Top critical review
18 people found this helpful
A terribly flawed book....
on September 19, 2009
I agree with the other reviews that fault the author's effort to portray running as an inherently injurious and inappropriate form of exercise.
However, far more egregious is the author's misunderstanding of the bio-mechanics of walking (and running). The reader could do serious damage to himself or herself if the book's description of walking is closely followed.
The author describes the act of walking as one in which the lower leg is extended in front of the body and the weight of the body comes down on the heel. The illustrations and photos in the book show walkers landing on their heels. Unfortunately, this is known as over-striding and results in a braking effect as well as injury to the shins and knees. The proper form is to land mid-foot and roll onto the balls of your feet. This is accomplished by tilting the pelvis forward slightly, taking shorter strides, pushing off your trailing foot when it is behind the body, and landing on the forward foot when it is just about underneath your center of gravity so that when the full weight of your body is on the foot, it is directly underneath you. Try running a few steps landing on your heels. Then try it landing mid-foot. The difference is obvious.
To be fair, the author's (mis)understanding of walking and running was once very common. The book's original publication more than 15 years ago suggests that other information in it may also be seriously outdated.
Oddly and sadly, the author acknowledges that he has had BOTH KNEES replaced. It is almost perverse that the book is based on an understanding of how to walk that can result in severe injury to the knees and that the author has himself been a victim of his own misunderstanding.
As an exercise enthusiast, I am happy to hear that readers have found this book inspirational. However, given its flaws, the publisher should decline to re-print it any further. There are many other excellent exercise books that don't contain such a fundamental flaw.