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Title something of a misnomer?
on 24 February 2012
This is a reasonably good book. It provides many useful illustrations of the human musculature that are relevant to those who frequent gyms. You can learn what all the parts are called that you want to know about probably better than you can from a traditional anatomy book.
There is a complaint here, though. The book is titled 'Strength Training Anatomy' but the bulk of the book is devoted to depictions of single-joint isolation exercises, along with their many variations, performed by those who are chiefly concerned with the aesthetic appearance of their physique and not so much by those who train for functional strength. As if to reinforce this, the book's chapters read like a bodybuilder's split routine, with chapters for "Arms", "Shoulders", "Chest", "Back", "Legs", "Buttocks" and "Abdomen". The importance of isolation movements seems to be magnified out of proportion. For example, pages 6-18 are devoted to curl variations alone. When you come to the pages on the squat, the bench press and the deadlift you might be underwhelmed by the paucity of content. The standing barbell press, or simply the press, one of the best exercises for functional strength, and especially of the shoulders, does not even receive a mention in the "Shoulders" section of the book. Instead there is a depiction of the rather specific "seated front press" variation. The Olympic lifts and their power variations also lack any coverage in the book. If the book had been titled 'Bodybuilding Anatomy' then I think this would not be an issue of contention and it would more accurately reflect the content.
There are many interesting tidbits scattered throughout the book. Despite my complaints in the paragraph above, I am not completely unconcerned with aesthetics. In that vein, there are useful pointers about how a particular exercise can emphasize the effort on a particular head of a multi-headed muscle which you might think is lacking. And there is even information that purports to tell you how to place the emphasis on particular fibres of a muscle, or at the muscle's distal or proximal end. Whether this latter information can actually be put into practice or not, I do not know. There are also a few useful hints about the dangers of some exercises or performing them with poor technique. There is not a high word count to this book, however, and the text accompanying the illustrations is often vague and superficial. It seems in places to attempt to instruct on correct technique, but the compound barbell movements in particular are really too complicated to be properly addressed in such a terse fashion. If you did buy or are thinking about buying this because you are seeking instruction on strength exercises, then a better starting place is 'Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training' by Mark Rippetoe, and I recommend you defer to it on correct technique for the exercises it covers.