The Bookshelf

These are some of the books that can be found in my library. I have read most of them and posted a brief, but honest review. Click on any of the titles to be redirected to a page where you can purchase the item.


Never Let Go

Never Let Go

I just finished reading Dan John's book Never Let Go and all I can say is I'm sorry I waited this long to read his work. This guy is an incredible author! I've seen his name thrown around on message boards but all I really knew about him was that he was a thrower and coach somewhere out mid-west. I had never read any of his stuff, and for that I was unfortunate.

Better late than never I suppose but reading this book earlier would have saved me a lot of misdirection in my training career. This is one of the best books I've read in a while and I put it up there with other favorites like... (read more)

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The Russian Kettlebell Challenge

The Russian Kettlebell Challenge

Pavel's first book on kettlebell training. Consider it required reading for the history of the kettlebell as well as an initial review of the basic drills. Actually, this book probably covers more kettlebell exercises than you will ever need. This book introduces the hard-style philosophy as well as the concept of strength being a skill. Pavel's writing style is enjoyable to read and easy to understand. I have both the book and the DVD. If you just want to learn the exercises, go with the DVD. If you are interested in the topic of kettlebells, then buy the book.

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Power to the People

Power to the People

This is 1 of 3 books that changed the way I thought about training. It is based heavily on Pavel's strength training philosophy and is backed up with a good dose of science to go with it. It is very informative and is recommended to anyone who really wishes to understand strength and how to develop it. The book focuses on doing just a few exercises really well for total body development. There are plenty of examples of cycles and peaking programs, and the how, what, when and why is explained in depth. As always, Pavel's sense of humor adds a nice touch to the book which really makes it worth while read.

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Relax Into Stretch

Relax Into Stretch

I've never seen the DVD but I think I made the right choice in getting the book. I now have a far greater understanding of the cloudy "scientific principles" I had learned in college on stretching. Pavel explains Proprioception Neuromuscular Facilitation (or PNF stretching) in laymens terms and provides easy to use techniques (something my professors never did!) to instantly increase flexibility. Now that I've read it and understand the theory, the book serves as a quick reference guide with 37 rather unique flexibility exercises, many of which I use on a weekly basis.

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Relax Into Stretch

Super Joints

I've never read the book but I think I made the right choice in getting the DVD. Unlike stretching, joint mobility exercises rely on constant movement and I think that would come across better on the television rather than pages in a book. The Joint Mobility program has you work each joint through every conceivable range of motion. I use these exercises everyday. It is my warm up before working out, as well as anyone I train. I teach a senior fitness class where we do Joint Mobility exercises for an entire hour and they love it! I believe these exercises are second to none when it comes to preparing yourself for exercising because you warm your entire body while expending as little energy as possible.

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Naked Warrior

Naked Warrior

Strength training calisthenics. Extreme bodyweight only exercises - the one arm push up and the one legged squat (or pistol). I have to credit this book for my ability to do one arm push ups. Pressing of any kind has never been one of my strong points but with the skill acquisition and tension techniques I learned from this book, I was able to go from an uncontrolled negative to doing a one arm push ups for reps in exactly 2 weeks... and that's at 250lbs bodyweight.

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From Russia with Tough Love

From Russia with Tough Love

I have not read the book but this is my favorite DVD from Pavel. Pavel has a great sense of humor and "comrades ladies" DC Maxwell and Andrea DuCane are easy to watch on this workout video. I spoke with Andrea about this video and she said she had only been lifting kettlebells for a couple weeks, so what you are seeing is on the spot learning which demonstrates Pavel's high level ability as a coach. Besides all of the exercises that are demonstrated, this is actually a very entertaining production. I usually recommend this video to men and women alike.

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Beyond Bodybuilding

Beyond Bodybuilding

This is not the kind of book that you need to read cover to cover. There is a lot of thought and expert opinion that went into this book and anyone who reads it stands to gain a lot of knowledge. I wish I would have found this book before FLEX and Ironman magazine.

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Enter the Kettlebell

Enter the Kettlebell

I have to tip my hat to Pavel for this book. It's a rare thing for an author to improve on a subject he has writen on before, acknowledge his own inconsistancies and admit mistake in the newer publication. Enter the Kettlebell takes precendence over the Russian Kettlebell Challenge. There are new program minimums, more technique tips and fewer exercises. That's right, less exercises. Too much variety can be a bad thing - it causes you to lose focus. Many people did not know what to do with all the exercises they learned in the Russian Kettlebell Challenge. This book lays out a comprehensive plan and all you have to do is follow the program.

