Eccentric Exercise Demos Part 2

Watch Smarter Interval Training Demos and How-To Adapt Smarter Exercise to Your Unique Needs

Female: Question is about breathing throughout while doing exercises. Could you explain a little bit more at what point we inhale and exhale when it’s the toughest part versus the easiest part, holding the position, do we hold the breath? Could you talk about breathing?

Jonathan: Absolutely. One — with eccentric exercise, especially when we’re going very slowly, breathing is very important because if you try to hold your breath for a movement that takes upwards of 12 seconds, that’s very unhealthy so don’t try to do that. Do not try to hold your breath during these movements. In fact, what research has shown is eccentrically contracting your muscles, as we talked about, is very, very hard. It’s very, very intense. I know this sounds a little bit silly but what is the most intense physical activity some people will ever experience? Childbirth. Childbirth is the most intense physical activity — men can’t experience it but — that I would imagine a woman could ever experience, at least so I’ve been told and from the videos I’ve seen, looks quite intense.

So when you think about how people breathe during very intense physical movement such as giving birth, that’s actually very similar to the way breathing during eccentric exercise can be done. It’s this sort of rapid-fire belly breaths so it’s a [heavy rapid breaths]. Because if you try to do anything else, like, if you try a traditional — like, in traditional weight training, it is fine to do, according to some people, a holding of the breath and then an exploding out. When a movement takes 3 seconds, you could do that but that’s just a non-starter if a movement takes 12-13 seconds, which is what an eccentric squat would take. So you’re really — I mean, you’re going to look a little bit goofy doing it but you’re going to look really, really good in three months, so don’t worry about it. When you’re doing an eccentric squat, for example, you would literally go — I’m going to do it for 10 seconds — and then you could just breathe regularly on the way up.

Male: Fantastic.

Female: Thank you.

Male: We have another great question that we would love to hear. From [Foiegras and Elby in Atlanta and MI Photo 02:28], lots of people want to know, What does a complete workout session look like? How many of each exercise do you do in a set? How many of these exercises would you do in one session? What does a complete workout look like?

Jonathan: Remember, if you do already have a workout routine that you do, you could stick to that; just make it smarter. However, if you wanted a — like, if you just say, I want to get eccentric. I want to do the eccentric workout routine that you, Jonathan Bailor, are recommending. The general structure of that is going to be one set to complete eccentric failure per muscle group. For example, your legs — what you would do is one set to complete eccentric failure. Generally, I would want you to use resistance that would allow you to reach complete eccentric failure, which means, you can no longer slowly lower yourself. Concentric failure is you can’t lift yourself. Eccentric failure is you can’t even lower yourself. I would want that to take you six approximately 10-second repetitions.

It’s really 60 seconds of what’s called time under tension. The reason this matters is, for example, if you say, I’m good, I’m strong, I’m just going to do a one-legged squat and lower myself down, and you’re like, Okay, I’m going to slowly lower myself down — one, two — okay, that was 2 seconds. That’s fine. I don’t want you doing thirty repetitions to get to 60 seconds. It should take you six repetitions to get to 60 seconds of eccentric time under tension. Let’s say that you are thinking, My legs aren’t that strong so I’m going to do just a regular squat and I’m going to try to just hold myself here. Like, I’m just going to try as hard as I can to not let myself sit down. I’m just going to try to resist. And then you realize it’s like 45 seconds and you’re still here, then you’re not using enough resistance. It should take 10 seconds, despite your best efforts.

Really, a great way to think about eccentric exercise is, you just want to not let the weight push you down. In a squat, for example, you’re just trying as hard as you can to not sit down but, despite your best efforts, your muscle is fatiguing and you are sitting down, despite your best efforts not to. It should take 10 seconds for that to happen and you should do it six times. Then you would do that once per major muscle group so you would do it, for example, six 10-second repetitions for eccentric assisted squats, and then you would do six 10-second eccentric repetitions for pull-downs or let-downs, or for rows, and then for push-ups, and then for a shoulder exercise.

