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107 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for "abs"
Like another reviewer, I cringed when I heard the latest book in the "New Rules" series was "for Abs."

However, this book is not just about getting "abs." In fact, you could trade out the word "abs" for mobility, performance, injury prevention, core, or back.

I bought this book because:

1. I trust Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove to rely on...
Published on January 6, 2011 by SLC Snowdrops

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but...too much like Core Performance
This duo writes good exercise books. But this stuff is pretty much the same stuff I read in "Core Performance," a book that is specifically mentioned in this book. I read 3 CP books. So... Didn't learn anything new here. BUT... The workouts are slightly different. And... The emphasis on working the whole body is right out of rippetoe's "Starting Strength." Obviously, few...
Published on May 28, 2012 by MRBRUTALTRUTH

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107 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for "abs", January 6, 2011
SLC Snowdrops (Salt Lake City, Utah) - See all my reviews
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Like another reviewer, I cringed when I heard the latest book in the "New Rules" series was "for Abs."

However, this book is not just about getting "abs." In fact, you could trade out the word "abs" for mobility, performance, injury prevention, core, or back.

I bought this book because:

1. I trust Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove to rely on solid scientific research and admit their own biases or limitations.

2. The other "New Rules" books completely changed my approach to fitness, and the proof is in my increased strength, improved body composition, better mobility, and more restful sleep because I no longer over-train like a maniac. Plus, I eat many more calories and never gained an inch. Cosgrove & Schuler helped me realize I was undereating (common among female fitness buffs).

3. I suffer from some painful injuries from the bad old days when I over-trained, as well as from imbalances that I still need to work on. Yes, I have tried physical therapy, but I know I need a new approach to my workouts as well.

4. My husband also wanted the book. He struggled for years to achieve muscle gains, but only when we purchased and followed the original "New Rules" programs did he see real results.

5. Lou Schuler is funny.

The cover also promises that "New Rules for Abs" is a "myth-busting fitness plan for men and women who want a strong core and a pain-free back." Folks, this is not some cheesy book about getting a "six pack." This is a fitness plan that takes the long-term view, keeping your back and joints healthy for the long haul.

I love the dynamic warmups, as well as the tweaks to tried-and-true exercises. I also appreciate the "core challenge" notes alongside every exercise. They not only help explain the fitness philosophy behind the exercises, but they also help me visualize the movements more clearly so I can get more out of them. The pictures are excellent, too.

The workout phases look as challenging as ever -- if not harder than previous "New Rules" because of the additional core challenges. They are not just for "abs." Rather, they work the entire body.

Women: Do NOT hesitate to buy this book or any of the books in the "New Rules" series. Trust me. You will not get "bulky." You do not have the testosterone to make that happen. Hit the weights heavy and hard, and you WILL gain strength and confidence. You WILL get a tighter, leaner physique. And with this latest "New Rules" book, you will also protect your back and increase your mobility for all your other activities, even cardio.

Lou Schuler & Alwyn Cosgrove: If you are reading this, I want to thank you. You have no idea how much your books have changed my life. I am forever grateful to have stumbled upon the first "New Rules," and I can hardly wait to get started with this latest edition.

Edited to add: The book mentions Valslides for dynamic stabilization exercises. Instead of spending ~$40 on the "Valslides," get these: Waxman 4704095N 9-1/2-Inch by 5-3/4-Inch Reusable Oval EZ Sliders, White. You will only pay $12.95 (as of 1/12/2011) for four, and they work the same.

I want to add that I have gone through the A & B workouts in Phase 1. I thoroughly enjoy them, and more importantly, I am gaining insights into my imbalances (which are deeply ingrained since I was born breech with damage to my hips, and hence, have had hip issues my entire life. The hip issues have had a domino effect--setting off a host of issues with my knees and back, all of which were irritated further by my training methods in the past). Since starting Phase 1, I feel my left hip & glute engaging more than it ever has. Now, I am not claiming some miraculous recovery here. It is subtle, but a leap forward all the same. For the first time in awhile, I feel a spring in my step. Some of the core movements were not new to me per se, but they have subtle tweaks or more sets than I am used to. I also have really enjoyed the warm-ups, even though I look like a dork doing them.

Finally, some have critiqued the lack of nutrition information. I can see how that is an issue for some readers, but for me it was not. I am quite familiar with manipulating macros and calories. That is why I did not address it in my initial review.

