Men's Health: The Book of Muscle--The World's Most Authoritative Guide to Building Your Body

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You might think that the subtitle, "The World's Most Authoritative Guide to Building Your Body," is hyperbole, but The Book of Muscle from Men's Health delivers as promised. Australian strength coach and former powerlifting champion Ian King and Men's Health fitness director Lou Schuler cover everything you want to know about your muscles and what makes them grow, complete with dietary recommendations, exercises for every muscle group, and exercise routines. Each muscle group is illustrated and discussed, with 149 pages of clearly described, well-photographed exercises using a variety of equipment. A section on workout routines helps you put together your own program, from beginner to advanced.

Schuler's guy-talk style makes the book enjoyable to read, even on days when you have no intention of going to the gym. The artistic drawings of muscle groups, full-color photographs of beginning and ending positions of every exercise, and stunning close-ups of buffed body parts make The Book of Muscle is as beautiful as it is practical and motivating, an exceptional gift for the fitness guy in your life, and well worth the price. Highly recommended for men wanting to get in shape or stay there. --Joan Price

Exercise ain't easy. The body is a complicated machine, with 650 muscles and 250 million individual muscle fibers. Some would say taming those fibers and building strong, healthy muscles is not an act of labor. Some would say it's an art. Here's a book worthy of that art. The Men's Health Book of Muscle is the big, lavishly illustrated, full-color coffee table book that only Men's Health could produce--one that doubles as the ultimate guide to building a better body. The goal of The Book of Muscle is simple: create a beautiful, artistic guide to the body that also helps guys build great physiques by showing in detail how muscles work and how that knowledge can be put to use. Inside, you'll find lush anatomical illustrations and photographs of a quality that no other book on fitness can match. You'll also find complex biological information, boiled down to language any guy can understand, and three 6-month workout programs, one each for beginner, intermediate, and advanced lifters. It's big muscles, big benefit, and beautiful all at the same time. It's the book you've always wanted from the guys at Men's Health, the fitness experts you trust.

Customer Reviews:

  • Your Muscle-Building Bible
    Don't just learn how to work out. Learn the inner workings of your muscles and find out how to maximize your muscle-building potential....more info
  • The one source for guidance & training
    I often see younglings @ the gym, throwing weights around willy-nilly, doing silly things with dumbells... I cringe, but usually don't say anything - i'm not a "certified" anything in that area, and aside from years of experience, don't really have any other qualifications to offer "official" advice. plus, i don't want to come of as though i'm criticizing someone. It's all head trash, of course, but - it is what it is.

    If i were to offer some advice to folks starting with lifting weights, though, i'd heartily recommend this book: The Book of Muscle, published by Rodale Press and written by Ian King with Lou Schuler. In addition to going through every body part & muscle, explaining what it's for, etc., the book also provides a series of well-designed exercises for beginners, intermediate lifters, and those who have been doing it for years non-stop (that is, advanced).

    If gyms had libraries, this would be a must-have!

    On a personal level, I've been following the intermediate program for some time, and i'm impressed with the attention to detail and the methodical, easy-to-follow approach. I've definitely experienced strength gains, but also shored up the weaker muscles that are usually ignored if you're just "winging it". While i'm not yet Men's Health model material yet, i have confidence that The Book of Muscle can actually get me close! ;)

    The book is also good for another reason: it gives you the one source of info - something you can consult almost for any strength training need, without having to go to other sources and wonder whether what you're reading or hearing is worth listening to. Thumbs up to the book!

    ...more info
  • Apparent results, detailed instructions
    I really loved this book, I've been using it for 6 weeks now, my arms are much bigger and my stomach is becoming defined. The first 6 weeks are the longest workouts, having workouts as long as 75 minutes at the end. Usually it is set up so week 1 is one set, week 2 of the routine is 1 or 2 sets, adn week 3 is 2 or 3 sets. My personal recomendation is week 1 1 set, week2 2 sets, and week3 stay on 2 sets. 3 sets is really overkill and way too much time, 2 sets of 12 excercizes still allows your muscles to be completely worn down. I really think this book is exceptionally effective. I recomend it to everyone
    ben grant
    p.s. you need to use this in a gym with a fair amount of free weigths and some machines, pretty nice gym needed...more info
  • Good Book
    Great book, got this for a friend for his BDay. Once I got it I kept it for my self and got him some drinks at the bar....more info
  • Really In Depth Book On Muscle
    I've had this book out from my library and it really impresses me. I am definitely planning on purchasing it in the near future.

    To keep this short, what is great about this book is it's in depth explanation and diagrams of each bodypart, it's large amount of variations on various exercises (with excellent instruction) and inspiring photographs of natural looking physiques which I find refreshing. I don't see any obvious "juicers" here, I'd bet they are all drug free.

    This is a very comprehensive book that covers it's subject in great detail and with generous amounts of material.