So the general structure is 60 seconds of time under tension to complete eccentric failure per muscle group and I personally — and we get into this a lot more detail in the book — the research I’ve done shows that you’re going to get about ninety-plus percent of the global metabolic benefit from doing legs, back, chest, and shoulders. If you want to do calf-specific exercise, you can. If you want to do forearm-specific exercise, you can. If you want to do crunches, you can; but those specific muscle groups worked in isolation are not — you’re not using enough muscle fibers to cause those hormonal changes or after.

Remember, what we’re talking about here is not how to have great calves; it’s how to change your metabolic system. To do that, you just need to work the vast majority of your musculature. To that point, please don’t ignore your legs. Honestly, if your arm is broken and you can do no upper body exercises but you could do an eccentric squat or even an eccentric lunge — and, again, I’m not going to go through every possible leg exercise you could do because you’re going to find that online — working from here to here, working your gluts, your hamstring, your quadriceps is going to activate upwards of sixty to seventy percent of the total muscle on your body.

What that means is, you’re going to get sixty to seventy percent of the metabolic benefit of any form of exercise in the eccentric arena just in the leg exercises. So please don’t do, what I call, a beach body workout, which is biceps and chest. Like, you’re not getting the metabolic results you’re after. In fact, if you were to pick one muscle group to work, it’s this guy right here because that’s the biggest muscle on your body. Having a toned, firm, and let’s call confident posterior is the single best thing you could do for your metabolism.

Male: I don’t think there are many people who would dislike the looks of —

Female: I’ll take a confident —

Male: I’ll take a confident posterior any day. Just saying.

Male: So we have a couple more questions, if you don’t mind.

Jonathan: Sure, absolutely.

Male: One from Erin — I would love to hear — Do you have any suggestions for eccentric core exercises?

Jonathan: Yep. Remember, the thing that’s so exciting about this, just like with SANE eating is, you could SANEitize anything. You can make any exercise more eccentric and it’s also a fun play on words because eccentric [pronounced “ex-centric”] means kind of strange and weird, but we’re talking about eccentric. They’re spelled the same way but they’re two different words. Let’s say for your abdominals, there’s a bunch of different abdominal exercises you could do more eccentrically.

Let’s do simple first. My favorite — one of my favorite at-home abdominal exercises you could ever do — and I’m going to have to — audio gods, forgive me. I’m going to — actually, I can’t — all right, hopefully I’m not going to break the mic but if we do, it’s live TV and it makes good live television. All right, can you still hear me okay? All right, so how is a crunch traditionally done? First of all, I wouldn’t ever recommend doing traditional crunches because they’re really ineffective at actually working your abs. You’re putting a bunch of tension on your neck; I don’t want you to do that. If you want to do a completely eccentric — like, with really no concentric movement because it’s very, very difficult to do a concentric contraction in this way, what I want you to do —

This is such a great exercise. You’re going to experience soreness in your core that you’ve probably never experienced before and it’s also great at working your lower abdominals, which is traditionally an incredibly hard area to hit. I’m talking, like, right above your pelvis. On guys, sometimes they call it the penis muscle. It’s like those muscles you see right down here. What you’re going to do is you’re going to get into a bit like a crunch position — heels flat on the floor, palms up, shoulders back, chest out — and if you’re just getting started, I want you to put your hands behind your legs like this. Again, don’t roll your shoulders forward. Keep them back. Keep looking forward. Don’t hyper-extend your neck in any direction and just slowly lower yourself back.

You’ll notice that you’re going to have to kind of move your legs out to counter-balance and, oh my gosh, you’re going to feel so much activation in your core as you’re going down. And then you can just get up however you want, however you need to sit up. But what you’re trying to do is, you’re keeping all your weight on your coccyx bone down here and you’re really — like, the real way to do this — I don’t mean the real way, I’m sorry — the advanced way of doing this is, really, it’s a balanced activity where you’re then slowly lowering yourself down like this. You can actually see my core trembling because this is putting so — it’s demanding so much force of it.

