns.

Dallas-based optometrist Janelle Routhier, OD, has found that, for her patients, staring at a screen for long periods of time can lead to digital eyestrain—also known as computer vision syndrome. Symptoms may include blurry vision; trouble focusing on one thing; red, tired eyes; dry eyes; and headaches, she says.

Think of it this way: “If you’re in a squat position and you’re holding it for a really long time, your legs are going to get really tired and you’re eventually not going to be able to hold that position anymore,” says Dr. Routhier. The same thing happens to your eyes. In order to focus on an object, your eye muscles need to “constantly be pulled together,” she says. And after a while, those muscles get fatigued.

What’s more, a number of studies have shown that the blue light suppresses melatonin—a hormone that helps the body maintain healthy circadian rhythms. That can make it harder to fall asleep, and lack of sleep can have long-term health consequences, says Dr. Qureshi.

While more research is needed to assess the side effects of our tech habits, there are a few simple strategies you can use to play it safe and protect your eyes from your screens. Below, eye docs share their best tips.

Give your eyes a break

“If you’re going to be concentrating on a screen for a long time, try the 20/20/20 rule,” says Dr. Routhier. “The goal is to take a break every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds, and look at something that’s at least 20 feet away.” You might look out a window, for example, or across your office. To create this habit, set a reminder on your phone to take these regular breaks.

Also: It sounds silly, but try to remember to blink.  “When you concentrate, you decrease your blink rate, which can cause all the tears to evaporate from the surface of your eye and cause blurry vision, eye irritation, redness, and pain,” says Dr. Qureshi.

Download a light-reducing app

There are a number of apps that reduce the blue light on your devices, such as f.lux. You can also use the “Nightshift” mode on your iPhone.

But the best way to keep your gadgets from interfering with your Zs is to turn them off an hour before your bedtime. Instead, opt for a less-stimulating pre-slumber activity, like reading a book or listening to some calming music.

Get smart about your lenses

BluBlocker Sunglasses that filter out blue light (and come in a not-so-stylish bright orange hue) have been around for years—but there’s probably no way you’d be caught rocking them at the office. Luckily, there’s now another option that does the same job without making you look like a member of a ’90s band. Dr. Routhier recommends Transitions Adaptive lenses for your eyeglasses. These lenses filter out blue light both from your screen and the sun. (Full disclosure: Dr. Routhier is a Senior Director of Customer Development at Essilor, which develops these lenses.)

The right specs can also help with digital eye strain, says Dr. Qureshi. “As you get older, you may lose the ability to see up close,” she explains. Consider picking up a pair of reading glasses that will help you see your computer screen better (which may be a different strength than the specs you use to read books or magazines). “You really have to tailor the glasses you wear for the distance between you and your device,” Dr. Qureshi says.


Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?

Discover the difference between organic foods and their traditionally grown counterparts when it comes to nutrition, safety and price.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Once found only in health food stores, organic food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets. And that’s created a bit of a dilemma in the produce aisle.

On one hand, you have a conventionally grown apple. On the other, you have one that’s organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. Both provide vitamins and fiber, and both are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. Which should you choose? Get the facts before you shop.

What is organic farming?

The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to meet the following goals:

  • Enhance soil and water quality
  • Reduce pollution
  • Provide safe, healthy livestock habitats
  • Enable natural livestock behavior
  • Promote a self-sustaining cycle of resources on a farm

Materials or practices not permitted in organic farming include:

  • Synthetic fertilizers to add nutrients to the soil
  • Sewage sludge as fertilizer
  • Most synthetic pesticides for pest control
  • Irradiation to preserve food or to eliminate disease or pests
  • Genetic engineering, used to improve disease or pest resistance or to improve crop yields
  • Antibiotics or growth hormones for livestock

Organic crop farming materials or practices may include:

  • Plant waste left on fields (green manure), livestock manure or compost to improve soil quality
  • Plant rotation to preserve soil quality and to interrupt cycles of pests or disease
  • Cover crops that prevent erosion when parcels of land are not in use and to plow into soil for improving soil quality
  • Mulch to control weeds
  • Predatory insects or insect traps to control pests
  • Certain natural pesticides and a few synthetic pesticides approved for organic farming, used rarely and only as a last resort in coordination with a USDA organic certifying agent

Organic farming practices for livestock include:

  • Healthy living conditions and access to the outdoors
  • Pasture feeding for at least 30 percent of livestock’s nutritional needs during grazing season
  • Organic foods for animals
  • Vaccinations

Organic or not? Check the label

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.

