Home Blog Maximum Strength: The Personal Trainer’s Perspective

Maximum Strength: The Personal Trainer’s Perspective

Written on July 24, 2008 at 8:23 am, by Eric Cressey

Here’s a “Guest Blog” of sorts from Personal Trainer Kaiser Serajuddin, who recently read Maximum Strength:

“Writing a testimonial for Maximum Strength is a great way to get your name on a blog read by thousands of people, but I wanted to give my views on the book to deliver the personal trainer’s point of view. I know a lot of other trainers besides me follow Eric’s work for principles and ideas to apply to our clients. And beyond that, I’m an athlete myself constantly looking to improve my performance. In both areas, I found this book valuable.

“What we have here is a no-nonsense plan to get straight-up results. Most people today are looking for the appearance of outstanding fitness and health without the reality; for ripped abs or bulging shoulders, and every book is written for this sometimes gullible audience. That’s traditional bodybuilding, which won’t necessarily work for everyone. Here we have a different point of view, where the iron is our measure of success. Incidentally, it’s probably a much more sound system to gaining mass than what most others are following.

“I have to count myself in the boat of disillusioned weightlifters. It’s something Eric talks about in the book, which describes me and I’m sure a lot of other people: guys endlessly yo-yoing between bulking and cutting, and ending up right back where they started. That’s why it’s time to implement a different plan.

“Talk about the right information at the right time! In the past few months I switched over to a lower volume powerlifting model, and have been achieving excellent results. Now, enter Maximum Strength to help me focus it. If you read that new-age stuff, this is the “law of attraction” at work. If you’re experiencing some of the same frustrations – for example, your strength, size, or performance hasn’t improved in a while – it’s probably time for you to open up to something new too.

“Like all of Eric’s writing, this book is based around sound science and principles proven to work in Eric’s practice, not just gym rhetoric. This is especially important from a trainer’s perspective. First off we have an ethical responsibility to deliver proven systems to achieve results with our clients; and for those of your clients to whom it applies, Maximum Strength is such a plan. A solid method to follow and tracking system with principles to back it up is important. You’ll get that here.

“Another thing to keep in mind for a trainer is a comprehensive approach. Beyond just strength, Eric keeps an eye on flexibility and joint health here. The description of soft-tissue work prior to exercise with the use of a foam roller is one area I found valuable. I already knew about the importance of pre-competitive soft-tissue preparation, but it took this book for it to sink in.

“It’s true that Maximum Strength isn’t as sexy as some of the other books out there. Eric chose not to hire a fitness model and instead demonstrated all the exercises himself. And he inexplicably decided to keep his shirt on, and didn’t tan, shave, or oil up for the photo shoot. We’ve all read all of those books. What you have here is a way to achieve measurable results, which is what I’m sure most people are going for.

“It’s also very readable, and not overly detailed. Knowing Eric’s work, there’s a lot of reasoning behind the progressions and choice of exercises he’s laid out, but he chose to save us all eye-strain and kept the plan simple.

“You’re not used to getting info of this quality in the general fitness section of the bookstore (maybe it was misplaced?). However, it’s an excellent book that, as an athlete, I’ll be using for performance; and, as a trainer, I’ll be using the principles and exercises with my clients. Thanks, Eric.”

You can pick up Maximum Strength HERE.

  • Amílcar

    This review is really spot on. I shall add a gym member perspective, and this is one thing that every serious weightlifter must keep in mind.

    To an average gym, even fancy and expensive, there is no reason to invest on maximum strength routines.

    First, the owner would have to hire highly qualified and motivated instructors. Second, he would have to convince the average gym goer to adopt such approach.

    From a financial standpoint, a gym owner will prefer to invest on a lot of machines (wich gives [to the average guy] the impression of a complete, outstanding place) that will limit both injuries (since there are no qualified coaches to teach the basic lifts, fix the previous imbalances) and muscular/strength growth.

    More than that, nowadays gyms are being marketed as place to magically relieve the daily stress and “feel good”. (That this only occurs after some serious and concentrated effort is not told, however).

    When you add the feminine mindset to the equation, things got even worse. The “gals” fear both the calluses and the masculine looks. (Some of them swear to God that after one week of “heavy training” their arms and upper body begun to look like Arnold’s [growing faster than the Hulk´s], and therefore these creatures either only work their lower bodies, or use solely pink dumbbels to the upper. [Their comments make me thing that testosterone has nothing to do with muscle growth,and in fact will impair it.]They are really afraid of going to sleep and wake up like Ronnie Coleman).You can put 30 of them in a room with only plastic dumbbels, high music and some crazy body pump teacher. Hiring a good goach, and investing on tons of iron etc, therefore, does not make sense to a gym owner.

    Last but not least, you can easily “prove” to a trainee how bad lifting heavy weights is. Have him deadlifting, and he will be in pain. Don´t tell him that his daily posture is wrong, his hip flexors are tight, his glutes and abs are weak. Blaim the deadlift and tell him to work with light weights on a unstable surface. (Later on, at his 40 or 50s, he will have some serious low back issues, since their weakenesses werent adressed, but will never correlate the pain with his training, since he does not understand jackshit about what is going on with his body).

    This leaves the serious trainee almost alone, and books such as maximum strength may be his only hope to improve (especially if he does not have access to a serious gym).

    Your book is a breath of fresh air.

    (I am not writing to blaim anyone. This is how things work on every field. Your average doctor will simply tell you that you are fucked and give you some drugs. Only the top MDs will tell you what is really going on and what are your choices, responsibilities etc).

    P.S: English is not my mother language. Forgive my mistakes and keep up the good work.

  • Wayne

    As a Sports Science graduate and competitive athlete myself, this is a well written and thought out book. I am used to following a block style program and while this is easy for athletes that i train i am clueless when it comes to the average joe and those with structural imbalances. What you book does is provide a step by step guide for any gym goer trying to get stronger and bigger but also stay structurally balanced and healthy. I will be using this book as when i return to lifting after a hernia operation. We need more of this stuff in our country rather than the entertainment style fitness ( you know, dance fitness, combat, pump) corporate group fitness personal training, boot camp stuff that dominates the fitness market. And where peoples idea of weight training only upper body as a 5 km run will work and keep my legs strong. Plus squats and deadlifts are bad, leg extensions and leg curls are good. Where bounce or 3 inch range of motion bench presses and humping bicep curls reign supreme.

    Thanks for a great book and i look forward to your next release


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