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Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy Paperback – September 6, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 205 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bret Contreras is hands down one of the top fitness professionals. If you want to learn the science and art of bodyweight training, there is no better resource than Bret's book, Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy."

Brad Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS, CSPS-- Author of The M.A.X. Muscle Plan

“Bret Contreras is extremely knowledgeable about biomechanics, and Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy is a tremendous resource for anyone wanting a better understanding of performing bodyweight exercises.”

Joe Dowdell, CSCS-- Founder and Owner of Peak Performance, New York City

About the Author

Bret Contreras, PhD, MS, CSCS, has become known in the strength and conditioning industry as the Glute Guy because of his expertise in helping clients develop strong, shapely glutes. In 2015 he earned his PhD in sport science from the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, where he studied under biomechanics expert John Cronin. Contreras has conducted numerous electromyography experiments in his research.

As the former owner of Lifts Studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, Contreras worked closely with hundreds of clients ranging from sedentary people to elite athletes, and he invented a glute-strengthening machine called the Hip Thruster. He currently trains figure competitors, writes programs for clients from all over the world, and consults for various professional sport teams. He is the author of the bestselling book Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy (Human Kinetics, 2014) and coauthor of Strong Curves (Victory Belt, 2013).

Contreras is a distinguished lecturer in strength and conditioning, presenting at many conferences throughout the United States, including those hosted by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He is editor in chief of the NCSA’s Personal Training Quarterly and cofounder of Strength & Conditioning Research Review. He is a peer-reviewed author and regular contributor to well-known industry publications including Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Oxygen, and MuscleMag. Oxygen magazine voted him the Glute Expert in their 2010 glutes edition. Contreras maintains the Strength of Evidence Podcast, where he discusses important topics in strength and conditioning.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics; 0002- edition (September 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450429297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450429290
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Bret Contreras ("the Glute Guy") has outdone himself with this book. I have been bodyweight training for about 10 months prior to this book coming out and I had learned a lot. However, even after all the research I had done, this book further enhanced my understanding of how to exercise effectively without external resistance.

Furthermore, with 150+ exercises to choose from, I learned a bunch more cool exercises and some interesting twists on old classics.

If you're a beginner, this book is great. If you're an experienced bodyweight trainer, this book will give you even more insight on how to work out effectively. Many people will read this book and be blown away by the fact that you can do so much with just your body weight.

The book is beautifully presented, with each exercise and the muscles worked illustrated and fully described.

Bret Contreras is renowned for his attention to detail and effectively communicating the science of strength and conditioning. In Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy, he continues in that vein. It is a must have for every serious strength trainer.
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I've been training exclusively with bodyweight exercises from the book You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren for about a year now and have achieved great results. Im a big fan of this type of training, so naturally this book piqued my interest. It has good exercises, and it does a decent job of illustrating the primary and secondary muscles being worked. Overall, I enjoyed the read and had only the below critiques:

1. I found exercise descriptions should have been more descriptive, especially for the more complex movements like the one-arm push-up, especially since the illustrations show only the finishing positions. The devil's in the details, especially when you expect people to train alone with only your book as their guide.

2. I would have liked to see more ways to increase or decrease the difficulty of these movements or been given recommendations on how to work up to the harder exercises. Unlike with lifting weights or using machines, with bodyweight training you can't just add or remove plates or adjust a pin. Without knowing how to adjust the difficulty, the usefulness of many of these movements is highly limited. Exercise progressions and tips on adjusting movement intensity are a must for any book on Bodyweight training to be truly effective.

3. Because of the above stated reason (not knowing how to progress or adjust movement difficulty), it's impossible to create a real strength training program with the given bodyweight exercises. Yes, you can exercise, but you can't really "train" with an end goal other than to increase reps. The author's program in the back of the book is evidence to this as he does not provide rep goals for any of the exercises and oddly suggests training the entire body 5 times per week, using the same exercises.
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Bret Contreras has produced an amazing addition to the rapidly growing body of literature on body weight strength and athletic training. Bret has included data on muscles involved in each of the exercises he describes. This is data I have not seen in anywhere close to this detail and accuracy elsewhere. Scattered throughout the book are golden nuggets of wisdom on body weight training, and training in general. These are all of the most common sense and readily applicable nature. Warnings as to over use and over training are gently inserted, not to scare, but to keep the user of this book on the right path. There is a brief section on nutrition that makes sense (eat natural foods, leaning protein heavy, but include vegetables and fruits, balancing with a few carbs. That's it). Bret does not push Paleo, either the original or Rob Wolff's version, but clearly approaches that concept.

First Bret introduces us to the concept of bodyweight training. Then he takes the parts of the body and details several exercises in each. In each of these sections, the exercise is rated as to difficulty, well described with diagrams depicting the muscles and bones and postures involved in most of them, , and then discussed in terms of the motions and sports that utilize that activity. The body sections Bret discusses are very inclusive: Arms, Neck and Shoulders, Chest, Core, Back, Thighs, Glutes, Calves. Mention is made of the grip in appropriate places. Then a chapter on whole body exercises is included. Bret finishes with a chapter called "Planning your Program" discussing Individualization, Autoregulation, Strength Balance, Training Goals, Training Variables, Putting it all Together, and Training for Fat Loss. Each chapter is clearly and simply written.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I mostly do bodyweight workouts. I do yoga at least twice a week, which is a form of bodyweight. I do the resistance bands also. But I depend mostly on short bodyweight workouts. This book was very helpful to me. I was a bit surprised at some of the muscles that were worked in some exercises.

For example, the push-up against a counter or table works your triceps, biceps, traps and delts. I thought they worked the chest and back primarily.

This book makes it easy to decide what exercises to do in each workout. When you know the muscle group you want to hit and the exercises that make it happen, planning workouts is fun. And, the book gives not only instructions but alternatives as well. I find it a well written book that's laid out in an easy-to-follow manner. I would have liked to have seen an index so you could quickly find a specific exercise. But the table of contents pretty much does the same job in this book.

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

Chapter 1 The Bodyweight Challenge
Chapter 2 Arms
Chapter 3 Neck and Shoulders
Chapter 4 Chest
Chapter 5 Core
Chapter 6 Back
Chapter 7 Thighs
Chapter 8 Glutes
Chapter 9 Calves
Chapter 10 Whole Body
Chapter 11 Planning Your Program
About the Author

Highly recommended.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
Health & Fitness Researcher/Reviewer
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