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Build a Stronger Physique by Conquering Your Fear of “Meathead Lifts”

Written by Philip Walter on Mar 4 at 11:58 pm.

Get the physique you want by destroying fear of lifting big.

Photo courtesy of ericmcgregor

The physical fitness component of the Brickhouse Bodymind total fitness program is primarily designed to develop balance and coordination, improve cardiovascular conditioning, and make modest strength gains through the use of simple but effective bodyweight exercises. Sometimes, however, the desire for more significant strength gains demands a different sort of workout routine.

Whether you’re relatively new to physical fitness, or an old pro looking to improve muscle definition, the most effective way to build lean muscle mass is to demand that your muscles lift progressively more and more weight. Assuming your nutrition is up to snuff, your muscles will soon adapt to this increasing demand by making more muscle. This improves your physique and also helps you burn more calories on a daily basis.

While most of the people I advise don’t care much about gaining a significant amount of muscle mass, only a few are without some desire to increase muscle definition and amp up the “brickhouse” factor in their physique. Only problem is, many of these folks, particularly females, are not doing the right things to get them where they want to be. What they tend to do is lift lighter weights over more reps using isolated exercises and nautilus-type weight machines.

This is total maintenance mode, and it’s not a particularly efficient way to work out. It will help keep the muscle tone you already have, but if you are at all interested in improving your physique and muscle definition, you’re really going to have to change your mindset a bit.

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Toning a Trim Tummy and Finding Your Six Pack Abs

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 11 at 12:14 am.

 It seems that the physical fitness Holy Grail for the majority people I work with is a killer core. If you’re a guy, you want ripped, 6-pack abs. If you’re a girl, you want a sleek and sexy, well toned midsection. Problem is, most people don’t employ an effective strategy for toning their core muscles and bringing out their latent 6-pack. Crunches alone aren’t going to do the job. Neither will starving yourself and running 5 miles a day.

The first step is dropping the ego a bit and mentally preparing yourself for the fact that the perfect body doesn’t really exist, and that for most of us, simply having a flat stomach is sexier than, and just as good for our long-term health as a ripped-to-shreds six pack. Having established that, the best way to pull every bit of sex appeal you can from your midsection is to take a two-pronged approach to your workout routine. This means regularly performing exercises that build and tone the abdominals, obliques, and other muscles of the core while at the same time adopting a cardio program that effectively burns fat from your tummy. The former without the latter only serves to increase the pooch above your belt buckle, while the latter without the former only turns you into a skinny waif. Of course, diet figures heavily into this equation, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the combination of toning your core and getting cardio designed to burn fat in order to unleash those sexy abdominals.

Effective Core Strengthening Exercises

First off, rid your mind of the two following myths:

  1. Since the rectus abdominus (down the center of your stomach), is what we actually see as the “six pack,” I should concentrate on bulking it up and forget about the transversus abdominis, obliques, and other core muscles. Not true – a tight, sexy abdomen has as much to do with these other, more behind-the-scenes muscles as it does with the star of the show.
  2. I should keep a running tally of how many crunches I can do while I watch American Idol, and shoot for doing more in a row each night. Again, not true – you’re better served performing fewer, more concentrated exercises if achieving the 6-pack is your goal.

Okay, so now that you’ve purged your mind of this nonsense, let’s talk about the single greatest piece of workout equipment ever devised for increasing core muscle strength and tone: the ab wheel. That’s right, this cheap, simple, unassuming little gadget will do more for your midsection than anything, ever. How can this be true, you might ask?

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