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The Purposeful Primitive

The Purposeful Primitive

This is one of the most entertaining, informative books on strength training I have ever read. It's based around Iron Stories from Iron Men - powerlifters, weightlifters and bodybuilders. Marty has interviewed many of the Iron Elite and compiled a book like no other. He has a unique way of breaking things down and delivering a single message using different angles and perspectives so you can really get the big picture. He discusses nutrition and cardio at length in a refreshingly simple way and provides solid information that anyone can benefit from. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for physical transformation.

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Dinosaur Training

Dinosaur Training

This book not only changed the way I thought about exercise but it turned my training upside down. Brooks Kubik shows you just how silly mainstream muscle magazines and commercial gyms can be. This book is what got me started training grip and strongman, or just training with odd objects in general. I'd recommend this book to anyone; man, woman or child; bodybuilder, strength athlete or weekend warrior fitness enthusiast.

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Rock Iron Steel

Rock Iron Steel

This is another book that changed my entire perspective on strength training. Steve Justa is wild man and ridiculously strong human being. I can say without a doubt that there is not another strength author on the planet that trains the way this guy does. Steve does not have expensive or fancy equipment and I'm not sure that he would use it if he did. This book is for "outside the box" thinkers and people who like to train hard.

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Super Squats

Super Squats

Dr. Strossen combines a nice blend of science, history and literary artwork in Super Squats. High rep squatting (aka breathing squats, aka 20 rep squats, aka rest pause squats) has earned its rightful place as the best exercise for developing total body strength and muscular bulk. There are few things more difficult you can do in the gym, and there are few things that will produce the results that does Super Squats. Although I am a huge proponent of this kind of training, the book lays out a rather extreme program of squatting to failure twice a week. I'm not sure anyone could withstand that kind of training for more than a couple weeks. If you can follow the program as it is written, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

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Mastery of Hand Strength

Mastery of Hand Strength

John Brookfield is a grip master. That means he has excelled at every facet of grip strench; crush, pinch, supporting, wrist flexion, wrist extension, pronation and supination. This is his first book on grip training which details most of the basic exercises and feats of strength. This book is a good read for anyone serious about developing the strongest hands possible. John is very creative in his training methods and many of the implements he uses are stuff you can find laying around the house.

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Grip Masters Manual

Grip Master's Manual

This is John Brookfield's second book on grip training. It's filled with unique exercises for the advanced grip trainer. This book also show cases several feats of strength that John is known for; some of these feats have never been duplicated. The aspiring grip masters' library would be incomplete without this book.


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Kelso's Shrug Book

Kelso's Shrug Book

The title of this book doesn't really do it justice, I mean, can you really write an entire book about shrugs? I guess "Kelso's Scapular Movement Book" just doesn't have the same ring to it. That's what this book is really about, moving the scapula in every conceivable direction under various loads. There is some real ingenuity in this book. Paul Kelso is not only the mad scientist of shrug variations (and there are many, many variations, as he points out) but he is a respected powerlifter as well. You can expect an increase in all of your upper body pushing & pulling movements when you strengthen your shoulder blades. This book will show you how.

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Arnold's Eencyclopedia

Arnold Schwarzenegger Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

This is probably the first book I ever read outside of a school assignment. The title is appropriate, it is an encyclopedia, and it details every exercise used by Arnold as well as his views on training, diet, supplements, bodybuilding preparation, all the way down to what kind of posing trunks you should wear for your bodytype. It is a very informative book, filled with pictures of all of the old time great bodybuilders. It's a good addition to anyone's library.

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Getting Stronger

Getting Stronger

I don't believe I ever actually read this book, just kinda skimmed the chapters and checked out the exercises. It's a bit geared towards beginners, although Bill Pearl was one of the most successful bodybuilders of his time, performing feats of strength along with his posing routines. At 80+ years old, Bill still trains and still leaves many men much younger than he in the dust with his fast paced, high volume workouts.

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The Complete Keys to Progress

The Complete Keys to Progress

This book is a collection of articles and short stories written for Health & Strength magazine back in the 50's & 60's. John Macallum is a very entertaining strength author who wrote in an era where strength training and bodybuilding where one in the same. This book is about getting big and strong, and it's geared towards everyday people - the genetically average. The principles highlighted in Keys to Progress remain as true today as they did the day they were written. There is a lot of personality and style in this book and it's worth every minute and every dollar you spend on it.

