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The New Rules of Lifting For Life: An All-New Muscle-Building, Fat-Blasting Plan for Men and Women Who Want to Ace Their Midlife Exams Hardcover – Apr 26 2012
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“There isn’t a single crunch or sit-up in The New Rules of Lifting for Abs. Instead, Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove base their workout around planks and side planks…This isn’t a revolutionary concept among fitness professionals. But you’d never know it by watching what people in health clubs do.” —Yahoo Sports
“All the crunches in the world won’t give you the six-pack you want. These exercises will.” —Men's Health
“Cosgrove and Schuler’s groundbreaking program is based on the concept that a healthy, sculpted body is the result of your muscles working the way they were intended.” —Women's Health
About the Author
www.louschuler.com Lou Schuler is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, and the author or coauthor of several popular books about diet and strength training, including our own The New Rules of Lifting, The New Rules of Lifting for Women, and The New Rules of Lifting for Abs as well as The Testosterone Advantage Plan, Home Workout Bible, and The Book of Muscle. He has worked as fitness editor at Men's Fitness and fitness director at Men's Health and contributed to a long list of magazines including Men's Journal, Fit Pregnancy, and Better Homes & Gardens. He lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife and their three children. Alwyn Cosgrove, is co-owner, with his wife, Rachel, of Results Fitness in Newhall, California. He is a professional member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine, among other organizations, and is a frequent contributor to a variety of magazines, including Men's Health and Men's Fitness.
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The new rules have a lot to to with the ABS... yes, it is true that abs are made in the kitchen but working the core (the abs) is the key to fitness in this book. For example Rule #1 says the role of the abs is to protect the spine. With so many people suffering back pain, which is entirely distracting and ultimately debilitating, this SHOULD be numero uno and it is.
Rule #2 also has to do with the spine--any exercise that injures your spine CANNOT protect it. That sounds almost self-evident, but how many lifting exercises, done incorrectly (ie, deadlifts) are actually doing more harm than good. Form does matter.
Rule #3 and #4 --forget the "six pack" and bulging abs. You may, genetically, not develop those. But a strong core still protects you and that's what counts. The author is going after strength and stability, not prettiness. This is focusing on what matters--maintaining your strength through middle age and beyond. Again, this can apply to younger people--what you develop in youth and maintain is easier to keep up.
And exercises have been updated; abdominal exercises that put undue pressure on the spine (Russian twists, for example) and other age-old standbys like crunches and hanging leg raises are NO LONGER part of NROL. WOW. What a change. And brave--here's an author who says "I've been in error in some things, I'm correcting that and advising you to change how you work out."
The thrust of the book has changed to core, flexibility, and stability. All you Pilates fans, I am sure are applauding "About time!" and there is a lot here on more effective workouts in the same space of time. There is also much on appetite and eating; for example, if you are ravenous after lifting, good news, this problem of wanting to eat hugely after a workout goes away over time as your body adjusts to the exercise.
Authors Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove are dedicated to have you get the most out of your workouts, yes, aerobics are important for cardio health, yes, muscle strength is important for bone mass and protection, but this new book tunes up your workout, brings in new data and regimens for more effective workouts and focuses on what's TRULY important. If you have previous copies of NROL or NROLW, you should definitely get this new volume. And if you are doing old-skool crunches in an effort to strengthen your abs, you might really want to see what the authors have discovered about abdominal exercise.
The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle - This is the original book that NRoLfL is based on.
The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess
The New Rules of Lifting for Abs: A Myth-Busting Fitness Plan for Men and Women who Want a Strong Core and a Pain-Free Back
The original NRoL is very similar to Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength. The idea is on doing exercises that focus on large muscle groups (legs, back, chest, etc) and basic movements that involve multiple muscle groups working together, rather than wasting time isolating smaller muscle groups. Often I will see people at the gym who are overweight, doing bicep curls, lat pulldowns, and crunches, while neglecting the huge muscles in their legs and backs. The stronger these muscles are, the more fat you will burn and the higher your fitness level will be.
The New Rules of Lifting for Life is targeted to the middle aged crowd, and those that may have a disability or weakness that prevents them from following the original program. The publisher uses the age "over 40," but this is entirely subjective and it's up to the individual whether they feel the need to modify their routine from the original book. Although I'm not quite "middle age" yet, I have been helping out my father with a fitness program, and took away a lot of information from the book that I haven't seen in any of the dozens of other fitness and training books I've read. I'm not a personal trainer, and as such, don't really know what older bodies are capable of and what might be too much. NRoLfL gave me a better appreciation of how to create an entirely customizable plan to work the critical muscle groups while reducing the probability of injury. It also contains an exhaustive amount of information on what kind of changes you can expect in your body and muscles as you age (starting in the late 20s), and how to work around this eventual breakdown to get optimal results.
