Customer Reviews: Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition
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on January 17, 2014
None of the reviews thus far have addressed how Strength Training Anatomy and the Strength Training Anatomy Workout books differ, so you might be wondering which one to buy.

Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition, is a reference book--it's got really cool drawings with tips for common techniques at the gym. It's no-nonsense and great for weight-lifters who have a great routine already but want to optimize it, or for the intellectual athlete who wants to gain a greater understanding of muscles in motion.

The Strength Training Anatomy Workout will teach beginners how to start and athletes how to optimize strength for their sport. It goes into breathing techniques while lifting, how many sets and reps one should perform, how often to work out, etc. Delavier and Gundill have lots of drawings, pre-planned routines including those to supplement other sports, and succinct advice to get the most out of every technique. Important to note, it focuses on working out with weights and resistance bands and eschews gym equipment. If you want to work out at home, it's great, if you want to join a gym, you'll need Volume II.

Strength Training Anatomy Workout Volume II will show you how to make the most of the gym if you want some serious strength training. It has many different routines, the low-down on all the equipment you'll find at the gym, great advice on optimizing every technique, and even more drawings to help guide you to excellent technique. This is the book to get if you want to get into body building.

Overall, these books are great. Delavier and Gundill translate their extensive anatomy and weight-lifting knowledge into language anyone can understand and information is succinct so reading's a pleasure. Do they work? I gained 15 lbs in 6 months after having plateaued with my previous, self-made routine.
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on June 1, 2011
With over 450,000 copies sold, this book is arguably the best book of its kind. What's it useful for? Mainly to help the reader (from the weekend athlete to the athletic trainer to the professional bodybuilder) figure out what exercises work what muscles.

It's neatly divided up into sections (arms, shoulders, chest, back, etc.), so all you really have to do is flip to one of these sections and it will have detailed pictures of various exercises and exactly which muscles are involved.

A great reference to keep have around, I give it five stars easy. Readers who lift weights regularly might also be interested in Bulletproof Your Shoulder to avoid shoulder problems a lot of lifters eventually get.
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on March 24, 2010
I bought the 2nd edition of this book well over a year ago when I was on a working out kick. Unfortunately life got in the way and I stopped going to the gym for several months, and even when I started back I only dabbled with cardio workouts. About 4 months ago I started back on weights and dug out this book. Prior to that I hadn't opened it. The book as it turns out had serious printing issues, making much of it unusable. It was long past the time frame in which I could have returned it to Amazon so I contacted the publisher, Human Kinetics, instead. Their customer service was excellent! They were aware of a small number of mis-prints that fit my description and were more than happy to replace it. The CS person asked if it would be ok if the replacement was delayed a few weeks until the 3rd edition was available which greatly pleased me. I received the new book about a week ago and it was in perfect condition. Many thanks to the HK folks for their fine customer service!

For those that don't already know what's in this book let me explain in detail. Everyone has seen the anatomy posters on the gym walls. The individual caricatures on the posters display a cut-away model of the human body sans skin. It highlights a muscle or group of muscles and then shows you an exercise that you can use to work that specific muscle. There usually isn't much more detail than that. Text is minimal. This book is at it basics a book version of those posters. However this book goes much, much further. The caricatures for individual muscles and muscle groups in this book usually have multiple exercise options. Text in this book explains in detail how to properly perform the exercise. It also provides useful tips on how to slightly alter the exercise to accommodate common injuries (ie, turn your wrists this way to not engage a torn wrist flexor). There are several pages of guides and background information on how to avoid certain injuries such as not fully extending your arms when doing curls to avoid tendinitis down the road. As another example the book goes into detail on how and why crunches should ALWAYS be performed with an inward curving spine (ie, fetal curve). This is to minimize the usage of the Psoas Major & Minor hip flexors and avoid the back injury they can cause. There are several excellent section of pure information in this book. The caricatures in this book are truly excellent. The artist did a fantastic job positioning and drawing the body to emphasize exactly what the reader needs to see and understand. The 3rd Edition also adds text on proper stretching among other things.

I highly recommend this book to every single person lifting weights at all levels. I've shown the book to friends, coworkers and people at the gym. I've even sung its praises to complete strangers in checkout lines and restaurants. I can't say enough good things about it. The only negative thing I can think of (more of a wishful thinking thing) is that it's only available in paperback. I wish it was also available as a hardback. Taking this to the gym with you will wear it out eventually. Of course for its low price replacing it is inexpensive. It's an excellent resource.
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I owned the first edition of Strength Training Anatomy (blue cover) for nearly 15 years and I've been recommending this book to my clients for that long as well. I decided to pick up the new 3rd edition (red cover) to update my library and also to write this review.

