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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Just read the core of this book and I am now sketching out plans on how I am going to take it into the gym. As a fan of the original New Rules of Lifting, I think this is a very nice face lift. The main changes that I've noticed from the original is that many of the "why" questions that weren't addressed have been tackled now. Lou Schuler goes into the specifics about why things work and tries to convince you why it would be beneficial to follow these programs.

In the the original NROL, the reader was given lots of workouts that addressed your goals. In this refresh, the reader now has the ability to customize workouts to a much greater degree. Instead of being told "do a Bulgarian Split-Squat" for example, you can now choose to select from a group of exercises that you feel would be best suited for you, and incorporate that into your workout. Different exercises are ranked by varying difficulties, so you know what you're getting into.

Another change I like is that there is now a very detailed section about warm-up and cool-down. In the previous version, I was always at a loss about how to begin and end my workouts. This gives me a nice structure for developing my training regiment.

While I haven't yet tried out the new workouts presented here (but will do so in the next couple trips to the gym), I have great hopes for them. I will post an update after putting them to use. I loved the original NROL because it got me moving and working in a way that made a lot of sense. Instead of simply using the machines and doing bicep curls, the original book got me doing more work that really targeted my body as a whole and were much more effective and efficient than anything else I've tried. I'm looking forward to continuing to be the guy doing deadlifts and squats while everyone else in the weight room are doing curls, and having much better results.

As a guy who lost 15% of my body fat using the original NROL, I'm really happy with this book. I was a little skeptical at first, since I didn't know what they could address that wasn't in the first book, but I really did find a lot of value in this version.

This book is great for those who want to do strength training, but get utterly confused or intimidated when they walk into the free weights section of their gym.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
UPDATE: February 2013
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So I've just completed the first program in this book "Basic Training I" and this evening I'm going to do my first workout in the "Basic Training II" series. My experience so far has been very good. I find that following the program gives me a decent total body fitness routine that leaves my heart pumping and the sweat dripping. My one criticism so far is that using this book is very time-consuming. Designing my first program, with selecting my own exercises, took about 45 minutes. Then after the first week, I had to make some adjustments to which exercises I was using. It probably wasn't until the third or fourth session that I felt like I had a routine that fit me well. Each workout also takes me a little over a hour in the gym to complete, so if you're short on time, I could definitely see that you won't get through everything you planned. Finally, two last minor criticisms are that I feel that the part of the programs dedicated to pure core training is a little sparse, but I adjusted by adding one or two extra exercises during my routine to that section. I also tried one of the variations recommended in the book, an exercise I've never done before, and ending up tweaking my knee a little bit performing "Cross Over Step Ups". Knee tendons were sore for about a week, and I haven't done the cross-over variation since. Live and Learn.

Overall, I remain happy with this book, and maintain the 4* rating. I feel like I can definitely get solid workouts with these programs that are more geared towards my goals (higher-intensity exercise to lose fat, get leaner, and maintain muscle). They are fun, and the fact that you select your own exercises makes you feel like you have more control in your gym time. As a final note about the time-commitment, When I was planning my "Basic Training II" workouts, it took only about 15 min to map out everything since I was more experienced using the book.

I still recommend this book if you are looking to get started in a new effective strength training regiment.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a trainer I habitually check the fitness shelves at my local bookstore, mostly for good laughs at the amount of garbage information out there. The New Rules series however is one of only a few books I continue to recommend to people that can't work with a good trainer.

The programs are easy to follow and use quality movements.
The nutrition advice is solid and backed by research.
Lou and Alwyn take their craft seriously and keep up on the latest research and continue to refine their methods, a rare thing in the fitness world.

Any good coach will tell their athletes to focus on the basics, and so should you. Skip the trendy diets and "extreme" workouts - your joints and the rest of your body will continue thanking you for years.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is the fourth book of the "New Rules of Lifting" series that I have purchased and used as a guide for weight training. When I bought it, I was pretty skeptical that it could top the original. The workouts in the original version led me to my maximum strength levels on most of the big lifts seven years ago when I did the strength program. Nevertheless, so far I have completed the last phase of Basic Training and the first phase of the Strength and Power program in this book and have reattained my maximum strength on many lifts and will likely exceed them as I continue the program. I have been on a calorie deficit the whole time I've been making gains, and I also run several times per week. On top of this, I'm seven years older and in my mid-40's. So, yes, I'm sold!