Any product labeled as organic on the product description or packaging must be USDA certified. If it is certified, the producer may also use an official USDA Organic seal.

The USDA makes an exception for producers who sell less than $5,000 a year in organic foods. These producers must follow the guidelines for organic food production, but they do not need to go through the certification process. They can label their products as organic, but they may not use the official USDA Organic seal.

The USDA also has guidelines on how organic foods are described on product labels:

  • 100 percent organic. This description is used on certified organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat or other single-ingredient foods. It may also be used on multi-ingredient foods if all of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. These may have a USDA seal.
  • Organic. If a multi-ingredient food is labeled organic, at least 95 percent of the ingredients are certified organic, excluding salt and water. The nonorganic items must be from a USDA list of approved additional ingredients. These also may have a USDA seal.
  • Made with organic. If a multi-ingredient product has at least 70 percent certified organic ingredients, it may have a “made with organic” ingredients label. For example, a breakfast cereal might be labeled “made with organic oats.” The ingredient list must identify what ingredients are organic. These products may not carry a USDA seal.
  • Organic ingredients. If less than 70 percent of a multi-ingredient product is certified organic, it may not be labeled as organic or carry a USDA seal. The ingredient list can indicate which ingredients are organic.

Do ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ mean the same thing?

No, “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. In general, “natural” on a food label means that it has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It does not refer to the methods or materials used to produce the food ingredients.

Other common food labels should also not be confused with organic labels. For example, the guidelines for certified organic beef include — among a number of requirements — access to pasture during a minimum 120-day grazing season and no growth hormones. But the labels “free-range” or “hormone-free,” while they must be used truthfully, do not indicate a farmer followed all guidelines for organic certification.

The Beginner-Friendly Yoga Flow You Should Practice Once a Week

One of the beautiful things about yoga is that it comes in many forms, and you can tailor your practice to fit your needs. Whether that’s holding each pose until your muscles quiver, sinking into relaxing movements that help you sleep, or quickly moving through a flow to get your heart racing, there really is something for everyone. And that includes beginners. Jeanette Jenkins, celeb trainer from The Hollywood Trainer Club, designed this flow particularly for newbies, and each sequence builds on the first one so you can continually deepen your practice. Jenkins isn’t one to forget about your core, either, so you’ll wrap things up with a burnout abs sesh — and enjoy that savasana knowing you’ve earned it. (Want to practice more poses? Try these.)

Total-Body Beginner Yoga Flow

How it works: Roll out your yoga mat where you’ll have plenty of room. Work through each flow, then finish with boat pose and bicycles. Follow the video above to see how each pose should look.

Vinyasa: Plank, Chaturanga, Up Dog, Down Dog

A. Start standing with feet together at the front of your mat. Inhale, raising arms above head, then exhale and swan dive forward to bring hands to the ground.
B. Inhale and lift halfway up with a flat back, then exhale to fold forward and step back into a high plank.
C. Slowly lower torso halfway down into chaturanga. Push into palms to straighten arms and flip onto tops of feet for upward-facing dog.
D. Exhale and push hips back into downward-facing dog, forming un upside down “V” shape.
E. Shift hips forward to high plank to begin the next rep.

Do 4 reps.

Crescent Pose

A. Start in downward-facing dog. Inhale the right foot up into the air and then step forward between hands, knee bent.
B. Inhale to lift chest and raise arms overhead for crescent lunge, balancing on the toes of the back foot. Hold for two breaths.
C. Exhale to place hands on either side of your right foot. Inhale to step back to high plank. Move through a vinyasa flow.

