Review of “Body by Science” by McGuff and Little

I was looking for a good book on alternative theories of exercise. This one was certainly that.

They have a lot of bad things to say about running and aerobic exercising in general

Their recommended beginning workout routine is all about weight lifting. While lifting, you’re to worry only about time under load (i.e. the length of time your muscles are pushing/pulling, or whatever). You’re to move between exercises quickly – the whole routine taking well under 30 minutes. You’re to take a lot of time off between routines – roughly a week at first. Finally, you’re to lift to failure, and you should be lifting enough (and slowly enough) that you should achieve failure relatively quickly. With respect to free weights, an initial routine would include:




– Bench press
– Squat

Note that this doesn’t take much equipment. A barbell or dumbbells, which you can get cheap on Craigslist, is all you need. You should be able to get set up for less than $200 (easily).

There’s lot of other good stuff in the book on health and fitness more generally. I, however, was most interested in the exercise routine, so that’s what’s covered here.

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6 Responses to Review of “Body by Science” by McGuff and Little

  1. Frost says:

    Sounds pretty good to me. Fairly similar to what Mark Sisson, Tim Ferriss, and other guys I place a lot of trust in recommend.

    As for cardio, jogging (in regular shoes especially) or worse, cardio machines in the gym, are a waste of time at best. Sports, play, and a generally active life are important though.

  2. formerly no name says:

    I still tend to think that squats are important. For those you need to buy or build a squat rack or power rack .

    http://www.google.co.cr/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=20+rep+squats

    • L{DiracDelta(t)} says:

      Hear, hear! If you get a squat cage you can do many exercises to failure because of the failure guard rod. I can do bench press, should press, and squats all the way to complete failure with a properly placed guard rod. Plus the squat rack normally comes with a built in chinning bar. A squat rack will only take up a little more room than a simple benchpress setup, and you can do everything with a squat rack and a bench except some pulley work.

      Buy your stuff on craigslist! Olympic weights don’t [normally] break down.

  3. dearieme says:

    Exercise: is there any experimental evidence that it
    (i) extends your life, or
    (ii) extends your healthy life, or
    (iii) reduces morbidity, or
    (iv) makes you feel better?

    I have found that (iv) is true for me, but for the others I’d like some evidence from large randomised controlled trials. Is there any?

  4. This is also a great exercise for coordination. The final thing anybody
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    wider, larger, broader shoulder muscles.

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