Body of a Spartan differs from books on strength and conditioning. Although Starting Strength is an excellent book, Victor points out the major flaw with it and books just like it.
A good physique is built through progressive overload and the SAID principle. Your body will make specific adaptations to imposed demands. To make progress you must impose greater demands on your body. After several months or years (depending up your genetic pre-disposition to muscle gain and your steroid usage), you’ll have a big and fit enough body that lets people know you lift without your having to tell them all of the time.
(This is CrossFit, not Body of a Spartan)
Progress is hard. The body is lazy. Your body doesn’t want greater demands imposed upon it, as the body is designed to preserve energy rather than expend it.
Getting big and fit requires mental discipline and fortitude. Beat your log book. Add more weight (or reps, or time under tension, or set) every workout session.
Yet it’s also fundamental to strength training and bodybuilding that gains are non-linear. You may be stuck at the same bodyweight for months. Suddenly you’ll gain 8 pounds in a week. Suddenly you’re adding more weight to the bar each time you train. No one knows why you can do everything right while making zero progress and then suddenly, like magic, you break through a plateau..
Thus training programs that have a pre-defined set or rep scheme ignore real life – which can lead to injuries.
How many guys get injured doing CrossFit and Starting Strength and other training programs that have unforgiving set and rep schemes? Most, right? (Meanwhile, I haven’t been out of the gym due to an injury in over 5 years.)
No strength coach will take personal responsibility for your injuries. It’s never the program’s fault that you tweaked your back and missed eight weeks in the gym. Even though the program said you had to do 5 reps that day, it was your fault for using improper form to grind out your last rep.
Sometimes you’re King Kong and sometimes your mom is sick, you have finals, you’re working long hours, your kid kept you up all night, or you’re getting divorced. Life happens.
Yes, you have to train with intensity. No, you can’t be emo and let your moods dictate your training sessions. However, stress takes a physiological toll on your body. If your life is stressed you need to get in and get out. Just show up, keep your gains, don’t get injured, and live to fight another day.
After all, a physique is built over several years. You simply cannot afford to miss weeks at at time because of injuries caused by blindly following some program. You need to lay out the road to Rome brick by brick, training session by training session.
Victor’s program is practical and realistic. He doesn’t tell you that you must do 5 sets of 5 on Monday using 85% of your squat max or anything like that.
His program is also based on basic, compound movements. At the gym I see guys who never make any progress, even though they show up regularly. They can be found doing triceps pushdowns and lat pull downs. Most guys have no business doing any isolation exercise.
As a generation, we don’t live in touch with our bodies. We live on smart phones and computers. The only mind-muscle connection we have is between our eye balls, ADHD brains, and fingers.
The muscular mind-muscle connection is built from doing dead lifts, squats, shoulder presses, and other movements that strengthen the entire structural integrity of the body. Full body movements wake up the body and get a man in touch with his true inner being.
Body of a Spartan also covers diet and cardio. He doesn’t go into great detail because unless you’re trying to get super ripped or something, diet and cardio are really easy. (If you’re trying to get below 10% body fat, you’d need a book longer than Body of a Spartan just to cover that subject.)
Obviously if you’re one of the bigger guys in the gym, Body of Spartan may not be for you, although friend who has been training for a long time said, “Even though this is stuff I already know, it has a good tone and motivates you to train harder in the gym.”
I would have been glad to have found Body of a Spartan when I first started training. It would have saved me a lot of injuries that were due by listening to some guru tell me that I should be able to add weight to the bar each training session. I missed a lot of training sessions in my 20s and those sessions are something you can never get back.
By the way, I didn’t reach out to Victor to set up an affiliate agreement or anything. I purchased a copy to review. I only recommend that you guys buy things that I’d personally shell money out for. It is possible, even in the modern world, to market while maintaining your integrity.
If you’re still a beginner or intermediate lifter, it’s an excellent choice and I highly recommend it. Outside of elite powerlifters or bodybuilders, training should be basic. Grab some weight, train with intensity, and good things will happen. Body of a Spartan is the basic solution most guys have been looking for.
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