This book's concept and contents have been imitated many times, but Delavier's is the original and the best.

In a nutshell, Strength Training Anatomy is a book of expertly drawn illustrations of the human body (over 600) performing weight training exercises. The primary muscles being worked are colored in red and clearly labeled. The bones, muscle fibers and muscular attachments are also beautifully illustrated.

The book is divided into seven sections: Arms, Shoulders, Chest, Back, Legs, Buttocks and Abdomen. No space is wasted with introductions - the book jumps right into arms in the opening pages. A page is devoted to each exercise, and a small amount of text accompanies each illustration, explaining proper form and giving additional tips or precautions. Sidebars show exercise variations, start and finish positions and additional details (such as deep muscle anatomy with the exact muscle tendon insertions on the bone).

The length is 192 pages, so it's not overwhelming - it's very digestible, yet it's also very thorough in terms of the number of exercises covered. All the major and important barbell and dumbbell exercises are included. In addition, you'll learn a variety of cable exercises and a handful of common and useful machine exercises.

I don't think there's any reader from any demographic or experience level that won't benefit from owning this book. It will be appreciated by all ages and by men and women, especially since both male and female models are used in the illustrations. For beginners, this could be a training instruction "bible" for learning how to do the exercises properly and understanding exactly what muscles are working.

Some people might suggest this book is only suited for the beginner, but I think advanced trainees and even fitness professionals will find this book valuable as a reference guide and may even want to keep it on their shelf within arms reach.

This material is not just for bodybuilders, but as a bodybuilder myself, I think there is another potential benefit of this book that I haven't seen anyone else mention. Bodybuilders need to develop the ability to visualize muscle actions and learn how to enhance their mind to muscle connection. Studying the drawings and looking at the muscles engaged, the direction of the fibers and where they insert and attach could be a great tool to help with these mental skills.

As for the 3rd edition, there is new material in this update, including much more content (it's longer, with more exercises). There are also new sections on stretching and avoiding common injuries.

The publisher, Human Kinetics consistently puts out some great titles, and this is among the best of them. The book quality is excellent, including the cover, binding, paper, and again, the illustrations on every page are fantastic. The author is clearly a skilled artist who also has a medical-level understanding of the human body.

Potential readers should know before buying, that this book does not contain workout programs - it focuses solely on individual exercise instruction and exercise anatomy. That doesn't detract from the value in my opinion, it actually helps keeps this volume concise and focused on one thing: strength training exercises and anatomy.

On that note, again, this is not a text-heavy book and while you do get an explanation and illustration of each exercise, you don't get
in-depth written details on biomechanics and muscle actions. You're mainly getting exercise instruction and muscle anatomy lessons.

Also, this IS an anatomy book, so if looking at body parts and human anatomy bothers you, then you might want to take a pass. (All body parts are depicted, in places).

In summary, this book deserves its 5-star ratings, and its sales and longevity in the fitness book market are not surprising.
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on August 8, 2002
This is the best reference book I have found for anyone interested in weight training. It gives very specific information on which muscles are used in many many weight-lifting exercises and, especially helpful, in different variations of these exercises. If you want to develop a routine that involves the different parts and aspects of a particular muscle group, this is a great place to look. The information is presented in an easy-to-understand written form and also visually with beautiful illustrations. I was very pleased to find that the illustrations include women's bodies as well as men's. This book presents complex information (which I have found missing or difficult to understand in other books) in a straight-forward and well-organized manner. The only negative thing I have to say is that I wish it had an index. I'm really glad I found this book!
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on May 2, 2010
So much has been said about the strengths of this fantastic book so I will point out what it doesn't contain or could do better. First, this is not a book that you can use to directly create a workout plan. For each body part featured, there are descriptions of the muscle in the group and how they work together, the major variations between body types and how that affects one's ability to do certain exercises, and brief coverage on injury prevention and recovery. There are several exercises described and illustrated for each muscle group.

The reader does not come away with a plan to do certain exercises in a certain order, on certain days or in combination with certain other body parts. Thus a novice will not be told (for example) to start his chest workout with dumbbell presses and then move to barbell and machines as the chest muscles are exhausted. Nor will you be instructed to exercise triceps after chest so that the triceps muscles are not depleted prior to doing chest. Finally, this is not a book that discusses diet, sleep, nutrition or supplements, all of which are critical factors to achieving your strength training goals.

