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?


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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Hope, Recovery, and Your NPR Driveway Moment of the Week

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 29 at 11:23 am.

Inspiration for New Years from

photo credit: KansasPhoto (Patrick)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! My wife and I are winding down celebrating Christmas with our families and looking forward to ringing in the New Year together. It’s a great time for getting inspired, of course – the week of the New Year’s beginning – so I thought I would share with you all an inspiring story I heard recently on NPR. Consider it your NPR Driveway Moment of the week. I know I haven’t kept up with posting them much, but I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Jason Crigler – Hope and Recovery

It is a story about a musician – a New York City guitarist named Jason Crigler – who suffered a brain hemorrhage during a concert in Manhattan in 2004. His wife, pregnant at the time with their first child, and the rest of their family were devastated by the grim prognosis given by Jason’s doctors. Even so, they refused to give up on him, and what ensued was an 18-month odyssey, the vast majority of which, Jason has no memory.

During that time, he spent more than a year in the hospital, but finally, thanks to the dogged hopes of his loved ones, he recovered from his injury. The whole saga is documented in an inspiring film called Life. Support. Music. Hearing this story on the way home from work affected me deeply and reminded me of several things we would all do well to keep in mind during the coming year.

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My Other Pet Blog –

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)

Peace and thanks for reading!

One Year of Brickhouse Bodymind!

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 4 at 10:21 pm.

one full year of has come to a close

photo courtesy of my wife, amy

One year ago yesterday I published the first ever post on I can’t say the time has flown by, nor has it dragged particularly. Seems like it’s been a year. My goal was to publish one post a week, and I am pleasantly surprised to find I actually managed to hit that goal. This is post number 53, so that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

You are now part of a community of over 1,000 unique visitors who read this site every month, and that number continues to rise, so thanks to all of you for spending time reading my ramblings and watching my videos. Without you all, it would hardly be worth it.

It has certainly been an interesting journey. One that I’ve enjoyed very much indeed. This blog was supposed to do two things: 1) contribute to the growing conversation about the integral model and integral fitness, and 2) keep me motivated and on track toward finishing my book project. The first purpose seems to be fulfilling itself as more and more people stumble upon the site, and with a realistic publication date for my book sometime in January, it looks like the second purpose too is working itself out.

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