All of the basic principles from the original book are there (including the three main rules), but there is much more flexibility in the program that was missing in the first book. I approached this book with a lot of trepidation, wondering whether the authors were just trying to cash in on their same formula by pumping out multiple books. While I do believe that all four of their books could be edited way down, and combined into one amazing resource (the Abs book is a bit redundant), I believe that The New Rules of Lifting for Life is well-developed and provides important information for adapting their original program to be less strenuous while achieving success for bodies that may not be ready for an intense lifting program involving squats and dead lifts. If you have an injury it is especially useful. I used to frequently develop foot and leg injuries from running (before I switched over to barefoot running) and instead of continuing to work out, I would just quit. There are several alternative methods in this book that would now allow me to continue a strengthening program even while injured. There is also information for lifting while overweight, although I generally think that the methods from the original book while work fine unless someone is morbidly obese to the point where they can't do basic movements. And in those cases, a professional trainer and/or nutritionist is going to be better until the person's weight is at a manageable level.
COMPARISON TO ORIGINAL PROGRAM
If you're wondering whether NRoLfL is just the original program with a few chapters on working out at an older age, it's not. It is almost a completely new book. It would have been very easy for the authors to do this, and make a few changes, but this book is almost entirely new material based on the same basic New Rules of Lifting concepts. The original book has 4 different squat exercises, all requiring a squat rack. This book has 9, and several variations, including just using your body weight. They are rated by "level" so you can choose a level you're comfortable with and customize a program based on what you can handle at the time. There are probably three times as many pictures in this book, which give you a much clearer version of how to perform them. All of the pictures appear to be brand new as well. If you are considering passing over this book because you already own The New Rules of Lifting, don't. They are very different in terms of content and work well together. You will find a lot of useful information missing from the original.
I am a strong believer that if you want to lose weight, you need to strength train (and do it right), or you need to do high intensity interval cardio. Sitting on a bike or treadmill for an hour in front of a TV while your heart beats away at a leisurely 135 bpm is not going to be nearly as effective. The New Rules of Lifting series have excellent advice in them, backed by strong scientific and clinical evidence that I usually find lacking in other exercise books. Fitness advice has evolved dramatically over the last twenty years, and the New Rules contains solid information building on the latest (or at least newly discovered) discoveries. Even if you have the original book, The New Rules of Lifting for Life is perfect for those that are over 40, injured, and for personal trainers that want better advice on how to handle these clients. Even though I'm not in these categories yet, I have gained some very useful advice that will leave me better prepared when I am.
Most of Cosgrove's workouts are based on the perfect exercise: weight training with intervals; it raises your metabolism in the short term with the aerobic intervals; it raises your metabolism in the long-term by adding muscle mass; and it makes you smaller--muscle is much, much smaller than fat for the same amount of weight.
That said, this book is great in theory. If you have the other books in this series, you won't be disappointed in this one: the diet advice--eat less if you're getting bigger--shows that Lou Schuler has understood metabolism and weight gain. Also, the safety recommendations are extremely useful if you have any injuries. And, there are (even more) exercise variations than there are in the other books, which is great for adding variety.
However, this book is frustrating. It uses equipment that I, as a fairly strong, but 5'4" woman, can't get access to outside of a gym or having a $400 piece of equipment put together for me. There are very few sections that don't rely on some gym-specific pieces of equipment, specifically a power cage with a pull-up bar and a suspension system. You're supposed to be able to do all of the sections, but you won't be able to without the power cage or a gym.
That's not to say his other books aren't equipment intensive, or that I think you shouldn't have exercise equipment: this particular book, like "Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess", also requires a barbell, at least fifty pounds of weight plates, dumbells, step boxes of at least one-and-a half feet, an aerobic step, a Swiss Ball, an incline weight bench, and a piece of aerobic equipment, unless you're planning on running. For me personally, that meant buying a barbell, weight plates and a bench, because I already had a thrift-store-bought $7.00 step bench, a useable-but-missing-a-replaceable-foot $11.00 NordicTrac Pro, two Pilates boxes, an old set of plate barbells, yoga mats and a leaky Swiss ball.
The difference between this and the other book, is that for about $250 to fill in the missing equipment, you can do his other workouts. The equipment used is of the sort that you might, mostly, be able to find in a secondhand store, or barring that, it's the kind of thing you could put together yourself. (Like the incline bench--they usually weigh about 50 to 60 lbs, and you can get a decent one on amazon, new, for about $150.) That's not true with a power cage. It's a $400 piece of equipment that's pretty hard to put together if you're not a guy over 5'10", because it's big and really heavy. (And for those of you thinking you could use a suspension system on a door--that's true, if you live in a house where the doors open out, and mine don't.)
It's really aggravating when you buy a book like this and realize that you either need a gym membership or someone who can help you put together a really large, expensive piece of equipment in order to do any of the routines. Also, unlike some of his other books, there is no in-home substitution offered. One of the things that I love about "Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess", is that there are at-home substitutions for everything except one exercise in an optional set of workouts.
So, if you're a fan of the other books and you want to learn more, or you have a gym membership, or you happen to have a full gym at home, this is a great book. Just don't expect to be able to do all of the exercises if you don't have a power cage.
I love the kindle, but for reference books, Amazon has some serious homework to do here. Thus, if you're going to buy it, don't buy it as a Kindle. You'll be very frustrated.
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