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Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance Hardcover – April 23, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,213 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Coach Kelly Starrett received his Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2007 from Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, California. He currently runs his own physical therapy practice at San Francisco CrossFit—one of the first 50 CrossFit affiliates—and focuses on performance-based Orthopedic Sports Medicine with an emphasis on returning athletes to elite level sport and performance. His clients see exceptional results from his progressive blend of manual physical therapy and strength training. Since 2009, Kelly has been traveling the country teaching his "Movement, Mobility & Maintenance Course" in an effort to spread his message that good mobility and proper movement are the keys to good performance and that all humans should be able to perform this basic maintenance on themselves.

Kelly's clients have included Olympic gold-medalists, Tour de France cyclists, world-class extreme skiers and X-Games medalists, dancers with Smuin, San Francisco, and Sacramento Ballet Companies, military personnel, and competitive age-division athletes.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Victory Belt Publishing; Hardcover with Jacket edition (April 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936608588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936608584
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a biomechanics and Injury prevention specialist, I specialize in corrective exercise and have made a successful career out of it. I am always looking for new information and books to expand my knowledge of the human body. I was looking for a bit more than what this book provided. I was originally drawn in by the amazing reviews (even before the book was released). Which is awfully suspicious. Regardless, I'd figure I'd see what all of the hype is about. As a practitioner, I am more interested in causation and correction, less in just what looks( or doesn't look) right. This book provided very little of what I was looking for and I'd recommend several other, more detailed books before this one, if you are interested in injury prevention. The book was filled with errors, that was easy for someone like myself to pick out quickly.

Pros: Solid info on 'smashing', picked up some new stuff.

Cons: Lack of detailed explanations
Errors in simple understandings of human mechanics
Heavily influenced by Crossfit propaganda
Little info on causation

Recommendations: NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
Movement-Gray Cook
Pain-Free Program-Anthony Carey
Advances in Functional Training-Mike Boyle
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was initially surprised that on the day of publication +200 five star reviews hit Amazon for this book and it strikes a little more balance is required.

While I subscribe to much of what the author puts forth and on balance this is a worthwhile resource there are some real pros and cons...

Among the pros is the philosophy, comprehensiveness and generally easy to read style that is at times conversational in a positive manner.

There are some major cons. Starting with the fact that there is no index -- are you kidding me. This matters as for many I suspect this will serve more as a resource than read it once and absorb everything. Second issue is that it is very dense in material. This makes synthesizing things a challenge at times as we are left to figure them out on your own. I suspect many more lay or casual athletes will give up due to this. I could only read a chapter, or so, at a time. Pictures are okay but a tie to all the videos on his site would be much better. When dealing with movement still pictures aren't the same. I also would have liked to have seen a chapter relating sporting activities to the motions and mobility they require and the issues they tend to raise.

One other important point. Prior to publication of the book mobilitywod.com, the author's web site, was a free blog. It is pushed heavily in the reviews and in the book. It is now a for pay site. Fair enough, it doesn't need to be free but it is a material turnoff to link the two in the way it has been done.

So, I recommend this more for a trainer, serious athlete, and less for the casual athlete who arguably this should be most useful for.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before we start, yes, this is freaking long. I know. I originally wrote this for people at Reddit, and only made a few minor edits for Amazon.

First off, a squabble with how the book was published: I ended up paying 50 euros to purchase the book and get it shipped over here, at Amazon.com, which is a US-based website. This is odd because I live in the Netherlands, so it would've made much more sense to order at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de, but then I would've paid 50 euros for just the book sans the shipping. This is odd and in dire need of correction.

On Amazon, all you read are rave reviews of how the book will change your life and will instantly make you the healthiest human being on the planet and all that... well, I don't believe in magic bullets, and neither should you. Don't take this as me saying the book isn't good; it is and there are definitely a lot of things I've learnt from it. However, I don't think it's the be-all-end-all of fitness books.

Overall, the book is well-written; very digestible writing. However, I can see that if you're new to this, you'll probably have a hard time on some parts, and will be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information. Because there is a lot of information: there are 32 individual movements described, ranging from a basic air squat to a muscle-up and there are over a 150 pages describing specific mobility techniques.

The book starts of with an introduction, which, as expected, is Kelly banging his own drum loudly for a couple pages; there is no real info there. From there on out, the book is divided up into roughly three parts:

* Introduction to/Explanation of the movement and mobility system: this explains Kelly's general rules for movement, mainly concerning spinal organisation and bracing.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All I can say is this book works. You can see the before and after photo.
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Format: Hardcover
First, let me say that I really like Kelly Starrett's videos. They are very informative, and fun to listen to.

I picked up Becoming a Supple Leopard with very high expectations. It was available for pre-order months before it was actually published, and there was a ton of hype around it. In the end, I was a bit let down.

The book had some good parts and bad parts. Let's start with the bad first.

- It was a bit verbose. It took dozens of pages to say what could have been said in 2-3 pages.
- There were no assessments. Kelly gives lots of great mobilizations, stretches and drills, but doesn't give you a way to assess which ones you need (and there are literally hundreds). Sure, there's the test/retest, but it still seemed a bit disorganized to me.

The good:

- He teaches you how to do your own self-maintenance, and that's big! Previously what was previously the domain of only physios, chiros and osteos can now be done by the person him/herself, without much knowledge of anatomy. No, it doesn't replace the expertise of the mentioned professionals, but the tools given in this book certainly help to make their jobs easier, because it allows people to take their prehabilitation (and rehabilitation) into their own hands.

- I've read a lot of books on improving flexibility, and most of them only talk about one aspect: either the fascial aspect of flexibility, or the neurological aspects of flexibility. Kelly's book talked about the fascial aspect, the neural aspect (although to a lesser extent) and loosening up the joint capsule. That last one especially is big since I've never read anyone else talking about that.
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