UPDATE: I am now working in Phase 2, and I'm thrilled with my progress on mobility, form, and strength. As I mentioned previously, I have suffered from lifelong, serious issues with hip mobility. The dynamic warm-up movements in the New Rules of Lifting for Abs have helped me tremendously. It was not until I practiced & practiced with the "squat to stand" movement that I *finally* changed my movement patterns for a squat. I could never lower myself far into a squat before, in part because of hip mobility and in part because I just did not understand how to make it a hip movement (that might not make sense to those without mobility issues, but it will make sense to fellow breech babies out there, I suspect). To make matters worse, I lacked the necessary core strength, even though I had included core work for years. I *thought* had core strength, but I was wrong about that.

Now, I can finally execute a squat! Hooray! And my squats continue to improve and deepen. And wow, I love the offset squats with the uneven dumbbell load. OK, that last one is really a love-hate thing. :)

Likewise, I have struggled for a long time to increase my weights on certain exercises, always hitting a plateau where I would suffer injuries or just not be able to increase. I think this was due to form issues, core weaknesses/imbalances and mobility problems. I am increasing weights regularly again, and that feels great.

Most importantly, I just feel more "mobile" in general. I walk more gracefully, stand taller, and suffer less pain. I can jaunt across the street if I need to without wrecking my knees for the day.

It's really funny how I will be doing something, and suddenly, I will realize I am moving differently before ... and I can correlate that new pattern to something in the warm-ups or workouts in this book. The movement suddenly "clicks," and I see even greater improvements.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective Safe and Do-able, January 11, 2011
Buba (Florida MI USA) - See all my reviews
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There are a million exercise books out there and everybody is an expert, so what's a mother to do when it comes to choosing an exercise program?

Here are a few "rules"

1 Do something
2 Do something you like
3 All the rest is just details

New Rules of lifting for Abs fills in the details. Lou writes in an interesting, witty and information packed format, and is a welcome addition to the "New Rules" series. This book speaks to a newly emphasized aspect of weight training namely core training. The book also speaks to another newly emphasized aspect of exercise namely metabolic training. I started lifting about 45 years ago when I joined the wrestling team in High School. Our coach was a Olympic wrestler and competed internationally all through the years I was on his team. We basically trained like he did. We lifted weights, we did push ups, we did pull ups, dips etc (strength training) we did tons and tons of wind sprints (metabolic training) We ran some miles (cardio) and we scrimmaged with guys bigger than ourselves (maybe the best damn core training ever). Nothing changes but the date. Every year I was engaged in wrestling season I was in the best shape of my life. This book has all the old concepts in new clothes.

The book is designed to get you through some pretty intense workouts. Rule 11 from the first book (NROL): You'll get better results working your ass off on a bad program than you will loafing through a good program

This book gives you the advantage of working your ass off (literally) with a good program. Over the years I have tried dozens of "programs" purchased scores of books and I have employed several "trainers" and have seen mixed results from all this effort. With Alwyn Cosgrove's programs I have seen excellent results. I have been through the first NROL program 2 1/2 times in the past 3 or so years. I have added muscle, lost weight, and gained strength, and even though I'm an ugly old buzzard, I get compliments at how well I look. Alwyn's programs have several advantages:

1 They are eminently do-able regardless of your expertise or the shape you are in. You start with what you got, work your ass off, and pretty soon you got more than what you started with. It doesn't matter if you are a novice or Russel the Muscle, there is gain to be had from this program if you engage it. The second time through you will be stronger and better trained and the program will take on a new character of challenge because you are better able to perform and engage the exercise. It's a very satisfying experience. Initially the exercise will master you, then you will master it. Very Zen. As your body changes you will gain experiential wisdom. As you gain wisdom You will be able to feel yourself doing better and come to a better knowledge of yourself. My guess it is something like this that keeps people going to Yoga class or acquiring belt after belt in martial arts.

2 The workouts are compact. Alwyn's idea is to use movements that engage large groups of muscles instead of isolating single muscles. In a few movements he covers your whole body, but especially targets the core. You can do 3 heavy duty workouts a week or if you like you can add some light duty workouts on the days between. Typically a workout lasts 30-40 minutes and the rest intervals are timed.

