NOTE: I received a free review copy of this book directly from the author.
This book is designed to assist women with creating a custom workout space at home. In his Introduction, author Brad Schoenfeld asserts that home-gym ownership provides both freedom and significant savings. His book is extremely individualized, allowing the reader to determine what exactly is appropriate to her allotted workout space. Once these preliminary decisions have been made (in Part 1), Schoenfeld devotes Part II of the book to selecting exercises based on the type of equipment which works with both your space and your budget. He begins with the most basic of tools, including one's own body weight, balls, and bands. The next chapter introduces use of weights--in the form of dumbbells and barbells--and finally, Schoenfeld, addresses the use of larger pieces of equipment such a multifunction machines. Throughout this section, the exercises are are beautifully illustrated using full-color photographs: a single move is featured per page, with two separate photos displaying the start and end points for each exercise; additional variations are sometimes shown as well. Schoenfeld ends Part II by offering some guidance for the cardio portion of your exercise routine (including a brief discussion of cardio machines) and devoting a chapter to stretching.
In the final section of the book, Part III, Schoenfeld provides specific fitness strategies and exercise routines based on the information provided in the previous chapters. Here he reviews general training tips and presents an overview of the major muscle groups. Schoenfeld advocates a multiple set training style, maintaining that this will optimize results and avoid plateaus. Within this style, however, he offers various routines, as determined both by budget level (e.g., $100 Budget, $1000 Budget, or $2500 Budget) and by training emphasis (Body Conditioning Routine, Body Sculpting Routine, or Core Stability Routine). Furthermore, Schoenfeld also talks about varying other aspects of the program, including number of repetitions, types of sets, which muscle groups are worked on which days, etc., all in the name of avoiding plateaus and moving forward. In the final chapter of the book, Schoenfeld mentions the use of high intensity interval training for increased fat loss.
Overall, I found this book to be extremely well-done. I'm not exactly the target audience, as I am already a dedicated home exerciser with a well-established home workout space (in my own case, mainly in the form of my vast fitness DVD collection, but I also have most of the basic resistance training equipment discussed here--e.g., bands, dumbbells, medicine ball, and a stability ball--as well as a recumbent bike). However, this book was still quite useful to me, mainly in the variety of exercises which Schoefeld provides. For example, although I was already familiar with most of weighted exercises included in the book, there were definitely some resistance band variations which were new to me, and I plan to incorporate these into my worktout routine from time to time as a change of pace. For women who actually are looking to set up a home gym, this book is likely to be an invaluable resource, and I highly recommend it.