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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: Core Performance

I picked this one up a while back on Paul's recommendation. I had seen the book in stores for years, but there was something about it that put me off buying it. Which is unfortunate, since it turns out to be a pretty good book.

What's Good

If you're looking for a comprehensive, one-book kind of exercise program, Core Performance delivers. The book contains advice and instruction on warming up, strength training, cardio (or energy system development, in the Core Performance lexicon), explosive power development, and post-workout stretching routines. It's even got a short, but informative nutrition session. There's a very clearly laid out twelve week program to get you started, and advice for what to do once you complete that twelve week program.

So, yeah, there is a lot of information in here.

The program follows a nice, steady progression that is pretty easy to work into. I actually was using it after coming off of a really bad injury (Piriformis Syndrome, which still plauges me), and used the optional three week starter program before jumping into the full program. My wedding and honeymoon stopped me from doing the last week of the program, but overall, it seems pretty solid.

Even if you're not following the program precisely, there's a lot of good ideas and information in here. The movement prep and pre-hab concepts are invaluable for anyone involved in an athletic activity, particular combat sport. A lot of Verstegen's concepts tie in nicely with the material on Kevin Kearns DVDs, and if you're a fan of one, you will find a lot of value in the other.

What's Bad?

While Verstegen insists that you can follow this program with a minimum of equipment, the actual program does not bear that out. In order to complete the program as outlined in the book, you'll need a heart-rate monitor (or a piece of cardio equipment that has one), barbells, dumbbells, a bench, a physioball, a foam roller, some rope...and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head. If you're a member of a well-equipped fitness facility, you'll probably be fine. If you're like me and mostly workout at home or in a martial arts school, you may have a hard time following the program to the letter.

If you have access to a fully-equipped fitness facility, this is a great "one book" for fitness. If you don't, I'd recommended Ross Enamait's Never Gymless instead. It's just as comprehensive, but not nearly as equipment intensive. Still, the movement prep and pre-hab routines make Core Performance a worthwhile purchase in it's own right. Check it out!

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