3 The workouts are safe. This is a prime consideration given the proliferation of new fangled exercise gizmos and techniques. About 3 years ago I blew out 3 disks doing reverse crunches on a Swiss ball. I got the exercise from watching some joker on youtube. It was this experience (and the 6 months I spent in rehab) that made me stop doing my own thing and look for a program from someone smarter than me. Alwyn's workouts fit that bill. If I had been doing Alwyn's program instead of watching some muscle head on youtube, I never would have blown out my back. One of the major points of the abs book's workouts are to help you develop the muscles that protect your spine. This aspect is now at the top of my list when I look at any program due to my experience, and it is something to think about when you are considering a program or choose to do your own thing. There be danger out there matey and you have to live with the damage until you die if you injure yourself!!

4 You don't have to know what you are doing. You just follow the program. All of the exercises are integrated and fulfill a purpose both in the present workout and in training for what comes next. Phase 1 will equip you with the skills and strength to lead you into phase 2 which is more advanced etc. Each step of the way has many exercises that get substituted in and out of the routine so you are always doing something a little bit different. This allows for muscles to recover. If you are always banging away at the same exact movement eventually something is going to break down. If you add variety to the movements, to how the movements are performed, to the reps, to the number of sets and to the weight lifted your body responds to that in a way that tends to prevent injury. The variety of the program gets you stronger in a more balanced way while aiming to avoid overuse injury.

5 The program adds mobility exercises and metabolic exercises to the mix. This allows you to get stronger while getting more agile as well. This carries over to every other sport you may engage, and is a prime consideration in not getting injured while increasing your performance. I had a friend who was a runner. She took a year off running and engaged in strength training and core work. She was challenged to see how her running performance had changed and despite not running for a year her performance was better.

6 The program addresses an appropriate fitness diet and lifestyle, and how to "think" about a fitness diet. The point of lifting weights is to get stronger. Poor nutrition, poor lifestyle and poor sleep will kill this goal dead in its tracks. The book does not give you specific meals, it rather gives you a way to think about food as a basic ingredient in the mix that will make you stronger and how to adjust exactly what you put in your pie hole. The main thing you need to eat if you want to get strong is protein in an adequate amount, so the diet is keyed around protein intake and how much is enough. Next is to consider calories. Not too few, not too many. You can't be anabolic (adding muscle) and catabolic (starvation mode) at the same time. The book goes into how to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat and how often. It goes into some of the latest thinking about carb cycling as well.

One of the rules is: You can't out exercise a hunger inducing lifestyle, meaning your inputs have to be in balance and coordinated if you expect to see a positive result.

Another rule is: You can sleep your way into a better body...or not sleep your way into a bigger belly This issue here is stress and stress management. If you allow your hormonal environment to be ruled by your stress hormones success will be hard to achieve.

The program also addresses how to integrate these modules and phases into other programs in which you may be engaged. I am presently engaged in the strength part of New Rules of Lifting (NROL), but I have added some of the metabolic and mobility aspects of NROLAbs especially to my present regimen There is a lot of experience to be mined and its a great way to add variety if you already are "Doing Something".

The book looks into how you might like to engage the exercises. You don't have to be tied to a commercial gym It gives advice on economically setting up a home gym using things like suspension straps, exercise bands, dumbbells, Swiss balls, and kettle bells to do the workouts. For a couple hundred to a few hundred bucks you can get a very long way down the road to a high degree of core strength and over all health while loosing the lard, and never leave the comfort of your own home. This is a great boon to those of us that don't have the time to drive to the gym or wait in line to access the equipment, or may have little kids or may have odd hours available to you for working out. I have a home gym and I wouldn't have it any other way. At nine o'clock at night after a brutal day I love being able to just step out into my weight room and start working out. It eliminates so many of the barriers to sticking to the program. No way at 9 at night am I driving half an hour to the gym. Over the years you can add equipment very economically by looking for steals off craigslist.


Do something
Do something you like
All the rest is just details
You'll get better results working your ass off on a bad program than you will loafing through a good program


This book adds to the knowledge of the other two books. Together they make a useful library on lifting and weight training and related studies on exercise physiology, kinesiology and diet. They take into account state of the art information and update the exercises according to the best available data. For example some of the tried and true exercises (like crunches and reverse crunches) have been removed from the line up based on new information on exercises that are more effective but protect spine by Dr. McGill. Even though this book is new to the market I have done many of these exercises in my back rehab over the past few years. I have had suspension straps and Valslides for several years and I used them along with planks and T pushups and other body weight core exercises in my rehab program. (I forced my PT to be very aggressive with me and he complied and I learned a lot about what I needed to recover) This book takes many of those exercises to another dimension for me because they are now tied up in a coordinated program.

