28 December 2005

Arnold's Cyclopedia

I got yet another book from my local library! You should see what your library has to offer.

I checked this book out because A) I wanted some new exercises to do in the gym and the book lists pretty much every way you can lift a weight, and B) it costs like fifty bucks to buy a copy and weighs about nine pounds. My bookshelves are overloaded as it is and my checkbook is a bit underweight.

I did not read this whole book. Nor did I plan to. Nor would I bother. If you want a history of bodybuilding, it's in the book. If you want an entire workout plan for years, it's in the book. Every exercise ever conceived? In the book. Tips on competition? Yeah, it's in the book. I read the exercises. I have a few comments for those who might care.

This is the revised second edition of this book. It still offers a few exercises you should never, ever do (behind the neck chinups), but it also presents more alternatives. And, the discussion of squats and deadlifts goes much further into safety and why it's so important to keep the back straight. That's a good change.

The exercise plans are fairly absurd. Work out six times a week, hitting each body part three times? Fine, if you're on steroids. Anyone else will overtrain in a heartbeat. Then it gets better, with a plan for two workouts a day six days a week. Again, poor advice for non-roided types.
Of course, I'm not planning on using any of the workout plans in the book. I've done enough work on my own to know what works for me and I'm happy with that (although I'm less happy with the fact that I went to the gym all of once in November, and maybe four times in December). And after all, what should I have expected from a professional bodybuilder/governor (though probably not governor anymore by this time next year)?

All in all, this is a book with many ideas, only about half of which are probably crap. This is pretty good as books of ideas go. Most philosophers probably get to about 50%, if they're lucky. I'm sure my writings don't crack the 50% crap level. Marx never got anywhere near it. And, if you need to glue two things together, you can set this book on top of them.

1 comment:

Bitch | Lab said...

If you're into it, check out Lyle McDonald's work for stuff that is completely not crap.

You can find him at http://bodyrecomposition.com.

Seriously, it's a pretty good site, he's a total smart ass, but the won't try to sell you crap products or tell you to do ridiculous workout routines.

(fellow Tampa Bay area blogger)