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How to “get abs” without crunches with The Biggest Loser’s Jay Jacobs and Jonathan Bailor

Jay: Jonathan, I got to congratulate you, every time I turn around, there is another article that I see that supports everything you shared in the Smarter Science of Slim from maybe some of the facts and figures in your book, but also in other sources. In fact, today there was an article in New York Times that says “Less exercise may do more to shed extra pounds,” “Energy and inspiration from light workouts” pretty cool article. You might want to take a look at it. It’s from Gretchen Reynolds.

So, it’s like every time I turn around, there is another somebody supporting everything you have talked about. The other thing that I want to ask you today though was I get up with the eccentric exercises, I try to apply them into lot of things that I am doing overall, but almost it hit me you don’t do any ab exercise and abs are such a big thing [indiscernible 00:50] talks about washboard stomach and then I look in the book and I am like “Okay, it says here the fastest way to get abs is nothing to do with exercising or abdominal muscles.” That’s interesting.

Can you elaborate on that a little bit? That smacks in the face of everything else that we hear from crunches and everything else we do. So, I am curious, what’s your take on that? I would love to hear it. Thanks.

Jonathan: Hey Jay, thank you so much Jay. It’s wonderful to see that mainstream media starting to catch up to what the scientific community has been showing us for years. So, when it comes to your abdominals, this is another area where there is some confusion and we can clear things up pretty easily by making one quick distinction and that’s the distinction between strengthening our abdominal muscles and revealing our abdominal muscles.

When it comes to strengthening our abs or any other muscle group, the way we do that is clear and simple and it’s a little bit of very safe and very forceful resistance training and I will show you how to do an eccentric or safe and very heavy resistance training exercise for your abdominals at the end of the video, but the key thing again, we hear all these “Do 100 crunches in the morning then 500 at lunch and then 600 in the evening.” We never hear you do 1000 biceps curls.

Our abs or muscle just like every other muscle, they don’t require an enormous amount of repetitions just like every other muscles doesn’t. They require few very high quality repetitions to make them stronger, but now if our goal is to just reveal our abdominals because to be clear we all have abs. It’s just that some of us can’t see them because there is body fat covering them. So, if we want to see our existing abdominal muscles that has nothing to do with doing crunches and frankly has nothing to do with any ab exercise because the way we shed body fat is by eating more, but smarter AKA eating non-starchy vegetables, whole food natural fats and nutrient dense proteins and doing a little bit but a very high quality exercise with our largest muscle groups.

So, our legs, our back, and our chest because those are the muscle groups that are large enough to trigger a significant hormonal change in our body which lowers our set point which enables us to burn body fat which then works with our SANE eating to again shed those pounds off of our entire body including our belly thus revealing the abs we had all along, but have just been covered up. So, no need to do crunches to strengthen your abs because you need to do something that’s more forceful and just few repetitions and no need to do crunches to reveal your abs because that doesn’t do anything to lower your body fat percentage.

So, if you want to strengthen your abs, stay tuned, I will show you how to do that with an eccentric ab exercise and if you want to just reveal your abs, that’s simply about eating more, but smarter and exercising less, but smarter and not at all about crunches.

All right, so if our goal is to strengthen our abdominal muscles, remember which is distinct from revealing them because it’s all about dropping our body fat percentage and we can do that via basically everything other than ab exercises via SANE way of eating and through high quality eccentric resistance training with legs, back, and chest, but if we want to strengthen our abdominal muscles, we do the same way we strengthen any other muscle and that’s using very safe, very forceful few movements.

So, a very easy way to do eccentric ab training at home is very basic movement or what you want to do is you are going to sit down and you want to put most of your weight on your coccyx muscle. So, it’s sort of right — what most people call their tailbone. So, the vast majority of your weight is sitting on that and then there is a couple levels which we do this depending on your abdominal strength. So, with your knees bent, you could again — you want to keep your shoulders back and your chest out, really focus on your lower abdominals and then you could attempt to slowly lower yourself down, you might need to help yourself by holding onto your legs and what you want to avoid doing is crunching like this.

If you are doing this, it’s really easy and we want it to be easy, we want it to be hard. So, you are going to keep your chest out, your shoulders back and you want to slowly lower yourself down, really slowly. You will notice that closer you get to the bottom, the harder it is. It gets really, really hard and then if you want to sit back up, that’s fine you can just sit up however you want.

We are not really concerned with the concentric action, we really want to do a slower low down. Now, depending on your strength levels, there are a couple different ways to do this. So, a little bit more advanced is to put your legs out in front of you and again you are resting on your tailbone and you picked your legs up, you are balancing on your tailbone and what you are going to do is you are going to slowly lower yourself down.

Again, notice how I am keeping my — you can tell this is pretty hard, it’s hard for me to talk. I am keeping my chest out, my shoulders back. You can actually see that my abs are shaking because this is a very hard thing to do and if you just sit there hold that, you will notice my feet aren’t touching the floor, my back isn’t touching the floor, they are like an inch off the floor, you just hold that — Oh my God, you have to stop. I think you can just get up however you want to. That doesn’t really matter and again you repeat slowly lowering down, keeping your shoulders back and your chest out and then you get to the bottom, you are just going to hold that as long as you can and then you are going to work your abdominals for just a little bit, but very forcefully and in about 60 seconds you are going to work your abs more than potentially [indiscernible 06:20] in your life. You are going to activate all of your muscle fibers, you are going to stimulate a bunch of goodness, you are really going to strengthen your abs. So, that’s an eccentric ab exercise for you.