Strength Basics

Getting stronger, fitter, and healthier by sticking to the basics. It's not rocket science, it's doing the simple stuff the right way. Strength-Basics updates every Monday, plus extra posts during the week.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Book Review: From the Ground Up!!!

From the Ground Up!!!

From the Ground Up!!!
by Dan John
97 pages
Free PDF

From the Ground Up!!! is a free e-book by Dan John. It's a look at the hows and whys of Olympic lifting - the snatch, and the clean and jerk, plus the assorted lifts you'll do to improve them.

This review will be short - it's easy enough to just go look in the book and see what you're getting. I'll keep it to why you should download and read this book.

You should read this book if...

You want to learn Olympic lifting. If you O-lift, want to, or wonder if you want to, this book makes a good case for why you'd want to do them. It has good information on how to do them, and how to schedule your training. Dan John makes the O-lifts as easy as they're going to get.

You want to pick stuff off the ground. If your idea of lifting weights is picking stuff up off the ground, this book is for you. O-lifting is all about lifting "from the ground up" and Dan John gives you information that'll help you do that. Even if your preferred lifts are odd-object deadlifts (i.e. lifting suitcases, groceries, MMA trainin partners...) you'll learn the mechanics of doing so a bit better.

You want a guide to basic training. Dan outlines a few simple rules for training with the O-lifts and related lifts. Forget that complicated 8-10 exercises for 8-10 body parts for 3 sets of 8-12 reps. You'll do 3 lifts for 3 sets and get better at everything.

You want a simple way to organize training in your life. Dan covers that, too - how training, eating, sleeping, socializing, etc. - all fit together into a whole.

The book is written in classic Dan John style. It reads like he's talking to you, just dumping his ideas down in a well-organized but casual way. Nothing is out of place, and it's full of the direct advice Dan John is known for. Stuff like "The body is one piece!" - why you train it all together, not in sections. Or this quote on supplements: "I choose a few for my athletes, but I only discuss them long
after they swear off soft drinks, candy and all the rest and only after they convince me that they always have two full meals and a snack before an afternoon training session." Basics first, second, and always.

It's even a flip book! If you print it out and flip through the pages, you'll see an animation of the clean and jerk and of the snatch. You've got the ultimate in low-technology animation, the kind you used to do in grade school. Here it's an educational tool. It also shows how seriously Dan John takes the subject - both very seriously (it's correct form, and useful for learning the lift) and not very (it's silly and fun). It's a great description of the book - it's end-to-end good information and technically precise without being the least bit boring or un-fun.

Content: 5 out of 5. It's all here. You could start and end with this book as a training guide.
Presentation: 5 out of 5. Colorful, easy to read, well-organized, and sharp.

Overall: It's free, it's fun, it's technically accurate, it's useful, and it's an easy read. And it's a flip book! Go download it and look!

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