Do 4 reps, alternating sides and performing a vinyasa flow to transition between each crescent pose.

Warrior Sequence

A. From downward-facing dog, lift right foot into the air and step forward in between hands. Swivel left heel down to the ground so toes point out at about 45 degrees.
B. Lift chest up and raise arms overhead with front leg bent into a lunge for Warrior I. Try to keep hips square to the front of the mat.
C. Open chest to the left, extend arms horizontally from shoulders, right arm forward and left arm back for Warrior II.
D. Flip right palm up toward the ceiling, reach forward and then up and back for Reverse Warrior, stretching the front side of the body. Hold for two breaths, then return to Warrior II.
E. Windmill hands to the ground, placing them on either side of right foot. Step left foot back into high plank, then move through a vinyasa flow.

Do 4 reps, alternating sides and performing a vinyasa flow to transition between each side.

Boat Pose

A. Start sitting with feet on the floor.
B. Engage your core and lift feet off the ground, balancing on your tailbone, keeping shins parallel to the ground.
C. Extend arms diagonally towards the front top corner of the room. For a challenge, straighten legs.

Hold for 8 to 10 breaths.


A. Start lying face-up on the floor. Lift legs and shoulder blades off the ground, heads behind head with elbows wide.
B. Twist torso to the right and drive left knee in toward chest to try to touch right elbow to left knee. (Keep right leg straight and lifted.)
C. Switch, extending left leg and driving right knee in, twisting left elbow to right knee.

Do 25 to 100 reps, alternating sides.

© Copyright 2017, Meredith Corporation.

Eating the Right Foods for Exercise

Nutrition is important for fitness


  1. Starting your day with breakfast can help give you the energy and nutrients you need for exercise.
  2. Nutritious workout snacks can help you maintain your energy and nutrient levels.
  3. Choose complex carbohydrates over refined alternatives.

Eating a well-balanced diet can help you get the calories and nutrients you need to fuel your daily activities, including regular exercise. When it comes to eating foods to fuel your exercise performance, it’s not as simple as choosing vegetables over doughnuts. You need to get the right types of food at the right times of the day. Learn about the importance of healthy breakfasts, workout snacks, and meal plans.


Get off to a good start

Your first meal of the day is an important one. According to an article published in Harvard Health Letter, eating breakfast regularly has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Starting your day with a healthy meal can help replenish your blood sugar, which your body needs to power your muscles and brain.

Eating a healthy breakfast is especially important on days when exercise is on your agenda. Skipping breakfast can leave you feeling lightheaded or lethargic while you’re working out. Choosing the right kind of breakfast is crucial. Too many people rely on simple carbohydrates to start their day. But a plain white bagel or doughnut won’t keep you feeling full for long. In comparison, a fiber- and protein-rich breakfast may fend off hunger pangs for longer and provide the energy you need to keep your exercise going. Follow these tips:

  • Instead of eating sugar-laden cereals made from refined grains, try oatmeal, oat bran, or other whole-grain cereals that are high in fiber. Then, throw in some protein, such as milk, yogurt, or chopped nuts.
  • If you’re making pancakes or waffles, replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole-grain options. Then, stir some cottage cheese into the batter.
  • If you prefer toast, choose whole-grain bread. Then pair it with an egg, peanut butter, or another protein source.


Count on the right carbohydrates

Thanks to low-carb fad diets, carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap. But carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This is especially true if you exercise.

Choosing the right kind of carbohydrates is important. Too many people rely on the simple carbs found in sweets and processed foods. Instead, you should focus on eating the complex carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Whole grains have more staying power than refined grains because you digest them more slowly. They can help you feel full for longer and fuel your body throughout the day. They can also help stabilize your blood sugar levels. Finally, these quality grains have the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body running at its best.


Pack protein into your snacks and meals

Protein is needed to help keep your body growing, maintained, and repaired. For example, the University of Rochester Medical Center reports that red blood cells die after about 120 days. Protein is also essential for building and repairing muscles, helping you enjoy the benefits of your workout. It can be a source of energy when carbohydrates are in short supply, but it’s not a major source of fuel during exercise you’re well-fed.

