A 17 year old girl, fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter, Powerlifter, and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
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In this blog post I will be reviewing a book entitled 'Weightlifting for beginners' written by Dan Kent and Mihai Ivan. Very kindly, Dan asked me to review this book some weeks ago and I am very appreciative of that. Since I am not a beginner at Weightlifting, I have read and reviewed this book from my own perspective and from a beginners point of view.
From looking at the front cover of the book, the design isn't in your face and clearly demonstrates what the book is about. The blurb is also nice and short, as long blurbs can often stop me from wanting to read a book. The price of this book isn't too expensive for what you are receiving, retailed at £14.99 this book offers advice upon many subjects including technique, strength building, a hint at competing and some programs. By just looking at the organised contents, the book discusses a variety of subjects regarding Weightlifting and would most likely answer any questions that beginners to the sport would have.
From reading the first few pages of the Foreword, it is nice to hear both of the Authors opinions and experiences behind Olympic Weightlifting. Specifically Mihai Ivan encourages that the competition isn't always between other lifters and you, but more just competition within the lifter as an individual. Click on the image to be directed to the Amazon page to purchase.
"It's just you and your bar, all your resources focused towards it" - Mihai Ivan
From a beginners perspective
I believe that the addition about the history of Weightlifting is good for a beginner to grasp some knowledge upon the sports background, often books about sport don't focus on the past but more about the future and really the background of Weightlifting is significant and interesting. From my point of view, I thought it was great that the book mentioned about Weightlifting coaches as often books about sports forget to mention that different coaches will have different ways of doing things. This would help any beginner to battle any misconceptions of right and wrong within Weightlifting if they have had different advice from different coaches. The illustrations are clear and easy to follow regarding the technical movements of the lifts, this being important for a beginner. The explanation upon the Weightlifting technique was very precise and excellently worded. I enjoyed that the book didn't just feature Olympic Weightlifting techniques but rather other related exercises that help to improve Olympic Weightlifting technique and strength standards. There was also a great feature about power, which is very important to those beginning the sport who will require large amounts of power if they wish to develop within the sport. The book mentions ways in which a Weightlifters dietary intake will differ if they are wanting to improve in strength, this is great for a beginner and also anyone who already lifts as it isn't common to find specific advice about diets for Olympic Weightlifters unless guided by a coach or professional. So for anyone getting into the sport without a coach or a Weightlifting club, it gives some great guidance to begin on your own!
From my perspective
When reading this book, I felt intrigued to carry on reading as although not much of the information in the book was new to me, the way the book was worded isn't exhausting or complicated to read. I found this book to be honest and relatable, from when it mentions purchasing Weightlifting shoes to the uncomfortability of the Hook grip. I found that by the book mentioning ways in which a lift can go wrong or can prevent you from getting a personal record being so useful! Not only for individual lifters (like myself) who wish to look back at their lifts or ask someone to check for technique mistakes, but for checking other lifters techniques too. I will definitely think back to this book if one of the younger lifters at my club asks me to check their technique. Towards the end of the book, the dietary help and alcohol intake information is very interesting and would benefit beginners and those who have been lifting for a while. Sometimes it is in fact what you're eating which stops you from improving strength wise. There was some information in the book that I have taken on board and will use within the future. Particularly the alcohol intake details was completely unknown to me and hasn't been something I had heard of up until I had read this book.
A hands on experience: trying programs, technique exercises and more
I decided after reading the book I would have a try at the training program for the beginners, some of the plyometric exercises, technique exercises and mobility tests. These are my results:
Beginners training program
The beginners strength training programs contains a good range of exercises (not just the Olympic lifts) and would allow a beginner to understand an average training program. This 4 week program is designed to improve a beginners strength and power, helping them to reach a new personal record every 4 weeks. I would say that this program may not be built for young children or lifters who have previous injuries and are only looking to improve their technique. Although I didn't complete the full 4 weeks, the program left me feeling stronger and happier after each session. The strength program being based around Olympic lifts and some other exercises would mean that it could still be partially completed by athletes who have no knowledge upon Olympic Weightlifting, but I believe the book would advise any beginners to complete the excellent technique sessions mentioned a few pages beforehand.
The exercises mentioned would help almost any athlete to improve upon their power. They're basic, easy to understand and could probably be completed by most abilities. There are some mentioned in the book which I hadn't heard of such as the "Depth jump", which is great as the book isn't repeating ideas which are already known of. After completing some of these exercises, I did notice that my Olympic lifts improved as I was jumping more when lifting the barbell. These exercises don't require equipment which is also a huge plus!
From briefly reading the technique training sessions written in the book, I can tell that this would be very beneficial for beginners and anyone wishing to improve their technique. The sessions don't require large amounts of weight and focus upon relatively low numbers of repetitions, which is better for technique than strength building. There is a great variation within the technique based exercises which would remove the aspect of boredom if coaching a young child say. In Fact it isn't far from the normal warmup I complete before any training session or competition!
I completed all of the mobility tests mentioned in the book and I absolutely love them! It has helped me before and after training sessions to loosen up and be able to see which muscles and areas are tight without the use of my foam roller. These excellent and interesting tests are found within chapter 3 and those that I have not heard of I will definitely be completing more often. Again, this can be completed without any complex equipment.
Thanks for reading my first book review upon my website! I hope to review some more Weightlifting books within the future. Once again thank you to Dan Kent for asking me to review this excellent book, I would rate it 4.5 out of 5! Just because I would've liked to have seen some more information upon foam rolling. I recommend that if you are a beginner to Weightlifting or wanting to get started, to purchase the book from Amazon as even though I have been lifting for almost 8 years I have received insight from the book that I didn't know about.