I really like the customization options in this book (and also in New Rules of Lifting for Life). Most weight training books predetermine exercises for you without taking into account your personal level of training. Exercises in this edition are categorized into major movements, and then each movement has numerous exercise options that can be chosen. Your choices get plugged into workout templates designed for each phase of the workout programs.

I also like that the book takes a no nonsense approach to nutrition. By now don't most of us know what's healthy and what's not? Eat healthy and count your calories. There's no mystery or magic bullets when it comes to diet.

Overall, this is a great book for us regular folks who want some guidance and workout plans that work without frills and gimmicks.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The basis of Lou's program has evolved from the original NRoL's six basic movements of squat, deadlift, lunge, pull, push and twist to now Supercharged'd squat, hinge, pull,push, lunge, and single-leg stance. He's added the lessons of core training.

He has a few first chapters presenting his rules, some information on how muscle building works, protein intake, and eating right, but nothing hugely earth shattering here. For veterans of the NRoL, nothing newe.

But for the NRoL for Abs folks, next the book diverges, and this is a very important, because Abs is extremely structured. You do a, b, and c. Period. In this book, you design your own workout routine based on parameters, which can be very difficult. Lou (the author) admits that he doesn't make great workout plans.

The first thing he does is go through the "menus", or how the programs/workouts work. For veterans, this is very familiar, but the basic idea is 4 basic training programs, 3 hypertrophy, and 3 strength programs.

Each program has:
1. Ramp (warmup)
2. Core
3. Combination/Power
4. Strength
5, Metabolic (not in basic training)
6. Recovery

For each category, exercises will be presented for each category based off which portion of the program, and you choose level 1 through 5 (there are one or two that have more). The exercises get more difficult as you increase the level. For example, with squat, level 1 is a bodyweight squat, 3 a front squat, 4 a back squat, and 5 overhead. As a guy who did abs, I saw a lot of level 4 and 5 stuff that I was doing already. There are ways to super or turbo charge to make many of these even harder, but I was a little disappointed in how advanced I was in many of these categories. Each workout works the movements listed at the start. He includes a brief section on how to use the programs depending on if you are a beginner or a veteran or a lifter, or many other categories. This provided one of my few annoyances later, as he also includes some information on how to use the program in the back in a questions section. I'm not in school, I'm not getting tested to see if I read the whole book, put all of the information in one place.

In Abs I was annoyed by having to go all over the book for exercises when it was so tightly regimented. In abs, at one point you do the second day's workout, which requires you to do a plank with dynamic stabilization. It's not clearly marked (it's often asked on the jpfitness.com forums), but if you search through you find a paragraph indicating the specified exercise is the start. In Supercharged, it makes sense. You start with basic training I, and you have to choose core, power, and strength exercises yourself. So having the exercises lumped into each basic movement helps. The exercises have the same level of explanation as before which at times is lacking, but in the age of smartphones and youtube, you'll be able to figure out what to do.

Next, the workout programs are explained, you get to see lots of tables. Here the exercises are put in their movement categories with appropriate leves along with charts showing what you'll be doing for the workouts.

The new twist to hypertrophy is introduced, "undulating periodization", where you do three sets of sets and reps during each workout. For example, during hypertrophy 1, you do 4 sets of 6 one day, then 3 sets of 12 the next time you work out, then 2 sets of 20 before starting over. Obviously you vary your weights for number of reps (again, a chart that appeared in the front of the book, where you search for it)

