Most helpful positive review
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
The Title Is No Exaggeration
on May 27, 2013
First, a couple of caveats. This is a book for intermediate level and above lifters. You must be beyond the stage of making predictable daily progress, you must have good technique for the basic barbell lifts (squat, deadlift, overhead and bench press, etc), you must be able to calculate a fairly accurate 1 rep max. This is not a book about body building or machine based training. This is a book for lifters who want to build uncommon strength, as defined by heavy low repetition lifting, such as Olympic or power lifting.
Perryman presents a series of blogs describing his training insights. He is articulate and open minded, at times enthusiastic about his underlying premise, that it is possible, even desirable, to get much stronger by lifting almost every day. He notes that the current training paradigm is to lift to exhaustion then take a day or longer to recover, hoping for supercompensation and avoiding overtraining. This works for some people some of the time, but there is a better way for many. Put simply, you lift very heavy almost every day, but do not work to exhaustion. In this manner you can accumulate a high volume of very heavy lifts over time. The body learns to adapt to this, and as time goes by your work capacity increases, and so do your lifts.
Perryman draws on diverse sources to make his points, from Soviet sports science to old time training programs, from modern neurology to mindfulness training. Mostly this diversity of thought is a pleasure. It's nice to witness the workings of Perryman's active and open mind. But at times he's a bit out of his league. For instance, he doesn't know much about meditation and martial arts mindsets, and makes only tenuous connections between these disciplines and weight training.
Still, this is a fascinating and thought provoking book, well worth the purchase price. It is miles above the usual fitness writing and it can make anyone's training more effective.
I'm a 61 year old guy who has been using the Starr/Rippetoe training template for a few years now. I have my share of chronic problems--golfer's elbow, rotator cuff pain, an achy back when I squat. Perryman convinced me to try out his methods, and I've been doing it for one week now. All I can tell you so far is that my legs are pretty sore. But, if Perryman is correct, that soreness should dissipate in a couple of weeks and my other aches should improve. I'll report back in early August. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 7/20/13. I promised this update for early August, but I'm reaching the end of a training cycle, so I thought that this would be a good time.
I deadlift to a daily max one day per week, and squat to a max 4 days per week. I also alternate standing presses and incline presses to max on every training day. The third daily exercise is accessory work--good mornings, hammer curls, and Kroc style rows being the current favorites.
My PR's have gone up on the squats, DL's, and presses. At first I was pretty sore, but now there's just mild soreness the next morning. My rotator cuff problems have vanished. My golfers' elbows aren't sore anymore, but they still don't tolerate chins. We're working on it. My low back feels fine. Overall, my body fat has decreased a little, my posture has improved, and all of my muscles feel harder. Psychologically, I feel more confident and assertive. In short, the program is working for this 61 year old.
I will add a few drop sets, singles for 90-93% during the next cycle. Then I'll add another training day when that gets comfortable, for a total of 6 days per week.
I think that this book deserves 4 stars. There is a lot of interesting info here, but the presentation lacks cohesiveness. It would be good if Perryman could write a chapter or two integrating the material into a unified overview of training, and methods to apply that overview to individual circumstances.