    I also really like the fact that this isn't just a bodybuilding book though it certainly could be used by someone whose primary goal is bodybuilding. It also gets into the types of exercises that will benefit athletes as well, so it has a lot of "functional", performance enhancing information that can be used by anyone who may be using strength training to benefit their performance both on the field and in day to day life. Functional strength carries over well beyond the realm of athletics.

    It's a beautiful edition also, really high quality photographs and printed on heavy paper so you are getting a book that should last a really long time.

    Ian King certainly knows his stuff and it's obvious that he took great pride and care in producting a book that is authoritative on the subject of muscle building.

    Highly recommended!...more info
  • Thorough and simply amazing.
    I bought this book in hopes of building muscle, definition and stamina. And I am please to say, I am recieving all three in great amounts. This book is so thorough and simple that anyone can understand it, the built in workouts are amazing and they really work you up and make you sweat.
    I work out 3 days a week and after 2-3 weeks I started seeing muscles showing up in areas I never knew I had. The work outs are superb as is the nutritional knowledge. Ian King and Lou Schuler have done the world one of the largest favors just by writing such an awesome book....more info
  • Wonderful book
    It's a great text. It is the best workout program I have ever been involved with, period. My one problem with the book is I felt more should have been spent on nutritional information. However, as a workout manual, and also as a nice illustration of anatomy, this book can't be beat. I highly recommend it to anyone who desires an innovative, effective, and challenging workout. Also, it is a beautiful book...the pictures and diagrams make it an excellent reference after your 6 month(s) of workouts are over....more info
  • Good book
    Great book worth buying . Lots of helpful info for all stages of people trying to get fit....more info
  • Great book
    I bought this book mostly for my dad who always complains that he needs to work up to compound exercises, which is partially true. This book has everything planned out for two years if you start at the beginners workout, diet and breaks included. I have started the intermediate workout because I am tired of spending hours online creating my own challenging routine, I now have an extra half hour each day. This is definately a great book, especially for beginners who are unaquainted with a majority of the exercises....more info
  • Decent
    Overall I found this book to be average. I personally did not experience much strength gain in the 4 months I used their workout designs. I have had much more success in simply making up my own routines. They do have some good variations on certain things though, I have stolen a few and used them like the squat w/ closer foot positioning. My biggest problem is that in the early stages you are forced to do some pretty stupid looking exercises and if other people are around you feel like a tool. After awhile you get away from that though but be warned, you will do do some things that make you look like you've never been in a gym before....more info
  • excellent training guide for a normal guy who's been training for 20 years
    I purchased this book after learning about Ian King from a reference in Tom Venuto's BFFM ebook. All I was looking for was a new way to split up my workouts.


    1. I have been working out for more than 20 years and have read and tried many programs including high volume and low volume workouts.

    2. I've followed a 3-6x week lifting regimen. Since turning 40, I settled into 4 days lifting and 3 cardio. My results have always been mediocre. I was following the BodyRX program. After an initial 10 lb weight loss, I actually never lost another pound and ;earned I was eating far too much (thanks BFFM).

    3. Mostly I focused on big muscle exercises using machines: Leg Press, Chest Press, Pulldowns, Rows and then supplemented with extensions, curls etc. I have not deadlifted or squatted for over 15 years because it made my back sore and didn't allow me to "focus" on the muscles being worked.

    I started with the Intermediate program because the advanced program had so many strange exercises and rep schemes I hadn't done before. I am now in the 10th week of the program. I workout MWF. I do 30-40 minutes of bike riding 6 days a week because I want to lose 25 lbs. It's my warmup and lifting days and my cardio on off days. I do yoga at home on cardio days for my stretching- otherwise my lifting workouts would be too long.

    1. I stopped using wrist straps when I started BOM. For the past 20 years I used them for all of my back exercises because my grip always gave out before my lats did. My forearms are stronger and more muscular than ever. I figured by this time I would always have a weak grip and small forearms. That appears to be untrue. My back seems to not have suffered at all although sometimes my grip gives out at the end of a set.

    2. My calves have muscle in places they hadn't before even though I train them less than I did before. I know it is because of squatting because I felt a pain in the same area that muscle subsequently developed.

    3. My abs, which I thought were strong, were not. They are getting stronger. I work them 3x weekly vs. my old 1x weekly.

    4. My lower back has not been sore from squatting or deadlifting. In fact, I've grown to love these two exercises because they make me feel like I've really worked out instead of my old "going through the motions" workouts.

    Am I stronger? Yes.
    Am I leaner- surprisingly yes. I credit this to BFFM food tracking, eating less calories and doing more cardio.
    Am I more muscular? Certainly in my glutes, quads, calves and forearms. I am hoping to see similar gains in my chest, backs and arms in the coming stages.

    This program changes every 3 weeks. By the time I am familiar with the exercise and start to add serious weight, it's time to start a new stage.

    This has kept me mentally invigorated and seems to be working.

    Go figure- a book from Men's Health and a 3x weekly workout has re-charged this 41 year old guy who just wanted to lose 20 lbs, have bigger biceps and learn a new split.