You can see this is the opposite of traditional exercise. Traditional crunches are 100 frantic concentric contractions where you’re really, all you’re doing is hyper-extending your neck and hurting yourself. You’re not even activating your core. If you want to activate your core, why not put it in a position like this and then just slowly — again, if you need help, you can use it right here — and you’re slowly lowering yourself down and what you can, again, just try to do is hold. Just hold this position. You’ll notice that the closer you get to a plane, the harder it gets, and then to completion at the bottom. Roll yourself up. Eccentric abs.

Male: That’s so great. I think maybe one more general subject area is for those of us who are just getting started with this who maybe need to lose more weight and are just heavier in general. How do you modify these? I mean, you’ve given a little bit of explanation for that but where do you think people are really just getting started and are not comfortable, not confident — where do you recommend they get started?

Jonathan: Thank you so much for asking that question. Actually, if you don’t mind, Dr. Cathy, this is a great time for you to come up. First and foremost, it’s these individuals for whom starting exercising — exercising in this way — is most important and it’s these individuals who have been most under-served by the exercise community because telling someone who’s 350 pounds that they need to go for a jog is actually very unhealthy.

Dr. Cathy: Indeed. Yes, it is.

Jonathan: So, Cathy, remind us a little bit of your background in this area.

Dr. Cathy: Well, I’m a physician. I’m a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, which is all about exercise and also dealing with people who have very significant disabilities, very significant physical impairments. We spend a lot of time working on special ways to do exercise.

Jonathan: Brilliant. So let’s — I’m so happy to have you in the audience. For a leg exercise, what would be your recommended modification for someone who’s really, really struggling with their weight and just getting started with exercise?

Dr. Cathy: Okay. First thing I want to say is shoes. I want to talk about shoes because a lot of times, people who are very significantly overweight don’t treat themselves to a good pair of shoes and it’s very important. I mean, these aren’t grand but they have really good treads. They fit well and they feel well so it’s very important to be exercising in shoes that are not going to slip on a floor that is clean or on a carpet where you’re not going to have any chance of slipping.

Jonathan: Okay. So just because you’re not an elite athlete, you shouldn’t feel like you don’t deserve to have nice shoes that will make sure you don’t slip.

Dr. Cathy: Exactly. And they don’t have to be 200-dollar shoes.

Jonathan: Exactly.

Dr. Cathy: They just have to be good shoes that work well for you.

Jonathan: Okay.

Dr. Cathy: And then, with leg exercises, sometimes people — for example, if they’re very heavy, they may be afraid of breaking the thing that they’re holding onto to do their eccentric squats. So I don’t know if we can use a wall here. I think we can.

Jonathan: Can we use this wall over here? Let’s go over here.

Dr. Cathy: Okay. Sometimes it’s good — and it’s nice if you have a hallway so that you have a wall here in front of you and a wall in back of you but what you could do is take —

Jonathan: And that’s just a foam roller.

Dr. Cathy: This is a foam roller. It’s available at wherever Walmart —

Jonathan: Sure.

Dr. Cathy: — wherever you want to buy it.

Jonathan: It’s not the same thing as one of those noodles you use when you swim.

Dr. Cathy: No. And it’s a fairly firm foam and it cost about $5.95.

Jonathan: Excellent.

Dr. Cathy: But what we can do is —

Jonathan: Sorry, you’ve got this horizontally.

Dr. Cathy: I’ve got this horizontally under — behind my butt.

Jonathan: Can you turn around? Show the good audience.

Dr. Cathy: Okay, I’ve got this horizontally and when I do my squat, remember what Jonathan said. We don’t want our feet back here. We don’t want to squat with our knees going over our toes because knees, particularly if we’re significantly heavy, our knees aren’t any stronger on a 350-pound person than on 125-pound person.

