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on 4 October 2008
I got this book after training with madcow 5x5 and achieving 1.5xbw squat. The book is aimed at intermediate lifters with free weight experience.

The book is well laid out with photos and descriptions of the exercises. The 16 week program is split into 4 1 monthly phases, with volume/intensity ranging from low to very high within a phase. I have found the variety of new exercises refreshing. Some I have never come across. You will get strange looks; pull throughs especially. There are 4 workouts a week 2 upper body 2 lower body. The shoulder girdle receives special attention strengthening underdeveloped parts. The routines take approximately 45mins to complete.

I have also really enjoyed the low rep work. If you are used to a lot of volume work this program can look light weight. However the low rep work has worked for me and as a result I am getting stronger and consequently bigger.

I have always been poor at chin ups and pull ups and have avoided them doing various rowing instead, however this program has made them a favorite exercise. I purchased a dipping belt to hang weights off to increase the resistance. Previously no amount of bicep work would cause my biceps to grow and they were lagging. However I am most impressed with the carry over from the chining which has seen an increase in bench pressing.

I also found the single leg work useful and challenging. The core and abs work has worked well form me. The dragon flag raises are particularly challenging for me.

I progressed well with 5x5 but found the lack different exercises caused a degree of muscle imbalance and staleness. This book has been money well spent and I have a great deal of admiration for Eric Cressey.

Negative points are the photograph of scapular push ups is wrong as it shows the elbow flexing. I did not do any of the energy work outs so I can't comment.
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on 21 July 2009
I've been reading Eric Cressey's online articles on T-Nation and his website for some time now, and already have a couple of his DVDs and Ebooks so had high expectations upon ordering this book. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed!

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get serious about strength training, whether you simply want to get strong, play sport or look good, this book will serve you well.
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on 5 November 2012
After practicing 5x5 for a year, I bought Eric Cressey's book and made the whole program, though in a year rather than in 16 weeks. I can give following feedback:
1) Doing the mobility work before training, I was never harmed.
2) Though not losing significant strength, I lost weight (5 kg)
3) My strength is much more usable. Doing 5x5 was making me big and heavy, but neither fast nor flexible. I was getting bad at jogging, cycling and so on.
4) Due to less rep and smaller training session, I am less hungry than with 5x5 training, which comes handy with my daily life. I do not have to eat huge amount of food all the time.

As stated in other reviews, I think this book is very good for beginners and intermediate weightlifter, to build a basis of exercises that can be used latter as well. Single leg exercise and "speed" exercises (with less weight) proved to be particularly powerful to me.

The book itself is very clearly structured and presented.
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on 18 May 2009
I been a follower of Eric'c work now for quite some time. This guy really is at the top of the game and everything he says is proven.
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on 3 July 2009
I like Eric Cressey.

I first came across him in his Magnificent Mobility DVD with Mike Robertson, which is an EXCELLENT product. Eric certainly knows his stuff. Hence, I was expecting quite a lot from this book. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite deliver.

Eric is essentially an educated and literate power lifter, who tries to convince you to take up power lifting because he really likes it. Ok, maybe that's not 100% fair, but sometimes that what this book feels like. I come from Coach Ripptoe's Starting Strength and Practical Programming school, and there were a great many exercises that Eric includes that (as far as I could tell) were either at worst pointless or at best of little use.

His section on warming up explains a lot of the exercises from MM, and is very useful.

Overall, I was a little disappointed with this book, but despite that, it does have some good points and interesting things to say.
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on 1 April 2009
If you have never trained effectively and follow this book's advice you may make progress but in truth the program detailed in this book is overly complicated and uses far too many exercises. Many of the exercises recommended are poor (why lunge if you can squat) or dangerous (the box squat is risky for your back). There is no mention of potentially the best exercise of all for many trainers - the trap bar (or shrug bar) deadlift).

In truth the number of different exercises recommended can be cut right back to five or so.

1. A squat / trapbar deadlift
2. Conventional deadlift / Stiff legged deadlift/ Romanian deadlift
3. A rowing exercise or chin/pull up
4. Overhead press
5. Bench press or dip

Over some cycles add some good accessory exercises like calf raises, grip work, ab work or maybe curls and you'll be well covered.

There's no need to add variety. Stick with the basics, keep meticulous records, add weight as often as you can as long as you lift in good form, exercise twice a week (you need only work each muscle group once a week) and you'll do well.

There's no need to shock or surprise muscles by adding new exercises. If you keep adding small weight increments over time as strength increases you can stick with a small pool of exercises. If staleness does occur take a break and start a new cycle at lower weights than you finished, a step back to take two forward.

This book simply does not give anywhere enough emphasis to the big basic movements that will make you grow.
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on 13 January 2015
Really enjoyed this book. Very clear explanations and descriptions. Worth buying if you're new to training or strength training.
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on 11 May 2016
great exercises and tuition
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on 12 September 2014
Good book
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on 30 April 2016
Not rec
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