Sunday, February 15, 2009

Power to the People!

When it comes to weight training, it's hard to find a better move than the deadlift. In Power to the People! Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American, Pavel Tsatsouline presents a workout program of just two exercises, the deadlift and the side press (a one-armed overhead barbell (yes, barbell) press, though one may substitute another pressing movement).

I haven't tried that exact routine, but it sounds fairly reasonable (keep in mind that he's talking about strength training, not "body building"). For me, the other training advice in Power to the People! is more valuable than the routine. The author covers a lot of ground and dispels a lot of myths that are widely spread by muscle magazines. He doesn't waste words, either; it doesn't take long to read. That's good because much is worth reading twice.

This book's biggest weakness is its price. For 116 pages with liberal amounts of whitespace (excluding 25-30 pages of advertising in the back for Tsatsouline's other products), the $35 list price is a bit much (of course, anyone who knows me knows that I didn't pay that much). Also the author's "evil Russian" schtick, though sometimes amusing, is pretty dated and probably sounded that way even when this book was first published ten years after the end of the Cold War.

Power to the People! presents a realistic way for mere mortals to build strength, none of that "use fancy machines, take lots of supplements, get huuuuge" garbage one gets from health clubs and fitness magazines. Tsatsouline offers practical, no-nonsense advice that can save readers a lot of time and money.

Current tally: 14 books finished, 9 books acquired

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