As someone who is always looking for new ideas for my classes and personal workouts, I have searched high and low for books about resistance training (that is, lifting weights or exercises that make you work against your own body weight). Most feature exercises that I already know about (most of us don’t need a book to tell us how to do a bicep curl) or the images and layout stink — which is why I was so excited to find the Big Book of Exercises.
OK, so the title is simple, but it explains exactly what the focus/purpose of the book is. The Women's Health Big Book of Exercises was created by the folks over at Women’s Health, and since I love the magazine, I wasn’t too surprised that I loved this book.
The first couple of chapters are informational, and if exercise is as new to you as the concept of saving would be to a shopaholic, they are pretty handy. In an easy-to-read format, the book explains why you should lift weights (for example, you’ll lose 40 percent more fat and will burn more calories) and answers a list of questions regarding weight lifting, such as “How much weight should I do?” and “How fast should I lift?” You also get a quick crash course in equipment so that you’ll know the difference between barbells and kettlebells.
The book does provide a four-week diet and exercise plan (which I’ve never tried) and a variety of “the best workouts for everything” from working out in a crowded gym to getting ready for your wedding day. These best workouts are already mapped out for you from warm-up to resistance training to cardio (again, haven't tried any of these plans).
What I love most about this book is the exercises, which are broken out into chapters: chest, back, shoulders, quadriceps and calves, core, etc. First, you get an explanation of the muscle group, then come the exercises. Each starts with a main move, and then you get a selection of variations. For example, you start with a basic pushup, but then it gives you 24 variations from the incline to the medicine-ball pushup. With that many variations, you don’t always have to do the same boring pushup — amen! (Head over to the FWAB Facebook page for a few more photos of the book. Also, you can find some sample pages at amazon.com by selecting the “Click to Look Inside” option.)
The photos in the book make the exercises easy to understand and there are plenty of exercise tips and bits of information about the muscle groups integrated throughout the pages. The best part? I just did a search and it looks like you can find the big book on Amazon for about $14 before shipping and taxes.
Do you have any favorite fitness-related books or online resources? If you do, please take a moment to share them in the blog’s “Comment” section — the group will appreciate your suggestions!
By the way, FWAB is an official Inman Park Restaurant Week sponsor. If you’re looking for an excuse to check out some of my favorite restaurants at a great price, come check it out March 26 to April 1. (Click here for more information.) Until next week — stay FWABulous!