The recently published Weight Training for Women: A Beginner’s Guide by Lesley Harrison aims to fill a gap in the market by providing straightforward weight training advice for female beginners at the affordable price of £9.99 (the ebook version is even cheaper).
It is written from the point of view of an enthusiastic practitioner of weight training who wants to share her passion with other women and persuade them of the benefits of weight training.
The author is a powerlifter but doesn’t have any formal qualifications in strength coaching or personal training. This however is not necessarily a bad thing.
She knows how to train and isn’t encumbered by personal training jargon. Her advice is that of a knowledgeable friend in the gym – quite refreshing really. In fact, this is what I was aiming to achieve with gubernatrix.co.uk when I first started blogging around four years ago.
The book covers basic exercises, training for various goals, including physique, sport and strength, along with tips about diet, injuries and so on. It includes, succintly, everything you need to know to get started with weight training, delivering what the title promises.
I was happy to see some information about strength sports; not everyone wants to compete but it is good to treat this as a normal progression for women, should they want to take things further.
I also like the information on gym etiquette – it is one of those topics that is often neglected in the ‘serious’ training books but is very useful information for people not used to the weight room environment. The author is clearly very aware of the challenges and barriers facing women who want to take up weight training and has addressed these well.
The book is suitable for complete beginners to weight training and those who have done a bit of weight training but want to explore it further.
Where it comes up short for me is the information on programming. Perhaps this is where the author’s inexperience in coaching shows through. The fat loss programme looks too much like a strength programme and the physique programme is somewhat unbalanced (it includes only one chest exercise but five exercises involving shoulders, two of which are isolation).
Fortunately there are plenty of good beginner programmes available on the internet. I recommend the training information on Stumptuous as a great place to start. A link to Starting Strength is included in the book’s appendix and I would also point beginners to this programme if they want to improve strength and technique.
In conclusion, then, this is a broadly successful book covering everything you need to know to get started with weight training, whether at home or at the gym.
If I’m completely honest, there are better tomes out there on weight training in general – but what this book has in its favour is that it is inexpensive and approachable.
This book could be a nice gift for a friend or partner who doesn’t know where to start and would appreciate a small, friendly book to get them going.
Weight Training for Women: A Beginner’s Guide is available from Need2Know Books.
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