    I also bought "Get Buffed" from Ian King. That's the predecessor to this book. I tried creating a 4 day workout plan from it, but got overwhelmed with the new info and decided to try BOM first. I am glad I did.

    Book Review-
    The detailed exercise instructions and pictures help a lot, especially for some of the odd exercises like King Deadlifts and 1 leg squats. Also Deadlift and Squats were well detailed. I needed this because I had never done them correctly before.

    The exercise physiology and the conclusions drawn from limited studies (very Men's Health like) didn't add much value for me.
    I wish the workouts referenced the page the exercises were on. I have to flip through pages a lot when creating my new routine.
    I also wish there were templates available for the workout tracker. I create my own in Numbers (or excel). But it would be easier if they were downloadable.

    I highly recommend reading this book and trying the workouts if you are not getting the results you want.

    ...more info
  • The one to get
    I bought this book for myself and my son after seeing one my brother had purchased. This is a fantastic book. It covers everything you need to know about the muscle system and how it works and how to work your body for the best results.

    Every Excercise is explained and has phographs so you can be sure you do them correctly.

    There is an excellent program designed to get the best from your muscles and it is adaptable to your needs. You will not need any other book if you purchase this one.

    I am a woman and am following this program. It is really worth it. You wont regret it....more info
  • Kindle bad, paper good
    I will gladly change this rating from a 1 star to a 5 star if Amazon can tell me how to do one simple task: There are workouts in the back of the book. I want to print a page so that I can take that page to the gym with me to workout.

    With a paper version of the book I can copy a page (or three since the workouts are in A, B, C sets for a week) and take it to the gym with me. I can take notes one it and keep track.

    With the Kindle I can't even really read those workouts - not even when zooming in on the image. And even if I could I don't think the Kindle would be practical for viewing the workout and trying to take notes on it in the gym.

    The book is really in three sections (as I recall... I don't have it in front of me right now) a) good info about how the body works, b) excellent descriptions of all the exercises, and c) Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Exercise Programs.

    C is a section you will use 3 days a week for years.
    B is a section you will refer to occasionally to make sure you have the form correct and don't hurt yourself.
    A is a section you might go back and read every five years.

    On the kindle A is easy to read. B is more challenging, and C is almost impossible.

    Amazon - Please find a way to let me print a page from the workouts section of this book (c)....more info
  • A very short review
    I thought this was an excellent book. It led to my personal best bench press (225 if that somehow helps you quantify my level of fitness).

    That said, I thought that the abdominal program could have been much more aggressive and sometimes the names of exercises in the workout schedule were a bit annoying to find in the index. Finally, the author suggests taking a break from cardio (though he does suggest you can do it on your off days) so that you can put on mass. It is hard to say how much less mass I would have put on if I had done cardio, but then again a chunk of my mass gain came in the form of love handles. Not what I was looking for....more info
  • Excellent first book
    In many respects this is the perfect first book for someone looking to get into regular exercise. More than most other books in the genre, this one seems to have more than a modicum of scientific understanding backing it. The first sections set the tone, going over the actual science of muscles, why they get bigger, and how. The authors know their audience, though, and don't overdo the science. However, if you are going to lift weights then you need some level of understanding of what things work and why. This first section gives you that. I personally would have liked to see more scientific detail and references but understand that that probably would alienate large chunks of their target audience.

    After that primer you get introduced to the major muscles and the exercises that target them. There are also sections on diet, warming up, and stretching. While none of these sections are comprehensive, and many have been done better elsewhere, they are done well enough here that it makes the book a viable one stop shop for beginners.

    Before you rush out and buy this, though, there are few caveats.

    One, the book does not cater to the home exerciser. Depending on how well stocked your home gym is and how creative you are with coming up with replacement exercises this might not be a big deal, but the exercises DO assume access to barbells, dumbbells, and a machine.

    Two, some of the exercise descriptions are lacking detail or, in a few cases, plain wrong. The upright row, for instance, shows a form -- bringing your elbows way above parallel -- that most trainers and researchers caution against because it causes shoulder injury in many people. I would expect the world's most authoritative guide to at least mention this.

    Three, the routines provided sometimes leave me scratching my head. They give a cadence for things like the push up hold. The description of this exercise says to "hold the position for the specified period of time" yet the actual routines don't specify a period of time. Am I supposed to hold for 3 seconds or 30 or 90? Who knows?

    Four, the routines -- at least early on -- take far too long and seem more like overtraining than training. In "Phase One" King prescribes circuit training and by week three you're supposed to be doing this circuit 2-3 times per day, three days a week. I found that doing the circuit twice took me over an hour. Doing it a third time would have pushed me well over 90 minutes of exercise. Throw in warm up and post-work out stretching and you're looking at a solid two hours. This is for "beginners" and they're supposed to do it three times a week.

    Later on in "Phase One" King piles even more work on that. Not only are you supposed to do each circuit 2-3 times, you're supposed to do 2-3 reps of each exercise. In week 6, if you do the minimum number of reps, the minimum number of sets, the minimum number of circuits, all with the minimum recommended resting the whole thing will take you 93 minutes. Do that three times a week. This is for "beginners".

