On this episode of Strong By Design, Coach Chris sits down with his colleague, Brian Klepacki. They share science based research on why you should NEVER do a sit up or crunch again. Also, stay tuned to hear about the Crunchless Core Program.

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“We are strong by design but if we are not utilizing the strength on how we were designed we will never truly meet our truest potential.”

-Brian Klepacki

Strong By Design Podcast

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Time Stamps:

2:20 Brian’s trainer background

4:07 The last time Brian did a crunch

5:30 Cosmetic abs vs performance abs, what’s the difference?

6:23 What makes up the core?

8:25 Why most Ab programs don’t work

12:40 Why the Crunchless Core Program is more effective

15:40 Get the science based research behind Crunchless Core

17:00 Are your muscles dormant?

22:20 Are abs really made in the kitchen?

Questions Asked

  1. When was the last time you did a crunch or sit up?
  2. Difference between cosmetic abs vs true core strength?
  3. What are the top reasons why core routines fail?
  4. Why is Crunchless Core different than everything out there?
  5. Explain the mind muscle connection
  6. What can people expect from the Crunchless Core program
  7. Are abs made in the kitchen?



Connect with Brian

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Brian: [00:00:00] It really depends on your obviously your goals right. What are your goals? Are your goals to move weight and look good are your goals only to look good or are your goals just to perform well?

Chris: [00:00:11] We believe that you are strong by design and you were made in God’s image to have a strong body mind and spirit. Hi my name is Chris Wilson and you’re listening to the number 1 strength and health authority podcast in the world. So let’s get ready to unlock your potential and transform your life with today’s expert. Hey if you want a free Core Killer Report then just text core to 3 4 5 3 4 5. That’s C O R E to 3 4 5 3 4 5 and you’ll get a text from me asking for your email and then you’ll get the free report sent to your email inbox and if you’re not in the U.S. or Canada then you can grab the free report at criticalbench. com/corekillers. Let’s dive in.

Chris: [00:01:20] Hey there this is coach Chris with the Strong by Design podcast. And I’m sitting across from my good friend, co-worker, an ABS Specialist Brian Klepacki. Welcome Brian.

Brian: [00:01:33] Welcome. Thank you.

Chris: [00:01:34] Good to have you here.

Brian: [00:01:35] Good to be had.

Chris: [00:01:36] We see each other on a regular basis. But he is an authority when it comes to abs. And so that is why we’re talking with him today about the death of crunches and sit ups. And why those two exercises in particular are kind of on our no list or do not do list or whatever list you want to you know say that you’re avoiding for exercise in the gym. So Brian has when you before we get to like the great information a little history about you as a strength coach just like just a brief one.

Brian: [00:02:14] Yes so I’ve been a strength coach for probably 20 years now professionally. I grew up loving the gym, sports and all that but had a passion for it in High school and then I decided to go to college for it. So I’ve got Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Master’s Degree in Exercise Science. I’m certified strength coach, certified functional movement specialist, or I’m a certified triathlon coach, certified sports nutritionist.

Chris: [00:02:44] So it’s a lot to CEUs to keep on.

Brian: [00:02:48] Yeah it’s exhausting but it’s fun. When you love what you do. I mean it’s not work its just kind of like hey I’m eager to learn. So yeah I’ve been training having my own training business for a long time now and trained gold medalists, kids, senior citizens, weight loss people. I mean you name it. Yeah. Everybody has been trained you know in my you know my Rolodex so.

Chris: [00:03:18] A little bit of everybody. Yeah on some high level stuff which is pretty neat because sometimes people you know like in my history as a trainer I ended up working with the people that had the money to spend on having their own trainer, strength coach is usually or 40 50 plus or people in retirement then you get their kids and then you get their kids which hopefully get off that that kid is like looking for his college scholarship in football. You know some sport. So anyway. Well that’s cool. And also so you take all those credentials and you say oh and he lifts his shirt up and he has like 8 abs it’s like okay so this guy knows probably how to building abs. So when was the last time that you yourself did a crunch?

