I'm Touring The United States! Starting in June, I'm conducting private events in 23 American cities. Click here for full details.

Post Reply 
5 Fitness Must-Reads
Author Message
Hades Offline
Banned

Posts: 3,652
Joined: Feb 2012
Post: #1
5 Fitness Must-Reads
In my quest for strength I have drawn from the wisdom of many betters. At first I would ask my friends who were athletes. No doubt, these incredibly swole bastards got results, but my inner scientist got the best of me and I started to research. Here's the five best books (and some honorable mentions) that I have found for fulfilling strength goals.


1. Starting Strength - Mark Rippetoe
Sure, it's been well touted on the forum and I'm sure many have read it and use it on a daily basis, but I can't stress enough that this is the Bible of barbell training. Mark Rippetoe is a professional. His series of online articles (one in particular on the novice effect) are also top-notch.
My only criticism is that while his book teaches strength coaches how become more effective, his overall method keeps amateurs dependent on strength coaches, putting the effective cost per muscle gain out of the reach of many athletes. This is only fair since he has made it his life study and the lifts can be dangerous if done incorrectly. If you want results as quickly, safely, and effectively as possible, find a coach and look no further than Starting Strength.


2. Building the Gymnastic Body
Gymnastics was an old-world invention and probably the first real strength culture in human history. Gymnasts are supposedly (pound for pound) the strongest and most well conditioned of all athletes. I don't care to dispute this.
However, I have a somewhat low opinion of this book. The introduction starts out as though it's targeted towards adults (the typical 20-30 something man who goes to the gym), but every badly taken picture has a shirtless 12 year old boy in it.
The working progression and maneuvers in the book are top notch, despite this. You need access to a fully equipped gymnastics studio and should probably be under 5 foot 6" tall (which was my impression), but most solid athletes can probably work their way through a few of the beginning progressions. The apparent difficulty level of gymnastics is extreme. No great gymnast started training after puberty.
Don't read it for kicks, just use it as a reference guide if and only if you want to try out some of the levers and holds. I only listed this because it's the only comprehensive gymnastics book I could find.


3. Convict Conditioning (I, II, III coming soon!)
Paul Wade, through his prison sentence, discovered a method of strength used before weights were introduced to prisons. Such is progressive calisthenics.
He argues that the "train to failure" mentality of typical gym rats causes injuries that should not happen. Instead, keep your workouts efficient and not exhausting so you can do them every day or two. Keep a safe rep in the bank, go slow (2 seconds down, 1 second pause, 2 seconds back up), and never cheat a rep.
With six exercises, the pushup, squat, back bridge, leg raise, handstand pushup, and pullup, the entire body can be brought to maximal strength within two or three years of training. Starting small, from basic wall pushups and easy knee tucks, you advance all the way to hanging leg raises, one-armed pullups, and the elite one-armed handstand pushup. This book has it all. Exercises, training schedules, and even extra exercises at the end of each chapter. Enjoy your reps, take your time, and increase.
This book is not just for the bodyweight and functional strength maniac. Barbell trainers who wish to live pain-free can profit greatly. With the "Trifecta", Paul Wade introduces three exercises to make every heavy lifter more limber and less likely to injure himself. Using the principle of active stretching, this is one routine everyone can benefit from.
Of all the books listed here, I'm pretty sold on this one. With nothing more than a pullup bar, towel, basket ball, and a yoga mat, you can get strong. It takes time, but it can be done over months and years. My only criticism (along with many others) is that nobody is sure that the author is real. Paul Wade's strength claim to fame is something like 15 one-armed handstand pushups, which many argue is impossible. This guy must be a T-rex.


4. Power to the People - Pavel Tsatsouline
Pavel is often criticized for rehashing old material into new books, and maybe purposefully keeping information from the reader. I'm not one to judge. Power to the People espouses a very tight routine of deadlifts and side presses (one pull, one press) to quickly build strength. The book is full of Russian strength training tips that make solid arguments against some common strength misconceptions, and, by doing so, make strength training more inclusive for everyone. Pavel's coached his 75 year old father to compete as a powerlifter, and inside of a year of focused training, brought his father's deadlift from about 200 pounds to 415. Not bad!
Of all the texts mentioned, this is the most useful for beginners. At 128 pages, you can read it in a sitting. With only two strength maneuvers, you hit nearly everything and can feasibly do all your lifts on the average company smoke break. Even on my shittiest days, this is one routine I can do. That's why I make gains.

