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My Favorite Ab Workout Ever

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 22 at 8:55 pm.

photo courtesy of photo credit: Julio Ignacio / away !

When I woke up this morning, I was good and sore. You know that feeling when it hurts so good? It’s not so bad that you feel like you overdid it, but you know you did some work, you challenged your body in some way. That’s how I felt this morning – particularly in my core musculature. Because of that, I think I’ve hit on the best core workout you can get … and the best part is there’s not a single crunch, sit-up, or other abdominal isolation exercise in the entire workout.

See, your ab muscles are really stabilizers. They aren’t designed to do a lot of work in terms of lifting or crunching or pushing or pulling. No, your abs are stabilizers, which means they are here to keep your spine in proper alignment while other muscles do their jobs. So when you squat down and lift some heavy object, it appears you’re working only working your legs, but your abs are doing a lot of work too, just in keeping your trunk erect and in maintaining a healthy lumbar-pelvic rhythm.

This explains why the workout described below made me so sore in my core – all the exercises (save the bench press) require a good deal or core stabilization, which is what your abs are designed to do. So throw out the endless crunch routine and try the following workout sometime, then let me know if you’re abs aren’t talking to you the next day.

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Which is best – Yoga or Strength Training? What about Yoga and Strength Training?

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 18 at 4:32 pm.

which should come first - yoga or strength training?

Matthew_Dutile

So which is it – yoga or resistance training? The two practices seem to indicate different paths to completely different destinations in terms of physique and functional ability. The yogi is the skinny guy or gal who can twist him or herself into a pretzel while calmly and annoyingly chanting AUM! The weight lifter is the meathead who spends too much time in the gym developing big muscles that may look good but are largely inflexible and non-functional.

Thankfully these two opinions are gross and inaccurate generalizations.

I personally think the research shows a combination of yoga posture practice and strength training is the best thing you can do for your body, aside from proper nutrition of course. This is not really a new concept. Health clubs all around the world have regular yoga classes in addition to their free weights and nautilus machines. We learned a few years ago in the book Real Men Do Yoga, that even football players can get a lot out of supplementing their heavy lifting with some rigorous posture practice.

But how well have yoga and strength training really been integrated in popular training regimes? Not too well in my opinion. The two practices remain separate things to do on separate days for separate purposes. Read on to find why recent discoveries indicate this should change.

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My Other Pet Blog – ADistillationOfSelf.com

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 22 at 10:40 pm.

Project Distillation

A Distillation of … what?

Photo credit: Pål Berge

So, the holidays are coming up, and as most of you probably know, I’ve been hard at work finalizing the recipes, workout plans, stress management techniques, and thought experiments that will make up my book, The Brickhouse Bodymind Blueprint.  That has unfortunately meant fewer posts here at the blog.  Things will return to normal as soon as the book is ready, which with any luck will be the end of January.

Anyway, until then I have started up a new little project.  In addition to being a fun challenge in the web design department, it should give me an outlet for less structured features than those found here, and keep me from becoming a total recluse while I finalize the book.

It will also serve as my workout log.  Those of you who are interested in seeing what my regular physical training regimine actually looks like can do that at this website.  Currently I am trying to shed a final few percentge-points of bodyfat before we take pictures of the exercises that will be featured in my book.  You can read a detailed description of the workout cycle here.

The new website is called A Distillation of Self.  I wrote an introductory post that explains the whole vision in a nutshell.  Also, you can find the best yet description of my personal transformative practice there.  Please don’t hesitate to let me know what ya’ll think of the new site by commenting here or there, or sending me an e-mail at philip(at)brickhousebodymind.com.

Peace and thanks for reading!

Maximizing Your Human Heritage – 10 Ways to Improve the Performance of your Human Body with Evolutionary Fitness

Written by Philip Walter on Jun 30 at 9:22 pm.

I recently came across Arthur DeVany’s blog, where he actively discusses his Evolutionary Fitness protocol. Art’s a 70 year-old guy who is in fantastic shape, weighing about 200 pounds at about 10% bodyfat. He’s really a picture of what any of us would want to look and feel like at his age. He’s been active for a very long time and is extremely smart. Over the years, his philosophy toward physical fitness has come to be informed greatly by the evolutionary heritage of the human species.

Now, I believe one of the greatest advantages of living in the 21st Century is our awareness of our own evolution. The baby-boomers are really the first generation to have wide-spread knowledge of the history of human development going back 40,000 years and beyond. The advantages this has to understanding your own personal development are huge, so when I stumbled upon Art’s work, I ate it up.

Keep in mind, I’m not a geneticist or evolutionary biologist, but I have done a fair bit of homework for this article. Even so, I welcome corrections from those who might have a more informed perspective on this subject. My general pattern when I come across an intriguing body of work is to consume as much of it as I can, digest it over a period of time, and spit it back out on this blog. Doing this helps me learn more about the particular system and internalize the core concepts, while making it my own at the same time. This article is my analysis of Art DeVany’s Evolutionary Fitness essay.

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Muscle Imbalances Due to Your Handedness and How to Work with Them

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 12 at 10:59 pm.

Photo of Rafa Nadal, courtesy of the ATP Masters Series online. Note the difference in size between biceps. (He’s a lefty).

In what became just one more in a long line of NPR driveway moments, I caught myself lurking longer than necessary in my car outside the grocery store, captivated by a story on the show, The Infinite Mind. The name of the episode was “Handedness,” and as you could probably guess, it centered on the phenomenon of left- or right-handedness.

The most interesting part to me was about the human being’s tendency toward right-handedness. As a species we are about 85-90 percent right-handed. According to a guest on The Infinite Mind, other species show no signs of such a skew. Research shows that animals do tend to have some paw, leg, appendage dominance that is analogous to handedness in humans, but that the split between right and left lateralization is pretty much even. So what gives?

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