Adults need to eat about 0.8 grams of protein per day for every kilogram of their body weight, reports Harvard Health Blog. That’s equal to about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. Exercisers and older people may need even more. That protein can come from:

  • poultry, such as chicken and turkey
  • red meat, such as beef and lamb
  • fish, such as salmon and tuna
  • dairy, such as milk and yogurt
  • legumes, such as beans and lentils
  • eggs

For the healthiest options, choose lean proteins that are low in saturated and trans fats. Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats that you eat.


Boost your fruit and vegetable intake

Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of natural fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that your body needs to function properly. They’re also low in calories and fat.

Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal, recommends the United States Department of Agriculture. Try to “eat the rainbow” by choosing fruits and veggies of different colors. This will help you enjoy the full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that the produce aisle has to offer. Every time you go to the grocery store, considering choosing a new fruit or vegetable to try. For snacks, keep dried fruits in your workout bag and raw veggies in the fridge.


Choose healthy fats

Unsaturated fats may help reduce inflammation, and they help provide calories. While fat is a primary fuel for aerobic exercise, we have plenty stored in the body to fuel even the longest workouts. However, getting healthy unsaturated fats helps to provide essential fatty acids and calories to keep you moving. Healthy options include:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • avocados
  • olives
  • oils, such as olive oil

    Fuel up before exercise

    When it comes to fueling up before or after a workout, it’s important to achieve the right balance of carbs and protein. Pre-workout snacks that combine carbohydrates with protein can make you feel more energized than junk foods made from simple sugars and lots of fat.

    Consider stocking your workout bag and refrigerator with some of these simple snacks:


    Bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, which are important nutrients to get on a daily basis. Eating a banana can help replenish these minerals while providing natural sugars to fuel your workout. For added protein, enjoy your banana with a serving of peanut butter.

    Berries, grapes, and oranges

    These fruits are all full of vitamins and minerals, as well as water. They’re easy on your intestines, give you a quick boost of energy, and help you stay hydrated. Consider pairing them with a serving of yogurt for protein.


    Nuts are a great source of heart-healthy fats and also provide protein and essential nutrients. They can give you a source of sustained energy for your workout. Pair them with fresh or dried fruit for a healthy dose of carbohydrates. However, test these options to see how they settle. High-fat foods can slow digestion, and they may make food sit in your stomach too long if your workout is coming up quickly.

    Nut butter

    Many grocery stores carry single-serving packets of peanut butter that don’t require refrigeration and can be easily stored in a gym bag. For a tasty protein-carbohydrate combo, you can swipe peanut butter on:

    • an apple
    • a banana
    • whole-grain crackers
    • a slice of whole-grain bread

    If you don’t like peanut butter, try almond butter, soy butter, or other protein-rich alternatives.

    Don’t cut too many calories

    If you’re trying to lose weight or tone your body, you may be tempted to cut a ton of calories from your meals. Cutting calories is a key part of weight loss, but it’s possible to go too far. Weight loss diets should never leave you feeling exhausted or ill. Those are signs that you’re not getting the calories you need for good health and fitness.

    According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a diet containing 1,200 to 1,500 daily calories is suitable for most women who are trying to lose weight safely. A diet with 1,500 to 1,800 daily calories is appropriate for most men who are trying to shed excess pounds. If you’re very active or you don’t want to lose weight while getting fit, you may need to eat more calories. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian to learn how many calories you need to support your lifestyle and fitness goals.


    Balance is key

    As you settle into an active lifestyle, you’ll probably discover which foods give you the most energy and which have negative effects. The key is learning to listen to your body and balancing what feels right with what’s good for you. Follow these tips:

    • Aim to make breakfast a part of your routine.
    • Choose complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources, healthy fats, and a wide variety of fruits and veggies.
    • Stock your fridge and gym bag with healthy workout snacks.

    The right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and other nutrients can help fuel your exercise routine.

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