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Mad Skills Exercise Encyclopedia: The World's Largest Illustrated Exercise Encyclopedia Paperback – October 2, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Just flipping through Mad Skills is enough to get you excited to train. It's a complete reference honoring the full cross-section of physical culture without favoring any one particular discipline." - GoldMedalBodies.com
"Anyone of just about any fitness level could use this book to learn new exercises or to improve moves they already know." - The Oregonian
"While the encyclopedia does have a section called "Cooking It Up" that helps functional fitness enthusiasts put together their own workouts, it's also relatively easy to add several movements to your existing workouts" - CoolHunting.com

About the Author

Ben Musholt is a physical therapist and APEX Movement certified Parkour and Freerunning coach in Portland, Oregon. He is a cofounder of the 'Beyond the Clinic' rehabilitation practice, and also runs BPM Rx, Inc. His writing has been featured on the Men’s Fitness and Breaking Muscle websites. He also blogs at ParkourConditioning.com and posts workouts to StrengthMob.com. His movement-training background spans from gymnastics, to martial arts, and board sports. His goal is to help fellow athletes have the fitness needed to excel in their favorite sport.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492139408
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492139409
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author clearly enjoyed creating this book. I wanted to see how the crowdfunding process would work for a book, and I kind of bought it on a whim.

This is not an encyclopedia, this is more like a comic book. There are a lot of tips and tricks to master the techniques of many of these exercises, and this is simply not very detailed.

While I appreciate the fact this was a labor of love, I find it hard to believe that beginners get much out of it, although it does remind more advanced trainees of exercises they might have forgotten about.

I like this book, but I don't love it, nor could I really recommend it over some of the outstanding instructionals out there. Sorry, Ben. I was hoping for something more in depth with a higher production value.
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Format: Paperback
Mad Skills is the bomb! Here why: 1. I was getting stale in my workout. Mad Skills allowed me to look up some alternative exercises that also introduced new aspects to the body part I was working on. It was actually fun to try to master the new exercises while getting a workout. 2. Mad Skills adds a massive amount of variety and we all know that unless we challenge our bodies differently, we won't progress in our fitness, so I'm working past my leg plateau now (I'm a mtn biker) and adding trunk stability/control in hopes of improving my super slow speed technical bike control. 3. Sometime I travel or when I am away visiting family, I need a way to sneak a workout in utilizing common everyday objects/obstacles. I already planned my workout for my next trip to visit my parents. And the best part of this is that I can completely include my kids in much of this stuff (at least until their interest fades but at least they are getting the message: fitness can be fun to).
So all in all, this movement bible has added variety and challenge back into my kinda stale routine, while actually being more fun to do. And perhaps most surprisingly, I have captured my kid's interest too and that was a bonus.
Well done Mad Skills!
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Format: Paperback
I recently received the digital version of the book as a small backer. I am in Canada and so I was un-able to obtain a hard copy and I'm sad that the book isn't available on Amazon.ca. Aside from that, I can't really think of anything that wasn't done well with this text. It is comprehensive and each page roughly contains 3 exercises with a description and visual. You can tell that a lot of work went into crafting each image. I can't stress enough that this book is a reference and not a guide to learning perfect form on each exercise. The descriptions of each exercise are minimal and are enough to get you started. Further research must be done on your part to learn proper form for complicated compound movements found in this text. I have always focused on compound movements (Squat, Deadlift, Overhead Press, Bench) but I find that I don't vary my assistance exercises. This book has opened my eyes to new variety and will make program creation a breeze. I think this book is also great for the gym rat who knows how to lift but doesn't necessarily know how to stretch or warm-up properly. Overall, this book is a steal and can easily be used if you wish to focus your training on Power, Strength, Bodybuilding, Calisthenics, Flexibility, etc. I really hope Ben decides to create another text sometime in the future.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really liked this book as it is a great resource of exercise movements and introduced me to many new ones I never thought of. It really gives you good ideas on how to develop your own programs and all in one place. For example, you can go all body weight, gymnast movements, weights, cardio or mix and match. The illustrations are well done and easy to follow. You will never get bored with the number and variety of the exercises in this book! Highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
Buy it. If you are into fitness in any way shape or form this is a go to reference book you will not be disappointed with. Basic exercises with illustrations so you can incorporate them into any work out routine.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can see myself using Mad Skills Exercise Encyclopedia as a solid resource to turn to when I need to change up some elements of my routine. The book is well organized and groups like exercises together - making it easier to find trade-out exercises. The coaching cues provided hit the basics to get ya up and running.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This author had the right Idea. Excellent book. A stick figure encyclopedia of exercises for many subjects such as, calisthenics, barbell training, kettlebell, yoga, etc. Make a second edition! Better descriptions on methods, more subjects, what to concentrate on during exercises, pictures instead of illustrations might work better, more exercises!
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Format: Paperback
This book has been an incredible resource for me, and it excels at what it does: provide exercises and descriptions for a range of activities. I think that if you purchase this book knowing what to expect, you won't be disappointed.

So what should you expect? Exactly what's on the cover - an encyclopedia of various exercises and movements, hundreds of them. One aspect of this book that I appreciate is that it keeps a tight focus on the goal - to introduce the reader to as many different movements as possible.

Inside the book you will see exercises sorted by the body part that they hit hardest (legs, chest, etc.) Each exercise comes with a short description and unique and awesome illustrations to help you through the movement. The descriptions aren't overly technical - if you're looking for a primer on perfect deadlift form, you'll want to pursue some further resources, but they are sufficient to get you started.

What's important to realize is that this book is focused. There are some short passages on creating exercise routines and a brief introduction, but this book is aptly titled an encyclopedia. It inspires and informs. Ben isn't pushing any program on anyone - just providing information. It's a welcome change from most fitness reads on the market today.

I loved the wide variety of movements including gymnastics movements, parkour, and weight training. There's bodyweight movements, kettlebells, ring work, you name it and it's probably represented to some degree here. The illustrations are modern and fantastic, and there are enough movements in here for a lifetime. It's the first book of it's kind that I've ever seen, and sets the bar high for all future attempts.

DO BUY this book if you are looking for inspiration and information. You won't be disappointed.
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