Book Review – The New Rules of Lifting


The new rules of Lifting by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove.

I have flicked through this book several times and thought it be about time I actually take the time to read it. After working in the fitness industry for 10 years now I have read and seen a hell of a lot of information and people making bold statements that their way is the only way to train – I know I have my own methods and theories but I always say that no two clients are a like and that a personalised program is what will give my clients the best results.

Back to0 the book – Reading through the first few chapters I got an understanding of the what the authors where all about and where they got their inspiration from for writing this book.  I really enjoyed the fact that the authors had the same frustrations as me – seeing people in gyms who have been following the same program for years and haven’t really gotten any results from it for however many years minus four weeks (if you missed my subtle point: you need to constantly update your program every 3 to 4 weeks). On the other side of the coin Crossfit style workouts where you change the routine daily never allow you to adapt and improve (unfortunately you just get better at Crossfit). Sorry getting slightly side tracked.

The Rules are pretty simple:

1. The best muscle-building exercises are the ones that use your muscles the way they’re designed to work. (my definition of Functional)

2. Exercises that use lots of muscles in coordinated action are better than those that force muscles to work in isolation. (ditto)

3. To build size, you must build strength. (strength is the key)

The list goes on but the next chapter gets into the nut and bolts the big six. The main movements or key exercises that are going to give you the results and body you want. Squat, Deadlift (bend), Lunge, Push, Pull and Twist. Sound familiar? Paul Chek uses the same six exercises as what he calls Primal Patterns the premise being that to survive in prehistoric times you needed to be able to perform these 6 movements plus one more Gait (running and walking). Thank goodness the authors do acknowledge Paul and also Richard A. Schmidt whose work this all originated from.

Reading on I was all pumped up and wanted to get straight into the program – hell I wanted a new routine for tomorrow morning – but the next few chapters seemed to ramble on the content was and is important don’t get me wrong but I just want to know what am I going to do tomorrow : ) I have read and seen first hand that too much cardio makes you fat (slow long runs etc) I know the functional importance of the big 6 and I am familiar with the mobilisation principles – but to other readers I am sure that they will learn a lot.

When I eventually got to the programs I pretty much already knew what the authors where going to present – the programs are well structured and have a nice periodisation plan to them. Have they re-written the programs I will give to my clients for the new 6 months? No – but I did get a few really good programming ideas that I will definitely look at implementing.

The other rules I quite liked

NEW RULE #5 • The goal of each workout is to set a record.

NEW RULE #7 • Don’t “do the machines.”

NEW RULE #18 • You don’t need to do endurance exercise to burn fat.

Overall I recommend this book to anyone who has been stuck on a plateau for a while or has given away training due to a lack of results – there is a good years worth of training programs in the book which will ensure that your training will at least be moving in the right direction.

I give this book 3.75 Stars.

- Anthony

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