Jonathan: That makes a lot of sense.

Dr. Cathy: We have to be really careful so we want to step fairly significantly out from the wall, lean back into the roller, and then we can do very easily, if we want to, we’ll have our feet a little bit apart, but do a very easy two-legged squat.

Jonathan: Nice.

Dr. Cathy: Make sure my roller is going — well, over my microphone — and then I can hold it as long as I need to and then come up. Or, then if I want to do it with one leg, I don’t pick up my foot but I can just put one leg behind a little bit so I’m using it to stabilize. I’m putting most of the weight here on my left leg.

Jonathan: Brilliant. Yep, yep.

Dr. Cathy: But I’ve got my weight behind and so I’m able to just do this very, very graceful easy squat with one — I have very little weight on this leg but I’m really working hard on my left leg here. And then when I’m done — and I’m about done now — I lift myself up with my two legs.

Jonathan: Cathy, what I love about that right there is, especially if we’re just getting started, think about how empowering it is to know — I mean, if anyone’s ever done like a squat or a push-up before and you’re not an athlete, you know how uncomfortable it can feel to be like, Oh my gosh, I’m here. Now what do I do to get back up? What do I do? But if you’re doing what we talked about with eccentric exercise and what Cathy is talking about here, which is using one limb to help the other limb, you will never be in that position because even if you get down to the bottom and you’re like, I can’t lift myself, that’s okay. You’ve got a whole other leg you can just step forward with and then bring yourself back up so you can feel safe and confident.

Dr. Cathy: Absolutely, yeah. So it turns out this is my buddy here. I love —

Jonathan: I love that. So that’s for the legs. Anything for the upper body we should think about?

Dr. Cathy: Yeah. Upper body — some really cool things. Now, these —

Jonathan: Let’s go out in front here in the light.

Dr. Cathy: These are not only good for lifting, they’re good for handles because sometimes particularly for, not only very heavy people but for older people, we have arthritis in our wrists and our hands.

Jonathan: Okay.

Dr. Cathy: So that if we’re doing a push-up or a let-down, sometimes using this to hold onto rather than putting our hand flat out can be really useful.

Jonathan: So, like, for a wall push-up, for example.

Dr. Cathy: Yeah. And again, can I turn my back on these folks?

Jonathan: Sure, I will explain. You can look at my face and Cathy’s back.

Dr. Cathy: Again, I can choose how much work I do by how far I go out and it’s nice again to do this in a hallway so that you have something behind you. This is a really good floor and I have really good shoes so I’m going to put my feet about as wide as my shoulders and then, what I can do is, put this right here like this and then I can lower myself slowly down and just stay with my nose about an inch from the wall for as long as I want and then, instead of pushing myself back up, I could just walk forward and I’ve got that going.

Jonathan: I love that. I love that. It’s like with Carrie’s SANE — it’s like we have recipes for exercises now.

Dr. Cathy: Yeah, exactly.

Jonathan: These movements that otherwise would have been impossible for people, they can now do and you can take your existing movements and make them even better.

Dr. Cathy: Yeah. And then if I want to make it a little bit more challenging, I can do — you want to give me that chair?

Jonathan: Absolutely. Look at this. Dr. Cathy is breaking it down for us. I love it.

Dr. Cathy: Yeah. So I’m going to back up that chair right to the wall so it can’t slip. Now, I’m not going to do this with these because — I’m going to put those right here.

Jonathan: Just really quick. Before you do this, I just want to show the folks and the camera why this was helpful so could we — so you can notice when you’re holding this and using this as a grip, your arm is in a much different position than if your arm was flat like this. So you can imagine someone with arthritis in their wrist, this would be uncomfortable whereas being in a more neutral position like this would not be.

Dr. Cathy: Right.

Jonathan: All right. Sorry, go ahead.

