by Frédéric Delavier and Michael Gundill
$24.95; 144 pages
I received this book for free as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
This is the second work by Delavier, and the third from the publisher, Human Kinetics, that I have received through Early Reviewers. This probably makes sense. I have been strength-training since I was thirteen, I studied taekwondo from fourteen through twenty-one, and I have been into CrossFit for almost five years. I suppose I am an ideal reviewer, although I see myself as an interested layman rather than an expert.
Much of what I said about Strength Training Anatomy II applies here: the pictures are the best part of the book, illustrating muscles in a realistic style much like the Bodyworlds exhibit. Overall, the book seems solid, and I would consider it useful if I needed to design my own strength and conditioning program. I even learned a few things reading this book, which muscles are recruited in which moves, and the physiology of relaxing during a strike for maximum acceleration.
I was critical of Strength Training Anatomy II because I felt that the book concentrated too heavily on hypertrophy. Seeing this book, I feel some of what I said is unfair. The other book is about bodybuilding, which has become the sport of building size and weight primarily, and strength only comes as a side-effect of those things. This book has specific recommendations for increasing strength, power, speed, and endurance, which are separate domains of fitness. This work is tailored to its subject, and I suppose the other books Delavier have written are also similarly tailored.
I do still think it is prudent to investigate your options regarding workouts. Delavier has a definite point of view, and things he is cool towards may be the foundation of effective strength and conditioning programs. I'm skeptical of the things he says about squats, for example, but this is a subject of intense controversy. I don't know anyone in the world of fitness who wants to cause injury, but there is plenty of disagreement about the best way to prevent it. This is a good book, and worth your time if you need basics on what exercises do what, and basic programs to get you started.