I am a physician and I recommend these books to patients and friends who ask me "what should I do". They are often runners or others who are injured refugees from overindulgence on endurance exercises. They have used miles and miles to keep off the pounds, but no longer can engage in miles and miles due to injury. My experience is everyone of them who bought the books and actually did the program had success and no one came up injured from doing the program, in fact most were able successfully rehab some ailment using these programs. Some are not back to running but they are back to an active lifestyle and were able to maintain their weight. Some have gone on to PR in their sport of choice. I'm not saying this is the "best". I'm sure there are other programs that will make you more cut, or bring out every millimeter on all three heads of your triceps, or make that rhomboidius stick out like a grapefruit, but for me I am not interested in that. I am interested in being stronger, engaging my body with my will and maintaining some level of fitness as I slide into old age. These New Rules books do the trick for me.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Core Training And Then Some..., January 3, 2011
Bottom line - great book. I am writing this review within one week of the book hitting Amazon and the bookstores so it's not possible to have gone through all the exercise routines. But this latest in the "New Rules" series does not disappoint. I find Lou Schuler's writing style to be easy to read yet informative. I like the "rules" approach to talking about where the latest thinking is in exercise and rehab science. And I think overall this is the best "nutrition" section in the series.

If you're a gym rat who loves to read the latest fitness books and stuff out there you'll probably compare New Rules for Abs (NROL4Abs) to Core Performance Essentials: The Revolutionary Nutrition and Exercise Plan Adapted for Everyday Use, The IMPACT! Body Plan: Build New Muscle, Flatten Your Belly & Get Your Mind Right!, and the other books in the New Rules series. That's fine. I think NROL4Abs is a great addition to books focusing on the importance of functional exercises that work the core in a way the latest research suggests.

There are 3 programs presented in NROL4Abs. Each program is broken up into sections - dynamic warmup, core work, strength (and power), and metabolic work. The book presents LOTS of variations of the core and strength exercises used - everything from using dumbbells, barbells, body weight, adjustments for injuries, kettlebells, and the TRX trainer. In other words - you shouldn't have problems doing these workouts at home, a gym, a fitness studio, or hotel. The core work section alone presents 3 levels of core exercises - stabilization, dynamic stabilization, and integrated stabilization - each with a bunch of variation exercises.

If I had a criticism it would be that the exercise plans themselves felt "hidden" in the strength chapters. I would have liked another 10-20 pages at the back or the beginning where Phase 1-3's programs are written out with a workout sheet and maybe a pictorial guide. Again - the routines weren't hard to find - but I found it odd that they were in the strength work chapters.

One reviewer criticized the lack of emphasis on metabolic circuits. I think this is unjustified. NROL4Abs includes a metabolic circuit (burpees + KB swings) to use. Yeah it would have been "great" to have more than one circuit - Alwyn has published programs with many - but it really isn't needed.

UPDATE - in the review above I mistakenly call out only 1 published circuit of metabolic conditioning in the book. Actually, in addition to the burpee+swing circuit, New Rules contains 4 additional circuits that are done as supersets of 6 reps for 10 minutes. This follows the programming of some of Cosgrove's other programs and speaking from experience they are killer. These are not classic high intensity (cardio) intervals but the density approach of the supersets is highly metabolic in my opinion.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tried this for a year, December 27, 2011
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I have tried stage 1, 2 and 3, and then repeated those stages for a whole year.

This book does not teach many traditional forms of movement, like bicep curls, or tricep raises. In fact, like the advertisements say, they don't teach any ab work out. The reason for this is to get the body conditioned to be improved in a very natural way. Throughout the book you will read their reasoning and understanding to the point that you will be convinced that it makes logical sense.

The authors of the book focuses on stability and endurance during the workout. You are not required to lift amazing amounts of weights since the exercises can be quite difficult in its own right. For example, a few exercises require you to raise one dumbbell ten pounds heavier than the other side to improve muscles that help stabilize your core. The biggest exercises mentioned are the squats and dead lifts, and variations of those. By improving your lower body, you're working from the bottom to the top. Improving our core is the central part of what we do day to day.

