Most helpful critical review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Inspiring and thorough, if a bit outdated
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On the minus side, the book is slightly outdated.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.