Brian: [00:04:04] Oh man in the form of exercise it’s got to be at least ten years. Yeah. It’s been a long time. I can’t be probably even up to High School maybe. It’s been a long time.

Chris: [00:04:19] Because once you started obviously you started learning at a fairly young age about the wear and tear and stuff on that. Those movements just aren’t ideal.

Brian: [00:04:31] Right. I mean yeah and a form of exercise the other crunches and sit ups is never been thrown into a workout. But I mean we sit up when we wake up in the morning or we sit up from our desk or we were crunching throughout the day but not on a specific like crunch to get abs. It’s kind of just yeah it’s one of those things that you decide it’s on the list of Do Not Do you know.

Chris: [00:04:56] Yeah. Now if you’re putting your time and effort in the gym that’s kind of just becomes wasted time and effort and so much more that you should be doing and we’re going to obviously get into that. So talking about core development, core strength, and strong abs. What’s the difference between cosmetic abs, these nice looking abs that you know seem to get all the clicks and attention on Instagram right vs. true core strength? I mean and then you can bring those worlds together too because obviously like I said, you have abs and your abs are very strong.

Brian: [00:05:35] Right.

Chris: [00:05:35] But go into some detail there.

Brian: [00:05:40] Cosmetic abs. It’s pretty much it’s nonfunctional it’s just not functional. You look at an elite level power lifter. They might look out of shape but their core strength is through the roof of the jars. I mean that the things that they do is almost humanly impossible. But their core strength is there. When you look at people who just do vanity type of training, sit ups, crunches, they spent so many time so much time in the gym doing cosmetic work where they actually look good but it doesn’t deliver results. It doesn’t deliver power. Doesn’t deliver strength that we’re. So core strength is you have to dissect the two. Its ABS is part of the core erectus abdominis you know your six pack muscle that’s part of your core but that doesn’t make up your core. There’s so many other muscles surrounding erectus abdominis that if you’re only turning that you’re neglecting so many other muscle groups or muscles within that muscle group and you’ll never have that true core strength. So hopefully I paint the picture.

Chris: [00:06:47] You know that makes sense and.

Brian: [00:06:49] Trying to make it as easy as possible.

Chris: [00:06:51] It’s like a Ferrari without an engine in it or just kind of a beat up car that’s got like all this great work done under the hood. You know it’s like sometimes yeah looks can be deceiving.

Brian: [00:07:03] You know Yeah absolutely.

Chris: [00:07:05] And I think yeah that’s where people get a little bit bamboozled or something you know they see somebody that has impressive looking midsection. You know. Guys go look at us all dial.

Brian: [00:07:18] And then he’s lacking glutes and legs.

Chris: [00:07:21] There’s no performance behind it. Right. Right. Everything else is kind of missing. Right. So I mean I’m it really depends on your goals right. What are your goals? Are your goals to move weight and look good? Are your goals only to look good or are your goals just to perform well?

Brian: [00:07:40] It’s funny though. You look at even pro level athletes. I doubt they’re doing sit ups and crunches in the weight room.

Chris: [00:07:47] Just Not me and they’re just.

Brian: [00:07:48] Their strength coach, first of all will never let him do that. But they’ve got beautiful body, men, women. I mean they’re just specimens you know. What are they doing? They’re not doing ab work. They’re doing core training. They’re training every muscle within the body but specifically certain exercises that target the core.

Chris: [00:08:08] The compound lifts. Right. Yes, just rigorous you know intense training routines. Yeah. So three reasons why core routines fail most core routines that people create maybe for themselves or that is seen a magazine or you know some friend tells them about what are your top three reasons?

Brian: [00:08:28] Well the first one I just kind of touched on a little bit like they just don’t train the core properly and they go for the abs. They go for that six pack washboard look.

Chris: [00:08:37] Specifically core when you say core what. What are the muscles groups?

