No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Athletic Body in Balance

Posted by Ben on Saturday, June 28, 2008

I’m stealing a page out of Tony’s review blog for my own formatting here. It took me all of three days for me to get through a quick reading of Gray Cook’s 215-page Athletic Body in Balance. You can see the customer reviews for yourself on the Amazon link I provided.

Tagline: Optimal movement skills and conditioning for performance.

Website: Functional Movement

Retail: $19.95

My thoughts: Cook gets to the foundation of HUMAN movement, not just athletic or sport-specific movement, in clear and concise writing that builds smoothly upon itself. He gives you the nuts-and-bolts of basic movement patterns, how to self-test your proficiency, why these movements are important, how they’re ignored, and what you should do to re-learn them. After all, you can’t have long-term, solid, safe, productive performance—on and off the field—without a firm base from which to derive that performance. Just like his building-block approach to movement, Balance progresses from the simple to the complex, but not in a sport-specific manner; instead, he offers movement modifications that are applicable across the board, all while explaining exactly why he’s suggesting them. Even though the book’s sections and examples speak to sports performance, the fact that Cook is dealing with basic human movement, mobility, and stability makes this a highly relevant reading for anyone interested in simply improving his or her day-to-day journey through life, whether it’s lifting a child into the air, loading groceries into the car, or cleaning the house. The material in this writing, if incorporated as suggested, will make any physical task easier and will spare you from nagging (and sometimes seemingly inexplicable) tweaks and injuries. I’ll be adding a significant, rotating portion of this material into my own training ASAP.

Three good things: Easy reading; clear descriptions and examples of movements; ease of incorporation (some movement progressions are similar to some yoga and pilates).

Three not-so-good things: Emphasis on pre-work static stretching; potential knee danger based on a few suggestions on movement form; suggested use of Smith machine.

My opinion: Buy, read, and incorporate this book into your life, whether you’re just starting on the path to physical well-being or have been training for decades. Your body will thank you.

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