For example, getting up from a chair, you can see the different mechanics of your body moving. You can pay attention to how your body lifts itself up as different parts of your muscles are there to support your body weight from a seated position to a standing position. This book actually helps out making simple motions and every day things much much easier. My legs are stronger, my abs are crazy strong, and even though I never did any bicep curls, my biceps became bigger from the natural exercises performed in this book.

That is why I give this book a five star rating. I will continue using this book for the next 2 years (when my gym contract expires). I improved my plank from 45 seconds to 2 mins.

I do also want to point out that the amazing thing about how our core is vital to any other part of our system, is how the core helps improve muscles from our chest, to bicep, to our legs. When we get older and older, our core is what will help us perform those same very mechanics. Without it, we will have trouble walking, picking up things, and even standing. I'm very happy that this is the point the book is trying to help out with. The exercises are amazing and well though out.

All the things I dislike about this book will not reflect the 5 star review. The reason why is to prevent any discouragement from buying this book and trying it out yourself. Plus I feel these cons are minor to the pros I mentioned.

PROBLEM 1: The main problem I experienced is there is no improvement in stamina. Workout will take about an hour each time. However, the workouts are every other day, either 2 times a week, or 3 times a week. The authors are too easy going and flexible with the fact that you can pick and choose however you want in order to fit your working busy schedule. Each progressing stage, especially stage 3 is focused on improving stamina. But to be honest, the 10 mins, (do as many sets as possible, rest as little as possible) is a failure for me. I did not notice any improvements and I'm always gasping for air regardless of how much weights is used. In fact, it made me feel like skipping this stage, but I persisted. I treated those exercises with rest for a minute in between "alternating sets" (described by the book). By ignoring the book and resting for a min, I started to enjoy this stage again.

They do mention that we should be doing exercises everyday to keep ourselves conditioned. But the problem is, there isn't much focus or discussion about that. For a whole year, I've been breathing very hard at the end, sweating excessively, and tired with no improvement of my cardio. Though I have gotten stronger and muscular, the fat content and cardio condition remained the same. I recently purchased the insanity work out to improve that stamina, so in the next year, I will write a review on that work out as well as update this review.

I do like to mention though that there is a whole dieting routine and research provided for how to eat properly, what supplements to take, and the timing to eat/take supplements.

PROBLEM 2: is the black and white photos. Sometimes the person in the photos is wearing black trunks, so its sometimes hard to see different perspectives of the exercises performed.

PROBLEM 3: Workout routine can be a bit excessive. This actually coincides with problem 1. At the very end of my work out, I am breathing very hard already, and very tired, but I am required to do some interval training (burpees) at the end, building up from 10 mins to 20 mins by the end of the month. Sometimes I feel workouts can be a bit overboard, and I just skip those workouts.

So in summary, this book is excellent for muscle strength and balance, but not for endurance and stamina..

I weighed 215 lbs starting, now I weight 230 lbs. Same pants size, but my mobility is smooth, and everything I do is much easier to perform. 2 years ago, I was 230 lbs, and I was really slow at doing things. I looked fat, I had a larger pant size, and it was tough standing from a seated position. So there is a huge difference between the 230 now and the 230 two years ago. I think I gained the 15lbs from muscle since more and more people started commenting on my physique, and I really do notice a huge change in my body for the positive. I still need to lose fat weight though, hope the insanity work out can help me out :)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but...too much like Core Performance, May 28, 2012
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This duo writes good exercise books. But this stuff is pretty much the same stuff I read in "Core Performance," a book that is specifically mentioned in this book. I read 3 CP books. So... Didn't learn anything new here. BUT... The workouts are slightly different. And... The emphasis on working the whole body is right out of rippetoe's "Starting Strength." Obviously, few ideas are "new;" but some are less new. So while I enjoy the writing and the nutrition info is very practical the book seems like an amalgam of the other books I mentioned. Short answer: if you own SS and CP, you might want to think twice before purchasing this.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can now play sports pain free, April 18, 2011
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I rarely write reviews, but the exercises in this book have significantly improved my quality of life, so i feel like I owe it.

