Let’s explore whether Women’s Health The Big Book of Exercises Four Weeks to a Leaner, Sexier, Healthier You! by Adam Campbell is the right book for you. Overall, it is a great resource, but whether it is the best book for you depends on your age, fitness level, training experience, and goals. At a whopping 551 pages, this would not be my first choice for beginners and yet some beginners review it positively. Also, if you are looking for a book that is specifically aimed at women’s bodies then isn’t the right book for you. I see complaints that this book is exactly the same as the Men’s version, except for the models and the price tag being higher by $10. Currently, I am seeing about a $4 difference. If you are buying, maybe buy the Men’s Version and save some money.
Introductory Info – Not much, but See Later Chapters
The author starts of the book with a bit of introductory information, but it is very limited and it is not specific to women. It covers:
- Benefits of Lifting Weights
- Beginner Frequently Asked Questions
- A 4-Week Diet Plan
- Exercise Plan
I do like that the exercise plan in the introduction has a Workout A and a Workout B, and that the workouts allow you to choose from a muscle group chapter versus specifying the exercises.
Organization of Exercises – The Good and the Not So Good
I like that the exercises are grouped into chapters which contain targeted muscle groups, for instance the Chapter 4 is Chest. Another nice feature is that each chapter starts out with a diagram of the muscles in the targeted area. It is real annoying when I go gym and don’t know the lingo to talk to other trainers or a personal trainer, so I love knowing my muscle locations and names.
The author shows many variations of exercises which is awesome, but it is not always easy to figure out which is the easiest for beginners or the hardest for the more advanced trainers. On the right-hand side of this page, it shows the range of easiest to hardest. It would have been great if Adam Campbell continued this practice. Unfortunately, it is the only place I find a such a list.
I do really like all the variations the author includes, and I like having this as a reference. It is a great add to a collection of fitness books for the intermediate and advance trainer. I just feel that most beginners would be happier with a basic book with workouts aimed at their skill and fitness level.
Bonus Chapters – Sweat, Sculpt, and Shred
There are 2 additional chapters worth mentioning before a more comprehensive review of the workout routines; Fat Loss Exercises and The Big Chapter of Nutrition Secrets.
The Fat Loss Exercises are aimed at sculpting your body. Adam discusses what a cardio workout is and gives specific exercises for fat loss. My problem is that many of these exercises require jumping, which is not great for trainers with injuries or just plain older joints. Having more low impact variations of these exercises would have been nice.
The nutrition secrets chapter is 20 pages long. There is so much controversy about food plans for folks that I don’t really want to get into that. I can say that the plan is not aimed at women or a specific age group.
Specific Workout Routines – Workouts for Everything
It is appealing that the workouts in back of the book are goal specific and some are aimed at women, such as “The Bikini-Ready Workout”. The workouts are also divided into weeks, as well as a Workout A and B. For example, the bikini workout has a week 1 to 3, and a week 4 to 6. Each week grouping has its own Workout A and Workout B.
There is also a chapter specifically for warm up exercises. This chapter includes information about why just doing static stretching is not enough. Adam discusses the difference of static versus dynamic stretches and why you should do both.
Final Thoughts – Is This the Best Book for You?
Overall I do believe this is an excellent resource, although it is not the first book I would suggest to most strength training beginners, especially more mature beginners. The book is great for younger trainers, male and female. A big pro is the amount of variations of each exercise, although the author could have made it easier to determine each variation’s level of difficulty.
A problem for many women will be that the author is a male and he is the fitness director of Men’s Health. Reviewers of this book complain that the book is almost an exactly duplicate of the Men’s Health version with the major difference being the gender of the models. I do not recommend this book for someone desiring a book specific to the needs of a woman’s body. If you are purchasing this book, you may want to check the current price of the Men’s version below. My most recent check showed a difference of about $4.
I look forward to hearing what others have to say about this book. Please let me know in the comments section.
Founder of Strength Training Books for Women