Title: Strength Training, 2nd Edition
Authors: National Strength & Conditioning Association
Publisher: Human Kinetics Australia, ISBN: 9781492522089
Details: Paperback, pp400
RRP: AU $54.99 OR $43.99 when you use the code HK20 to SAVE 20% at the checkout HERE.
Review by Tony Boutagy, PhD, AEP, AES, ESSAM
Strength Training, 2nd Edition is a winning combination: written by a team of the world’s foremost authorities and covering all topics related to the science of strength, training, programming and exercise technique.
The book begins with four chapters that cover the science of strength training. The reader will receive the latest information on muscle physiology from arguably the most revered strength scientist of our time, Dr William J Kraemer. I found Dr Kraemer’s chapters to be the highlight of the book for me, as he distilled a vast and complex area of physiology into easy-to-understand concepts. This section of the text reviews muscle architecture and makeup and discusses the mechanisms and pathways by which muscle is believed to grow (including molecular signalling and hormonal pathways and the various ways that muscle protein synthesis can be turned on and optimised). The various types of muscle training and contractions are outlined and the section concludes with a chapter on the latest nutritional concepts on turning on and promoting muscle growth. This is an in-depth chapter covering the role of macronutrients and total energy, down to the amounts and timing of energy in relation to the workout and muscular adaptation.
Section Two covers the most up-to-date guidelines for the prescription of resistance exercise for hypertrophy, strength and power. The section begins with the assessment of strength, including how to conduct a valid strength test, establishing norms and readiness to lift. The next three chapters then cover the training variables needed to produce specific physical outcomes, such as maximal strength and power, how to best schedule training weeks and months to optimise performance and minimise soreness, injury and overtraining. This, to my mind, is very practical and usable periodisation for personal trainers.
Section Three is made up of four chapters that show and describe strength exercises for the upper and lower body, the torso and special explosive movements. The pictures, descriptions and breadth of variations make these chapters a very welcome addition to the ‘exercise vocabulary’ of any personal trainer.
The final section of the text provides sample programs for everyone from beginners to advanced lifters, and from youth to the elderly. This is another strength (excuse the pun!) of the book, as the majority of the text until this point has been devoted to explaining the theory and science that is critical to the understanding of correct program design for various fitness goals. But this section ‘puts it all together’ and places the theory into usable progressive programs that any personal trainer could use as is, or modify based on clients’ strength testing, equipment availability and likes/dislikes.
Written by the best of the best, includes the latest science on strength training, programming and muscle growth and practical programs for all abilities and goals – what’s not to love?! It’s a thumbs up from this reviewer.
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