Monday, August 4, 2008

Maximum Strength and the art of the deload.

Maximum strength is a solid manual for progressing the average gym rat into the realm of the truly strong. It is well written and very accessible, and as a stand alone program it’s great. Eric Cressey is a great coach and his program is a well designed 16 week plan with lots of variablity, but still focuses on the basic movements that make people strong. Once I can re-organize my schedule and get through it, I’ll do a full review of the program, and not just the book.
The section of the book that made it a must-have for me was the dynamic warm-up. I have enough background and time under the bar to get people (particularly the rowers, and fighters I deal with) stronger than their competition, and even know enough to correct imbalances and prevent a number injuries, but I find it particularly difficult to take my own medicine.
I have a problem, I’m impatient. I will spend hours designing periods and training cycles, but when it comes to warm-ups I don’t spend nearly enough time (especially when I’m not squatting or pulling) planning or doing my mobility work and it shows. Now I don’t have to. This program contains two full dynamic warm-ups, and I can stop thinking about it and just do them. Much like this article by Dan John... I know what I need to do, but I don’t spend the time or energy planning it because it’s not fun. With the Maximum strength warm-ups I don’t have to use the energy coming up with the warm-ups and I can focus on making sure I DO the warm-ups. This section alone is more than worth the price of the book.
The art of the deload eBook is a little less accessible, It is written for a higher level of user/lifter; those who design their own programs (and or the programs of others). For those lifters, it is well worth the $10 price tag. Most of us know a couple methods of deload, but tend to stagnate, using the same deload over and over. This book breaks down 10 methods and their merits in great detail. Which is about 9-10 more than most people use.
This is particularly important resource for trainers designing programs for females and endurance athletes. These demographics tend to have the attitude that a lot is good, more is better, and most is best. There are several deload methods in this book that are subtle enough to get these folks to rest while allowing them to feel like they’re not “slacking.” It was well worth the low price and the small effort of downloading it.
In short both of these products are great. The Maximum strength book is a great stand alone for just about anyone with questions about how to move to the next level.
The art of the deload is cheap, easy (gotta love the instant gratification of eBooks) and full of information (all be it more specialized).

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