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Stretching

Stretching

This is an old school book on stretching. The cover doesn't do it much justice, I know, but there are some good stretches for the beginning and intermediate.



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The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results

The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results

This book was gifted to me by Kim Wood. I have always enjoyed reading about the late Arthur Jones and the early days of Nautilus. Ellington Darden keeps old school Nautilus alive with his writings. This book is worth it just for the history and nostalgic photos but anyone could stand to gain from the routines and HIT philosophy that goes hand in hand with the men involved with this book. High intensity training with some new twists is what you can expect from The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results.

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The New High Intensity Training

The New High Intensity Training

I liked The New Bodybuilding for Old School Results so much I went out and bought another one of Dr. Darden's books. I haven't read this one yet. I'll post more when I do.



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Beyond Brawn

Beyond Brawn

This book helped me get out of the wheel spinning rut that comes along with trying to follow the routines of professional bodybuilders. Stuart McRobert uses the term "hard gainer" to describe the large majority of the population of weight trainers who have a hard time gaining muscle. Beyond Brawn is a very thorough book and is written with numbered paragraphs similar to the Bible, and for most trainees, this book should be their bible when it comes to training. Serious, drug free, weight training is the reoccurring theme of this book.

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Trigger Point Workbook

Trigger Point Workbook

This book gets listed in the exercise and fitness catagory just the same as Stuart McRobert dedicated a chapter of his book Beyond Brawn. I really cannot recommend this book enough. If you have muscles, you will need to massage them on ocassion. This book shows you how. What you need to understand is that a knot (or trigger point) in a muscle can refer pain to another part of the body. So even though you feel pain / tightness / discomfort in your back, for example, the source of the pain is actually in your hips. I look over this book all the time and I believe the techniques taught here are what keeps me pain free and injury free. Get this book!

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The Super Athletes

The Super Athletes

This is a special book for me. Several years ago while attending the Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongman (AOBS) dinner, I saw Slim the Hammerman Farman with this book. He was having it signed by another "oldtime" strongman. A closer look revealed that the book was filled with the signatures of other legendary strongman performers, weightlifters and men of iron. I thought that was pretty cool, so in honor of Slim, at an honorary dinner that was held for him, I had him be the first one to sign my copy of the book. I'm not much of a "fan" of anybody or any sport, but when you meet someone who has acheived something out of the ordinary, and when you consider the fact that this person will not be around forever, it's nice to have a little piece of history to remember them by. As for the book itself, it's extremely rare and very hard to find. It's more of a records book of athletic performance; including things like boxing, weightlifting, track and field as well as feats of strength (card tearing & steel bending). If you were to have one place to collect the autographs of athletes, it would be the book Super Athletes.

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Sons of Samson 2

Sons of Samson vol. 2

Strength Historian David Webster profiles strength athletes of the 80's & 90's. I've jumped around this book but never felt the urge to read it cover to cover, it's just not that kind of book. It's a good coffee table type book that you just pick up and read a little tid bit about the fastest mile ever run by someone over 300lbs or how high Paul Anderson's (who was the first man to clean and press 400+lbs) vertical jump was.

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The Black Book of Training Secrets

The Black Book of Training Secrets

This book was gifted to me by Richard Sorin. It has all the things you know about training but haven't really been able to verbalize, all wrapped up in a nice little black package. There is a lot about functional training for athletic performance all the way to bodybuilding.


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Combat Conditioning

Combat Conditioning

This book came highly recommended to me by Dave Lemanczyk when I was working as a highschool strength coach. This was partly because of the bodyweight exercises that are detailed in this book. Author Matt Furey delivers a series of exercises designed not only for Combat Athletes but for anyone interested in functional fitness with minimal equipment. This is a good book for motivating teams and large groups of people to train hard.

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Mind and Muscle

Mind and Muscle

Never finished this one, it just didn't hold my interest. More of a bodybuilding-psychology book if I remember correctly.




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Ironman Encyclopedia

Ironmans Ultimate Bodybuilding Encyclopedia

I'm sure I skimmed through this one when I was into bodybuilding but nothing jumps out at me as being memorable about this book. I would say this book is like the magazine except without all of the ads.



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Explosive Lifting for Sports

Explosive Lifting for Sports

This is a good book for anyone looking to learn weightlifting - the snatch and/or the clean & jerk. It touches on weightlifting philosophy, has a few programs and routines, but the book is mainly about how to perform the exercises. Although I believe anyone who is serious about weightlifting should find a qualified coach, this book is a good start if you cannot afford or do not have access to a weightlifting coach.


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