5. Boxing for Beginners - Billy Finegan
Why become strong and conditioned if you can't throw a punch? This solid book on training for boxing is a great breakdown of combos, form, and lifestyle of a competitive boxer. Practice the jab, hook, cross, and uppercut and make up your own combos, then shadowbox whenever you feel like killing time. Take your skill level of drunken boxing from wild swings and haymakers to jaw-slaying combinations.
I read it on the regular.


Honorable (and free) Mentions
Ross Enemait's training blog (rosstraining dot com)
Possibly the largest influence on my training, not on methodology, but instead on overcoming sticking points and adversity. His inspirational articles have helped me out through some rough times. If you're into physical culture, boxing, and insane conditioning, stop here and do some reading. Sandbag training, jump rope conditioning, burpees, tire flipping, and all kinds of strongman stuff abound. The guy has a can-do attitude. You'll feel motivated just reading through some of his material.
If you have the need to succeed but not the funds, make sure to check out his homemade strength training and conditioning articles. Because of his site, I have developed a chumpy love of the junkyard gym. Where there's a will, there's Ross Enemait.

Neil Bednar's CC Blog (myconvictconditioning.blogspot dot com/)
The self-titled Worlds Strongest Librarian is one cool dude. He's written a free ebook on how to get strong at work. He often rips up playing cards, shoulders large stones, and does all sorts of old-school strength feats.

Matt Furey
This crazy train of an author wrote a book called "Combat Conditioning" which I read and enjoyed immensely. Nobody seems to like this guy on the internet but he has some good material for getting strong on no budget. He's big on bridge holds, hindu pushups, and hindu squats (which he calls the Royal Court). Completely ignores pullups. Possibly the least conventional and most interesting of bodyweight specialists around. If you're a wrestler, give it a shot.

Youtube Clip "How Bad Do You Want It?"
This clip is a pep-talk from a coach, with scenes of athletes training their asses off. I watch this whenever I need a pick-me-up. Anytime I'm struggling, whether it be life in general, a mild depression, women, or being poor, I watch this and feel like a man. Then I go and do something about my problem. Definitely recommended.

Pavel's Other Books (Enter the Kettlebell, The Naked Warrior)
I would argue that "The Naked Warrior" is superior to PTTP. However, it is not really a book for beginners.
Now "Enter the Kettlebell" has often been touted as the panacea to all modern fitness. It's a strength and conditioning exercise all in one easy package. While kettlebells are amazing, and a consistent brisk program of swings, snatches, high pulls, and cleans will make a man into a fighting machine, they require a skill set that can take years to develop properly. It's not for everyone. I do recommend reading it greatly, however not without a grain of salt.

Dishonorable Mentions
I guess no list of must-reads would be complete unless I gave a list of must-avoids.

Gawker's "I of the Tiger" series
The guy who writes these articles is a douche. I won't apologize for this. He writes flippant articles like "Some Girls Can Kick Your Ass", "Stop Doing Curls", and "The Myth of the Dumb Jock". Compared to the self-assured and relaxed attitude of Ross Enemait, who's catchphrase could be "Different strokes for different folks", the tone of these articles is grating and insufferable. Even if he's coming from the right place, his execution is miserable. He sounds like the kind of guy who watches women's basketball and eats soy recreationally. It's long on attitude and short on material. If you want your fitness material spoon-fed to you from a probably gay white guy with two moms, look no further.

Any Weightlifting Books Before 1985 and After 1920
I have purchased many old school books on how to get strong from library sales, garage sales, and what have you. The problem with them is that they were the product of Arnie's culture of bodybuilding, which while not necessarily bad, means that the workouts focus on isolation exercises. I'm prejudiced against them in general because I don't have fifteen hours a week to work every muscle individually. Depending on your strength goals, this may not be what you're looking for.
(This post was last modified: 05-05-2012 01:44 PM by Hades.)
05-05-2012 12:46 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 8 users Like Hades's post:
WesternCancer, Taciturning, MikeCF, WanderingSoul, calex, Captain Ahab, MiscBrah, Built to Fade
BLarsen Offline
Woodpecker
**
Gold Member