Brian: [00:08:44] You got the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, oblique, your erector spinae. I mean there’s a lot of musculature going on within the core. I mean if the core is not just what you see right in front of you it’s internal. It’s on the sides. It’s on the back and it connects to the hips, connects to the glutes. So it’s not just abs. But when you say I’m going to go train my core people commonly go to crunches or sit ups because that’s what they think is a core workout. I mean even if you type in core workout on YouTube or anywhere for that matter you’re going to find a lot of rectus abdominis dominant exercises. And that’s it.

Chris: [00:09:23] Very isolation stuff.

Brian: [00:09:25] So it’s they just don’t train the core properly. They neglect all the other muscles within the core. And that’s one of the reasons. The second reason would be everybody wants a short term fix. So training you know specific you know six minute abs or something like that. That’s a short term approach if you want true strength. You got to you got to kind of massage a little bit you got to get to work. You work with that. You can’t just expect to do six minutes for 14 days you know two-week Fat Loss program and expect awesome abs and awesome strength. Right. Again I’m a strength coach so I think of function over fashion. So short term approach would probably be my second reason. And the third reason would be that it’s just dangerous. The short term programs are dangerous. If people spend so much time in a crunch position. We’re I mean as we’re sitting right now we’re in a crunch position. So wouldn’t make sense to go untie crunch and open up the damage that we’re doing right now sitting in a crunch position. Right. So I mean it’s that’s what program spill is because you’re adding to a problem. You’re not providing a safe and healthy solution to a problem you’re just making the problem worse. So people get injured. They start saying “Oh my back hurts when I do core work.” Well duh what do you think is going to happen?

Chris: [00:10:52] Most routines, training routines whether beginner, intermediate or even some advanced level people maybe who just are ignoring some obvious warning signs. There is so front based right. So they’re always working the muscles the mirror muscles, six pack that they can see. But ideally it’s you got to kind of go a little bit heavier on the other side of it don’t you know. Absolutely. And a lot of our training where you’d really hit in the posterior side from that you know from the top to the neck all the way down to your calves and because it just seems like everything is kind of push it pushes.

Brian: [00:11:30] And the crazy thing is people just say oh no pain no gain. So if I’m feeling that burning in my lower back when I do some kind of abdominal work that’s is the norm right. I mean that’s what people just think oh if there’s pain there I must be doing something right. So it just doesn’t make sense. You know it’s that’s why core routines fallacies are people just there’s just a lack of education.

Chris: [00:11:54] Yeah. And it’s been such a misguided.

Brian: [00:11:59] Oh it is all over the place.

Chris: [00:11:59] And it’s all in the marketing and stuff for so long and obviously it’s gotten better.

Brian: [00:12:05] Oh yeah. I agree.

Chris: [00:12:06] It’s gotten better I would say in the last 10 years.

Brian: [00:12:19] Even in the past three years you know a lot more coaches and long trained professionals are saying all right. Lot of people are getting injured and a lot of people are not getting results. And there’s been a shift towards more long term health these days than there was you know just I just want to look at. Some people are becoming more aware and that’s why certain programs are out there like Crunchless Core is.

Chris: [00:12:34] What go into some detail about Crunchless Core. Why is it so much different and so much more effective than a lot of the ab programs out there?

Brian: [00:12:44] So another reasons why core routines fail. And I created the program based on why those, against those reasons. Yeah so with my background exercise science, numerous certifications I kind of understand how the core works and how the body is designed to move and perform. So with that information I create a Crunchless Core which is unlike anything else because I’ve taken years of experience, I’ve taken personal experience but also actual I have trained clients. I’ve trained athletes. I’ve trained individuals with this in mind, with this mindset where it’s not just “Oh it worked for me, so I am going to make a program and hopefully it works for everybody else.” No it’s actual proof we’ve got testimonials on how it works but it’s all goes back to science. It’s based on science and based on how the body was designed to move to function and to deliver what we wanted to deliver. So it’s different than everything else out there. It’s not short term. It’s a long term approach. It’s a 60-day program but it includes legs and includes upper body and includes stretching. I mean it’s not just do these “three on your back floor exercises eight minutes a day for four weeks.” Take this pill and it looks like this guy.