    While I like the workouts I think this kind of time commitment is more likely to lead to overtraining rather than useful gains. Admittedly later on it looks like King scales back the time requirements but you have to persevere through 8 weeks of workouts that are easily 90 minutes in length....more info

  • Authoritative indeed!
    Out of all the work out books/magazines I've read, I must say, I was quite impressed with how detailed this book was. Not only does it give you a well thought out work out plan that caters to different types of people, it also explains the science behind working out and the body which is crucial to becoming successful and muscular. The only thing I disliked was the rather anemic section on what to eat. I wish there were more sample meal plans. Other then that, the book is perfect. ...more info
  • Transformational
    Following the workouts and nutrition advice in this book have been the only way I have ever gained weight in an exercise program. The focus on building the connective tissues, tendons and joints while not overtraining is emphasized in this book with tremendous results. My old weightlifting injuries have been rehabilitated through these programs, and the results are noticeable from one week to the next, especially when the programs shift gears. Even better, my progress does not atrophy if I take a week or two break since Ian King's programs build a solid foundation that literally builds onto your body. This is my second time through the program (after taking a break with no access to a gym) and I have already gained 6 lbs of muscle in my first 6 weeks. I have never been so humbled by a workout program! If you follow the program to the letter, expect a deep burn in your muscles and you will be so sore the next day you will feel as though you worked out twice....more info
    I was unimpressed by every aspect of this book.

    The writing's sloppy, the information is basic and (where it stretches) suspect, the photography is so so '70s, the design non-existent.

    Buy a set of dumbbells instead of this book. It's an infinitely better investment....more info

  • Great if you have a home Gym
    Let me start by saying that I can be spared the unnecessary full page photos of body builders in the begining of the book.. The writing in the first two parts of the book answers some questions that I had about certain hormones and general questions on metabolism and muscle. The third part where the exercises are demonstrated is very good and finally the workout plan is also great. Unless you can find a really good trainer at the local gym, a book like this is a must. ...more info
  • Not for the home gym...
    Doesn't cater to the home gym much. Many of the exercises need to be revised in order for someone with an average home gym to perform the workouts.

    Lots of pictures though....more info

  • One of best
    This is one of the best books on lifting. It gives you the basics and training schedules for the beginner to intermediate to the advanced.

    I recommend it with Delavier's Strength Training Anatomy as a companion book to this one. Together you get a five star book.

    ...more info
  • The Ultimate Guide to Resistance Training
    The ultimate guide to resistance training...Ian King and Lou Schuler are the best in their fields. I have used King's training methods from this book since it was first published in 2003. I gained 15 lbs of muscle without chemicals and increased my strength in the 3 big lifts and average of 15%, all after the age of 35 and after training for 20 years....more info
  • best workout/lifting book (that I've seen)
    This book really does deserve a 5 star rating. It does, for many reasons, but foremost because relative to ALL other lifting books, this one is one covers all the bases! It is written well and does a good job explaining all the stuff surrounding muscles and muscle building. The pictures are well done and neatly illustrate how to do the exercises. The programs are well designed for pretty much all people and take you through a good progression of low weight to heavy weights. There are lots of exercises to do and they keep on changing, so someone with a short attention span like myself won't get bored! All in all, this book separates itself from it's competitors in it's professional presentation, content and thoughtful and straightforward routines.

    I'm on the 7th week of the intermediate program after completing the beginner program. So far I've gone from 165 lbs to 178! All of this came at around 2/3s of the way through the beginner program (right when you start changing from low weight to heavy weight). Everyone really should start at the beginner program! I found it difficult and I was already in shape! If this book doesn't kick your butt you're doing something wrong. Don't flatter yourself thinking you'll get better results by starting at the intermediate program, just start at the beginner program unless you are very experienced. Chances are you bought this book because you ARE a beginner, so don't flatter yourself!

    Caveats: With all the hoopla surrounding supplementation, I'd have appreciated more talk on supplementation. The first few sections in the beginner program are a tad confusing. Such a strong focus on rear lat pulldowns and military presses can injure one's shoulders. ...more info
  • Not for the serious body builder
    The concepts in this book are very interesting and if a person wants to have an excellently toned body, this would be the book for them. However, the emphasis is not on serious high intensity workouts for the person wanting major gains in size....more info
  • A flamboyant extravaganza of poses without focus or reasonable outcome
    Like the dreams of adolescence, the book is jammed with photographs of men's muscles, taken from various angles, with no reasonable goal in mind other than filling the pages. The authors undertook the daunting task of redrawing anatomical diagrams of muscles also for the sake of decorating the pages of the book. Many of the diagrams contain errors such as placing the transversus abdominis muscle in the wrong location, or showing the gluteus medius muscle in a front view of the body.

