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, August 2, 2010

Book Review: Strength Training Anatomy (3rd edition)

By Frederic Delavier
Published March 2010
192 pages

Frederic Delavier recently authored a new version of his book Strength Training Anatomy. Here is my review of the previous edition. Because I've already reviewed the book, I'm going to concentrate on what's new and different in this edition.

It's longer. The new edition is 192 pages, compared to the previous edition's 144 pages. What's in the new pages?

More exercises. The new version adds a number of new exercises. These notably include trap bar exercises (shrugs, deadlifts), Arnold presses (named after The Austrian Oak himself), box squats, and potato sack squats (listed as "Squats with a dumbbell held between the legs").

More stretches. Each section now has at least one fully-illustrated static stretch for the muscles from that section. They are illustrated exactly the same way as the exercises, and make for a much more complete resource.

It also adds more notes on exercise - a comparison of deadlifts and straight bar deadlift body positioning and muscle recruitment, for example. So if you ever wondered why your neck is more sore after trap bar deadlifts and your lats are more sore after deadlifts, there is an illustration that shows you why. The book even includes an illustration and text to explain why a "power belly" (that gut that big powerlifters tend to carry) helps in the rebound from the bottom of a squat, resulting in a bigger, heavier lift.

No fold-out covers. The previous edition featured fold-out covers. The new edition ditches them in favor of replicating the information on the same glossy pages used in the rest of the book. This makes the book only slightly physically thicker than the previous book despite the additional 48 pages.

Like the previous version, the illustrations and text are very helpful and well done. Unlike the previous version, it's better designed (no fold-outs!), not much bigger, and much more complete.

Content: 5 out of 5. It doesn't have every possible exercise - no kettlebell swings, say, or plyometrics - but it's got a good amount and the information is accurate and useful.
Presentation; 5 out of 5. The pictures are both accurate and attractive, and they are very easy to understand and follow. Since they are the main attraction of the book, this is of critical importance.

Overall: If you liked the previous edition, you'll love this one. Recommended read.

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