Posts: 315
Joined: Jul 2011
Reputation: 7
Post: #2
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
(05-05-2012 12:46 PM)Hades Wrote:  3. Convict Conditioning (I, II, III coming soon!)
Paul Wade, through his prison sentence, discovered a method of strength used before weights were introduced to prisons. Such is progressive calisthenics.
He argues that the "train to failure" mentality of typical gym rats causes injuries that should not happen. Instead, keep your workouts efficient and not exhausting so you can do them every day or two. Keep a safe rep in the bank, go slow (2 seconds down, 1 second pause, 2 seconds back up), and never cheat a rep.
With six exercises, the pushup, squat, back bridge, leg raise, handstand pushup, and pullup, the entire body can be brought to maximal strength within two or three years of training. Starting small, from basic wall pushups and easy knee tucks, you advance all the way to hanging leg raises, one-armed pullups, and the elite one-armed handstand pushup. This book has it all. Exercises, training schedules, and even extra exercises at the end of each chapter. Enjoy your reps, take your time, and increase.
This book is not just for the bodyweight and functional strength maniac. Barbell trainers who wish to live pain-free can profit greatly. With the "Trifecta", Paul Wade introduces three exercises to make every heavy lifter more limber and less likely to injure himself. Using the principle of active stretching, this is one routine everyone can benefit from.
Of all the books listed here, I'm pretty sold on this one. With nothing more than a pullup bar, towel, basket ball, and a yoga mat, you can get strong. It takes time, but it can be done over months and years. My only criticism (along with many others) is that nobody is sure that the author is real. Paul Wade's strength claim to fame is something like 15 one-armed handstand pushups, which many argue is impossible. This guy must be a T-rex.

I've been doing parts of CC1 for over a year and CC2 since it came out last year.

I would say that for me CC2 is worth the money alone because of the Forearm/Grip and Calf progressions. If you're a professional keyboard jockey (like me) I find that having strong fingers/wrists/forearms will eliminates repetitive use soreness.
05-05-2012 05:26 PM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Carl Sagan Offline
Pigeon

Posts: 34
Joined: Feb 2009
Reputation: 0
Post: #3
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
Decent list.

However, I would add:

chaosandpain's blog
05-05-2012 09:11 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Citizen_Boris Away
Sparrow

Posts: 73
Joined: Nov 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #4
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
I'd be really interested to hear about people's results on Convict Conditioning and some of Pavel Tsatsouline's stuff.

I've always been a tall-ish, skinny-ish guy, and although I fully understand the lifting heavy mantra, the bodyweight stuff really appeals, just from a minimalist point of view...I don't really have hangups about size, I'd just like to be fitter to be honest...I got the Convict stuff the other week and it's an interesting read... Good list man...
05-05-2012 09:35 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Citizen_Boris Away
Sparrow

Posts: 73
Joined: Nov 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #5
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
In Soviet Russia, Kettlebell swings you...
05-05-2012 09:37 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
NuMbEr7 Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 303
Joined: Feb 2012
Reputation: 0
Post: #6
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
(05-05-2012 05:26 PM)BLarsen Wrote:  
(05-05-2012 12:46 PM)Hades Wrote:  3. Convict Conditioning (I, II, III coming soon!)
Paul Wade, through his prison sentence, discovered a method of strength used before weights were introduced to prisons. Such is progressive calisthenics.
He argues that the "train to failure" mentality of typical gym rats causes injuries that should not happen. Instead, keep your workouts efficient and not exhausting so you can do them every day or two. Keep a safe rep in the bank, go slow (2 seconds down, 1 second pause, 2 seconds back up), and never cheat a rep.
With six exercises, the pushup, squat, back bridge, leg raise, handstand pushup, and pullup, the entire body can be brought to maximal strength within two or three years of training. Starting small, from basic wall pushups and easy knee tucks, you advance all the way to hanging leg raises, one-armed pullups, and the elite one-armed handstand pushup. This book has it all. Exercises, training schedules, and even extra exercises at the end of each chapter. Enjoy your reps, take your time, and increase.
This book is not just for the bodyweight and functional strength maniac. Barbell trainers who wish to live pain-free can profit greatly. With the "Trifecta", Paul Wade introduces three exercises to make every heavy lifter more limber and less likely to injure himself. Using the principle of active stretching, this is one routine everyone can benefit from.
Of all the books listed here, I'm pretty sold on this one. With nothing more than a pullup bar, towel, basket ball, and a yoga mat, you can get strong. It takes time, but it can be done over months and years. My only criticism (along with many others) is that nobody is sure that the author is real. Paul Wade's strength claim to fame is something like 15 one-armed handstand pushups, which many argue is impossible. This guy must be a T-rex.