This book is an outstanding linkage between human anatomy and exercise physiology. It describes what mechanical difference and muscular impact of doing different exercises (say, squats vs. leg presses) so that the reader can understand how a given exercise works the muscles. It is up to the reader to infer based on this understanding how an exercise routine should be constructed or how to overcome or compensate for limitations in the reader's existing training regiment or personal physical characteristics.

As for what could be better, with each exercise, there is a color legend to explain which muscle groups are engaged. This should be abandoned for until you memorize the 20 or so colors (assuming you can distinguish between them) you have to keep paging back to the legend to just ignore them. It would be far better to simply list the muscle groups as text. I would also like to see larger versions of the small diagrams that show the corresponding muscle groups shaded in red and orange. However, these are small gripes and the ineffectiveness of some of these graphics are overcome when by the detailed text and large labeled muscle charts.
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on July 18, 2002
This book is an excellent weight training reference for insight into the anatomy of the major muscle groups, and the exercises best suited to train specific muscles.
The book is broken down into seven major muscle groups: arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs, buttocks, and abdomen. Within each muscle group are multiple exercises, each comprised of detailed anotomical illustrations, instructions on performing the exercises, and key information such as variations (for specific focus on particular muscles) and warnings (to aviod injury).
Using this book, one could easily select a variety of exercises to build a total body workout program. The selection of exercises also allows for some routine variation to keep one's workout from getting stale.
The illustrations are of an exellent quality, as are the materials. The pages are of heavyweight paper, with a semi-glossy finish.
Although I rated this title highly, I did so with the understanding that it suits a very specific purpose, and is not a general purpose introduction or guide to weight training. This is an ANATOMY REFERENCE, specific to selected weight training exercises. It does not contain any other information concerning weight training, diet, exercise, etc. In fact, there is not even a brief introduction by the author, simply the reference material itself. But, in terms of its intended purpose, it is an excellent reference. If you already have some sort of "Bodybuilding Encyclopedia", you probably already posess much of the information contained in this title. Having no interest in the history, self-promotion, and general testosterone driven attitudes of many of those types of titles (as well as the phonebook sized package), I much prefer this concise book as an exercise reference.
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on April 18, 2011
This is a very valuable resource for any bodybuilder or fitness minded individual. One of the authors Frederic Delavier is best known for his excellent illustrations in "Strength Training Anatomy" which depicted every muscle used during exercise. "The Strength Training Anatomy Workout" is a high quality addition to that first book. It shows the reader how to put the strength training principles into practice. What I really like about the workout edition is that the authors kept it pretty simple. You don't need tons of equipment to get in shape or perform the exercises described in this book. In fact, the authors even recommend you do these exercises at home. You don't even need a gym unless that's where you prefer to workout. I love how detailed every exercise is explained and the step by step full color pictures. I also really appreciated the included complete workout routines that are tailored to different fitness levels. Overall, it is a very informative book that I can highly recommend. Even if you think you know it all about bodybuilding this book is still a good refresher on proper technique which is key to success in weightlifting.
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on December 31, 2012
Delavier is one of the great trainers/educators in the world of fitness. This book is aimed at beginners and all of the exercises can be done at home with dumbbells, resistance bands, a pull-up bar, chair, and bed. The follow-up book, The Strength Training Anatomy Workout II is a bigger book that shows a greater range of exercises done primarily with barbells, dumbbells, and machines. Unless you are specifically looking for exercises done primarily with dumbbells, you will find everything and more in the second book, so it's not necessary to have this one as well. Ditto for the original Strenth-Training Anatomy. The Strength Training Anatomy Workout II combines all of Delavier's wisdom in a single volume.
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on March 15, 2002
I had high hopes for this book based on the customer reviews I read, but I still didn't expect such an extremely high level of detail and quality! It turned out to be everything I was looking for and more. It is very well laid out - a section is devoted to each bodypart (i.e. arms, chest, shoulders), and on the first page of each section is a rundown of all of the exercizes that are profiled. What follows is a beautifully drawn depiction of someone performing the given movement with the targeted muscles highlighted. It also offers tips on proper form and possible variations. I can honestly say I have never been more satisfied with ANY book I have purchased. I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone with even the slightest in the way the human body works and it is an absolute MUST HAVE for anyone who is at all involved in weightlifting at any level. It will help make your workouts more effective because you will know exactly which muscles you have been targeting in your workouts and those you may have been neglecting. Please do yourself a favor and buy this book!!!
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