Chris: [00:14:05] People just don’t realize a lot of people think the average person doesn’t realize how instrumental the core, the center of the body is to all of your lifting. Right. All of it. Anything weight bearing or body weight exercises for that matter I mean a push up is a great core exercise. And people thought it was for your chest or your arm. Well yeah but it’s, as good for your abs is for any of the other muscles.

Brian: [00:14:34] Its funny, one of the certifications that I have is through functional human systems and one of their tests to assess someone’s functional strength is a push up tests where I’ve even seen big strong looking guys fail on the pushup test. They might be able to do the pushups but their hips drop first. And what does that prove that their core is not strong. So it’s not an upper body test it’s a core test. And it’s funny because the pushup is a great core exercise. And this included an Crunchless Core.

Chris: [00:15:05] Oh yeah. Variations right.

Brian: [00:15:08] Yeah. Variations and how you position yourself. And once you’re in that proper position and I’m all about technique and body position and once you’re in that proper position like you said your strength and your power and the safety of your body is going to be at its all-time high. Because again if you get your body in position of how the body was designed you know it’s going to perform how it should.

Chris: [00:15:34] So that’s yeah for people who want to know more about it. All you do is go to crunchless6pack.com. That’s crunchless the number six pack dot com and you will be blown away by the amount of information. Actually a lot of what we’re talking about right now they can go and do a lot of reading and if they go to that link.

Brian: [00:15:56] A lot of research not only just.

Chris: [00:15:58] Science based stuff is on that on that site there.

Brian: [00:16:04] And another thing that’s in Crunchless Core that I definitely want to touch on is the mind muscle connection which is extremely important for improving just efficiency in the body. It’s a lot of people just are aware they say “muscle memory muscle memory this. You know it’s been a little while but I’ve got muscle memory.” So in short a minute yeah it’s remembering a certain movement but the stronger that connection is that stronger that the connection between the mind and the muscle the Greater power strength output will happen in place. So there’s definitely this to take into consideration into the program. In order to properly wake up dormant muscles so again I’m going to go back to the sitting position right now and this sitted position muscles are dormant. They’re doing nothing. The glutes, you know the lower back is being stretched out. The core is just kind of being like blah even the upper body, forward head posture. There are dormant muscles taking place. And if you don’t wake up and restore these muscles back to their original state you can’t get in that proper positioning in order to execute the movements. That one is prescribed but obviously you want to be ready outside of exercise. That’s the whole point of the exercise isn’t it? To be good at everything outside of what you’re.

Chris: [00:17:27] Which was just more natural in everyday living if you go back so many centuries, I guess people just they weren’t sitting for hours at a time. In this culture and people all around the world just find themselves with all the technology and everything else we’re just sitting so much and suddenly all that crunching and the sit ups do is end up reinforcing this really ugly like half fetal position that we’re always say “Oh my back hurts.” Well I wonder why.

Brian: [00:17:57] Yeah. And a lot of people they just don’t. Myself included you know we get kind of lazy at times we don’t do the necessary things that the body needs in order to do what it’s designed to do and I keep going back to how it’s designed. You know we are strong by design. If we’re not utilizing the strength on how we were designed, we’ll never really truly meet our truest potential. So there is stretching involved in this program. There is muscle activation exercises. There’s foam rolling techniques, neuromuscular activation exercises. There’s all these different types of things that combat the damage done from sitting from poor training technique from doing years of even intense labor. I mean there’s it’s almost more of like a corrective type of program that’s going to help. Yeah. Again it’s not geared for the advance athlete. It’s geared for everybody even though it’s an advanced program. Anybody can do it. Some modifications might have to be made.

