Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Strength Training: Exercises for Women by Joan Pagano

Strength Training: Exercises for Women has over 200 step-by-step exercises "to burn calories, boost metabolism, build muscle and tone your body".

I mostly enjoyed this book, but I did find parts of it a little confusing. I haven't done a lot of weight training in the past, but just recently I've been interested in incorporating some into my overall weight loss/fitness plan.

The book starts out with the "getting started" advice. It discusses why you'd want to lift weights before launching into the training program explanations. It talks about muscles, equipment, and other topics including how to use this book. There's also a number of warm-up and cool down exercises and stretches. While this section had lots of good information, it wasn't as clear and concise as it could have been. I kept returning to it and must have reread it several times. I still wanted more information before starting any of the exercises.

While the book did explain how to start, I wasn't quite sure on which exercises to pick. There were so many. I really wanted a sample program or two with exercises listed so I'd know I was getting off on the right foot and not doing exercises that were too hard for a beginner. I found out much later by flipping through the book, that a few general programs with selected exercises are listed, but they are at the back of the book. Other than a brief entry in the table of contents, I didn't see them referenced anywhere else.

The main part of the book focuses on the exercises. They are divided into sections for the lower body, upper body, and the core. Each of the exercises features a large, labelled photograph(s) and a pretty good explanation. The side bar lists 3 levels, which get progressively harder by adding more weights or more repetitions. There are also some trainer tips with some additional advice scattered throughout this section. I love the way the exercises are presented. Even though some of the exercises use machines or other equipment, I think there are enough exercises to pick from that I can still get a good workout without having to join a gym.

As I mentioned earlier, there are three general programs near the back of the book. They are: building strength (for beginners), getting stronger (for those looking to progress), and strength training plus (for something more challenging). Basically, they draw exercises from the main part of the book and together they form a total body workout.

Also closer to the back of the book, the author has included 4-15 minute total body workouts that progress in difficulty. All of these include warm-up and cool down exercises and are perfect for when you have a limited amount of time. I like that these workouts are self-contained, so you don't have to flip back and forth in the book to see how the exercises should be performed. I haven't tried them out yet, but these workouts look fun.

There are several Q+As with the author scattered throughout the book. These were great. The questions were relevant and the answers were clear and informational.

The book has a table of contents and an index.


For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank Chris at DK Canada for this review copy.

Strength Training: Exercises for Women by Joan Pagano, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2014. ISBN 9781465415806(Soft cover), 335p.

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