During quick eating contests and challenges that don’t really require a high stomach capacity, one of the main differences that separates one eater from the next is jaw strength. There is a reason that Joey Chestnut is nicknamed “Jaws” and you know that too if you have watched him eat. Like your stomach and the rest of your body, your jaw is full of muscles, and some people’s jaws are genetically stronger than others. Because it has muscles though, there are ways to train your jaw, no matter how strong it currently is, so that you can increase both your jaw strength AND endurance. Having great jaw strength is important because it helps you bite and chew through the tougher and more chewy foods such as meats and breads. Having great endurance is as equally important, if not more important, because it allows you to bite and chew hard for longer periods of time. Eating challenges and contests involving chewy foods such as thick crust pizza and steak require great jaw strength with an even greater amount of endurance. You may have great jaw strength for 3 or 4 minutes, but if your jaw starts hurting and your eating speed decreases, people with less strength but more endurance will pass you up and you will lose. You also need endurance to finish your larger and longer food challenges. With all of that being said, here are easy ways to improve your jaw strength AND your endurance that anybody can use.

Chew gum – The most widely used training method is chewing “sugarless” gum since it is virtually calorie-free and very affordable. It is also a very convenient way to train both your strength AND endurance. Using gum containing sugar, like any candy or sugary food, can cause damage to your teeth if used often for a long period of time. Adding additional pieces will increase the gum’s “resistance” so you may want to add a few extra pieces every now and then, but there is no need to be wasteful. You don’t necessarily have to chew a full pack at once to receive strength training benefits. If you add extra pieces, chew for as long as you can to help increase your jaw endurance at the higher amount of resistance. This will help you during longer challenges and contests.

DO NOT FREEZE CHEWY CANDY – I once read in an article about competitive eating that an eater trains his jaw using frozen Tootsie Rolls, and that is one of the dumbest things that I have ever heard related to the subject. Don’t freeze anything. While chewing a frozen Tootsie Roll is a lot smarter than chewing ice cubes and jaw breakers, it is a lot safer and smarter to chew gum. Plus, candy only stays hard for a short time and then you have to eat more which just adds more calories each time. Gum lasts as long as you want it to, most of the time, and it is a lot less calories. You want to strengthen your jaw safely without breaking all of your precious teeth!!

Train with food – The best way to to train your body to eat a lot of food is to practice by eating a lot of food, and the best way to train your body to chew food faster is to practice chewing food faster. Perfect practice makes perfect. For some of your meals, eat chewy foods, depending on whatever your taste buds like. If you can afford the calories, thick crust pizza and soft pretzels are known to be chewy along with sandwiches made with really tough and chewy breads (French). Meaty foods such as steak are chewy too. Improve your jaw strength by actually chewing your foods. Take bigger bites, and then chew the food as fast as you can. Then repeat the process, and don’t swallow until the food is a very easy consistency to swallow. This will help train you to actually enjoy your food normally too rather than eating like somebody is going to come in and take it away.

One thing that many eaters don’t consider when training their jaw to chew faster is the role that your tongue plays during the process. Your tongue moves all of the food around your mouth so that the pieces can be chewed when necessary or swallowed when it is broken down enough and you are ready. That is why you should not fill your mouth to capacity, because then you can’t move the food around with your tongue and swallow it fast. There is one way to train your tongue strength and endurance if you are over 18, but in an effort to keep this website child friendly I will just let you think of what that is. Just be conscience when you are training your jaw strength to practice moving your food around with your tongue. This will help you in your future eating events.

When you are training for jaw strength, you are not doing it right if your mouth and jaw is not tired by the end. If you are chewing gum, chew until it hurts, and then chew some more. Just don’t do it all day every day. You may have heard or read that professional eater Takeru Kobayashi once had jaw problems that stemmed from his involvement with competitive eating. Being afraid to train and increase your jaw strength because you read that is about as smart as it is to be afraid of the effects caused to your body after eating 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. You and I are both NOT Takeru Kobayashi or Joey Chestnut, both legends of the sport, so do not waste your time and thoughts comparing yourself to them and their training methods or physical condition. Biting your tongue is one thing, but hurting your jaw is not even listed as one of The Dangers Of Competitive Eating, because 1 person hurting his jaw who makes a living using it does not make it a danger to people who aren’t nearly as serious who have not been doing it nearly as long. For normal people, that isn’t an issue so there is nothing to worry about.

There are 2 aspects to eating faster, and the first aspect is obviously jaw strength & endurance to chew the food. The second aspect is the ability to swallow the food quicker, which basically means that you need to train yourself to swallow larger chunks of food at a faster rate. It is recommended that you train one aspect at a time, and do not combine both. You cannot really train your jaw strength while also trying to swallow bigger chunks of food faster. You also cannot really train yourself to swallow larger bites faster if you are focused on chewing. Train each one separately. You now know how to increase your jaw strength and endurance, so to learn how to train yourself to swallow larger chunks of your food faster, please read How To Train Yourself To Eat Faster.

To go back and view other Stomach Capacity Training articles, click here.