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Maximum Strength: Get Your Strongest Body in 16 Weeks with the Ultimate Weight-Training Program Paperback – May 13, 2008
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"Indianapolis Star," 5/27/08
"Looking for a good weight-training program? Try reading "Maximum Strength,""
"This is truly a unique program and perfect for advanced lifters looking for a serious challenge."
"Miami Herald" 7/15/08
"The illustrations and detailed instructions will help you work all muscle groups and achieve the results you desire."
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I hold two very minor differences with this book, one which is more programmatic and the other which is more business-oriented; neither of these personal differences are very meaningful however since they do not detract from the ability to attain significant strength gains in 16 weeks - hence the reason why I kept my review rating to 5 stars:
1.) Mr. Cressey's periodization model is much shorter in length than what I am accustomed to using with clients. He varies overall workload on a weekly basis, whereas I tend to vary such on a much longer block of time - typically 6 weeks, give or take 1-2 weeks depending. The short-block emphasis is good for more intermediate-to-advanced lifters who probably are not used to waving their intensity so drastically, while I have found the long-block emphasis good for beginners and those who really wish to hone in on certain fitness goals at certain times of the year. Those with orthopedic challenges may find that extending the block-lengths (from weekly to biweekly, monthly, or even a bit further) in the beginning will help to provide more time and room for postural corrections and rebalancing than just simply starting off with weekly variances. Again, not a big deal and there are many different training variations with which to work, but for those who find that a weekly undulation may feel a bit "harried" or rushed there are other methods of periodizing the program which can work as well.
2.) Just from a purely marketing standpoint, unless Mr. Cressey has plans of unveiling a "Maximum Strength For Females" book in the near future, I would like to state that despite the book's blatant emphasis on the male gender, this program is suitable for males OR females who wish to develop maximum raw strength. The references throughout the book to the male gender may have developed out of his experience that the vast majority of his clientele interested in maximum strength development are male, however keeping it so characteristically male-centered has probably been a turnoff to some potential female readers. To any females reading this review, please do not allow that to happen. This book will help you just as much as any man (if not more so given the average tendency of males to acquire and exhibit strength moreso than females).
In conclusion, great job Mr. Cressey on a workable, intelligent approach to maximal strength training! 5 stars was easily deserved on this one.
I thought I knew how to warmup prior to reading this book, but the 1st time I did the warmup from this book and felt muscles move I didn't know I had, I realized I had not been warming up properly. The warmup does take 10 to 15 minutes, but you move so much better afterwards that you don't begrudge the time spent. I highly recommend just following the warmup section for anyone who has long-standing injuries. You might benefit as much from that as you do the actual exercises.
I recommend this book if you like to workout but want to get stronger, are bored with your current routine, or want to learn more about weight-lifting in general. Oh and if you're not down with working out 4 times a week, which is what the plan calls for, check out Cressey's 'Show and Go' on his personal website; it has options for 2x a week up to 5x.
Otherwise, great book. All safety concious, form correct, do-able exercises.No outrageous claims, no stupidly difficult routines. Just science based plans for strength gain.
edit: I am 3/4 done with the program and am making significant improvement in the deadlift and bench. However, my back squat has gone way down. There isn't much back squat in this book, but front squat instead, and well, I kind of suck at it and am forced to use half the weight I was using for the back squat. I know the significance of the front squat, but if I do this plan again, I'd do back squat instead and save the front squat for "off" days, using light weight.
As the commenter on my review stated, you can do the cable work with bands. That has worked fine for me.
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