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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 July 2009
I loved this book - it's like having Dan along side you talking through his vast experience in the world of training and lifting.

This is a pleasure - i've been following Dan's advice and enjoying his writing since some of the early internet forums, so to have so much wit and wisdom at your fingertips is wonderful.

This is not a 'how to manual' in terms of technical instruction. As the title suggests, it's more the philosophy behind it. That said it contains lots of ideas and programmes you can do along with the why's behind them.

My impression is that we don't have such a culture of lifting and therefore don't have easy access to great coaches in the UK. Therefore Dan's words are probably even more essential this side of the pond.

Get the book! (Got mine through Dave Draper's site) It will teach you lots, make you laugh, and add another layer to your understanding, appreciation and importantly application to training.

Thanks Coach!
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on 22 October 2009
If you know Coach Dan John at all, then you will know that what he writes is worth reading. You might have seen the online download "From The Ground Up". This book, derived largely from his posts on Tnation and so on, is a compendium packed full of no-nonsense information. It is very well-written, every section has something you can implement, and his focus on old-fashioned hard work is just what we need as an antidote to much of modern so-called fitness writing. But more than this, the lessons in the book are I feel universal, and the subtitle is not at all pompous or pretentious. The lessons contained in this volume are applicable to so much of life. I had a copy rushed to me from the US, and cannot recommend it too highly. As a companion to Marty Gallagher's "Purposeful Primitive" and the books by Pavel Tsatsouline, this book is in good company. Add in Frank Forencich's "Play as if your life depends on it" and I think you are set. Together, they are all you really need to get informed, get motivated, and get stuck in. As for this book, it's probably a shame that a lot of people looking into training works will pass it by, settling instead for a generic weight training guide that will just be more of the same old nonsense that keeps getting recycled. Buy this one instead and find out about all the new old school stuff that works!
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on 30 July 2013
Dan John is a man who is well respected in the field of weight lifting and body building. I have read lots on the topic of weightlifting and conditioning and John is often referenced. I was excited to get to grips with the methods of a man who has been alluded to in so much of what I draw influence from. I was disappointed.

The book itself is a collection of articles written for numerous publications. This means it has coherence and the structure of the Minotaur's lair. John repeats himself numerous times. You could eliminate around a quarter of the book just by editing out repetition. There is no direction to his book so instead of having a breakdown into the different areas, for example, philosophy, training principles, training practices and examples of his programs the reader is left with a spluttering, incoherent book. I am not sure what the point of the book was.

My second complaint with this book is that John clearly suppresses both his ability to write and his knowledge. I do not know if this is for fear of alienating his audience, but I do know that it leaves the impression that he does not have much to say. The problem is that this is obviously the opposite of the reality. The man makes subtle references to the classics, he alludes to programs he uses for college athletes but this is all skimmed over. He never gets to grips with what I wanted. The most testing thing about this book is that the style is so appallingly folksy and macho so as to be annoying. The great books in this field do not sink into this quagmire. Unfortunately Dan is knee deep.

My third and most important criticism is that this book has little to offer apart from telling you what you already know, again and again. His message is so simple: learn the power lifts, the Olympic lifts and the kettle bell lifts. Master them. He does not offer a reason why, nor a system for programming these lifts and he fails to provide his take on a program to reach his recommendation of mastery. John's problem is that he never tells you what to do to get to where you want to be. Let's say you want to be big, John says nothing. Let's say you want to be fast, John says nothing. And that is the essence of the book. A clearly knowledgeable and experienced man has created a book that will only sell because of the name. There is nothing of any substance.

In summary, do not buy this book. It annoys me to even remember the contents to write this review. If you want great training books start with Ripptoe's Starting Strength, Kubik's Dinosaur Training and McRobert's Beyond Brawn. You can get to an advanced level in a few years with the knowledge in these books. Save your money and more importantly your time and do not buy this book.
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on 11 October 2012
Good book and pretty informative, albeit I could not get anything revolutionary out of it as far as my workouts are concerned; I've read the author's articles before (T-Nation) and that might be the reason for it. It still managed to give food for thought though - therefore I gave it four stars. The author has a witty sense of humor and it makes the reading more enjoyable compared to some other training books.

For someone looking new ideas for their training regimen this is the book to look for, if you can get a good deal for it (I paid a little too much).
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on 26 November 2015
Only on the 12th chapter and so far so good. Dan tells of his own vast experience with track and field competition, olympic weight lifting and similar fields. He not only suggests certain approaches to training but tells a story(s) along the way which have their own messages for the reader.
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on 2 February 2011
If you pick up weights, then read this book. This is years of experimentation and analysis condensed into one book. It's not a book of routines and exercises, it's goes so much more deeper than that. It's the philosophy of what makes for a successful person on the gym floor. It's the insight into what's needed to succeed and be the best we can be.

This book is the voice of a true coach pushing you forward and inspiring your every lift. It's the reality check that the fitness industry and what every person training sorely needs right now. Magazines are filled with more and more exotic exercises. Gyms are filled with more and more complicated machines. To achieve your goals all you need to do is simplify and pick something heavy up.

This is the only book that has given me a true direction with my training, something that no other has. It's the only book to answer all those questions you have after learning a new programme or wondering what it is your really doing. Read it, live it, lift it.
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on 6 December 2012
Dan's style of writing is humourous but at the same time very informative. He gives some great ideas for workouts, reiterates the principles that underpin a successful and long lifting career through emphasising nutrition, rest and solid consistent training.
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on 11 April 2014
The examples from his life experiences along with the program's makes this this a great read for fitness enthusiasts. An athlete and a coach I feel can bring you insights that one alone won't have the experiences to share of research and trial.
Some reviewers commented much could already be found on his web page but for those buying for travel reading I got this on kindle and read in places with no internet so it made this a perfect buy.
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on 31 January 2012
I just wish I had this book 20 years ago, amazing content, the only exercise book I reread on a regular basis, and I still learn new things from it. If you want to learn how to train yourself and others, just get this book.
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on 10 January 2013
This is a is a wonderfull, yet weird book.

Much of it is already published om T-mag, but having it in a book to read or re-read is still a treat.

Dan John is an excelent coach in getting you to remmember that imple is good, but simple aint easy.

This is not a book for the casual lifter, or someone who wants to learn the lifts.

But it is a briliant book for anyone who works with fitness and have to coach others. There are many gems of wisdom concerning lifting, learning, competing and eating.

If you sometimes get lost in all the gloss and hype of the fitness industry, Dan is a good dose of reality: Get a heavy weigt..lift it fast.. repeat.

Read it if you need a bit of reality!
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