    Viewing muscle diagrams and poses of the various phases of an exercise does not serve the reader in performing efficient function. Enhancing functional anatomy during performance requires understanding of which group of muscles should be tightened most, which group should be kept loose until its time comes to kick into action, and which skeletal curve should be exaggerated in order to maintain balance.

    The author painstakingly labored to dissect the mechanics of various exercises such as the deadlift, shoulder press, dumbbell flyes, etc, in many photographic views yet without any sound understanding of the laws of mechanics. The hard labor of the authors is greatly undermined with their lack of experience in performing the exercises. There is no single logical plan that takes you along a safe path to do any of their exercises. Their obsession with graphics and display could not remedy their lack of substance and poor exercise strategy.

    Graphics alone would not accomplish that internal mental recognition. The seated shoulder press, for example, requires above all well erected low back, spread out shoulder plates, and upright chest cage, even before any pressing takes place. The deadlift is another vivid example of such mental recognition of spreading the shoulder plates, tightening the low back, and thrusting the chest prior to initiation of lifting.

    The list of bad foods is ridiculous. Each one bad type of food is opposed by tens of good ones. That adds more confusion and lacks any focus to the basics of nutrition. It suggests to the reader that the name, not the content of the food item, that renders it bad or good. One type of nuts is condemned as bad, while others as good. Yet, all nuts are rich in oil, whether unsaturated or not, which hinders weight loss for people with chronic obesity. Then, there are plenty of colored tables of exercises that lack any logical theme.

    Among all the photos of men's muscles, skeletal deformities are random. The authors are oblivious to the need for sound bone formation and posture and more distracted with the bulky and defined flesh. The cover photo depicts the C-shaped, kyphotic torso with poorly defined six-packed rectus, concealing the lower body and the face. The latter two are crucial in understanding the mechanical balance of the whole body, in the form of proportionate leg musculature to upper body musculature, in addition to the state of mind of the athlete expressed through his general outlook.

    Mohamed F. El-Hewie
    Author of
    Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training
    ...more info
  • This is the one....
    I think the some 40+ reviewers before me said it best, this book is amazing. I dont wanna bore with the same old review about how much I enjoyed this book (you can tell that by the rating I gave it), I just wanna give you the basics. The routines in this book take a bit longer in the begginning to complete, but become progressively shorter as you continue the program, which helps with recovery and not being overtrained, a common problem among other, lesser workout books. Two of my favorite things in this is the use of "Tempo" and the variety of changing your routine slightly every 3 weeks, I mean you just havent lived until you've lifted very light weights that leave you shaking as a result of lifting them ever so slowly, again the tempo thing. The nutrition information is minimal, but I believe it gives you enough, 98% of the exercises and routines are explained very well, and the 2% thats not, you can probably figure out on your own. Last but not least, you will be comparing this book to every other workout book out there, and most will fall short, the bottom line is this book is worth your money and time, don't pass a good thing up.

    p.s. I plan on buying the testoserone advantage plan next, and I'll let u know how it goes....more info
  • Great Book
    It is an excellent book. I have learned quite a bit about strategies to increase strength and build mass. I am in the 9th week of the intermediate workout program and seeing good results so far....more info
    worth the money -- the pics are used to explain the proper form for the movements and the book contains helpful info as well as a full set of workout routines (in three stages based on experience). an excellent book....more info
  • Makes things too complicated
    I bought this book back in 2005 and made progress, but lets be serious...I was an untrained n00b, anything would have given me progress. The book takes the matter seriously, but truth is, it over-complicates training; but who could blame them, no way you can keep selling monthly issues of a magazine unless you follow as a philosophy to over-complicate training regimen and dress up the same lame exercises into different variations.

    In reality, all you really NEED is the main exercises, the compound ones, like squat, deadlift, press, bench press, clean, and anything else that assist those exercises like rows, pull-ups, dips, etc.

    And I have NOT found a book to teach you this fundamental exercises and to guide you towards doing some real work, better than 'Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore'.

    Get it and learn the fundamentals, after that you can do whatever you want, but at least get your foundation in order....more info
  • Very Informative and Nicely Compiled
    I began weight lifting 6 months ago. In the midst I read this book and found many facts I didn't know. It is very thorough and has excellent photography which is highly motivating!

    The routines look great and it gets the job done. My hope is for more and more people in America to body build and stay in great shape! There is nothing more reachably amazing than watching your human body become sculpted. So go start lifting and make it last a lifetime....more info
  • Great plan to get in shape
    So, I went to the doctor for a yearly physical (the first in a long time), and found out my cholesterol and blood presure were high. I really didn't want to start taking drugs, so decided to get back in shape. To make a long story short, this book has a detailed work out plan that helped me to drop my cholesterol from 280 to 205 in about eight weeks.

    Ok. . .so the workouts have to be a part of a generaly healthfull life style. You have to eat right, and get a little cardio in as well. I do find it extreamly helpfull that this book presents a schedule to follow, and changes every three weeks. The workouts are separated into beginner intermidiate and advanced, each lasting about six months with rest weeks recommended at periodic intervals. I started with the intermidiate level and found it challenging but doable. Each workout (three different workouts done once per week) takes me a little over an hour.

