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Sculpting Her Body Perfect, 3rd ed.

Author: Schoenfeld B
Category: Health/Fitness
Audience: Consumer
Length: 237 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2008
List Price: $19.95

AthleteInMe.com® Rating: Excellent!

Sculpting Her Body Perfect is an instructional resource on weight-training for women.  It is now in its 3rd edition, which comes with a DVD.

• Recommended for:  consumers, particularly women, who want to shed fat and tone their body through weight-training.  It is best for women who are healthy and relatively physically fit.


Brad Shoenfeld is a certified personal trainer (ACE) and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (NSCA).  He has written several other books, including Look Great Naked, and he created the Look Great Naked video series.  He has been published or featured in many consumer magazines including Shape, Fitness, Self, Cosmopolitan and others and has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows across the US.


The 237 page book is organized as follows:
  • Chapter 1:  Sculpting the Ultimate Body
  • Chapter 2:  Warm-Up and Flexibility
  • Chapter 3:  Body Conditioning
  • Chapter 4:  Toning and Shaping
  • Chapter 5:  Targeted Bodysculpting
  • Chapter 6:  Sexy Chest
  • Chapter 7:  Hourglass Back
  • Chapter 8:  Shapely Shoulders
  • Chapter 9:  Beautiful Biceps
  • Chapter 10:  Toned Triceps
  • Chapter 11:  Defined Quads
  • Chapter 12:  Lean Hamstrings and Glutes
  • Chapter 13:  Diamond Calves
  • Chapter 14:  Six-Pack Abs
  • Chapter 15:  Fat Burning With Aerobics
  • Chapter 16:  Safe Workouts During Pregnancy
  • Chapter 17:  Maintaining Your Physique

I spent several hours reading this book and watching the DVD.  In general, I liked both of them.  In fact, I think the book is excellent and the DVD is also very good.  My specific comments follow:

The book is loaded with a ton of black-and-white photographs of women performing every exercise.  Since "a picture is worth a thousand words", as they say, I think most women will use (and benefit from) the photos the most.  The 4-page "Exercise Finder" chart at the beginning of the book is also done well.  It serves as a way to quickly locate the page numbers of each specific exercise, and, if that exercise is demonstrated on the DVD.

But, the text also provides solid exercise advice (with notable exceptions described below).

The Introduction gives the reader some good perspective, however, I feel it gets into a little too much exercise physiology.  Conversely, Shoenfeld's "High-Energy Fitness System" is not clearly explained.  Instead, he describes it as a "...supercharged exercise regimen that simultaneously tones your muscles while reducing body fat..."

Chapter 1 provides solid information.  Here, the author talks about the importance of setting realistic and attainable goals, and explains some exercise principles, such as the difference between compound and isolated movements.  Practical advice such as taking in fluids, wearing a belt and gloves while lifting, and being able to recognize the difference between soreness and pain are discussed.  Missing from this chapter  is an explanation of the pros and cons of performing a single set vs. performing multiple sets of a given exercise.  All of the routines outlined in this book recommend multiple (eg., 2-4) sets.  Since the author states (on p. 19) that this book "...is intended for those who have limited or no training experience...", it is likely that many readers may be asking "can I get the same results by doing only 1 set of each exercise?"  In Chapter 3 (p. 20-21), he states that 3 sets are necessary, but again doesn't explain why.

Chapter 2 covers warming up and stretching and is done well.  It contains 8 photos of a woman performing various stretches.

Chapter 3 starts with the author stating "In earlier chapters, I concentrated on explaining the theory behind the High-Energy Fitness System" however, what his "system" actually entails is still not clear....ie., is it a 50-50 combination of weights with aerobics?, is it mostly aerobics with some weight-training?, is it based on pushing the heart rate into some specific range?

The rest of the chapters are devoted to specific exercises for each of the 9 general areas of the body.  These chapters are all done very well.  Each has an abundance of photos and the text explains the exercises nicely.  There is also a chapter on aerobic conditioning and a chapter on exercising during pregnancy.

Sculpting Her Body Perfect contains a lot of useful content, however, several concepts are notably absent from this book:

• The title of the book makes it clear that the focus is on body shape/appearance/composition.  And, the content is consistent with the title.  However, readers need to realize that "fitness" encompasses a lot more than just body composition.  Aerobic conditioning, muscular strength, flexibility, and even health-related parameters such as low resting heart rate, good blood pressure, an acceptable lipid profile, and good balance are other important elements in the fitness picture.

• Also, the author should have included a review of recommended body fat percentages.  Some women obsess over their body image and may drive their body fat down too far.  This can lead to health and medical problems.  Although Schoenfeld warns against overtraining, and encourages rest days, the book does not list recommended body fat percentages, explain how body fat percentage is measured, or include a BMI chart.

Finally, the author also includes profiles of 8 women who, I guess, are his clients.  While these profiles may be interesting to read, they add nothing to the book.  The models used in the photos throughout the book adequately convey what a "fit" female body should look like.  One of the questions each client answers is their opinion on nutritional supplements.  Seven of the 8 women are in favor of using supplements, with 2 of them stating that "they are a must".  In most cases, weight-trainers who advise other weight-trainers to use supplements is an example of the "blind leading the blind", in my opinion.  These client profiles imply an indirect endorsement of their use by the author, which is unfortunate.  I feel these client profiles should be eliminated.

• What I Liked About This Book:  lots and lots of photos, side bar tips of practical advice, the DVD is done well (narrators speak slowly enough to allow viewers to capture the teaching points).

• What Could Be Better:  minimize the discussions of exercise physiology, provide a better explanation of the "High Energy Fitness System", include a discussion about the health ramifications of too little body fat.


In general, I think this book is very well done.  And, I guess others do, too, as the combined sales of the 2 previous editions have exceeded 100,000 copies and it has been translated into 6 languages.

Despite several concerns discussed above, I recommend this book.  Both the text and the DVD will be a useful reference to women who want to weight-train.

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 6/2/2014 6:30:29 PM

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