Dr. Cathy: So what I can do with my chair is — it’s got to be a sturdy chair — but again, I can go like this and I can go on to this chair and I can slowly lower myself and I can just wait until I’ve had enough and then just walk forward.

Jonathan: So, Cathy, let me just — Cathy’s going to do a little bit of a testimonial in segment 4 but, okay, so, Cathy, you said you were a size 20W. When?

Dr. Cathy: In February of 2011 — 2012.

Jonathan: So you’ve gone from a size 20W —

Dr. Cathy: In eighteen months.

Jonathan: — to what you see here. And Carrie was just sitting here. It’s not like Carrie prepped herself before — oh, you’re not — you’re Cathy. Excuse me. Cathy’s like, Oh, he’s calling me — I’m getting excited. Cathy is sitting here, she’s doing freaking eccentric push-ups. I mean, how awesome is that? Without being really warm, without getting warmed up, you’re just rocking it.

Dr. Cathy: And I’m 67, yeah.

Jonathan: And you’re 67?

Dr. Cathy: And I’m 67. But I have some shoulder trouble now and then but the push-ups, I can do them from the floor. Probably not now, but I can do those — but I like to use my little weights. I don’t use them for anything else anymore because I have big weights that I use for this but they really helped me with my wrists because I’m also a musician and I really want to protect those wrists. But then the other thing is, I don’t do pull-ups.

Jonathan: Yep.

Dr. Cathy: Two things — I have my bar. I do have a bar, a door-mounted bar. I have it right here.

Jonathan: Oh, nice.

Dr. Cathy: Right at chin level so that I don’t have to — because it’s not really necessarily safe for an older person to be climbing up on chairs.

Jonathan: Oh yeah, or if someone is 400 pounds, getting up on chairs —

Dr. Cathy: — or somebody who’s very, very heavy. So I can just sink down —

Jonathan: See, that’s so great.

Dr. Cathy: And I can lift my feet up if I want but I start right here and then I gradually sink down.

Jonathan: See, this is amazing. Like, Dr. Cathy is showing how — so Dr. Cathy understands the science and I’m sure — you’re a physician so you understand the science a lot better than many people — but it’s like you’ve done with exercise what Carrie did for recipes. You’ve taken these principles and found ways to adopt them to your unique circumstance in life and that’s so cool.

Dr. Cathy: Yeah. Can I tell you one more thing?

Jonathan: One more.

Dr. Cathy: One thing. Exercise bands — those cool exercise bands.

Jonathan: Exercise bands, I love it.

Female: Dr. Cathy, I just want to jump in and say that the Internet is rooting for you. Ewen [sp?] says, “How inspiring.” Tielo [sp?] says, “Love Dr. Cathy.” “Wow, go Cathy.” Thank you for sharing this with us because it is, it’s really inspiring. Not everybody looks like Jonathan.

Dr. Cathy: Not everybody, yeah.

Jonathan: Thankfully. Goodness, I mean —

Dr. Cathy: Not everybody looks — well, he’s younger than my youngest child.

Jonathan: And if you like Dr. Cathy, you can actually get more of her in the Smarter Science of Slim support group at She’s our community moderator, so anyway —

Dr. Cathy: Yeah. But these resistance bands are also great for those people who don’t have a place to hang — a safe place to hang a bar.

Jonathan: Yep.

Dr. Cathy: And one of the things that — the last time my shoulder went out, my physical therapist taught me, because I was using the exercise band — is, you can take like a rolled-up magazine and put it in a loop here. Put this over a door and shut the door because a lot of times people don’t have something to hang their stuff.

Jonathan: Yep. And by putting the rolled-up magazine through there, the door’s closed here so the magazine can’t come through that door crack.

Dr. Cathy: As long as your door is really solid and you don’t get bonked in the head. But this is a really cool way to get what you need from the exercise bands. Again, two hands back and one hand forward and it really works well.