I've been doing parts of CC1 for over a year and CC2 since it came out last year.

I would say that for me CC2 is worth the money alone because of the Forearm/Grip and Calf progressions. If you're a professional keyboard jockey (like me) I find that having strong fingers/wrists/forearms will eliminates repetitive use soreness.

What are your gains?
Which progression are you on?

"Control of your words and emotions is the greatest predictor of success." - MaleDefined
05-06-2012 01:18 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Stitch Offline
Woodpecker
**

Posts: 382
Joined: Jun 2011
Reputation: 1
Post: #7
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
I'm presently between houses (actually living in a friend's house for three months) and am without my barbells/power rack, which I was using for "Starting Strength", having progressed to appropriate novice strength levels. In the new place, I barely have enough room to swing a cat... or at least a cat-sized kettlebell.

So I've switched to KB training, and I have to admit it can kick my ass in a short time. I'm only doing the basics (swings, clean, press, russian twists, starting to learn the snatch) and a relatively short workout can leave me sore all over. Not bad for a "one device, no moving parts" workout. I'm not 100% sold, but I'm at least pleased so far.
05-06-2012 11:49 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
BLarsen Offline
Woodpecker
**
Gold Member

Posts: 315
Joined: Jul 2011
Reputation: 7
Post: #8
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
(05-06-2012 01:18 PM)NuMbEr7 Wrote:  What are your gains?
Which progression are you on?

CC1
Pushups - Step 7 Uneven Pushups
Abs - Not doing
Squats - Not doing (different program, will explain)
Pullups - Step 7 Uneven Pullups
Handstand Pushups - Step 4 Half Handstand Pushups

CC2
Grip - Step 3 Uneven Hang
Calves - Step 3 Single Leg Calf Raises (bent leg)


As far as gains go, I'm really not looking to gain, more to maintain what I already earned. I worked out with weights from age 19-29, did some powerlifting. Biggest I got was 200 lbs (6 feet tall) when I was competing. Now I'm down to 185, but I'd like to get up to 190. My 185 is a "soft" 185, meaning my bodyfat percentage is not where I want. By no means am I fat or chubby, just not optimal for my tastes.

IMO I don't understand how he could have left Grip exercises out of CC1. My pushups, pullups, and handstand pushups have gone up tremendously since I started dedicated grip work. Strengthening the joints in my wrists and fingers... oh man...talk about weak leak in the chain.

For grip about twice per week on top of the program I'm doing fingertip pushups and also pushups on the back of my hands. IMO just doing bar hangs IS NOT ENOUGH. Like he recommends you have to do the fingertip pushups and I would also add a few light sets of pushups on the back of your hands. Not FULL pushups mind you, kneeling "girly" pushups are what I do. Effective and increases strength.

I don't do the squat program b/c I suck at it, plain and simple. There is a point in the progressions where you need flexibility to progress towards doing the one legged squat. I don't have that flexibility and it was just frustrating the hell out of me and holding me back, so I just made up my own program that I cobbled together from Ross Enamait's "Never Gymless".

I don't do the ab program b/c it interferes with my chins and grip work.

I don't do the bridge program cuz... well cuz I'm lazy, but it's very effective and I will start again.

My final opinion: Nothing, NOTHING is going to build mass like lifting heavy weights. In fact sometimes I miss lifting weights and think about joining the gym so I can get some more mass. But I don't want to pay the membership, and having big muscles is purely ego-driven; I'd just be paying money to try and soothe some insecurity issues I have with "lack of size". I think over the long haul, YEARS, I could probably get up to a solid 195, so another 10 pounds...

The progressions take a long time to get through if you're not rushing (I'm not, and if you were in prison as he allegedly was you wouldn't be rushing either).

