Tim Ferriss Ab Workout: Strengthen Your Core

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 4-Hour Body" by Timothy Ferriss. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you trying to strengthen your core? Do you want to try the Tim Ferriss ab workout?

The Tim Ferriss ab workout uses two exercises: the myotatic crunch and cat vomit exercise. The combination of these two will help you tone your midsection.

Keep reading for the Tim Ferriss ab workout and how to do the two exercises.

Tim Ferriss Ab Workout

The kettlebell swing will make most of your body look better, but to get six-pack abs, you’ll need to do two additional exercises: the myotatic crunch and the cat vomit exercise. Until the author started doing these two exercises, he’d never had a visible six-pack, even when his body fat was lower than 12% (which is necessary for visible abs). This is because conventional ab exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups on the floor, don’t use the full range of motion of the abs. Using the two exercises, he had visible abs in three weeks.

Myotatic Crunch

The myotatic crunch is effective because it puts your body in a stretched position—when a muscle is stretched, the body automatically contracts to resist the stretch, and this contraction builds strength. Additionally, this crunch activates multiple abdominal muscles, not just the six-pack (rectus abdominis) muscles.

To do the myotatic crunch:

  • Place your low- and mid-back on a BOSU ball, swiss ball, or pile of cushions. Your bum should be no higher than half a foot off the ground and your shoulder blades shouldn’t be touching the ball.
  • Stretch your arms over your head like you’re about to dive into a pool. 
  • Lower your upper back slowly for 4 seconds. Maintain that diving position and push your hands away from the ball.
  • When your hands touch the floor, hold for 2 seconds.
  • Lift your back slowly until your arms are perpendicular to the ground. Hold this position for 2 seconds.

Do ten repetitions twice a week. When you can do ten, add weight by holding a book. (Note: If you’re a woman and you want to maintain an hourglass figure, don’t add more than ten pounds of weight. Using extra weight can give you a square-shaped waist.)

Cat Vomit Exercise

The cat vomit exercise is designed to pull your abs in. The six-pack muscles (rectus abdominis) run vertically, so they have no effect on how far your abs stick out. The muscles that do have an effect are the “corset muscles” (transverse abdominis), which are the muscles that run around your middle and work when you cough or laugh.

To do the cat vomit exercise:

  • Get into a crawling position and put your back and neck in a neutral position (look at the ground or slightly ahead).
  • Exhale through your mouth until you have no air left in your lungs. This will contract your abs.
  • Suck in your stomach (belly button towards spine) for 8-12 seconds. 
  • Breathe in through your nose.
  • Breathe out and in, and then repeat the exercise.

Do ten repetitions twice a week.

Tim Ferriss Ab Workout: Strengthen Your Core

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Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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