Jonathan: That’s awesome. Hey, round of applause for Dr. Cathy. Look at this. What’s going on? Thank you so much, Cathy. This is brilliant. Thank you so much.

Dr. Cathy: Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you.

Male: All right, well, so if we could get one more point of clarification —

Jonathan: Sure, yeah.

Male: Just on the concept of the full workout.

Jonathan: Yep.

Male: So you do each muscle group until you can’t and then you move on to the next one. Again, from Foiegras and a few other people, point of clarification — we do, and it takes about 10 minutes of exercise, one to two times per week because it takes a few days to recover? Or how many days a week? How do you figure that out?

Jonathan: Absolutely, absolutely. So one quick thing I want to note as well. Eccentric exercise is very challenging so make sure you’re warmed up, too. You don’t want to jump right into one-legged squat — here we go — cold. You’d want to do some regular squats beforehand to get warm and then you’d ease your way into the more intensity. What you would do generally, the standard routine for someone who’s just getting started is one day a week, you do the four major exercises — legs, back, chest, shoulders — till failure. That takes about 60-90 seconds per muscle group. Of course, there’s going to be some warm-up. There’s going to be some transition between exercises but when it’s all said and done, the actual work time is about 10 minutes.

It’s amazing. You block off a half hour of your day, you get it done, and you’re done with resistance training for that week because if you’re doing it correctly, if you’re doing it with sufficient resistance, if you’re going to complete eccentric failure, your question the next day will not be, How could this work if I only do it one day per week?, but rather, How am I going to get up the stairs because I’m so sore? And it’s a good healthy sore. Then you’re going to do one other thing — so that’s one day a week — and that’s a great segue into the smarter interval training because then you would do smarter interval training a different day of the week.

So I would say start — not start the week — but whatever day, it’s Monday — do your smarter eccentric training, wait two days — two to three days, then do your smarter interval training, then two to three days, eccentric training, two to three days, interval training. When you get really advanced, what you will notice is you will actually have to cut out the interval training because you get so good at eccentrics that if you do intervals, you will not be able to do your eccentrics three days after doing intervals because your muscles didn’t have enough time to recover because you’re hitting them so adequately.

Speaking of how to make cardio smarter and smarter intervals, let me show you how to do that right now. My preferred way to do this is on an inexpensive stationary bike. I’m intentionally saying inexpensive because there are stationary bikes that cost two thousand dollars because they have a freaking multimedia display on them because we’ve been told we need to spend two hours on the bike and the only way a sane person can do that is by watching a movie or distracting themselves in some way because it’s like being on a human hamster wheel. It’s incredibly boring.

You don’t need that and you don’t want that. If you don’t already own a bike, you would grab — they have bikes on Amazon for about two hundred bucks that are assembleable by anyone in about an hour. I think, Carrie, you have one, I have one, Cathy has one. You can grab them — we have a SANE store on the website. It just links to Amazon so it has all of our recommended products so you can check that out. It’s linked to there.

You want, not a cheap, but a non-electronic bike because the way you add resistance is mechanically. The reason mechanical resistance is important versus digital resistance — like I set this on Level 20 — is, for most bikes, for example, Level 20 is the highest they go and you have to sit there and press the button over and over and over again, whereas a mechanical bike has no upper bound to the amount of resistance you can add because it’s just metal on metal. You can also increase and decrease resistance very rapidly — I am hopefully not going to break my mic but if I do, we’ll just make good TV.

The way you would do smarter interval training, first and foremost is, you have to pick a device or a machine that is no impact. Not low impact, no impact. So people say, “Can I run smarter?” Technically, yes. The way you would run smarter is by adding resistance. The way you would add resistance while running is by running on an incline or running at a faster rate or strapping a parachute to your back, but that’s not our recommended approach because it’s extremely high impact. I want you to have ways to increase resistance without increasing any negative stress on your body because, remember, safety is priority number one. Cycling is no impact at all.

