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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Charles Atlas was PALEO! on new podcast of PaleoJay's Smoothie Cafe

Frank Zane- Mr. Stomach Vacuum (among other things)  
Most of you will think I am insane!  Well, that is fine- but I am here to tell you that the exercise regimen promoted by Charles Atlas, way back in the 1930’s, is the most paleo friendly, productive, and beneficial exercise program you can possibly follow!

So, at least you know that I am insane.  Follow onwards, or not as you will, but I think this is the best advice about exercise that I have ever given.  For man, or woman.

The foundation of the Atlas courses was this: Dynamic Resistance.  I’ll admit, it sounds like a nebulous concept- what exactly is it?

It is resistance within the muscle itself.  To illustrate- flex your arm, as if you are curling a dumbbell, or barbell.
Just don’t use a weight- nothing- just your arm.

“How can I do this,” you say, “without resistance?”  Just generate the resistance within the arm itself- make it hard!
Go slow, and make that flex go through the whole range of motion, fighting internal resistance every step of the way.

You can actually make this harder than lifting a barbell or dumbbell, since the resistance is equally hard through every plane of resistance!  It is maximum productivity.

But, the thing is, you don’t stop with curls, the biceps alone.  Of course not, you follow a logical progression, working your body from head to toe.

You start with the high reach.  You reach as high as you can with your right arm, slowly, flexing all along the way.  If you are in front of a mirror (recommended), you will see your muscles flexing, from your lats to your triceps to your spinal erectors.  Attempt to accentuate this action, by actively engaging each muscle group!  The mirror helps here, especially in the early stages.

Then, try the fly.  I don’t know if you ever trained with weights in a gym, but this is where you cross your arms in front of your chest, engaging the pectoral muscles of the chest.  You really don’t need weights, (really!), and you  can do it fine, with dynamic resistance.  You just make the movement hard, internally- go slowly, and flex as you cross your arms across your chest for, oh, 10 repetitions.  I guarantee, you will feel exactly as you would as if you had done so with dumbbells or cables, except for the musculoskeletal trauma of heavy weights!  All beneficial, without the trauma.

Next, try the pulldown, or chin-up.  You know, even if you have never done a chin-up or pulldown in your life, now you can.
You just raise your arm as high as you can, and flexing- pull down on the right side.  Make the lats flex, the mirror helps here.  Then, repeat on the left, until you have done 10 on both right and left sides.  You should feel tired and pumped!

Now, let’s do the squat!  Now, I don’t want you to do the usual squat, with a huge weight across your spine (compressing it!), and the high reps, bottom-down (to damage your knees)!  What has happened with conventional weight training nowadays, anyway??

Just flex your thighs, and go down to a comfortable depth, flexing all the way.  Make those quadriceps work, isometrically (and internally) as you go up and down.  Don’t go too deep- 3/4 of the way down is plenty (don’t want knee damage) but flex hard every step of the way.  That is the perfect leg exercise, and perfectly safe.

Now, let’s move to the abdominals!  Forget what you have been told- the very best, key ab exercise is ab vacuums!  This is where you suck in your gut (whatever the size), and hold it. Do this, each hold (again, in front of a mirror is ideal, so you can see what you are doing), for reps.  5 seconds is ideal, in my opinion.

Afterwards, do side-by-side lateral bends (easy) as a warm down, for flexibility.  15 reps seems perfect.

Next- lateral raises!  Pretend you have small dumb bells in each hand, and raise them straight-armed to the side for 8-10 reps.  (All rep guidelines are arbitrary- experiment, and find what works for you).  Flex throughout, and look in the mirror, at least early on…

Lastly, I recommend curls- just flex your arms throughout a full range of motion, pretending you have the maximum amount you can lift on every part of the movement.  You will be pumped, and exhausted.

Ok, that is the basics.  You can see how to perform these exercises on John Peterson’s excellent site here:

John has this down to a science.  He has been a Charles Atlas practitioner since GO, and you will profit from his advice.

But, for an even more accessible version, go to my ebook: Perfectly Paleo Exercise!  I go way more into depth…

But, the main takeaway I hope to provide here is this: you should not feel you have to go to a gym!  Not feel that you should Lift heavy things!  (My god, I get so tired of that!)

What you need to do is first- eat healthy, paleo foods! Get adequate sleep!!! And FINALLY:

Do natural, paleo types of exercise.
Self generated, within the body itself, like a CAT!  (watch a cat stretch for an idea)
Stretch, and generate strength exercises from within the muscle!

Life if simple.  Paleo and diet are simple.

Eat like your great grandparents.
Sleep like your great grandparents.

LIVE like your great grandparents!  Spend time daily in nature.  Avoid processed foods and modern pharmaceutical drugs.  AND your doctors much as possible! (Emergencies only!)

Follow these simple, traditional, and really very commonsense guidelines- and you are GOLDEN!