Chris: [00:18:56] Yeah because some people obviously who are maybe a little bit newer to exercise might go well because this is created by somebody who has a lot of advance training behind him. Right. Meaning you. Yeah. And so people go oh you know but what’s cool is what comes with it is Crunchless Core Lite Home Edition which is all bodyweight right. Shorter less involves workouts that people can do in their home without any equipment at all. Right. Yeah and that’s that’s really cool. And it’s pretty much follows the same template as the main program. It’s like a ton of different workouts that you do so you’re not getting bored you’re always doing new stuff. And over like a two-month period that’s pretty awesome. And you get exercise swaps so there’s an exercise that you don’t like or doesn’t fit your personal needs. You can swap it out for something different. And if people want a taste of what Crunchless Core of what the programs like they can actually grab a free gift right now they can go to criticalbench.com/corekillers and download that free report which is the link. The note that they heard at the beginning of this podcast texting Core killer to 3 4 5 3 4 5. They can do that as well. So yeah.

Brian: [00:20:22] Well more thing about what to expect from the program. That you might when looking at the program someone is going to definitely say while this looks very overwhelming. Right. It is. But think about all the movement you do on a daily basis. Everything you do brushing your teeth, walking the dog, I mean your core is involved. So the whole idea was kind of how like a shotgun approach of incorporating a ton of all these. Somebody may be out of the box exercises that you’re like wow I’ve never even seen that exercise before. It’s kind of like functional training. You’re trying to hit it hit the target somehow. And that’s why you know it’s not going to be just three exercises for 18 weeks. Slow controlled repetition. No it isn’t. It’s designed intentionally to translate over into everyday use. Yeah and that’s where people get hung up on. Oh it’s too intimidating there’s too much movement. Well yeah. Life is all about movement. You’ve got to be ready for anything.

Chris: [00:21:27] You’re right. No it’s definitely more performance athlete in this stuff which is ideally it’s what we need. It’s what everyone needs. Unless you’re an onstage bodybuilder. If that’s what you’re going for great, then you can spend all your time with much more isolated stuff for you just really trying to target in and hone in on one part of the body at a time and kind of build your body up that way.

Chris: [00:21:54] That’s and that’s fine but.

Brian: [00:21:56] It’s got to come back and get them some day.

Chris: [00:21:58] It does. Typically, you need to put it all together. You need to connect the body. You need to connect that chain from your feet to your head. So obviously we’ve talked a lot about training for a killer core but it also comes to like what we’re eating. The Nutrition. Let’s talk about abs are made in the kitchen is the popular or famous saying. Does this program do a program like this, core specific really kind of make a difference if the nutrition is off?

Brian: [00:22:37] Yeah. They go hand in hand. I say foods made in the kitchen. I mean that’s just. Abs are made. And I don’t like using the term abs. I would say core is made definitely in the gym. Yeah it’s you can eat as clean as you possibly can have the best whatever diet on the face of the planet. But if you’re not doing any type of resistance training it doesn’t have to be organized. It doesn’t have to be inside a gym. I mean go chop a tree down. I mean as long as you’re doing some kind of physical activity to build muscle you’re never going to have abs you’ll have maybe just some bone and bone that’s pushing against the skin. I don’t know but abs but it can do all the strength training you can do all this type of isolation work bodybuilder or not. But again if you have a layer of fat on you you’re not going to see the abs. But if you don’t train you’re not going to have it. So it’s it’s they go together.

Chris: [00:23:36] It’s a yin and yang thing here. So we have to try it. If we just see our abdominals. We need to build them up and we need to eat clean enough.

Brian: [00:23:45] Yeah I mean that’s a whole different topic for a different day. But you know if if you’re in the gym training hard with intentional specific core related exercises and movements functional type of exercises you will get abs. Again go back to those elite level professional athletes. They’ve got abs. They’ve got great abs and some of the best abs in the world. I mean look at track athletes, sprinters, glutes on them, the quads. I mean they’re not doing isolation exercises they’re doing compound movements explosive plyometric and they have abs. So but they also probably eat pretty clean because they know the benefits of that. But if you train hard it’s kind of we hear you can out train him or you can out eat. What is the saying?