I will say that the exercises in supercharged are a bit less "different" than Abs. A lot of the using two different size dumbbell exercises are no longer there. However, I'm definitely switching to it from Abs, I feel I need more upper body from reading through I think it will have more, and there are plenty of fun exercises to choose to make lifting more interesting than just grunting under a pipe. The book feels very familiar, it definitely shows evolution along with some revolution, but if you like NRoL before, you'll still like it.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I have been an avid reader and follower of the NROL series. I have performed all the various workouts through the years, and have been very impressed with the results that I've seen. If you've never done NROL, pick up Supercharged, read it, and follow it. You will love the routines and will not regret it. However, if you have done other workouts in the NROL series (original, Abs, Life), grab that copy, skim it quickly to refresh your memory, and do one of those workouts. Bottom line is that there is nothing special about this new book except for the motivation that it provides. For some, that is enough. For me, I wish I had saved the money and followed that approach. There is nothing new or ground-breaking in this book. For 90-plus percent of the gym enthusiasts, any workout will suffice. It's nutrition that we need to get a handle on.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I finished the original NROL and did the workouts and I was blown away by my results. I added significant size with the hypertrophy program and started pushing some serious weight around after the strength program. This book is a great addition to the series and involves a great new RAMP warmup, kettlebells, TRX and more of a custom pick and choose program template. Lou's writing is great and my wife, who isn't really into reading fitness material of any kind, really enjoyed Lou's humor as well. Also, Alwyn Cosgrove is an absolute master. A lot of people go into the gym with no plan or do the classic 3 sets of 8 every day forever... Alwyn's periodization program allows for continued growth and you will definitely see gains. I have been lifting for 10+ years and played Basketball in college and this has really helped me keep in great shape and be even stronger than I was when I was a serious athlete. Bottom line: This book is fantastic and the workouts alone are worth 100X what you will pay for the book. I am so happy I stumbled upon Lou and Alwyn and will continue to buy whatever they put out. Fantastic! -Jordan
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm a big fan of the New Rules of Lifting series. I started lifting about 4 years ago using the New Rules of Lifting for Women. I have also read New Rules for Life and now Supercharged. If I had to suggest just one book to someone, it would be Supercharged - it seems to have the most relevant info and it is a program that should last a long time, even if you're not new to lifting.

Following NROLFW, I was getting very lean and I was getting very strong (my best dead lift was 210# and squat was 185# - which I thought was pretty good - for me!). Sometimes I feel a little silly at the gym doing things that nobody else is doing (e.g., side plank with row) in places where the big guys are usually doing other things, but then I remember why I'm doing the exercise and it makes me feel confident about it. I have been asked before why I'm doing what I'm doing, and New Rules has given me the info I need to feel confident in sharing. Best part is that those who asked seemed to get it and show interest and a little respect.

The first time I tried NROLFW, it took me a few minutes to figure it out, but seriously, it's really simple. The other books use the same basic process - just different programs and some different exercises. I will say that I was very careful in making sure I followed proper form - you will want to do the same - it will save you a lot of trouble and pain - it will help you be stronger in every way as you move up in weights. In addition to carefully reading the information in the books, I watched a lot of videos. I even found one (and only one) personal trainer who was willing to spare a few minutes of his time to watch me lift and gave me some pointers on form - which really helped because I kept getting stuck. A couple of tweaks and I was off!

I've paid personal trainers before, but they never seemed to want to show a woman how to really LIFT. They'd take me to the machines, even after I said I don't want the machines, and they would never give me a long-term plan (of course, they want me to keep paying them). Even if I found one who would take me through real lifting, it would get very expensive, very fast! If you don't have the money to hire a (very good) personal trainer to work with you all the time, this is a really excellent guide to help you know what to do and feel confident in the weight room.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/VideoVerified Purchase
To give you a sense of my background, I’ve been a sports performance coach for several years where I was blessed to learn cutting edge science in developing human athleticism. I basically trained athletes of all ages how to get stronger, get faster, be more explosive, perform longer, and move more efficiently. The main components of those workouts I customized had injury prevention, functional strength and power, balance and coordination, flexibility, and core development at the heart if each session. Most of the things my clients did were comparable to what you would see behind the scenes of your favorite athlete’s training session and not so much at a 24 hour fitness. Alywn Cosgrove and Lou Schouler have developed a unique system that brings this style of training to the average every day office worker, busy mom, or aspiring athlete.

Alywn and Lou explain repeatedly in the book that the traditional meat head (bodybuilder) will be underwhelmed by this book and he is right. Because the push and pull exercises in this book incorporate multi-joint and muscle movements, they require proper stabilization (stabilization is another word for core) and mobilization, so you will not be able to simply push or pull tons of weight as you would with a traditional bodybuilding program. As with all the previous books in the NROL series they include new science and updated research to support the program and have now introduced other effective and proven training tools like the Kettlebell and TRX suspension trainer.

The RAMP portion of the book is what our coaches called the active dynamic warm up, which in my opinion is THE MOST important part of any training session that is often overlooked by most fitness enthusiasts. RAMP is a 10-15 minute corrective body maintenance and movement preparation session. The goal is not simply to just warm you up but also to prep your body for proper movement efficiency. The RAMP session basically looks more like a brief 10 minute dynamic yoga session than a goofy 5 minute run on a treadmill. Alwyn also incorporates metabolic training to top of your workouts that will have your body burning calories well into the day after you complete your workout.

