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Beyond Bodybuilding: Muscle and Strength Training Secrets for the Renaissance Man Paperback – January 1, 2005
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He completely negates that in this book, or so it seems. This book is not written for functional strength-trainees or body-weighters. It is designed for those with access to a unique type of gymn.
Now, if you do have such access, this might be the book for you.
Cons of the book:
Every chapter has a different method for how often one should lift. Now, on one hand that's fine. People's bodies are different, politically-correct hippies notwithstanding. Still, at the end of the book I felt like I had been overwhelmed with conflicting (and often confusing) information. My thoughts: if you've been training for more than a few years, you probably already have a good idea of what you should be doing each cycle.
Pros of the book:
I did learn some stuff. I am still a religious adherent of the low-tech philosophy of weight lifting. Pavel showed a number of highly useful and clever, yet relatively simple leg exercises that require only a few kettlebells and a barbell.
As far as bodybuilding books go, there are worse ones. I found the book off-putting because it seemed an implicit rejection of all the strength-training principles that made Pavel great. Why the 3 stars if I love Pavel's stuff so much and if this book is actually good info (which, contradictions aside, it is)? I just don't think it is worth the price of $45+.
It is divided into sections, such as Back, Legs, Neck & Shoulders, Bodyweight, etc., and also offers training advice - several specific programs you can follow, or better yet, adapt to your preferences. While no specific program is recommended over another, this is fine, as the information is helpful for deciding what works best for you.
I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because: (1) throughout the book, the primary model is shown wearing "flip-flops," which are unsafe for serious powerlifting; (2) there is no specific section on grip work, although it is addressed to some extent in the other sections; (3) there is little information on the importance of stretching; and (4) because only a paragraph is devoted to the trap bar (my favorite type of bar for deadlifting). But this is an excellent book.
Will a low rep, powerlifting type routine cause increases in your 1 rep max? Of course it will. Will it put pounds of muscle on you and give someone a lean athletic look? Depends on many other variables.
Touted here is a basic 5x5 compound exercise program. You can find information about this on the internet. The author tells you that this is the way, using the basics like dead lifts, squats, and presses and to stay away from the concentrated exercises. I have no problem with that philosophy. But then the author gives you dozens of other exercises that contradict that philosophy, exercises like floor flys, tricep extensions, and curls. So basically yes, stick with the basics, but you will/may need to round out that program with other exercises depending on your goals/needs.
What is of value here is a pretty well written course on peaking. The author is correct, many bodybuilder types train very close to their max constantly. And unless you are planning on overtraining, injury, or going on the juice, 99 percent of us just can't train that way. By using the peaking cycles given in this book and backing off when you hit a sticking point and then building back up most of use will see better results. On the other hand, the author scorns High Intensity Training. I believe there is a place for sets to failure at times and that this can be a great change to your training program for a period of time. I think it is very hard to argue with the results that a one set 20 rep squat program has done for many. Many of the old time lifters that the authors likes to quote in the book used such a program.
Save yourself the 25 dollars this book can usually be found to cost and use it on gym dues.
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