Chris: [00:24:33] You can’t out train a bad diet.

Brian: [00:24:34] You can’t out train a bad diet.

Chris: [00:24:36] Unless you’re like young.

Brian: [00:24:37] Unless you’re young or it sounds to be good. So that’s saying abs made in the kitchen. Yeah it’s true. But you also have to put your body to work. You’re not just going to get. Same thing with steroids the whole steroid conversation is people don’t just get big by just taking steroids. They put steroids to use. They put it to work. They go to the gym and they crush it and then just blow up. I mean that’s just how it is.

Chris: [00:25:03] It’s such a quick. People maybe just a little bit naiver or ignorant to that whole side of it. We won’t go down that road so much. I don’t know does just slightly blow everyone off. Oh well he’s taken stuff. It’s like well there’s a lot more that goes into it. Yeah. Maybe he is but or she is right. But there is a lot of hard work there still there whether you agree with them using stuff or not. You know unfortunately performance enhancing drugs are a huge part of professional and high level sports in this world. There have been for a long time.

Brian: [00:25:41] But for us people who want to go the healthy route, having a good solid core program. It really makes a difference. I can’t tell you how many times clients of mine and we work on our core and our golf game improves or they can swim better, or they can climb up their stairs easier, live recover from an injury better all from training the core. Again your core is the core. Your legs are attached to it. Upper body is attached to it. Your spinal cord is attached to it. It runs right through it. I mean everything revolves around the core. So w wouldn’t makes sense to train your core properly so it has a positive effect on everything in your body. So when dealing with core programs, you just have to have something in place. I’m not talking. Again Crunchless Core is exactly designed for to train the entire body. It’s not just a Ab program. There’s nowhere in there.

Chris: [00:27:32] Your deadlifting and then.

Brian: [00:26:38] Oh you do. Yeah. I’ve got some pull up variations. There’s so many different types of core exercise. I mean there are so many exercises designed to target the core based on body positioning certain types of planes and motions going. You know there’s but it’s designed all with the aspect of strengthening the core which ultimately affects the entire body. So but abs are made in the kitchen so as you’re you know so is food. But really your core is really made in the gym. If you are looking for a true core strength.

Chris: [00:27:13] Yeah well that’s amazing information. And again if you want to read more about everything we’ve discussed check out crunchless6pack.com And you’ll be I mean there’s a lot of reading material there. So much so much of the program is pretty much just given away kind of right. Right on that at that link there or grab that Core killers report criticalbench.com/corekillers or just text core killers 2 3 4 5 3 4 5 and grab that free report which you are in by the way. We made that together. That report a few years back that’s a phenomenal report. So with five really great exercises in there that people can and the information is there any information. Yeah. And while it’s been a pleasure sitting down and talking with you about how to really build an iron core for men and for women would love this program to. Sorry if we didn’t talk more about that throughout this conversation but it’s absolutely a man and women friendly program. They find us women in their film.

Brian: [00:28:24] This it’s for young, old, for active, it’s for sedentary Americans. There’s not one person will be able to do everything completely perfectly but that just sets the bar that you like. All right. That’s where I need to be I want to work towards it. So it’s challenging and its but it’s what we need we’ve got to keep challenging the body to keep getting a strong and healthy as possible. And that’s why I created it.

Chris: [00:28:50] That’s it. Yeah it’s fantastic. Well we’ll do this again sometime. Yeah. Something else awesome another topic of conversation. All right. Thank you so much all you terrific listeners this has been Strong by Design Podcast with Coach Brian Klepacki. We’ll talk to you again next time.

Chris: [00:29:09] Thank you for listening and stay strong by design.