Cart 0

Fitness enthusiast promotes 12-second resistance exercises, Chicago Tribune

April 22, 2008

Chicago Tribune logo

Fitness enthusiast promotes 12-second resistance exercises

By Janet Cromley, Chicago Tribune

Fitness author Jorge Cruise believes that just a few minutes per week of properly applied resistance exercise can firm muscles, build lean muscle tissue and trim inches off the waist.

Cruise, who writes a weekly column for USA Weekend, also is the author of "8 Minutes in the Morning" and "The 3-Hour Diet."

In his newest book, "The 12 Second Sequence: Shrink Your Waist in 2 Weeks," he suggests that two 20-minute sessions per week of very slow cadence lifting and static muscle contraction can burn 20 percent more calories a day.

Q: Tell us about these 12-second exercises.
It's important to remember that these aren't just 12-second exercises. Each move begins with a slow, controlled 10-second movement, followed by a two-second hold—these combined 12 seconds create an incredibly intense and effective fatigue of your muscles. Fatigue is crucial for results; it's what allows you to create new lean muscle tissue, which will start to burn fat and calories when you're at rest. You do four repetitions per body part and 12 exercises per workout, which lasts just under 20 minutes.

Q: So you really need to feel that fatigue to know that you're doing some good?
You can't change the muscle without fatigue, and it's impossible to really fatigue the muscle without pushing it. The only way it gets transformed is by pushing it beyond what's comfortable. It's kind of like life. Our lives don't really change until those moments where we were pushed, and that's where we grow the most and our life becomes more rich. If you don't push your body beyond what it's comfortable with, nothing changes.

Q: You have developed this plan based on the idea of performing basic exercises very slowly and then holding the pose, with muscles fully contracted, for two seconds at the end. How did you arrive at this?
This is not a new idea. In fact, there have been books written about slow lifting before, and the concepts were powerful. But I wondered, "How can I make this better?" So we tested different sequencing options for two years. After experimenting with many different variations, we got the best results by going slow for 10 seconds, then stopping statically for two seconds. In my opinion, that little push is the difference between night and day.

Q: Is there one piece of dieting advice you can give?
No. 1, don't skip meals. Eat every three hours. That's the first rule for staying sane and keeping the lean muscle in place. Second, make sure to get the right ingredients at the right times, the protein and the carbs. Vegetables and fruit. Then at dinner, you have to avoid or eliminate starchy carbohydrates. Starchy carbohydrates are a big no-no-no, because that gets stored as fat. Unless you're running a marathon at 9 or 10 p.m., forget it.

Q: Why are we getting so fat?
Honestly, it's mainly because we're not lifting. We've got machines and elevators and escalators to do all the things that require our muscles to engage and lift weights. We put things on dollies, and we have other people lift them. Atrophy is probably the biggest culprit. And that's reversible.

© 2008 Chicago Tribune