I'm having a lot of fun doing it.
05-07-2012 09:23 PM
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
WanderingSoul Offline
Crow
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 5,806
Joined: Nov 2011
Reputation: 130
Post: #9
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
+1 for putting Starting Strength as #1.

However, Matt Furey is a widely known fraud who has been exposed on multiple occasions.

Tons of info on the guy but here is one from Sherdog.net that Karl Gotch, a legit catch wrestler:

Here is a letter Karl has asked me to share with people:

**************************************** *****************************
Tampa, 18th July ‘05

Dear Jake,

Thanks for sending me that copy of the fat man Matt Furey’s website. As you know I don’t have a computer and I don’t know how to use it, but as I can see he employs it for a con game to steal from some poor guys that love the sport. He hung around me for about 5 months not over two years as he states.

He writes, “What’s Old is New – What’s New is Old” well he uses this to put his hand in the poor guys pocket and grab the money. I found him out when he talked me into making a tape I had about conditioning commercial, I had made the tape as proof, because after my double hip replacement I could not do many of those things anymore and a picture is worth a thousand words.

I told him to never use my name again with anything he ever did. The man is a disgrace to wrestling and has no honor at all, he can walk under a snakes belly wearing a top hat.

To give you an idea what real pro-wrestling is lets take boxing as an example, even as an Olympic Champ when you turn pro you have to start all over again because it’s completely different. Here in the U.S.A they had the best in the world, men like Strangler Lewis, Toots Mondt, John Pesek, etc. would take the life out of anyone that challenged them. Wrestling is opposite of what people think it is, it is not strength but knowledge, balance, and timing, leverage and where to place the fulcrum, that’s what it takes to make it to the top in the noble art of wrestling.

Also, the most difficult sport is wrestling because contrary to other combat sports you have to learn to attack and defend from 3 different positions; standing-up, on all fours and underneath. It takes know how to do that, and your best hold is condition, even the best automobile won’t run without gas, oil, and water. People now go for excitement and to something that is easy to understand, that’s why football, base-ball and basketball are drawing the big crowds, plus they are team sport, they change their players in and out.

Wrestling in the amateurs should never be less than 12 minutes a match, then you can see the best man. I wrote you all this to show you that how can a fat slob like Furey, that doesn’t know his elbow from his rear end, tell and show these poor boys that he charges an arm and a leg and a finger thrown in? Wrestling is a workman’s sport, you need no expensive equipment and can practice it anywhere, and here is this greedy, fat no good misfit charging them all this money for nothing. I never took one cent from a boy to show him how to wrestle, all I asked for is guts. I can make you strong, fast, agile and train you for endurance and reflex, but guts you get when you are born.

I hope that we can find a way to stop this misfit from fleecing those poor guys, thanks again for letting me know.
Yours,
Karl
**************************************** *****************************

You can see the actual letters here:

http://ScientificWrestling.com/letter_from_karl.htm
05-08-2012 01:22 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
ElJefe Offline
Pelican
****

Posts: 1,682
Joined: Aug 2011
Reputation: 25
Post: #10
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
@ Hades

what's your background?

What are your accomplishments?

Just so guys who read this can put your recommendations in their proper perspective.

A year from now you'll wish you started today
05-08-2012 02:29 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
FilMor Offline
Robin
*

Posts: 149
Joined: May 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #11
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
I got both convict conditioning ebooks, i'm tempted to post the files here but i don't want to get scorched over copyright issues.
05-08-2012 09:44 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
calex Offline
Sparrow

Posts: 122
Joined: Nov 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #12
RE: 5 Fitness Must-Reads
(05-05-2012 12:46 PM)Hades Wrote:  Honorable (and free) Mentions

Henry Rollins - The Iron and the Soul

Quote:The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

Balkan Power Individual™
(This post was last modified: 05-08-2012 10:15 AM by calex.)
05-08-2012 10:14 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes calex's post:
Walnuts
Post Reply 


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  “Rise from Your Grave” - A General Fitness Journal ThriceLazarus 24 3,491 09-26-2019 02:27 PM
Last Post: ThriceLazarus
Star Nulled's Spartan Fitness / NoFap / Discipline Log Nulled 8 741 09-18-2019 12:55 PM
Last Post: sparta575
  Online Fitness Coach? Fitman2018 1 683 05-01-2019 11:37 AM
Last Post: partyfowl

Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | RooshV.com | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication