Customer Reviews: Strength Training Past 50: (Ageless Athlete)
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on December 17, 1998
At 67 I had developed upper back pain associated with spinal arthritis. Upon the advice of a reviewer, I ordered the book, bought some free weights, and immediately began training to strengthen the muscles that support my spinal column. After a month of carefully following the recommended workout schedule, I found myself completely pain free. Although the results are proof of the pudding, I was particularly impressed with the authors' emphasis on safety and their guidance on how to find your point of beginning and to progress without injury.
The photos and descriptions of individual exercises were essential in making sure that the exercises were done correctly and to the greatest benefit.
In my opinion the price of the book is a gift compared to the feeling of well being derived from carefully following the given plan, which, by the way, is adaptable to each individual's capabilities and needs.
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on July 29, 1998
"Strength Training Past 50" provides the information you need to get started with a strength training program, including -
* Reasons why you should strength train (this section is a great motivator).
* What equipment to buy (if you're doing it a home).
* Which exercises to perform. (This is the largest section. It has a two-page spread format: on the left, instructions for performing the exercises, on the right, photos of ordinary-looking people doing the exercises. It includes techniques using both free weights and machines.)
* Building an effective program. (This section answered one of my questions: how to determine when to increase weights and how to do it.)
You can read this book in one sitting. (I skipped the "eating for strength" chapter.)
The photos show people using fancy Nautilus machines, which are a far cry from the equipment I use at my down-at-the-heels gym. Unless you have access to the machines pictured, you'll probabl! y need someone at your gym to show you comparable equipment and exercises to do.
All in all a good reference book for strength training. I recommend it. (I'm 62.)
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on March 30, 2000
Strength Training Past 50 is a very good book and anyone past 50 who has an interest in fitness or has been directed by a physician to lose weight should read the book. The program in the book must be carefully followed, particularly the weight and repitition recommendations. This program was designed for a very broad age range and a broad range of physical fitness levels typically found in adults past 50. It's strength is that it is an excellent introduction to resistance training for those who have not lifted or have not lifted for a significant period of time. If you are 50 or older, male or female, and not an experienced lifter, you may expect to lose weight, gain muscle mass, energy, and a positive self image by following the program in this book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 22, 2006
As someone who is both older and an experienced weightlifter I can tell you that there were many errors in this book. For one thing it did not warn the reader against the leg extensions if he or she has bad knees. They can blow your knees in a heartbeat.

It also gave odd weight recommendations. In one area it gave a starting weight of 60lbs. There are few older people who can or should lift 60lb, at least to begin with. But in other areas of the book it used such recommendations as 10lbs, more reasonable but too high for many fragil oldsters.

The nutrition area was not current either. But it wasn't bad.

Some of the studies it quotes are good and motivational. But you can read those elsewhere. They simply give the many benefits of weightlifting for all people --- especially older people. And that's a good thing.

I would recommend a book like Strength Training Anatomy or a book by Dave Draper or Clarence Bass, both oldsters and great bodybuilders. Beyond that, each person should adjust each exercise to his own limitations and health conditions and not follow any set guidelines. If it hurts, don't do it. There are hundreds of wonderful, powerful exercises you can do that won't hurt you. And you'll build all the muscle and lose all the fat you want.

And by the way, there is a wonderful ebook called "Lose the Fat Feed the Muscle" that I recommend to all ages. It's written by bodybuilder Tom Venuto and is about the best book on this subject I've read in a long time.

Save your money on this book and buy one that will help you. But whatever you do --- DO LIFT WEIGHTS! It will make you a new person at any age.
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on November 19, 2006

A very good intro for boomers who have never done strength training and want to get into it. A lot of other strength training books target an audience who are potential Incredible Hulk wannabees. Excellent recommendations for weight selection, exercise frequency, repetitions, etc. based on scientific studies. Also good training programs targeted for those in the 50+ crowd. But you must keep in mind that the range 50-90 is a very broad range.


The discussion on equipment options is very light. I would say it is inadequate. The worst part of the book is the organization of the exercises. They are grouped by the area of muscle exercised - such as Upper Body. Within this group various exercises for machine, barbell, and dumbell are mixed in together. If you are using only dumbells, then when following the recommended training sequence of exercises, you are flipping all over the book skipping past the irrelevant exercises. And, no, the exercises are not indexed. I think a further organization of exercise by equipment (or at least a table or index) would have been helpful.

Overall, though, the book is a big help for someone like me (fifties) just getting into strength training. A couple of more good books covering equipment and a wider range of exercises, and you're all set.
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on March 31, 2003
I'm ordering a second copy of this book for my brother. I've shared my first copy with a number of friends. The introduction -- which outlines the value of weight training at any age -- is worth the modest price. I've followed the book for a year since I bought the book, and have seen steady gradual progress in weight reduction and increased strength. Not a quick-fix approach, but instead a well-written plan to incorporate weight training into daily life, for both men and women. Geared towards newcomers, but also has information that will those with prior exercise experience. It stresses safety and gradual improvement.
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on July 21, 2008
I was looking for a book with information on training older adults. This book isn't about that... It is a book on general weight training with general programs and general guidelines. It's a typical Westcott book with a few pages of general guidelines and principles and a few program examples. The majority of the book is pictures of exercises which are absolutely useless if you own any other book on weight training and have a basic understanding of resistance training. If you know anything about weight training and exercise, don't buy this book.
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on April 7, 2008
This book is not for someone who has no access to machines. A lot of the book is devoted to the use of gym equipment. I was hoping for more instruction when there are no machines..or trainers....a basic book for beginners. This is not that book.
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on November 27, 2006
This book should be titled "The Almost Complete Guide to Weight Training for Those over 40."

Improvements To Make it Complete

I would jettison the discussion of buying ones' own machines--that is not something for a beginner to even consider. I would drop the discussion of barbells, not worth the extra risk for tiny extra gain. I would put in a basic stretching routine and more detailed discussion of cool down and warm up. There should be more caveats about limitations on using excercises. For example, those with knee problems should not do leg extensions (ask a PT)-a doc will tell you not to hurt yourself and may send you for a excercise stress test but they will not know about detailed excercise. While the arguments are sound for doing strength training they will not convince anyone who is not primed to go.


The organization is quite good as excercises are grouped by muscles so one can mix up their routine with free weights and machines. All the good training principle are there and are emphasized. A chapter on nutririon is essential for any exercise book for any group over 40 and they have one, although now made obsolete by the new pyramid. This is a blueprint that a somewhat experienced non-strength excerciser can use to get into weight training and go to a good maintenence level program in a few months.

This book ignores the best advice of all, go take a course in Strength and Conditioning at your local community college or Community Rec Center. But that takes time and with a few safety caveats this book is the blueprint that other books claim to be for a younger group of folks.

I will be suggesting this book to my friends who are starting or adding strength training to their excercise program.

It really has no competition for what it does it is so close to great I would like to give it 4.5 stars.
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on June 13, 2007
Not at all what I expected. I was hoping for more things that we could use at home, rather than having to go to a gymn to use equipment there.
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