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Problem: I have not had an exercise routine in 10 years. I now want to build strength again and look good, and improve my cardiovascular health (stop being winded so easily).

I just joined Planet Fitness because it's cheap even if I only decide to go the bodyweight route.

Question: What book(s) are recommended for beginning routines I could adapt there? "Starting Strength", for example, or "The Strength Training Anatomy Workout II"? Or "Overcoming Gravity" as another example?

Back in the day I was attracted to the idea of bodyweight routines to prevent injury and improve joint health and the whole "convict conditioning" approach or the GMB (Gold Medal Bodies) routines. I still am, but not sure if that's ALL I should do to improve my looks.

I would also like to lose 30 pounds off my gut and add muscle mass to my limbs too eventually.

When I used to workout I did the exercises very slow and carefully - I loved that feeling.

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  • I can recommend the book "The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle". I can also recommend free content from: Dr Mike Israetel, Greg Nuckols, John Meadows, Jeff Nippard, Mike Rippetoe and Christian Thibaudeau. Make sure that the info you seek out is targeting novice to intermediate lifters. I would recommend you take a look at Phrak Greyskull (3 x a week) or doing Starting Strength 2 x a week.
    – Andy
    Jun 26, 2022 at 15:53
  • I also think that once you have mastered the technique of the lifts you can turn the focus of these programs more towards muscle building by doing more reps. So for instance instead of 3x5x75 kg you do 2x5x75 kg + 1x10x60 kg or 2x5x75 kg + 2x10x60 kg. youtube.com/watch?v=OPEDjl88P-4: skip to 9min 30 secs.
    – Andy
    Jun 26, 2022 at 16:00
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    GMB integral strength was great for me at 48 years old. I was really looking for a bodyweight program for injury prevention. I got fast improvements in flexibility and strength/stability. But if you are ten years off training, you might start with "elements" then escalate to Integral Strength afterward.
    – J. Win.
    Mar 30, 2023 at 22:35

1 Answer 1

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I can recommend these:

  • "The Art of Lifting" by by Greg Nuckols and Omar Isuf.
  • "The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle".

Do not bother reading too much. Strength training seems to be more a practical than a theoretical pursuit and more an art than a science. If you like to study; studying anatomy can be useful.

I would start with either the Starting Strength (SS) program or Phrak's Greyskull LP.

Try to stay consistent. Select a few exercises and stick with these. Video yourself to make sure you do them correct. Ideally pay someone to coach.

Log your progress and try to figure out yourself what works for you. Do you have to make adjustment to the lifts to make them work for you? For instance a narrower grip in bench press may be easier on your shoulders. Can you recover from a fullbody program such as SS 3 x a week or does 2 x a week work as well for you? Are you stagnating? Does it help to add volume by doing 2x5 + 1x10 instead of 3x5?

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  • Would you suggest the Starting Strength book? Jun 28, 2022 at 19:26
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    Personally I find it a bit hard to read. Lots of pages go into describing the lifts. I have learned more from watching the free videos from Starting Strength on youtube. However the Starting Strength forum is very good. You can even post videos and get feedback on technique. In order to post you should buy the book and refer to a page or part of the book in your questions.
    – Andy
    Jun 28, 2022 at 19:30

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