Posted on March 12th, 2012 by Lucy
Sigh. It’s sensationalist titles like this one that detract attention from the bodybuilding books of REAL value. 12 minutes a week? Maybe 12 minutes per muscle per week! Our initial reaction was to completely distrust anything this book says about bodybuilding … but it has an absolute slew of positive reviews on Amazon. So what’s the deal? On initial inspection, we find that many of the reviews are from people who have just bought the book, and haven’t actually put in their 12 minutes a week to see the ‘results they want’. Is it worthwhile? As always, we trawl through the opinions of real people who’ve really bought the book, to see whether the same is worthwhile for you!
What’s In It?
This bodybuilding book is 288 pages of workout-y goodness. The meat of the book is a weekly high-intensity exercise program which is meant to increase your strength, build muscle and metabolism as well as overall fitness. On the label, it says the book is supposed to optimise cardiovascular health, manage arthritis and chronic back pain, increase insulin sensitivity and lower cholesterol also.
Here are some of the key points, as explained by a reviewer:
- Perform your movements as slowly as possible without actually stopping
- Progress should be measured as an increase in Time Under Load, not number of reps
- Weight used should be 80% 1RM.
- Don’t hold your breath while contracting your muscles
- Use 90 second sets, with an exceptionally intense last 30 seconds
- When finished you set, stay tensed for 10 seconds even though you won’t do any more work
Accurate Physiology Information
The information on physiology in the book is accurate, according to at least two expert medical reviewers … although some of the evolutionary explanations are debatable.
But Not as Scientific As It Seems
Almost all reviewers said that they appreciated the focus on science. However, the book’s promises and principles are so distant from the everyday wisdom that our doctors and public health professionals give us, that I wondered exactly what research was used to support the conclusions and how it was being interpreted. A couple of reviewers noted the same, saying that concepts which are presented as revelations of scientific mistakes, are actually selective reading and misinterpretation of the literature. Take this book as one opinion about weight training among many, not a revelation of the “real truth”.
Takes at Least 45 Minutes
So, it seems that the famed ’12 minutes a week’ that you were certain you could afford actually blows out to around 400% of that figure. The workouts take around 45 minutes a week according to some reviewers,
Emphasis on Genetic Determinism
A couple of reviewers mentioned that there is a strong (and quite unwelcome!) emphasis on genetic determinism in the book. That is, your progress is determined by your genes, not by your technique. One reviewer points out that the overall body of research on myostatin distribution (one of the genetic determinants of muscle size/body fat combination) simply doesn’t count for everything the authors say it does.
Could be an excuse for a workout program that really couldn’t possibly be effective in 12 minutes a week, perhaps?
For the Passionless
One reviewer mentioned that the book is good for those who don’t really have a passion for sport or exercise. This makes sense – if you enjoy working out you’ll want to do it for more than 12 minutes a week! However, they were disappointed by the tone of the book, which portrayed exercise as something to be tolerated, not enjoyed.
Yet a Worthwhile Purchase?
However, even some lower-rating reviewers said that they thought the book was a good buy despite the dodgy science and overblown marketing claims! At just $13 on Amazon, you may find something useful in it – but keep your critical hat on!