The Poliquin Principles: Successful Methods for Strength and Mass Development Paperback – Jun 1998
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Bodybuilding is a tiny universe comprised of huge people, and those who want to be huge but aren't there yet. Inside that insular world, a handful of individuals have made a ton of money selling advice based on shaky science--if any science was involved at all. Poliquin, a Canadian strength coach, set out to discover what the rest of the world knew about building strength and muscle but hadn't told us yet. From obscure European journals, he found a ton of information on such arcana as the speed at which an exercise should be performed and the amount of rest that should be taken between exercises. These seem like tiny issues, but they can make a big difference in how fast a muscle can grow and how strong it can become.
Besides that advanced information--packaged here for serious bodybuilders-- Poliquin peppers his book with darkly funny jabs at the muscle world's reigning brain trust. He pokes fun at one famously unstable guru's obsession with Ayn Rand, and points out that much of the training information in bodybuilding magazines is really created by editors and writers for those magazines, since the bodybuilders themselves rarely bother to tell the truth about what they do in the gym (and the drugs they use outside of it).
The Poliquin Principles is a rarity in the muscle world: a serious training manual that's also a lot of fun to read. --Lou Schuler
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Top Customer Reviews
I don't agree with everything he says, however. For example, for advanced trainees he recommends extremely heavy, low rep training for the abs(for multiple sets to ensure time under tension)- his reasoning being that they are predominantly fast twitch. Based on what I've read, this is true but only by a SLIGHT margin. Therefore, why not just cycle rep ranges between moderately heavy and light to ensure fatigue of both the fast twitch and slow twitch motor units? Even if a trainee stuck to light ranges for the abs, compound movements such as squats would force them into use as stabilizers under heavy loads. History shows us this combination works for strong, well-developed abs: Look at classic bodybuilders.
I also don't particularly care for his personal attacks on Joe Weider, Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer. In the case of Jones and Mentzer, I'm not a big believer in the HIT style of bodybuilding(nor am I a big believer in extremely high volume- middle of the road is best) so I don't mind Poliquin attacking the science behind it. He takes it beyond, however, into the personal domain and that's not cool. As far as Weider is concerned, Poliquin seems to believe Joe claimed to invent every Weider training principle. No!!! He credited himself for cataloguing the methods, which he did, under 'The Weider System'.
In spite of his opinions of other gurus, this book deserves no less than 5 stars for the overall content.
It would be an great 30$ or 40$ soft cover, but I believe the rarity & reputation is what a person is really paying for when he/she buys this book. Since price is the most important issue I gave a low score.
If I were to rate solely on the books contents "4".
-will help you add variety to your work out
-will help you understand difference between strength gain, strength/mass gain, and mass gain.
- has lots of information on different muscle types and the best way to train them.
-the exercise that are explained have detailed form information.
- I like the line art pictorials, simple and informative.
-If you are unfamiliar with exercise names you may need to do research just to find out what exercise the guy is refering to. This doesn't apply to ones that are explained.
-an index would have been nice.
-less pictures of bodybuilding stars, and more of proper exercise form.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The focus of the book is on how to plan training programs more than on particular exercises or presenting set plans.
For an experienced bodybuilder who wants to better scientifically optimize his or her training program, there is a great deal of good information here summarized in a very accessible and readable form. I give it five stars because I think it is great for this audience -- it might just be the most accessible of the most scientific.
I think Poliquin's credentials as a strength coach give him authority. In trying to base everything on science, it would have been nice to have more in-depth discussion of the studies his conclutions are based on, or at least to provide citations. By not doing so, he opens himself to the same kind of ridicule he lays out in this book on less scientifically-based programs and experts.
Yes, it is true Polloquin prob. upsets a few people, he makes comments such as "pencil necked geeks", please don't take anything he says like that personally, it is just his off sense of humour, he is not malicious and if you heard him in person you'd realise he is kidding around. And yes there are spelling mistakes and things, but don't worry about that.
The information is first class. I highly recommend this to a beginner because it will give you a good grounding on truth in bodybuilding, and techniques that work. Honestly, if you are a beginner, pretty much anything you do will get great results (and hopefully not injury - get a book on weight training technique if you don't get this one), so don't get all wrapped up in any specific system just because it gives you good results when you start out. The information in this book is as good as any you'll find and covers all topics (except you should also get a really good nutrition book).
Polloquin Principles is a bit basic - now it has a lot more information than many other books, but Polloquin has a lot more tricks and techniques than just what is in this book, it is a shame he does not do a part II with all his many many tricks. For example, if you exercise a bodypart in the morning, then again 6 hours later, you will have a major neurological advantage because in those 6 hours your nervous system overcompensates, giving you major strength opportunity later in the day for the same muscle group. He has many obscure tricks like this and I wish he would write them all down!
However this book is more like a good, solid, overall book. The beginning covers basics, then workouts, things like reps and volume and stuff. Then, it goes through every major muscle group (legs, back, arms etc..) and tells you the most productive, most important exercises to do, how to do them.
It is a good foundation book, essential for beginners and intermediate, and even advanced (although by now you have prob. encountered just about everything already).
Note it is not only for bodybuilding but if your aim is to gain strength, or sport conditioning as well.
And I highly recommend it for women as well. Don't think all this is just for men, women and girls have got a lot more to get out of weightlifting than men do if you ask me.