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on December 9, 2008
As a personal trainer, I find it interesting to see the huge variety of workout books. I like this one a whole lot. There is lots of scientifically valid, sensible advice, and a lot of very good workout plans. Best of all, it goes down very easily because the author (I assume it's mostly Lou) is very funny.

Books about weight training, even ones that I enjoy, aren't necessarily "fun" to read. They can be too academic, a footnote every 4 sentences, or at the other extreme, so brief and thinly-sourced that you wonder about the validity of the assertions.

One guy reviewing this was upset because he felt that the book is just a collection of workouts. This is highly misleading, and I think you'll agree if you pick up this book in the store and have a look. There is plenty of supporting background material, and it reads well because of the humor and good style. I think that Lou knows his audience and knows that he can't go on too long with science minutiae. He also knows that there are those who won't read any background material, good or not, so he shows how to cut to the chase if you're one of those readers.

I also like the concept of having 2 authors, as long as they're matched well - you get more for your money.

Of the workout books that you can find in a regular bookstore, many aren't so hot. This one is excellent!
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on August 14, 2009
I am a 21 year old male. Thanks largely to the instructions in this book, I went from a size 32 waist to a size 30.5ish in 2 months while simultaneously gaining 8 pounds. I read this entire book, followed the 4 week warm-up, and started doing the hypertrophy program. I meticulously record my sets, and follow the set timing. I have seen extreme results compared to previous work-out plans I have been on.

My diet consists of brown rice, protein powder, lentils, and chicken legs (I am a poor college student).

Some tips that helped me effectively use this book:

1. Working out with a partner is motivating, but ineffective. When I work with a partner, the timing of my work out falls apart. I often have to wait 3 minutes between sets, which violates the work-out's intent to provide maximum muscle tension.

2. Working out at peak gym times makes this book impossible. This book encourages a relatively short work-out time, which is cross-verified in many pieces of weight lifting literature. Working out longer has an adverse effect on testosterone levels and muscle growth. To do the work-outs within this allotted time, you will need to go to the gym when it is relatively empty.
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on July 6, 2012
I started doing the New Rules of Lifting around 6 weeks ago. I'm very quickly noticing results. After doing many other programs, including p90x, this has been my favourite and I have seen the most noticable results. It focuses more on the full body workout not muscle isolation. As well, with my time committments at work it gives you incredibly well done programs and you don't have to workout every day of the week to get results, and as I have mentioned very good results. I would recommend this book to anyone, it has programs for all kinds of people in regard to body size, experience and time committment.
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on May 6, 2006
I believe I am like a lot of people out there when I say that I really enjoy exersise, however, I am always concerned if what I am doing is making me stronger and fitter. This book attempts to answer these questions, shedding a lot of the nonsense you see in the gym.

The book is well written and easy to read. Complicated stuff is broken down into a readable format and then backed up with research. Even the nutrition portion, which I typically find dull was made interesting.

As stated earlier by another reviewer, the cardio scheduling was addressed somewhat, but the author's could have probably done a better job here. My take was that you should do your cardio either immediately after your weight workout or on non-lifting days. This month's issue of Men's fitness has a workout program designed by Alywn Cosgrove that is very similar to Fat Loss 1. In this program, the cardio is done on the non-lifting days.

One final thing, it should be noted that these workouts are not easy, and you WILL find them challenging, so be prepared to work hard.
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on May 3, 2006
Schuler and Cosgrove do a great job in this book of designing programs and more importantly they create a framwork for workout design that prevents stagnation for long-term lifting.

My criticisms are minor and not germane to the main subject matter of the book:

1) The tone, while occasionally amusing, can be offputting when the jokes fall flat, which they do often.

2) The author, Lou Schuler occasionally belabors a point for effect, but the result is that the reader skips ahead out of annoyance, missing an important idea.

3) The role of pure cardio work in resting days or off days isn't addressed adequately, in my opinion, although it is addressed to a degree.

None of that should take away from the fact that I highly recommend this book. I've been execising seriously for five years and this is the best book I've read on the subject.
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on May 12, 2008
This book is not for those looking for a traditional bodybuilding workouts that isolate body parts. It is for people who want to work out smarter, train like athletes, and work out like your body was intended to move. I've never had such killer workouts with such amazing results! The book contains a limited amount of actual written workouts but they give you so many ideas on how to put together quality training days that it won't be long til you're a pro at it. I also own "New Rules of Lifting for Women," and it is even better. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a change in the way they approach the gym--men or women. Lou Schuler is not only an entertaining author, but he along with Alwyn Cosgrove have put together a wealth of information that makes perfect sense and won't waste your time.
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on October 4, 2010
Several reviews have already gone over the content of this book (i.e, structure, the way it is written, etc.), so I will bypass that here. Let me say that I have been going through the workouts in this book for 8 months now. As such, I can say from actual experience that this book has a lot to offer. Their workouts are good and I found myself rather sore for a large majority of the time. Mainly because reps, sets, and exercises changed often enough to constantly shock my body. So know that one of the main pillars of bodybuilding is more than adequately handled in this book, namely constant change as to keep your body from adjusting. Their philosophy is quite logical and makes sense in the biological realm, namely that the exercises they employ revolve around the 6 basic movements that naturally occur with your body.