Some back story: I'm 29. I've been lifting weights since I was a teen. I snowboard, play tennis, softball, occasional basketball and various other athletic activities. I herniated two discs in my lower back a couple years ago. Physical Therapy got me back to where I was pain free for a while, but then I'd get on the court or fall funny while snowboarding, or something else, and my back would spasm right up and I'd need two months of rehab to relieve the pain. I wanted the type of physical therapy that college or professional athletes receive, but I was getting the same treatment as a 60-year-old retiree. It didn't apply to my lifestyle. I thought my days of athletics were over and that was extremely depressing.

Then, I started doing the work-outs in this back. Life changing. They're fun and challenging and most importantly, i can play sports without fear of re-aggravating my back injury. I was on the verge of becoming an old man before I turned 30. Now, I feel like I did in college.

The diet tips in this book are pretty basic. If you're already a relatively healthy person, it won't be anything groundbreaking. But the exercises are worth their weight in gold.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent weight-lifting/core/fitness book, January 28, 2011
Cathy W (A Twin Cities, MN, burbclave) - See all my reviews
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I'm a relative newbie to weightlifting - I've been doing it for 6 months now. I started out with New Rules of Lifting for Women, also read the original NROL (but didn't follow it) and have moved to this new book.

This new book is fairly different from the previous two, and I think it's the the best of the bunch based on content and in the sheer number of photos (as a semi-novice, I REALLY appreciate lots of pictures) The older two books are definitely worth reading and/or using, and the new book can be used to adapt the older workouts to be safer and more effective by substituting the new core exercises for the older ones. So, it's definitely a good addition to your library if you have one or both of the older books. This new book has a 3-month, repeatable and very variable program, which should hold people's interest for a long time. It's got something for everyone, and it's easily adaptable to both beginners and experienced lifters. The harder variations of the exercises I have no hope of doing for a LONG time (imagine doing an inclined plank with one foot in a suspension trainer, the other foot raised in the air, and your forearms resting on an exercise ball). The sheer numbers of exercise progressions and variations should keep it interesting.

The authors relied heavily on Dr. Stuart McGill's work on back problems to create this new program - to make the exercises both safer for your back, AND more effective, both overall, and at making your back healthier, at the same time. As they say many times - strong and pretty abs, do NOT mean you have a strong and healthy back. The emphasis is on a strong core overall, rather than pretty abs. It's just that nice-looking abs can also result from the program.

I think the overall information is excellent, and I really like the more general nutrition info and rules of thumb rather than structured meal plans that NROL4W has. (I'm a vegetarian, so most meal plans aren't suitable, as they end up being wasted info for me - not that I think it's a bad thing or anything, as I feel free to ignore them, and design my own meals). I HUGELY like the emphasis on functional abilities, whole-body workouts, and overall health. I'm hoping to get my husband to do the workouts too, as he's got significant back and neck issues.

My one gripe, and it's a substantial one, is that I think the organization of the content FOR REFERENCES PURPOSES is confusing, and makes things harder to find than they should be. To be fair, the book is definitely presented logically for someone who is new to the ideas. It's an easy read, and everything is easy to digest and absorb. The problem is that most of us will read through the book only once. After that, it's a reference book, and as such, it's hard to find things. The exercises are sprinkled throughout the book, instead of collected in one place, and the actual workouts are not listed together in one place, and they don't include the warmup (you flip to a different part of the book for that). I relied very heavily on the index, because I had to when I created my workout sheets for my clipboard. You can find excellent workout sheets that have the entire workouts on one sheet for free online, so that helps quite a bit. But, I think having each full workout on one page (with page number references to the exercises) including the warmup, even though it's repeated from workout to workout, would be great for those who would prefer to just photocopy it out of the book.

Now, before folks think I don't like the book, I'd be a fool to dislike it based on this one gripe. I'm not one to throw out the baby with the bathwater. As I said earlier, I think it might be the best of the bunch, overall, which means that I think it's a really good book.

I've done both the phase 1 workouts twice now, and I can say that they are quite intense. Only 35 minutes long (they can be longer if you add sets, which is a prescribed option) as opposed to the significantly longer later-stage NROL4W workouts) but easily MORE intense than the older workouts. No amount of crunches - even holding 20 pounds of weight at arms length EVER left my midriff as wrung out as the combination of planks and side planks do. I'm impressed at how much harder these exercises are, yet still doable by beginners. Yet also still good for advanced lifters (you simply start with the harder variations of the exercise, rather than the basic ones).

I think that moving the core work to the beginning of the workout was excellent change from the older books - As I wasn't tired out already, I am able to work quite a bit harder on them.

