The Strength Training Anatomy Workout - Delavier and Gundill

Sounds like a New Year's Resolution thing, doesn't it? It's older than that, honest. :) Several months ago I finally made good on my plans to use the work gym. Waaaay back when I was finishing off my thesis I used to do 6 hours of judo a week and rather enjoyed being healthy. Then I got a job, moved to London, and... stopped. So, I thought I'd get back into some kind of exercise. I'd not kept up with Stuff, but apparently just doing strength training is a reasonable option nowadays - there seems to be much less emphasis on endless hours of cardio now, which is more than fine by me...

I had no idea what I was doing, and joined a few of the classes at work in order to learn how it's done, but booking up limited slots was a bit annoying. I wanted to just pop in at other times, and decided I wanted to learn a bit more, and as always needed a book. As part of the whole feedback effect, I bought this book because it was popular, thus making it more popular. :)

The book suggests just doing the training at home - that gyms are hassle and distracting and you only need a few bits and pieces that you can store at home. And... I've tried that, and it's just so much more convenient than the work gym. Less faff, no other people looking like they know what they're doing, and no waiting for equipment (even if the equipment is way better than what I've got. :).

However, I should probably write a little about the book. I like it. The fundamental thesis is "do dumbbell excercises at home". Back when I was doing judo at uni, I used the college gym a bit, which had lots of weights machines. Switching to free weights is a strange because you have to keep the weights under control rather than just push/pull hard, but I see their point of how it's better to actually have some control, so that's nice.

The book is divided into three sections - effectively "how to exercise", a large number of exercises arranged by body part, and then a few suggested programmes. The exercise descriptions are good, with lots of tips and nice anatomy diagrams of what's going on. I thought it'd be a bit overkill to have so many exercises described, given you might only want a few, but it seems in practice having a good selection of exercises and variations can help to both find something that works better for you, and staves off boredom.

I'm not totally convinced everything in the book is grounded in science, but the authors have a bunch of experience and I've found it really helpful to get started. As always, I'm nervous about recommending a book in an area I know little about, but I think it's worth a look if you want to try strength training.

Posted 2019-01-19.