What I mean by no impact — and this resistance is really cranked up right now — is you’ll notice that when I cycle or when I use, say, an elliptical machine or a rowing machine, there’s no banging or sharp transition. When I jog, my legs are hitting the ground and bouncing back up. This is one fluid movement. The traditional way you would do cardio on a bike is to find some level of resistance that is really not hard because you have to do it for 30-60 minutes. It’s not at all what you’re going to do here. We’re going to take the same time under tension approach and we’re going to take the same increasing resistance approach or similar that we did with resistance training. Like resistance training, you need to spend some time getting warmed up. Generally, the way you see intervals done is people would then recommend that you burst and you go really, really, really fast. And that does work; however, it does increase risk. If you take someone who’s non-athlete and you tell them to move their body very, very quickly, that can often be a recipe for disaster.

How else could we increase force while being on this bike? We could just crank the resistance up and we could crank the resistance up so high that no matter how hard we try to pedal, no matter how hard we try to pedal, we’re pushing, we’re pushing. We have to stand up and we’re pushing. We’re not moving fast. We’re trying to move fast but we can’t and we’re literally almost like doing one-legged leg presses and one-legged squats over and over again. At about 30 seconds, you’re like, Oh, and then you stop at 30 seconds — again, not because you’re lazy but because it’s physically impossible for you to continue. Now, if you want, you could just keep going on the bike and do a bit of a cool-down but you would get about 60 seconds to 2 minutes to completely catch your breath. You will be completely winded when you finish this 30-second segment. Carrie, you are nodding your head violently.

Carrie: Yes.

Jonathan: I think you even had an experience at your house where you fed some of your SANE foods to your friends and then they tried to do smarter interval training. Smarter interval training right after eating a lot of SANE food sometimes doesn’t work so well, right?

Carrie: Yeah. One of them had to go to the bathroom.

Jonathan: Yes. Make sure you don’t get SANE right before getting eccentric or smarter on the bike. But the key thing — again, it’s going to be about three to six reps where a rep is one of these 30-second intervals where it should take you 30 seconds to get to this point. Thirty seconds done. Right? Two minutes. If you want to do two minutes on the bike, you can but what I like to do, just to be really time efficient, is to use the time in between sets to stretch. Just for me because I don’t naturally stretch. I would do upper body stretches, just general stretching; after 2 minutes, hop back on the bike, repeat that — so three to six 30-second bursts with 90 seconds to 2 minutes in between so that you completely recover your breath.

The reason I want you to completely recover your breath is because it’s every single one of those 30-second bursts. I want you to be able to maximize the muscular force. If you are out of breath, you’re not going to be able to do that. And that maximizing muscular force is an important point. That’s again why this is infrequent. Because if you do this, what I just described, correctly, if you do smarter interval training correctly and at the end of 30 seconds, you literally physically cannot move your legs anymore and you try to do that again the next day, you will not be able to. It’s not because you are lazy, it’s because you’re smart. Right? It’s taking you dramatically less time to get better results. If someone’s in a classroom and they finish their test and they ace their test in a quarter of the time it takes the rest of the students, they’re not lazy; they’re smart. That’s what we’re doing. We’re just getting more done in less time because we’re being smart about it.

So to answer the question, day one — do your eccentrics, wait two to three days, smarter interval training, two to three days, repeat. Then once you get to the point where you notice that, Man, I did my smarter intervals three days ago and I’m trying to do my eccentric squats and I can’t do them as well as I did them last time, you know that you haven’t yet recovered from your interval training. Don’t ever train if you’re not fully recovered because you’re not able to generate all the force we’re dealing with. It’s like picking off that scab. We want to make sure that our muscles have healed after we healthfully break them down or we’re compromising the metabolic benefit. So that’s the full routine.

Female: We do have a couple of questions on this for you, Jonathan. We have people who have other devices, other gear that they already own. In addition to an exercise bike, could you do this on a real bike? What about a recumbent exercise bike, an elliptical? Are those things that you can apply the same practice to?