I'm not exactly a novice at this point - I've been doing NROL4Women on and off for six months, and found it both useful, and effective. I've lost 25 pounds while doing NROL4W and C25K and using LoseIt, though I've got another 30 to go. And, I found that I had way less problems using my leaf blower in the fall - my back never hurt afterward, and I credit the workouts in the earlier book with making that so. Given the nature of these new workouts and exercises, I think I'll get even better - both in weight loss, and in my natural klutziness, as so much of the workouts force me to work on my balance and strength.

I won't be able to tell you for sure how well it helps back and neck problems (as the subtitle "for Men and Women Who Want a Strong Core and a Pain-Free Back" suggests), or how well it functions as just a workout program for several months, but I've got high expectations, and definitely recommend it. I'll also try to come back and post an update after I've finished it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Core Strength and Posture..., March 22, 2011
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I should start out by saying that I am definitely a fan of the orginal NROL. For the prior 12 months I have gone through the original NROL programs, and have obtained fantastic results. I was a novice lifter, and so my results were very dramatic in a short period of time. More than anything, I loved the message of the original book (i.e. lifting for functional movements, getting "cardio" workouts from lifting, gaining muscle mass to increase your resting metabolism, etc.). Also, I like Lou's writing style. He bases almost all of his recommendations on the current scientific knowledge, and presents his information in a refreshingly skeptical manner. He never presents his information as the fitness "gospel," and by reading his book I felt encouraged to learn more and seek out additional information for my own knowledge. It also helps that Alwyn's workouts are really tough, and produce results if you follow them!

At first, I was skeptical of an "abs" book since it appeared to go against the mantra of "total-body fitness" endorsed by the previous books. After reading NROL4abs and working through the first two phases of the book, I can tell you this is definitely a complete workout book! There were a lot of variations in phase 1 for the various core exercises (and it was a lot of fun to try more advanced challenges). I have recently made it to phase two, and I can say that it is just as tough as the workouts from the original NROL. I really like the additions of the dynamic warm-up, foam rolling, and metabolic training. The option of doing an "extra strength" module is also really nice, and I find I get a lot of intensity out of these workouts. In two and a half months I have definitely noticed substantial improvements in my core strength (and I only do these workouts twice a week). More than anything, my posture has definitely improved. For example, I find that I stand "taller" and "straighter". When I sit at my work-desk (which I do almost all day), I find that I sit straighter and with good posture, as if I'm playing the piano. I've also lost an extra inch on my waist, and have developed mid-section definition that I could not achieve before. I'm not sure if everyone can achieve these results, but I can say that this book is definitely excellent. The writing is great and I bet a lot of people can get good results. Also, these workouts are a lot of fun! From now on... give me valslides or elevated side-planks versus crunches any day!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great distillation of the current science, March 19, 2011
Alan Mushnick (Voorhees, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
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I am a consistent exercise guy. But, we all get somewhat comfortable and used to the same type of workouts, even if we try to vary things.
I also know that as a reader of Mens Health mag, the trend has been toward more full body stuff, rather than isolation of specific muscles. Core exercises and stability seem to be the new buzz words. This book really puts it all together. I have learned a lot from it, even though I have used a lot of other books as guides and I am no novice.
The science does evolve, and this is a great distillation of the recent information, put together in a way that is practical to use. I am doing exercises now that I always avoided since I have a bad back. Even after a few weeks, I know that finally, my back is stronger, and following the proper form. This core stuff is more important than all the running and lifting I have been doing for years. I still don't think I will be a muscle man. But, the functional strength and real world gains from this program is better than anything I have tried. This is great stuff. The name is a misnomer. Abs are only part of the story. It should have been called New Rules of Lifting 2.0
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give Yourself the Gift of Longterm Back Health, January 9, 2011
J. Keen (Connecticut) - See all my reviews
I've been a physical therapist for over 15 years, and my specialty is back and neck injuries.

Lou and Alwyn have put together a program that could very well keep the general population with chronic nagging low back pain out of my clinic!!! Lou does a great job explaining the anatomy and function of the lumbar stabilizers in a basic way that is easy for the lay-person to understand. And Alwyn's exercises are, as usual, well thought out and put together in a way that will allow even the most deconditioned to implement the program.

In my opinion, everyone who has ever had back problems, or anyone who wants to prevent back problems, should buy this book and implement the program!
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