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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises: Four Weeks to a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular YOU! Paperback – December 22, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 415 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ADAM CAMPBELL, is the fitness director for Men's Health and a National Magazine Award-winning writer. He holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and is a NSCA-certified strength and conditioning coach. Campbell has appeared on Good Morning America, The Early Show, and VH-1.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books; 1 edition (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605295507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605295503
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (415 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
While this book is marketed as the end-all of training books that gives every exercise you need along with sensible workout and nutrition plans, it falls a bit short of that promise.

It does have a TON of exercises with pictures and tips on how to do them correctly, and thus, it's a good reference book. The organization of the exercises, however, is poorly executed. While they appear in their proper categories, such as "back," there are no further details about the many exercises that follow as to which particular parts of the back that the exercises target.

It also doesn't indicate which exercises are compound, mass-builders, which are isolation exercises, and which are in the middle. Unless you really know what you're doing, you won't know what exercises to do and why.

The workout programs given in the book seem to be thrown together kind of haphazardly, and while they'll keep you "busy" in the gym and are better than being completely random, they're not the most effective in terms of building muscle and getting stronger. If you get bored of routines easily, you might like the fact that there are many variations that you can do for each muscle group.

The nutritional section calls for a diet high in protein, moderate in fats, and low in carbs. This is fine for losing weight if done correctly, but definitely is not optimal for building muscle. Scientific studies have clearly shown the connection between high carb intake and building muscle. In fact, if you don't eat enough carbs, you'll not only be short on the glycogen necessary for muscle synthesis, you'll have a VERY hard time eating enough overall calories to build any appreciable amount of muscle.
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The concept of Men's Health Big Book of Exercises is great: collect hundreds of exercises, group them by muscle group and add some background information and nutritional advice. There you go: the workout manual to make all others obsolete. But despite the lyrical reviews posted here, I found this book disappointing. In short: the collection of exercises is great, but the way they are presented is not optimal. A serious framework to construct your own training plan is absent and the nutritional information is downright silly.

EXERCISES

What I liked about this book is the sheer number of exercises; they are the reason I continue to use this book every now and then. Each exercise comes with at least one clear picture and has some handy little performance tips scattered around. However, this being the main event of the book, there are a number of omissions that I would consider flaws.

First, there is no connection between the discussion of the anatomy in the beginning of each section and the exercises. It's great that you are shown the different muscles that make up the back, but in the 60 or so exercises that follow, there is no way of finding out which muscle or part thereof is targeted by which exercise. Also, if you give 15 variations of one particular exercise, it would have been logical to mark the variations in terms of level of difficulty. No such luck.

Basically, the book first gives some fairly detailed information on an entire muscle group (albeit with some less than great illustrations), but then simply dumps a long list of exercises on you. Though the number of exercises provided is much smaller, the book
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If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it wouldn't be "big", it would be "complete". It's not just a big book of exercises- its that plus a whole lot of other info as well. Here's some of what I liked the best about it...

-it devotes a chapter to answering questions we all have about lifting, questions such as "how fast should I lift?" or "how many repetitions should I do?"

-the exercises are organized by body part, so you get a bunch of ex's for the chest in Chapter 4, a bunch of exercises for the back in Chapter 5, and so on. Easy to navigate around in this book.

-included is a section on warm-up exercies- which a lot of people forget about doing. Here you'll find a lot of stretches.

-there's a workout plan towards the end of the book for just about every need you might have. For example, you'll find a workout plan for the crowded gym, for fat loss- even for vertical jumping. Neat!

The book ends with a section on cardio, and a section on nutrition. As you can see, while it is a "big" book of exercises (and kinda heavy too), its also a very "complete' book as well. Also recommend Bulletproof Your Shoulder if you have a shoulder problem that interferes with your workouts. Happy training!
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I have bought a lot of exercise books over the years. The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises is one of the best. This useful book has a fair amount of general information on diet, fitness, and training for specific sports, but what makes it stand out are its descriptions of individual exercises, photos, and versatility. The main part of the book is broken down by muscle group (chest, quads, hamstrings and glutes, upper and lower back, biceps and triceps, core). Each section has several exercises that use barbells, dumbbells, cables, or body weight, with good descriptions of how to do the exercise and good color photos. I don't always trust myself to do a lift without instruction from an expert, but every new exercise I have picked up from this book has felt right and targeted the right muscles. I have used the book to fine-tune an existing workout, adding or swapping out individual exercise, but the Big Book is also packed with suggested workouts, including a series of 15-minute workouts for people who are new to lifting or have no time for elaborate workouts. There is also a section devoted to exercises that work several muscle groups at once. I have liked every workout I have tried, and am impressed that the book targets both the gym (with a section on the best way to get a good workout in when the gym is crowded) and the home. I have a bunch of dumbbells, and have focused on the dumbbell and body-weight exercises, but if you have a barbell set or cable machine at home you should find the book helpful, too. I am a runner and cyclist and drift toward the low-weight, quicker workouts, but there seems to be plenty here for the more serious lifter too.
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