Zen in the Art of Self-Resistance

 Via: http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/shenandoah/OBB/OBB.html

“. . . I once lifted weights five mornings a week for twelve straight years. One morning I just wasn’t inspired go through my routine, and ended up stopping altogether. For the next four years I got absolutely no exercise whatsoever, and then one day I took a hard look at myself and wasn’t too happy with what I saw. All my weight had traveled south and consolidated around my waist. My arms, shoulders, and chest had become flabby and had shrunk considerably in size. I decided it was time to get back into shape and to rebuild the physique I had once been proud of. With a Herculean effort I renewed my morning workouts, and within three months I was just about back to where I once was. The problem was that the enthusiasm of previous years just wasn’t there and it took every ounce of resolve I had to get through the routines. The workouts also began leaving me feeling fatigued. I kept up my morning routine for six months until, finally, I felt the need to give it a rest.

Well, I wasn’t about to give up all that I had worked so hard for, so I decided to make a study of alternative forms of exercise that would be as close as possible to the effectiveness of weight lifting. I scoured the Internet picking up ideas from a great number of sources. I experimented with various exercises, integrating those exercises I found to be effective into a routine I was developing. Armed with my knowledge of body building, I was able to identify the most effective exercises, and I was also able to develop exercises of my own. In fact, about thirty of the exercises found in this program I created myself. The end result is that I have put together the most efficient and effective weightless workout routine I possibly could. The best part is, I no longer have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to do a workout. I just integrate my exercises into my work day at the office, leaving me with free time and a lot more energy throughout the day. . .”

“. . . In developing my program, I adhered to the following guidelines:

  • I would either adopt or develop only the best of the best. There are only so many hours in a day and no one has the time to waste on exercises that don’t produce maximum results.
  • The main focus of the exercises would be geared towards building muscle – exercises that challenge muscles to the max and force them into growth. As much as possible, I have duplicated the movements of weight-lifting. I don’t have much use for exercises that “tone”, which, I’ve concluded, is a code word for next to useless.
  • The exercises would require no equipment and could be performed while either standing, sitting, or utilizing a wall, allowing me to exercise virtually anywhere at anytime. This makes the program ideal for people who can’t get to a gym or cart weights around; people who travel, students, military personel. You can take Zen-in-the-Art with you on vacations.

Keeping all of the above in mind, I set about carefully analyzing each muscle group – neck, shoulders, chest, back, arms, forearms, abdomen, and legs – and came up with series of exercises for each muscle group that would cover the full range of movement and target the muscles in each group from an effective range of angles, resulting in full development. After having spent months developing, adding to, and refining my program, I am now satisfied that it is the most comprehensive and effective weightless bodybuilding program that exists, and it has certainly turned out to be much more effective than anything I could have hoped for! . . .”

“. . . Zen is the Oriental philosophy, or more accurately, the state of being, of total control. It is the ability to perform tasks effortlessly. For example, a Zen Archer can place an arrow in its mark without conciously attempting to do so. The physical task of drawing the bow, aiming, and letting fly the arrow becomes irrelevant as the Zen master, the arrow, and the target become as one. Anyone who shoots a good game of pool knows this heightened state of being. In this same manner, performing these exercises becomes as much an exercise in mind control as it does a physical activity. As you do these exercises more and more, you will develop an inner memory of how these exercises should feel when performed to maximum effectiveness. Rather than consciously applying pressure with the resistance limb, you will be able to virtually let it go limp, thinking of it as a ‘dead weight’, and it will virtually take on a life of its own, becoming an object almost impossible to lift. You will also find that your ability to focus will become more and more acute, and thinking your muscles into further growth will become as much a part of the exercises as the physical aspects of the exercises, themselves. Because you are using your own body to develop your own body, the whole routine becomes as much an exercise in meditation as it is an exercise in building muscle. . .”

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3 thoughts on “Zen in the Art of Self-Resistance”

  1. Excellent advice. You’ve been very thorough in analyzing the separate areas of the body and what would work best. It’s nice to see posts that are really useful. Thanks

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