However, there are a couple of problems (perhaps mere concerns) with this book. First off, as to isolated exercises, namely with arms. The authors admit up front that their workouts lack isolated arm exercises (curls, tricep extensions, etc., etc.) and explain why they believe its not necessary. They do have valid scientific research behind this, but the real question they didn't address is: will a person get OPTIMUM results by doing away with isolated movements (namely for arms) or by including them? What I mean by this is two different things: 1) Until a bodybuilder wins a national level competition with the methods that Schuler and Grove use in this book, their claims are slightly suspect since they challenge SUCCESSFUL traditional bodybuilding methods in gaining muscle. Clearly, large natural bodybuilders have been making massive gains in muscle and winning competitions with the more traditional methods of lifting for 50 years now, so until their methods make its way to success in this area, its a waiting game to see if their science "works in the real world". And 2) I recently decided to give their workout regime a break and go back to the more traditional style of lifting. My first workout was shoulders and triceps, where I worked out my shoulders first, and did three exercises for my triceps (3 different ones hitting all 3 heads of the tricep). Now this never happens in the book, as the authors don't have any "direct" exercise for the triceps and they claim that such excessive exercise on a "small" muscle is not necessary. My problem with this is that after working out my triceps this past week, they have been extremely sore, a severe muscle soreness I have not felt since I started using the New Rules of Lifting program. Everyone who lifts knows that soreness is a great sign associated with muscle repair (a.k.a., MUSCLE GROWTH!). All to say that I felt soreness with Schuler's program, but in the areas where he does away with "direct" exercises on support muscles (calves, biceps, forearms, triceps, traps), the soreness was always minimal.

So to conclude, his book is flawed concerning his refusal to have exercises that specifically target support muscles. My own experience with both traditional methods and Schuler's methods, as well as the continual use of traditional methods amongst professional bodybuilders, proves this point quite well.

BUT, this does not mean the book is not worth its weight in gold. I clearly learned a lot concerning muscle growth, as well as learning a variety of new exercises that put my muscles to the test. Additionally, Schuler's regime CONSTANTLY switches things up from sets, reps, tempo, and exercises that keep your muscles guessing. I know I poured a lot out on the "negative" side, but that negative side I believe is only 1 star worth. This book is not one I would ONLY follow, but rather add it to my collection as a worthy "addition".
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on March 7, 2013
Tons of workout books tell you to do compound lifts instead of isolation exercises, but few of them as focus as this book. It explains the six major lifts in details and make sure you do them right and get the most out of them.

It's not a bible for form like "Starting Strength", but it's definitely more comprehensive as a well-rounded workout book. It also setup some foundation and help you define useful goals, rather than simply lift heavier and more sets. Most workout books just give you a program and ask you to go with it, this book explains why and how everything works. It's the one book that really helps me to design my own program to fit my needs.
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on February 24, 2009
I am enjoying this book because it gives me a reference point from which to disign a personal workout program. I also believe in the philosophy put forth here that revolves around building muscle groups versus isolated muscles, and building muscle groups that are used in normal human activity. The area I would ask for more clarification in is the program regimens laid out in the back of book. Yet, I have been able to work with what's in the book to design my own specific routines. After my first two visits to the gym using these methods, I had gained a lot of strength in my knees.
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on May 1, 2006
This book focuses on six major movements of the body and gaining mass through strength and power exercises. The "philosophy" is based on current research, hands-on experience, and old school programs. What I mean by "old school" is that the authors point out the pointlessness of doing sixteen different bicep or shoulder exercises and instead encourage multi-joint, multi-muscle exercises for more efficient growth and gains. They include programs for fat-loss, mass, and strength, while providing clear instructions each exercise. They cover aerobics myths, nutrition, "what your personal trainer forgot to tell you", warming-up, and weight control. On a personal note,I've found the programs to be effective as I saw gains in strength and size in such a short time, i had to slow down because my I was growing out of my clothes! and i developed stretch marks on my legs from rapid growth. Anyway, i would recommend this book . I think "the basics" of strength training are important and lacking in most programs .
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