This book gets 5 stars because it is simple and you will get stronger. It lays out how to keep getting stronger while working just below maximal weight, a huge benefit because it helps you keep going month after month without getting fried. I like to go to the gym with a plan. If you follow this program and have a good idea of what your max is on the big lifts (Squat, Deads, Press, Brench Press, Power Clean) you can go to the gym and put it on autopilot so that all you need to do is concentrate on the lifts and doing the 1st grade math to rack the bar. It also helps deal with the excersize ADD that most have by stearing you toward excersizes that maximize gains in total body strength. There is no fluff here, think authors/coaches/lifters such as Rippetoe and Starr, with simpler programming. Little to no guesswork is required.
I should note that I have not purchased the hard copy, but rather the ebook for both editions 1 and 2. As far as I know the content is exactly the same. I saw that this was now available on amazon and wanted to write a review because I think Jim's philosphy on strength and fitness is the best for 99.9% of the population.
Like a few others, I did not purchase through Amazon, but I purchased the eBook through his site, but it should be the same thing.
For those that are questioning the difference between version 1 and version 2, there is a bit more detail, FAQ's, and I think another template or two. But honestly, if you have the first edition check out his website and also his free articles on tnation and you can see most if not all of the changes.
I wasted MANY years off and on in the gym getting nowhere. I read way too many articles and did things like worry about using a stop watch to time the length between sets, worry about time under tension, this loading scheme, that loading scheme. It was always information overload that lead to frustration and burnout and over thinking. A little over a year ago I started on 5/3/1. Here are a few reasons why I think it is good:
- Simplicity. Jim gives different templates in the book depending on your focus at the time. He takes most of the thinking out of it. Just plug in your numbers. - The right exercises. The fact is a lot of people waste time in the gym doing arm curls and other isolation movements. I used to do them and got nowhere. 5/3/1 uses big boy exercises throughout. You can't help but make progress. - Supplements. No BS here trying to sell snake oil or pimp some company. Basically he says to eat right and get plenty of rest. So often you see plugs for this supplement or that supplement. Maybe some fish oils, multi-vitamims or other cheap basics, but none of that 100$ bottle of powder that you have to use to get "big". Eat enough good food to make progress (you have to know your own body), get plenty of rest, and follow 5/3/1.Read more ›
the book lays out the 5/3/1 program. the program can be run 2, 3 or 4 days a week (i find this versatility useful - I use the 2 day a week during the rugby season, and 3 day split during off season). it's based on squats, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, and can also be used on other compound lifts (eg. power clean, weighted dips/chins, etc). the weights that you'll lift each time you go to the gym as well as the minimum number of target reps are calculated based on your one rep max on each lift so you can work out beforehand exactly what your aim for each session is. the weights are gradually increased so you get stronger. the emphasis is on the main lifts, with assistance templates for addressing weak points. as the book points out the assistance work is secondary to the main lifts - these are the ones which will make you stronger.
i've run it for about 8 months and have seen good results so far. the book is humourous, and the simplicity of the program and the fact that it works make it worthwhile
I love buying fitness books; I'm not an expert, never will be (I think I missed my true calling), but I was an overweight guy who lost 60+ pounds about ten years ago by following the programs in the magazines and the internet. I did succeed, but that was more dumb luck than knowledge. After about 18 months to 2 years, I stalled, and I didn't change my physique at all. At 190 pounds, I was weak. I could crank out some pushups, tons of situps, yes, but my first attempt with a real barbell in 2005 was a humbling attempt to bench 125 lbs. From them until 2012, well, I played with medicine balls, dumbbells, chinups, etc. in a sort of haphazard fashion.
This second edition has more programming options than the first edition. The first edition, however, has everything you need. The second edition addresses our (meaning us men) for many different options so that we can put our own personal stamp on our training program.
I have a whole bookcase of stuff--yes, many of them were cheaper, but only a few (Rippetoe, Dan John) are worth as much as Wendler's 5/3/1. If you love working out and love having a precise plan, Wendler's program is for you. If you would rather "wing-it," and work chest and biceps whenever you feel like it for whatever weight feels "right" until "failure," this book is not for you. Read on if curious; if not, you have my go-ahead to spend your hard-earned money. It is short and sweet: no science or explanations or sales-pitches, just the plan. My only negative remark for Jim: for $25 bucks for each black and white book, hire a proofreader who will ensure your product is professional (some formatting and punctuation issues/typos).Read more ›