    The beginning of the book is a lot of information on the muscles themselves. . .names, types, etc. I read it in an evening and found it interesting enough. There'a a short section on diet, and then a detailed description of the exercises with pictures. This is VERY helpfull when trying new things like the "thin tummy". Sounds strange, but believe me, if you try to do ten or twelve, you'll learn to respect it. After that comes the workout schedules in detail. It's quite different from the way I was used to working out. Triceps and biceps on the same day? He advocates working opposing muscles on the same day. Seemed a strange idea, but hey, it works. Also there's the use of tempo, say 321. That's lower the weight for three seconds, rest for two, then lift for one (basically as fast as you can. Try a bench press with a 613 tempo for a few reps.

    The book is well worth getting if only for the workout schedules, but I think you'll find much more. . .and live healthier....more info
  • Good book
    My very first book on lifting weights I ever bought. This book helped me a lot and I learnt a great deal from this book. This book is a great book for anyone looking for a great read and new ideas in the weight room....more info
  • Overrated in my opinion
    There are just too many exersizes they want you to do in this book. I don't mind doing different exersizes for different muscle groups but they've taken it to the extreme. It just gets to be too confusing. An example: In weeks 8-10 in the Intermediate program you're doing Knee-Ups, Curlups, Russian Twist, Swill Ball Alternate Leg Lifts, Chinups, Lat Pull Downs, Dumbell Lying Pullovers, Squat, Static Lunge(My Personal Favorite!), Leg Press, Barbell Shrug(Reverse Grip), Barbell Shrug and Barbell Shrug, Wide Grip. Yeah, right. Just point me to the weight room and I'll figure it out on my own if you want me to do that.

    There are some good, large color photos of all the exersizes which is why I gave it 3 stars and not lower but if you're looking to be inspired or want a good workout program, save your money and look elsewhere....more info
  • NOT for the beginner
    I'm an avid reader of Men's Health but this book is by no means for the "average guy." This book is filled with lots of great tips for those who want to be professional weight lifters but I would never recommend this to a beginner. A workout book should inspire you...this book was so complicated and intimidating I was discouraged before even hitting the gym....more info
  • Best Weightlifting Book I've Found
    I recently finished the intermediate program from this book and am very happy with the twenty pounds of lean muscle it helped me pack on. I've been lifting seriously for fifteen years but spent most of those years struggling to put on just a pound or two. With The Book of Muscle, I was able to work out half as much for ten times the results.

    Unlike most of the lifting books that I've looked at, The Book of Muscle actually presents information and a workout plan that works for more than just those who are discovering weightlifting for the first time and will see huge improvements from any program. Those who are already very familiar with High Intensity Training (Killing yourself and then resting completely the next day or two) might not find much new here, but it still lays out the science of all the lifts, stretching, nutrition, and resting in a well-written and interesting style. Unlike many books, The Book of Muscle lays out the workouts in tables that can be photocopied and taken to the gym, or you can easily transfer the info to a spreadsheet, which is what I do.

    I'm looking forward to using the advanced routine to pack on another twenty pounds....more info
  • Too much of a good thing
    On the plus side, this is probably the best book I've ever read on the subject of weight training. On the down side, boy, there is so much to each work out that it is overwhelming.

    I've been weight training for over 5 years and have used Body for Life and a number of the Men's Health training books. This volume, far and away, has the greatest number of new exercises to be used each week. In the intermediate program, e.g., there are 3 separate workouts to be alternated. Perhaps if someone has a half an hour a day to review the exercises, another 40 minutes to do them (and to tote the handsome volume to the gym), these are reasonable....but for someone who has other responsibilities, kids, job, home, this is a fairly time and concentration intensive program.

    That being said, I would certainly endorse this book for anyone who wants a genuinely serious, long term program. Too often, the Men's Health "Bibles" are limited programs, leaving the lifter who is committed with wondering "what next". This book provides enough variety and different routines to make it a great long term investment....more info
  • Not detailed
    Book has some nice illutrations and hints but not really that detailed for a new starter it a good read but not a refernce book for refering to, use arnold's book instead...more info
  • Buy this one.
    I started working out 2.5 years ago. For the first 1.5 years, I followed advice of Lifetime Fitnesses' trainers (they're big, they're buff, they're beautiful) and got practically NO results. NONE! 1.5 years of strenuous working out and what did I have to show for it?!?? An inflated ego that had thought it gained something, but really gained next to nothing. Then I realized that I'd spent 1.5 years in the gym with nothing to show for it and decided I should dig for resources that would allow me to prove and verify myself. After all, working out is a science, and if the tests are performed correctly, should yield nearly consistent results each time (with various outcomes for specific genetic body-types, of course). I found this book to be the most systematic and thorough on the market. Instead of focusing too much on theory, it is almost entirely practical. Not only that, gives a system. It's systematic! And if any of you have pondered the nature of creation, you'll possibly have realized that a strong system never fails. Ask McDonald's, Target, the Creator, etc.

