Women's Home Workout Bible
| Year Published:
Women's Home Workout Bible is a good resource for those who prefer to workout at home, though the emphasis is mostly on strength-training.
• Recommended for: Even though the title implies the intended audience is women, really anyone who wants to exercise at home could benefit from this book. It is best for people who are relatively healthy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 319 page book is organized as follows:
PART I: Space, Budget, and Setup
- Chapter 1: Claim Your Workout Space
- Chapter 2: The Everywoman Budget and Setup
PART II: Equipment and Exercise Selection
- Chapter 3: Choose From Body Weight, Balls, and Bands
- Chapter 4: Do It With Dumbbells and Barbells
- Chapter 5: Welcome to the Machines
- Chapter 6: Add the Cardio
- Chapter 7: The Final Stretch
PART III: Strategies and Ultimate Home Routines
- Chapter 8: Target Your Ultimate Body at Home
- Chapter 9: Ultimate Body Conditioning
- Chapter 10: Ultimate Body Sculpting
- Chapter 11: Ultimate Core Stability
- Chapter 12: Ultimate Fat Loss
This is the 3rd Schoenfeld book I have reviewed. The others are Sculpting Her Body Perfect (2008), and 28-Day Body Shapeover (2006).
Overview: In general, I like the Home Workout Bible. It contains a lot of information, including a ton of specific exercises, each one with good quality images to illustrate proper form.
Table of Contents: The first thing you encounter after the Table of Contents is a 6-page table of exercises. Here, exercises are grouped into specific areas of the body, and, then, the pages where those exercises are illustrated are listed. I like this. So, if you want to see all the core-strengthening exercises listed in the book, just turn to page ix. I could see where someone might photocopy this page and use it as a check-list after they have learned the exercises by name.
However, as I dug deeper, I was confused: the groupings in this table do not match the 4 categories that the specific exercises are grouped into in the rest of the book. For example, "Torso" is one of those 4 categories, but this does not appear in the table. Also, this table displays 4 different dollar values. This is also a little confusing because it is not explained in the table. Here, Schoenfeld is attempting to identify which exercises you will be able to perform at home, depending on how much you are willing to spend on your own home exercise equipment. The explanation appears on p. 10, but it should be summarized in the table also.
Introduction: In the Introduction, Schoenfeld paints a very clear picture of how commuting to, and, working out in, a busy gym can be frustrating. This is good. However, I disagree with his statement at the end: "....this book provides a complete blueprint for creating the ultimate workout experience at home." This book emphasizes strength-training and provides a relatively paltry amount of information on aerobic exercise.
PART I: In Part I, the author provides the reader with tips on how to set-up their own home gym. Generally, the information is good, but, he punts when it comes to recommending specific brands of equipment and specific resources for finding that information. This is a notable deficiency. There's no harm in creating a table (either here, or, as an Appendix) that lists 15-20 suppliers/manufacturers and their respective web sites. It would be very helpful for the reader, yet wouldn't imply an endorsement or conflict-of-interest on the part of the author. He does mention that his own web site is a good resource, but, then, doesn't tell us what it is! (it's at the end of the book).
PART II: In Chapter 3, Schoenfeld talks about stability balls. Unfortunately, he doesn't devote enough discussion about some of the serious injuries that have been reported when clients used them while lifting heavy weights and the ball bursts. Readers -- especially those who will be exercising at home alone -- deserve to know this. On p. 19, there is a chart where he recommends the proper diameter ball depending on a person's height. There should also be a listing of maximum weight each size ball can support.
Following chapter 3 are 82 pages of specific exercises. These are exercises you can perform with body weight, stability balls, and stretch bands....as the title of chapter 3 suggests. They are grouped into "shoulders and arms," "torso," "core," and "lower body." Will readers understand the difference between "torso" and "core"? Why are push-ups listed in the "torso" group instead of the "shoulders and arms" group? And why don't these groups match the groupings in the Table? Hmmmm....
Chapters 4 and 5 follow the same format, focusing on "dumbbells and barbells" (chap. 4) and "machines" (chap. 5), respectively. So, if you want to find the multiple ways of performing the same type of exercise (for example, squats vs. leg press), you would have to use all 3 chapters. This is not a deficiency, but, it is worth noting.
Chapters 3, 4, and 5 provide 169 pages of specific exercises. In other words, there are a lot! In general, this aspect of the book is well done, but, like so many other consumer exercise books I have reviewed, there is the inevitable use of anatomy and kinesiology terms. In the "Movement" section of each exercise, Schoenfeld has a habit of telling the reader what muscle to contract: "contract your lats," "contract your rear delts." Between pages 59-73, I counted no fewer than 4 occurrences of "contract your obliques." This is very peculiar phrasing, which regular people probably can't relate to. I don't understand why simple phrases such as "pull your hands back to your shoulders" can't be used. Terms such as "lean," "twist," and "bend" are much simpler and universally understood. Further, the first line following the name of the exercise often identifies the muscle that is targeted. While many readers know the biceps muscle, few (if any!) know where the "brachialis" is....and why would they care? In my opinion, these muscle names should be eliminated from exercise books for consumers.
Chapter 6 covers cardio. It summarizes equipment, but, unfortunately, doesn't offer one word of advice regarding how to gauge exercise intensity by monitoring heart rate, nor, summarize the most current ACSM guidelines for exercise for healthy adults. This is a major deficiency of this chapter. Chapter 7 discusses stretching and is acceptable.
Page Design and Layout: On pages that contain only text, I found the sans-serif font hard to read. Each of the 4 categories of exercises is identified by vertical labels in the upper corner of the page. These are lost on me. I rarely read vertical font, lightly-colored font, nor gray font and all 3 of these font traits exist here. It would be more helpful to integrate this information into the color tabs that exist along the vertical edges of the pages. All of the images are good.
What I Liked: good information; a wide variety of exercises, all illustrated with good quality images; a good Table of Contents and a good Index.
What Could Be Better: Eliminate all anatomy and kinesiology terminology; consumers don't understand these terms, and don't care anyway. Use plain English; keep it simple.
A more glaring weakness of this book is the lopsided emphasis on weight-training over aerobic exercise. Except for chapters 6 and 7, which make up a total of only 17 pages, the entire book is focused on strength-training. On one hand, this is understandable because there are so many varieties of strength-training exercises compared to aerobic exercise. However, aerobic exercise has greater impact on the manifestations of lifestyle disease than does strength training. Further, ACSM guidelines suggest aerobic exercise 5-7 times per week and strength exercise 2 times per week. I could not find even one mention of ACSM guidelines anywhere in this book. Thus, either this information should be added to this book, or, the cardio chapter be removed and the book should be retitled: "Strength-Training At Home."
In summary, I like this book because it contains a lot of good information, though it's unfortunate that it doesn't provide readers with ACSM exercise recommendations. Readers need to realize that the emphasis of this book is on strength-training. If you prefer to workout at home, and want a good guidebook for strength-training, then this just might be what you are looking for.
|Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD
||6/2/2014 11:53:50 AM