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Supertraining, Exercise your Mind.

In a recent discussion thread, someone mentioned Supertraining.

Supertraining, while possibly the single greatest resource[1] for strength training available, is not exactly light reading. My experience is that most people without a degree (or equivalent) in exercise and physiology will have to struggle mightily to make it through the text.

As such, someone else asked for help on reading it. They had solid workout experience, were avid readers of T-Mag, but didn’t have a formal background in physiology or exercise science. As such, they noted that their head started aching after 4-5 pages of reading. :wink:

In response to their question, I put together a few suggestions to make reading Supertraining a little easier. These are just my own ideas, and things that have worked for me, or people I know.

I’d love to hear what suggestions other people might have, though.

Here’s my thoughts (in response to the question of “how to make it through Supertraining”):

I wish I had a good answer for you, because as you’ve found, Supertraining is hard. I won’t admit how long it took me to actually work my way through the whole thing. :wink:

One thing that can help a little is picking up his other book, ‘Facts and Fallacies of Fitness’. It’s a done in a Question and Answer format that makes it much easier to read, and covers many of the same topics as Supertraining. The big difference is that Facts and Fallacies is written for anyone with a basic understanding of fitness and weight training, as opposed to the very thorough and academic ‘textbook’ style that Supertraining follows.

You can get Facts and Fallacies of Fitness at Elite Fitness[2].

Reading through that will give you a “jump start” on some of the topics that Supertraining will cover, and may help to ease you into it.

If you don’t have a strong physiology background, and you need help with that, there are a few things to help that out.

First, I’d try to find an introductory book on Exercise Physiology. You can probably find a decent one for pretty cheap on half.com.

This is still probably going to be a college level textbook, albeit an introductory one, so expect to spend some time with it. If you get through a book like that, you’ll find reading Supertraining a whole lot easier.

The nice thing about half.com is you can often find used textbooks for less than $15, especially if you don’t mind getting one that’s an edition behind the current. And since you’re mostly interested in this book to provide a solid basis for moving on to Supertraining, it won’t matter too much if some of the information is a touch dated.

As far as actually reading Supertraining itself. . . take it slow, and easy, but be persistent. Start at the beginning, read 2-5 pages, then stop for a minute, and read it again. If you need to, do it again. If there’s a particularly difficult section, stick with that page, or part of a page, until you feel you understand it thoroughly.

Don’t be afraid if it takes you a couple of times rereading sections. Heck, there are a few parts in there I had to read four or five times before I felt like I was starting to get it. :wink:

Supertraining is very dense, and very good. Unless you have a degree in exercise physiology, it’s an exercise in persistence to work through it (and even with the degree, it’s no light reading), but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

[1] With the possible exception of T-Mag here, I’d probably say there is no other book or resource that I’ve found that is as useful, informative, and enlightening as Supertraining. I know many who share that sentiment.
[2] http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=134&pid=64

Here’s a few introductory exercise physiology textbooks that look interest, which I just pulled up with some simple searches (note: I haven’t read any of these, so I can’t tell you for sure if they’re “good” or not, but they’re a place to start. . . you should definitely research them a little on amazon.com or something, to learn more about them, before you consider ordering anything).

Essentials of Exercise Physiology
Author: William D. McArdle


Exercise Physiology
Author: Edward T. Howley, Scott K. Powers


Exercise Physiology : For Health, Fitness, and Performance
Author: Denise L. Smith, Sharon A. Plowman


Fundamental Principles of Exercise Physiology: For Fitness, Performance, and Health
Author: Robert A. Robergs, Scott Roberts


Any other suggestions?

Good post and great book.

Supertraining certainly does take some effort to get through but it is well-worth the read.

I’m a medical student and struggle to find any decent in-depth stuff about training - there are plenty of scientific articles out there, but they are written by non-lifters, and it shows in their writing. That’s why I like T-mag articles (especially the ones that really detail the physics and physiology behind the methods) because they are not only packed full of great science, but are written by proper ass-to-the-grass weightlifting scientists.

I desperately want Supertraining and Facts and Fallacies. I can’t afford it from EliteFTS (S+H is almost as expensive as the book itself - I’m from England) and Amazon doesn’t sell it. Does anyone know anywhere else i can get it from?


I agree. I have Supertraining book and it does take effort to get through. To this day, I haven’t gone very far despite the fact I have a dgree in kinesiology and have CSCS, it’s just not fun to read! Science and Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorsky would be a good start as it’s easier to read. The guys at Elitefs highly recommend it.

I believe that you can also order the book directly from the Supertraining list serve.

I don’t know that there will be a big price difference but I recall it being a little cheaper when I ordered my book directly from Dr. Siff.

Every resistance trainee should purchase and read that awesome book, I’ve read it 2 times.
It may be hard to understand (for some people), but it is worth reading.

Science and math was always hard for me until I figured out that I had to read stuff many times to get it to become clear.By doing that I have no problems now. Right now I am reading DR. Zatsiorsky’s Science and Practice of Strength Training for the 3rd time.

so where the heck can i buy this book? It sounds awesome and i have been looking all over and can’t find it. is there a place like e bay or half.com i can buy it at. i really dont like buying from elitefts anymore so another place would be nice. thanks.

you can find it at the perform better site for $59.95 and $7.50 shipping. International will be a lot more and I don’t know the exact amount because it is by weight and then all the taxes and duty is added.

I cannot say that the information in either book has had any practical effect on the way I organise my training.

What specifically in either book has influenced how you actually train?

Kung Fu King- I’ll send you my copy of Facts and Fallacies if you need it that desperately. Contact me (PM).