Jonathan: You can make any exercise smarter. There are some exercises which are the smartest, let’s say. The gauge to evaluate whether or not something is a good device to do intervals on is how risky it is to add resistance. What I mean by that is, if you were riding a regular bike, the only way to add resistance is on a hill or to strap a parachute to your back or to — I mean, so you can add resistance but it’s not natural, maybe, is the right word in standing with running. Like, you can add resistance. It’s just very difficult. But on an elliptical, it is very easy to add resistance. You might find that, quickly, the resistance isn’t enough and that you’ll be able to go for longer than 30 seconds because most elliptical machines are not mechanical in their resistance. They’re digital so you will upper bound. But things like rowing machines that you can manually –

Anything can be done smarter but machines that are no impact and that allow you to very safely add resistance are the best options. So if you do go to the gym, of course, I recommend investing again. It’s like two hundred bucks to get a bike like this and if you just think about the gas that you’ll save over the course of a year, you’ve paid for the bike so you don’t necessarily need a gym membership. The bad news is, if you do this correctly, eventually you will need to buy a gym membership because you will get stronger than you could ever imagine and it will quickly become impossible for you or not practical for you to add enough resistance to make these exercises as difficult as we’re talking about making them. But, remember, they’re still very safe without going to a gym.

So if you’re at a gym, the four exercises which most closely approximate the exercises we just covered would be a leg press, which, for folks who aren’t familiar with leg presses, usually a machine where you’re either seated or you’re laying down and your legs are just like this and you’re pushing out. The way you would do a leg press eccentrically — hopefully now is somewhat obvious — where you could do it slower or you could push up with two legs, take one leg, put it on top of the machine, lower with one, push up with two. Put leg on top of machine, lower with one, push up with two. Put leg on top of machine, lower with one, push up with two.

Much more advanced — and this gets more and more advanced — but sometimes people say if you wanted to do, for example, lunges. You could do an eccentric lunge in the sense where you could hold dumbbells and you could lunge down, put the dumbbells down, stand up, squat the dumbbells up, lunge down. So there’s all kinds of crazy — I mean, it’s just like SANE eating. This is really just a toolkit that we can apply in so many different ways. There’s really no way to squat with a barbell eccentrically. In fact, that’s very dangerous because there’s no way to then off-load resistance if you have 300 pounds sitting on your back and you’re in this position so be careful about things like that. Generally, I recommend using machines at gyms to train eccentrically because there’s no balance required and you can always spot yourself and, in case you get stuck, you can let the machine to catch the resistance. So you’re doing leg presses for your legs.

For your back, you would continue to just to pull-ups. You could do pull-down but I would always recommend that you do a pull-up rather than a pull-down. It’s one of the most effective back exercises you could ever do. The way you increase the resistance is by strapping weights to your waist. You would put a weight belt on, the dumbbell hangs in between, and you would, if you can, you’d get a power rack like this, there’s little devices stuck in here, you’d step up, you’d get to the top and then you would just try to hold the top position. So you might not be able to do a pull-up with 45 pounds hanging between your legs but you can do a let-down. It’s the same basic movement but you’re just adding resistance.

For chest, you would do — there’s a couple of creative ways for chest. You could use a horizontal chest pressing machine and just push up with two arms, lower with one, spotting with the other arm, and then you would do six 10-second reps for this arm. Push-up, six 10-second reps for this arm. You could also do a movement — so chest generally has two movements, a press and a fly. Flies are more difficult than presses so you could take dumbbells that you can’t fly up but you can easily press up. Press them up, fly them down, press them up, fly them down. So it’s making it more difficult on the way down. Shoulder press — get on a shoulder press machine, push up with two, down with one, push up with two, down with one. So, same basic movements but when you have these machines that you will probably never have at your own house, you can add a heck of a lot more resistance than you easily could in your home.