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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2006
An excellent book for beginners or pros alike. It quashes what has become conventional body building training (the 3 or 4 day "split" routine) in favour of 'abbreviated training' which is done no more than twice a week (moving to 3 after a firm foundation has been set) and uses minimal excersies. This is how they used to do it before all the bull, endorsements and marketing crap took over. I took a course in gym instruction a few months ago and brought up some of the 'forgotten ways' outlined in the book and it seemed to fall on deaf ears! Very stupid and very frustrating because it seems every beginner out there is being taught completely the wrong thing. McRobert points out than unless one is genetically gifted and/or on steroids most people will never achieve the type of 'muscle and might' sold to us on a daily basis by most glossy mags, books and fitness centres. I worked with a semi pro bodybuilder for about 2 and a half years and over that time did a conventional 3 or 4 day split and ate 6 times a day. I did get bigger in that time but it was a very long process and I always wondered why I wasn't any bigger after all that time. Last year I bought this book after skimming it in a shop and I quickly noticed that it was telling me that everything I knew was wrong. Sticking to the basic compound movements and conentrating on getting stonger little by little is the name of the game here - none of this pulldown, kickbacks or dumbell flyes nonsense - it's bench presses, squats, deadlifts, dips, pullups and chins if you can bear it! I excitedly hit the gym after a year of no training and stuck to the rules outlined in the book. It bloody well works! I put 2 inches in my chest in 6 months and a year later my arms are feeling very tight in my shirts! If you've continously hit walls with trying to build muscle, ignore what others may try to tell you, get this book, eat properly and grow. This will work for everyone. I always classified myself as a classic "hard gainer" - 6'2 and naturally slim - no brawn anywhere and genetics nothing special. This way of training has made me feel like an easy gainer so I presume if you put on muscle easily it'll work even better for you - you swines!. There you go, can't sell it anymore than that can I? McRobert has a new book out so check that out too and I'd recommend his guide to weight training technique also.

Happy growing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2008
As a personal trainer for over five years I have seen much of the needless training trainees try to bulid strngth and mass. Routines from genetic super humans and drug fed trainees will not work for you and will have you investing time and money in the wrong direction, leaving you in a well of frustration. Believe me I have been there, but apply Stuart's excellent advice and you will be in the peak of health transforming your frame, bettering yourself week after week. While there are some other authors who write very well on sensible abbreviated training Stuart for me is number one. If you ever buy one authors work on weight training in your life let it be McRoberts work. 5 stars does not do his work enough justice as it is streaks in front of the rest. BUY IT!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2013
As a newbie weightlifter I bought this book to get some tips on how to optimise the results of my training. McRobert thoroughly explains the basics of lifting, e.g. rest periods, how to progress with weights, what to focus on, reps, sets, etc. Most importantly, McRobert emphasizes the need to cut out all the unnecessary stuff we do in the gym like accessory exercises, training to absolute exhaustion each time, and being frivolous with rest periods. Thanks to this book, I will never again enter the gym without my notebook, my stopwatch, and a clear goal in mind for each session. The book is inspiring to read and has saved me a lot of time doing useless stuff in the gym. In short, it will change your mindset and philosophy toward lifting and therefore optimize your time at the gym.

On the minus side, the book is slightly outdated. McRobert is for example overly cautious when it comes to overtraining and nutrition, in my opinion. He suggests training twice a week and advocates only lifting when you're in a good state of mind, i.e. not when you're stressed or experiencing any sort of problems. This is in sharp contrast to many lifters these days who flat-out question overtraining, and urge people to make it a habit to go to the gym several times a week instead of lazily relying on what mood you're in. In terms of nutrition McRobert follows the eat-every-3-hours approach, another philosophy that many people discard these days and which newbie lifters may find a bit impractical and daunting. Overall McRobert is a little bit inflexible; he may have the success and experience to back up his assertions, but I would've preferred more flexibility and a little bit more science to back up some parts of the book.

Another downside to this book is that it waffles a lot. It could've been about 1/3 of the length if McRobert had been less redundant. He repeats himself over and over again, and often on topics that I don't feel required that much attention (e.g. overtraining). I would've preferred if the book were 1/3 of the length and instead went into more detail on programming and lifts.

