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    3 Great Shoulder Strengthening Exercises

    Chest. Back. Legs. We all know it's important to keep these major muscle groups healthy and strong, but did you know that your shoulders are just as important?

    Ten years ago my mother found out just how important her shoulders were. She experienced one of the most challenging injuries of her lifetime while at work. My mother tore her rotator's cuff. 

    This injury made it difficult to complete simple things such as: 

    • Reaching for a toothbrush
    • Stretching 
    • Giving hugs 
    • Sleeping 
    • Eating

    With these difficulties, however, some valuable lessons were learned about how the shoulder muscles work and how to strengthen them.

    Here are three great shoulder strengthening exercises my mother learned about that helped her on the road to recovery.

    1. Shoulder Pendulum Exercise

    The shoulder pendulum is a very simple exercise that does not require any equipment. This video does a great job of illustrating how to properly do the pendulum exercise


    2. Overhead Barbell Shrug

    As mom continued her recovery and got stronger this was an exercise she learned about that helped improve mobility and strengthen the shoulder muscles. 

    Eric Cressey does an awesome job of showing how to do barbell overhead shrugs.

    3. Shoulder Press

    While your arms are up performing barbell overhead shrugs, you can easily transition into this work out. 

    8 New Year's Fitness Tips For Beginners

    With the New Year in full swing, it's the perfect time to kick your exercise routine into high gear. These health & fitness tips for beginners will help prevent early stumbling blocks and get you on the path to looking and feeling great!

    1. Warm Up/Stretch

    It might sound simple, but you'd be surprised at how many people don't do it. The benefits of stretching include improving flexibility and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Stretching also is thought to help prevent injuries which would hinder your New Year's fitness goals. 

    2. Hydrate

    It is critically important that you stay hydrated throughout the day and during your work out. Drinking water before, during, and after exercise helps regulate your body temperature and prevent muscle cramps.

    3. Eat

    Whether you are strength training for a competition or simply focusing on better health habits, starving yourself is not the way to reach your fitness goals. Food provides your body with the energy it needs to support your workouts. Be sure you are incorporating well balanced meals into your diet.

    4. Use Technology To Your Advantage

    Having a plan of attack before striking off into the gym will help you stay focused and reduce distractions. One app that can help you track your gym progress as well as your meals is My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal is available to download for free in the Google Play and Apple app stores.

    5. Set Fitness Goals

    No matter what your health and fitness aspirations are, having clearly defined achievable goals will help you stay the course. A goal as simple as walking for 20 minutes a day is a small step you can take toward a healthier lifestyle.

    6. Find Some Gym Buddies

    Having someone to work out with can not only be fun, but it can also add some friendly competition into your day. A good gym buddy will also help you stay focused on your goals.  Ask friends or family to come with you to get fit!

    7. Wear Comfy Clothing

    Too often, people go to the gym to "look good" and forget about being comfortable. Wearing clothes that are too tight or too loose can sometimes inhibit the workouts you choose to do. Sweat it out AND be comfortable while you're exercising.

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    8. Dump The Excuses

    Everyone gets busy or has to work, etc., etc. Things come up. Don't let that stop you from getting out there and being active. Start the New Year off the right way by taking small steps toward being a happier healthier you.

    You can do it!