    Anywho.. It's been 1 year and one month since I started the program. Since I'd been working out with little results for the previous 1.5 years, I started in the intermediate section. I copied the workouts into an excel spreadsheet with 3 extra column's for Date, Weight, and Reps... in order to keep track of what I was doing and when.
    I became vegetarian halfway through the program with an emphasis on veganism (which cleared up my acne, woo!), which I thought would make it more difficult to build and retain muscle.
    Since starting I've actually lost 10 lbs, but have gained a lot of muscle. VISIBLE muscle. In fact, my family members and friends ludicrously ejaculate fervent ego-boosting praise of my acheivements. I'm not a muscle head... ability to build muscle doesn't exactly run in my family. But each month I'm getting more and more of the Adonis like stature. I estimate in 6 more months, I'll have reached my ideal physique. Well muscled, nicely defined, but not grotesquely ripped. And all on a healthy vegan diet, with few soy protein supplements....more info
  • An authoritative and elegant guide to muscle knowledge
    This book is more about getting to know each muscle, how they work, and what type of exercise is better for each different function and angle of the muscle.

    The book is fully photographed and described. You will learn how to put together an effective workout.

    "The art is in the magnificence of movement itself as well as the result of that movement - strong, lean helthy muscles"

    ...more info
    I have been a personal trainer for over 17 years, and have read volumes Ian King's and Lou Schuler's books over the years to advance my own knowledge as a fitness professional. The very fact that the two of them have teamed up to give us the BOOK OF MUSCLE is enough reason to pick this book up immediately. The illustrations are excellent, but more than anything, the book contains real substance. If you can only afford one book to teach you everything you need to know about building a muscular body, this is absolutely IT. It doesn't talk down to the reader, but it doesn't go over their heads either. It will certainly expand the reader's knowledge and understanding of how the body works....more info
  • The Flagship of Lifting Books
    If there is one book to have for understanding how to build muscle, this is it. Where as most workout books tend to have a marketing flavor - "We'll have you burning fat in no time...", this book takes the time to really educate the reader about the workings of the body. The explanation of the process of building muscle is superb, with just the right amount of science to help readers be informed and not overwhelmed. The book also contains a dictionary of exercises complete with detailed explanations and images. The workout programs are excellent, broken out into 3 levels (beginner/intermediate/advanced), each containing roughly 6 months of staged workouts.

    I'm a veteran to working out, with over 20+ years of lifting experience and found myself learning quite a bit from this book; it's a must have....more info
  • A great addition to your fitness library
    This is an excellent book on fitness form and function. Great pictures that show detailed views on the proper form of doing the exercise correctly. I especially like the photos of doing a squat. It shows a 360 degree view so you can really get an idea of how to perform a squat the right way. I'm not usually persuaded easily, but this book is #1 in my fitness library. I think if you have this book and a basic fundamental knowledge of how to put together work out routines, that's all you'll ever need. This book does have a complete body building plan from beginner to advanced at the end. Not every exercise that you can image is in this book, but the most popular, leading, results producing exercise are here. As your education, experience and knowledge advances you'll be able to create your own exercises. But you MUST learn the basics first and learn and practice good form. This book will show you how.

    I highly recommend this book. This would be an awesome gift to someone who is a fitness enthusiast. If you are into fitness, you will come back to it time and time again as a reference....more info
  • A Must-Have For Any Fitness Library
    As the Fitness Editor for Men's Fitness magazine, I've read more fitness books than I care to remember. It's how I make my living. And I can honestly say that The Book of Muscle is one of the best fitness books ever written. Let me just say that I have no personal investment in this book. In fact, you'll notice that it's published by my competition. But I believe in directing the public to quality material--and this book fits the bill and then some. I have known Schuler and King personally for years, and can attest that they're tops in the fitness biz.

    Because of my job, I think I can say with some authority that the writing is superb. Schuler makes complicated physiology seem simple. But let me put it in perspective: I have a master's degree in exercise science, and I wish that this book would have been available when I was in graduate school. It would have saved me hours of boring textbook reading--and I would have learned MORE!

    Just as important, Schuler's co-author, Ian King, is known in my circles as one of the best strength coaches in the world. And he backs that reputation up with the highly effective, cutting-edge training programs that are presented in this book.

    I highly recommend The Book of Muscle to anyone who wants to:

    *Understand the science of building muscle--from the basic functions of each of your major muscles to the secrets of increasing their rate of growth.
    *Learn how to do over 100 exercises with perfect form.
    *Have at your fingertips months' worth of expertly designed workouts from one the world's leading fitness authorities, Ian King.

    So for what it's worth, consider this my professional opinion. I hope it's useful to you.