For those who swear by Crossfit as the new standard of training, I urge that you re-evaluate this stance. Most Crossfit gyms are not created equal when it comes to the coaching quality and philosophy and while there are some similarities with a few of the lifts you will see in this book, the goal isn’t to wipe you out and leave you feeling like you can’t get out of bed the next day like I see in Crossfit. If you can’t make it to your next session because your body is toast, then that isn’t a good workout in my opinion. It’s easy to make somebody puke with a workout. That’s not hard to do and doesn’t mean its quality training Crossfitters! I’ve seen so many people get hurt from poor coaching instruction and negligence in these fly by night fitness fads it makes me cringe when I hear people explain to me what they are doing. This book will show you how to safely progress through a series of exercises as they are labeled from the easiest intensity to the most difficult.

If your goal is to look lean, sexy and strong while having the performance ability to play basketball at a high level well into your 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, or play with your kids without looking like an invalid, or even sit and stand without the aches and pains in your knees and joints, I highly recommend this book!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/VideoVerified Purchase
I'm a New Rules of Lifting for Women veteran, and I also read Abs and Life, but didn't do them. I am, however, doing Supercharged and finding it quite exciting.

The way the "programs" are planned, you spend your time in one of three stages. There are different programs in each of the stages. Basic Training, Hypertrophy, and Strength each have programs within them. The Basic Training program reads as an endurance and fat loss program. There are a lot of reps in this one, so you have to adjust your sets to As someone who loves lifting, going down to do goblet squats instead of back squats is a hit to your pride. Luckily, goblet squats aren't easy and are just as taxing as a nice heavy back squat, albeit in a different way. While I'm not as sore, I'm terribly EXHAUSTED after these Basic Training workouts and all of my supporting muscles are fatigued.

Building your own workouts is fun - you select different workouts from each category to fit your strength and the rep range and go ahead and get at it.

The warmup is AMAZING. I'll put that out there. It's called RAMP, which starts out with range of motion and something about mobility and I am not very good with acronyms, so there. Point is, by the end of it you're warm and your joints are moving smoothly.

The kindle version of this book has improved from previous reviews, where the page numbers are linked. Unfortunately, unless you have an apple device or a kindle fire, you wont be taking advantage of the videos.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I'm a huge fan of both Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler. I have read the original NROL and can say that this book is much more thorough and addresses many of the questions that arose from reading the first book. I can not compare this book to any other NROL books since I haven't read them.

Let's start with the bad stuff:

- Little nutrition info. Lou acknowledges this in the book, but I can't help but think just a smidge more info would be helpful. It is definitely glossed over a bit.
- There's a bit of a learning curve with developing your own program. You are going to have to sit down and take some time to come up with what works for you. If this is your first real gym routine, it will take even more time.
- The routines consist of potentially dangerous moves. This applies to all NROL books. Moves like the squat and deadlift are described in detail, but nothing compares to having a trainer analyze your form. Doing these exercises solely with the knowledge from this book may lead to improper form and injury.
- RAMP takes some getting used to. It is a routine of about a dozen moves that are to be done at the beginning of each workout. With time it should become easier.
- Unless you have your own fully-equipped gym, you will probably end up waiting for equipment. The workouts have such a smorgasbord of exercises that you will use what seems like every piece of equipment in the gym. And since many of the workouts involve alternating sets, you will sometimes find yourself running from one end of the gym to the next in between sets. It can get quite frustrating.

Now for the good:

- Lou and Alwyn go into much more detail in this book when it comes to describing certain exercises and how they should be performed. I felt like Lou got into my head and knew all the questions I was going to ask before writing the book.
- It works. I have been doing the original NROL for about six months now and I have definitely seen results. Alwyn knows his stuff and his programs will work if you do them consistently and eat right.
- Fun to read. Lou has a great sense of humor and presents even the most boring information in a way that keeps the reader engaged.
- YOU design the routines. This can be either good or bad depending on how much you know about lifting. For me, I feel I have a good enough understanding of basic weightlifting principles to be able to wisely choose the exercises I want to perform in a given program.
- Programs are more fun. These programs include metabolic training, foam rolling, kettlebell moves, TRX suspension moves, and more. You will never get bored.

All in all, I think it's an excellent book. The main reason I'm not giving in five stars is because of how difficult it is to do these routines without interruption in your average gym. Other than that, I think the programs are fun and effective. I'm looking forward to getting more accustomed to the workouts and seeing my results.
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