If you want a book that provides the basics of weight training, particularly with regards to your mindset and cutting your focus down to the bare essentials, then this is a good read to supplement with. However, if you want a book which lays out a comprehensive program with details on how to do the lifts, research to support all assertions, and offering multiple points of view, then this is NOT the book for you. It's an inspiring and thorough book, but I personally needed to supplement it with other resources for my training and would not say that this book was my absolute favorite lifting book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2011
First off this Kindle edition is formatted properly, unlike a lot of kindle titles where formatting seems to go out the window and paragraphs and punctuation become a problem this one is fine.
I have to say that the author really knows his stuff and through personal experience myself it just backs up what I have had to learn the hard way. For years I read the magazines and followed so called guaranteed muscle gaining programs and yeah bought the supplements that promised the earth. One 4 month stint of such a thing led a work college to stop and ask me if I had cancer as I had lost so much weight and looked as rough as a badgers bum. I however adopted newer approaches that started to work. I am blessed in that I am not a hard gainer, I am certainly not anywhere near competition standard nor probably will I ever be but I have gained a lot of muscle and strength and at 42 years old and with type 2 diabetes I feel fitter and stronger than I have ever done. I am not going to go into how I did it because basically this book goes into great detail on all that I have changed.
When you start to read this book you may after the first 30 or so pages think to yourself "hold on I have already read this a few minutes ago" and on occasions I did check to make sure that I had my thumb on the right button for turning the pages on my kindle. He does tend to repeat himself quite a lot but for anyone serious about this then you will realise in time it is for very good reason.
I had never heard of the author prior to purchasing this book so looked him up on google and he has some great reviews but you will also see some negative and one in particular stood out for me in saying that this guy is scared of his own shadow. The author goes to great lengths in this book to make sure you train properly and safely and as I can vouch for I know incorrect or poor form can and will get you and injure you at some point and we are not just talking about a small sprain or pull. The author pulls very well on his own personal experience at how to avoid this, he even gives you fantastic advice on how to recover from injuries.
If you are training and getting nowhere then this book is a must but read it from start to finish to get everything out of it and you wont be disappointed. If your new to body building and strength training then put the magazines down, close your ears to steroid fuelled meat heads in the gym, save your money on supplements just for now (most of them are little more than skimmed milk power in any case) and get some education on what you are doing behind you first. There is a lot more to building muscle than just lifting weights.
You will learn in this book just how individual each and everyone of us actually is and you will soon see that what works for one person may well be detrimental to another and have the opposite effect. You will learn how to put your own programs together based on your own needs and how to progress or change if it is not working out as it should.
It is a must read for anyone young or old who is serious about strength training at any level
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book has everything you need to create the physique you want. Packed with all the right ingredients
for revealing your genetic potential in training. I just can't get enough of this book. Every time I pick it up. I just want to train,train,train! It's inspiring, motivating and best of all. It has everything you need.

There is no wonder why professional body builders have the same opinion. Buy this book!

P.S I have seen incredible gains in my body in the last 6 weeks. I look forward to seeing my body transform even more in the months that follow. And for the rest of my life in that matter.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I bought this book almost 3 years ago so have had plenty of opportunity to put what it advocates into practice. In summary I would say if you really want to learn how to build a strong physique without the use of performance enhancing substances this book has almost everything you need. I say almost because it doesn't cover workout technique, but Stuart McRobert has written another book covering this in detail.

Much of the advice in this book flies in the face of conventional weight training progams, however it honestly does work. If you are somebody who has tried traning 4,5 or 6 days a week on split programs, with comparatively little success, this book will open your eyes.

In summary a great book, with great information for anybody serious about weight training.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2009
I bought this book on the strength of some of the reviews and on the recommendation of a friend. Call me obsessive but the whole time I was reading it I was trying to suppress the urge for some serious editing and deletion. The bottom line is sound, and McRobert makes some important and some might say revolutionary points about progressive poundages and good form in the major exercises, but if you have already come around to this way of thinking then the remaining pages just go on and on. It is written in academic form, each paragraph is numbered 15.6 etc, so maybe it would be better used as an encyclopaedia for occasional browsing as the title suggests, not a 500 page cover to cover read as I tried to do. Don't expect any exercise illustrations or specific pointers on form, the author makes constant reference to another book of his when any discussion of exercise technique comes up, which is a bit frustrating as well - this book is purely about old-fashioned training philosophy.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2007
I have to say that this book is simply astounding and i really hope that the author reads this review as he has completely changed my training life. As the author mentions, i was stuck in the rut of training four times a week on a 2 hour workout split. I had nicely tones muscles but none of the strength and development i was promised by top body builders and trainers. Why was this?, simply because they themselves do not know what they are doing in regards to advising a 20 year old man with a fast metabolism. I have gained 35 pounds of muscle in 3 years on this programme and am currently at 7% body fat. I train half of what i used to. If you are like i was and are sick of the defention of all water based freaks-buy this book, read what the author has to say and i promise you faithfully that you will escape the training mentality that is ruining aspiring bodybuilders. A top book by a top man.
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on 13 December 2010
tells it how it is ive trained for 20 years and always believed in this type of training,dont waste youre money on books that are made for steriod abusers buy this instead and train the safe way.
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on 18 April 2013
Great book loads of info but I found it a little slow at time, but if your a hard core muscle head GO FOR IT !!!! Train hard, eat hard and rest hard.
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