    Adam Campbell
    Fitness Editor
    Men's Fitness...more info

  • outstanding
    The book is good. Just general enough to get you started, not too detailed with diets or drug tricks (leave that untill after you get strong). The book goes into great detail of muscles and how they work, how they grow, where they are, and how do other people see them (hence the purpose of getting big). It is chock-full of pictures helping explain the workouts, and explains each excersice in detail. I bet the book would be eye candy for anyone who likes to see handsome guys with absolutly great, natural looking body definition, since the pictures are big, clear, and the subjects are photographed with studio style backgrounds (no snapshots of people at the gym here). I feel kinda weird looking at the pics, but they do motivate me to get bigger. I scaned the workout pages (they have "thumbnails" with a picture of the excersice next to the description and details of each) into my pda (or print it out) and use it to keep track of my weights, workout regimes, timing, etc. The workouts are great, i find them really effective. I', still in the second stage. I was lifting weights before with limited sucess and poor results. Since i changed to these workouts I feel better and have gained more then I have so far using no workout plan. I even stopped running and continued to thin out my waist, and my weight. So 8 weeks into it and people now notice I workout, and thats a great feeling. BTW I've added 3 more holes to my belts since....more info
  • best book weightlifting book in ages
    I write this after finishing stage 3 of the beginner program. I don't care what anyone says about he book, the routine, the exercises. Whatever. This is THE BEST book on building muscle I have ever found. PERIOD.

    I have searched high and low for a book to be as complete as Book of Muscle. I searched all the shelves and found nothing but regurgitated materials or 20 year-old routine in most, if not all other fitness books. Book of Muscle is up to date with very unique approach to building muscle.

    The reader has everything from explanation of how muscles work, build, react to weightlifting to a full 18 month program. The best part the program is written by Ian King. One of the best strength coaches in the world. Why haven't we heard about him before? Perhaps because he works with world-class athletes more than he does regular folks. He has 20+ years of experience. This man is a trainer of trainers. The man knows his stuff. PERIOD.

    The majority of the text is written by award winning fitness journalist Lou Schuler, of Men's Health fame. The man is a gifted writer. He somehow manages to take complicated physiology, kinesology and makes into plain english for everyone else to understand.

    As for my results. I dropped 30lbs since I started the book, and my strength went up. I hate doing cardio. The circuit training took care of that. I don't know what anyone else talking about, but my circuit training took about 1.5 hours at most. This book is not meant for home gym. Try Home Grown Muscle for that.

    If you are looking for a very challenging, scientifically based program with a healthy dose of physiology in plain english, then this is it. I cannot praise this book enough. Schuler and King really out did themselves.

    One very interesting thing happened after reading through the book. My father visits a physical therapist for lower back problems. His PT was recommending the same core exercise routines that were found in the book. That amazed me. It also reassured me that my money was more than well spent....more info
  • Really makes a differencebodybuilf
    The anatomy and kinesiology sections are accurate and informative. The Ian King workouts at the end of the book are superb. They have made a difference in the way I exercise -- much more sane and controlled. This book is an antidote to the steroid-charged bodybuilding mags and web sites....more info
  • Good learning guide
    Good and very well illustrated guide to the begginner and intermidiate.

    Very well art-finished book....more info
  • Are you kidding?
    I purchased this book based upon the 50+ positive reviews and must say, I am disppointed. I will get right down to it. When referencing select muscle groups like shoulders, this book lists EVERY exercise that effects the muscle group and not the exercises that have a direct impact. For example, for shoulder exercises it lists Bench Press. The primary muscle group for Bench Press is the CHEST with the Shoulders being indirectly affected. The Bench Press should not even be in this category. This happens over and over whne discussing various muscle groups and it can lead a beginning weight lifter to have a strong misunderstaing of strength training.

    The book does have great photos and a good chapter on the benefits of stretching but it needs some work.

    T~...more info
  • Very High Quality Materials, Pretty Good content
    This book is so nicely put together that it almost belongs on the coffee table: the quality of the binding and paper is superb; the illustrations and photographs are beautiful. If I didn't know any better, this would look almost like an art book. The content is top notch. My only complaint is that workout programs at the end of the book should have included the page numbers to the corresponding exercises. It gets tiresome flipping back and forth to find the exercises that go with each program. Other than that, I'm happy with my purchase....more info
  • BOOK=results
    I have purchased probably 50 or more workout books as well as magazines of all kinds. As I am a natural bodybuilder I was hesitant on buying this book as I thought it was more fitness orientated. After trying out and formulating literally hundreds of routines this one truly hits the jackpot! It's principles are simple: -eat enough to make sure you gain 1/2 kilo a week and eat according to a few principles that maximise the bodies natural hormone output. I've tried every supplement under the sun and I tell you the natural hormonal effects that I got from this far outweigh the synthetic stuff! No more complicated supplement cycles, just food and if I want some protein powder. The method of taining is simple, use the absolute best scientific way to build muscle and burn fat and you will get the desired result. How far you go is up to genetics. So far I have gained around 2 or so kg while leaning up in just two days of training. A must for any serious lifter or just anyone who wants a good body!...more info


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