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Customer Review

21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No what its cracked up to be, 15 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (Pelham Practical Sports) (Hardcover)
I find it hard to write a review for this book. It's a book I have read cover to cover many times and found much of the content both fascinating and inspirational. It's worth buying if you are an Arnie fan, but not if you want to build a great physique.

The problem is the advice in this book will only work for genetically gifted and/or trainees who take illegal substances. I bought this book 6 years ago and spent 4 years of my life following the advice training as hard as I possibly could. The results I got were hugely disappoiting, and I didn't build anything near the physique I craved.

The fundamental problem with this book is the more = better approach. Training 4,5 and 6 days a week will result in chronic over training for the vast majority of individuals and this means little progress. A couple of years ago I switched to a far more abbreviated approach, focusing on core lifts (deadlifts, squats, dips, chin ups etc) and suddenly starting adding muscle (30lbs to date). This flies in the face of the advice given in this book, I just wish it hadn't taken me 4 years to see the light.

If you are after a first class book on weight training I would suggest 'Beyond Brawn' by Stuart McRobert. Although Schwarzenegger is undoubtedly one of the greatest bodybuilders ever, the advice in his book will not help you build a physique anything like his.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Nov 2007, 17:22:33 GMT
I. Laughton says:
Crazy advice i cant believe you spent four years of your life going off one book, i train twice a day somtimes upwards of 5,6 days a week. Im having great results, This is a fantastic and comprehensive book full of advice that obviously worked for arnie. Any one who spends four years doing the same routine needs help and shouldnt wonder why they lack results. If there is one thing arnie and others teach its varity, change your routine weekly or daily, look in the mirror and see what your body needs. lacking an upper chest- work incline bench as apposed to flat bench etc etc, its not rocket science. But whatever you do seek advice of everyone, the single most easiest way to attack and stimulate muscle growth is to keep your routines different and try different stuff, and you learn this by reading listening and excepting help. This is one Giant Book of help! that will help you build a physique like arnies but not in four years and not on its own. Only you can do that!!

Posted on 15 Jan 2008, 08:42:33 GMT
Mr Lewis,

I think your advice is sound and in my experience (20 years of natural bodybuilding and training of numerous bodybuilders and sportsmen) your comments are typical for one of your level of bodybuilding experience. It is fairly widely accepted that Arnold's volume training philosophy (as you say the 'more is best' prinicple) is likely to result in overtraining in most genetically typical, non-drug-taking individuals. Of course there are exceptions, and it is for that reason that any aspiring bodybuilder should experiment with different methods and not fall into the trap of thinking "Well Arnold was the best, so he must be right". In actual fact, the converse is more likely to be true. The fact Arnold was (arguably) the best means his advice should be taken with a pinch of salt. His genetic makup predisposes him to making, and retaining large amounts of good-looking muscle. Someone once said Arnold was so gifted that he could put on muscle just by looking at a gym! Importantly variation of exercise type alone is NOT enough. For a balanced perspective I'd recommend anyone who has bought this book to also get hold of Mike Mentzers "Heavy Duty" guide. Not necessarily because I think it is better, but because it will give the other side to the story. Mentzer opposed the 'more is best' philosphy, but took it to the other extreme of training for only about 30-40 minutes three or four times a week. Now Mentzer. like Schwarzenegger, was also a genetic freak supplementing with steroids, so the same 'pinch of salt' should apply to his philosophy, but the point is that only ever reading Arnold's book will not give you the whole picture. I think it is also important to know that Mentzer and Schwarzenegger were great rivals which undoubtedly polarised their philosopies to diammetric opposition. My own personal experience is that somewhere in between these two extremes is where success can be acheived for 99% of bodybuilders. You are obviously nearer Mentzer, while I. Laughton is nearer Schwarzenegger. There is no right or wrong when it comes to this debade until you get to the personal level. Unfortunately the pennance of 'four wasted years' is probably necessary before one hits upon their own winning formula. Good luck with your bodybuilding.

All the best.


In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2011, 23:39:51 BST
P. P. Das says:
You cannot possibly work with weights 12 times a week. Either you waste a lot of time in the gym, have nothing else to do or are purely out of your mind. And with no time to recover Im sure your 'having amazing results' is as dodgey as your theory on bodybuilding.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Mar 2013, 16:17:57 GMT
S. Duke-low says:
Depends on the body part splits and numbers of sets and reps. Hi volume training broken down into tighter muscle groups with open splits for rest on those groups will sustain what one may say over training.
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