If you can treat personal tragedy like a heavy set of 20 squats, you'll do better than someone who has never met any challenge.--Mark Rippetoe
Now that my health is somewhat better, I have been working out more--mainly with light weights, aerobics and Kra Maga once a week. I wanted to take it up a notch so I decided to read up on some tips for strength training more effectively. I was delighted that Glenn received two books by Mark Rippetoe recently in the mail: Strong Enough? Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training and Starting Strength. I used to weight train religiously in my twenties up until my thirties when I had my heart attack. I am taking it slow but I still love reading about weight training. If you do, you might also enjoy Rippetoe's books.
I picked up the "Strong Enough" book because it looked like it had some good advice. Rippetoe explains that the squat, press, deadlift and bench press have been used by the strongest athletes on the planet:
There is a reason for that. Any program that doesn't use them is inferior to one that does, and an athlete that leaves them out of the program is doing less than possible for performance, and less than absolutely necessary to have the best strength possible.
He describes each exercise in separate sections and gives some pictures and details about how to do each one correctly. Interestedly, Rippetoe does not believe that full squats are bad for the knees and thinks that doctors and physical therapists who warn people against them just do not know how to do a squat properly:
What generally happens is that when one of these professionals explains why you will die if you do squats, he will demonstrate with squat technique so incorrect that even unweighted, it hurts to watch, and then he'll say SEE, THERE, SQUATS ARE BAD FOR YOUR KNEES. This is like saying that if you burn the beans, they stink up the house, so you shouldn't eat beans. You don't get to define the argument in terms that prove you're right, and then charge money because you won the argument.
Apparently, this guy has never been in academia. But that's beside the point. I have often heard that full squats are bad for one's knees but they seem to be the best exercise for me as they really work the back of the legs and glutes. I sometimes do them with no or little weight. Anyway, the rest of the book is good with sections on biomechanics, good form, and "being very alive" in which he makes fun of the term "wellness." Why? "Wellness means having a salad and baked potato after your aerobics class." Rippetoe believes exercise should be mentally and physically challenging. While I concur, I must say that after experiencing what it is to be very ill, I am pretty happy with a baked potato and aerobics class but then, maybe I'm not his target audience.
If you are, check out his books, they are inspirational.