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The Poliquin Principles: Successful Methods for Strength and Mass Development Paperback – July 1, 1997
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Bodybuilding is a tiny universe comprised of huge people, and those who want to be huge but aren't there yet. Inside that insular world, a handful of individuals have made a ton of money selling advice based on shaky science--if any science was involved at all. Poliquin, a Canadian strength coach, set out to discover what the rest of the world knew about building strength and muscle but hadn't told us yet. From obscure European journals, he found a ton of information on such arcana as the speed at which an exercise should be performed and the amount of rest that should be taken between exercises. These seem like tiny issues, but they can make a big difference in how fast a muscle can grow and how strong it can become.
Besides that advanced information--packaged here for serious bodybuilders-- Poliquin peppers his book with darkly funny jabs at the muscle world's reigning brain trust. He pokes fun at one famously unstable guru's obsession with Ayn Rand, and points out that much of the training information in bodybuilding magazines is really created by editors and writers for those magazines, since the bodybuilders themselves rarely bother to tell the truth about what they do in the gym (and the drugs they use outside of it).
The Poliquin Principles is a rarity in the muscle world: a serious training manual that's also a lot of fun to read. --Lou Schuler
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Having said that, buy this book and carefully sift through it. It does contain a wealth of info that can be incorporated into any type of routine depending on your training goals. Poliquin clearly knows his stuff, but very obviously needed a better editor and a better photographer. This book would benefit from clearer pictures to go along with the explanations, and the author assumes too much previous knowledge regarding exercises. Some that he mentioned were totally unfamiliar to me, yet there weren't photos of many exercises to illustrate just what the heck he's talking about.
The real beauty of this book is in the myriad ways to alter your own training regimen, even in small ways, to shake up and improve your training.
Hopefully this book's weaknesses will be addressed in his newest book, which I have yet to read.
He gives endless examples of workouts. That by itself is enough.
The focus of the book is on how to plan training programs more than on particular exercises or presenting set plans.
For an experienced bodybuilder who wants to better scientifically optimize his or her training program, there is a great deal of good information here summarized in a very accessible and readable form. I give it five stars because I think it is great for this audience -- it might just be the most accessible of the most scientific.
I think Poliquin's credentials as a strength coach give him authority. In trying to base everything on science, it would have been nice to have more in-depth discussion of the studies his conclutions are based on, or at least to provide citations. By not doing so, he opens himself to the same kind of ridicule he lays out in this book on less scientifically-based programs and experts.