Book Reviews: “The New Rules of Lifting for the Abs” & “The FIT Formula”

I’m watching the Niners and the Saints, and my sanity needs a break. One of the books that I’m reading is within eyesight, so I got to thinking I’d share a pair of books from Al-prah’s Book Club I’m currently going through to pick up some more functional/core strength training knowledge.

When I’m not at the studio training people, I’m reading about how to train them better.  Here are two of the ways that I’m doing it.

I’d recommend one of them for sure if you’d like to help yourself put together some workouts or just deepen your information pool with all things exercise. The other one, I’d say thumb through it if you happen to be at a bookstore that carries it and save yourself the money.

“The New Rules of Lifting for the Abs” by Lou Shuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. 

Very well written with quite a bit of easy to follow information. I’d call it a semi-private approach to home fitness due to the fact that it isn’t a generic cookie cutter approach. If you can’t get a trainer, this is a great alternative.

It makes complete sense how they break down what real core strength training is and isn’t. This includes a very detailed explanation of what muscles make up our core, what they do and how they should be trained. And no, crunches ISN’T one of the ways they recommend. A facet of the book that I like very much.

They lay out there three phases of building strength in a very detailed common sensed approach. It would be very difficult to not get stronger following their program. It safe enough for the “beginner beginner” exerciser to the most advanced athlete who needs to be constantly challenged. They have great variations/alternatives for all levels which is a definite plus.

If I was going to write a book, this would be a good format to model. There is also a Kindle edition for you e-book fans out there.

Since this is one book in a series of four, I would like to have seen more exercise options. Particularly for rubber tubing. Being a trainer, I’ve got other resources for this, but for folks who only know what they see at the gym, this part could be beefed up.

This is a great book that debunks traditional ab training to strengthen the core. The go into a completely different direction and have put together a pretty comprehensive 3-phase training strategy to build rock solid core strength and optimal back health.

Shuler has a great sarcastic self depricating wit that makes the book a pleasure to read. He brings years of lifting and journalism experience to an extremely well written book to help lifters of all levels. This is one book in a series of four with one being written specifically for women. I’m hoping to pick this one up as well at some point.

“A strong, athletic physique, highlighted by a flat midsection with well-defined abdominal muscles, is the goal of everyone who works out, from lifelong gym rats to the New Year’s resolution crowd. But most people who seek these goals undermine their efforts. In The New Rules of Lifting for Abs, Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove offer unique programs based on the latest breakthroughs in exercise science.”

There is also a pretty comprehensive nutrition section as well.

“The Fit Formula, The World’s Leading Experts Reveal Proven Strategies for Optimal Health, Fitness and Nutrition” 

There is solid information in here. It is presented very well, and the authors have quite a bit to share. There is a wide variety of information that is useful if you know how to put it together.

Seems to be an elevator pitch for all of the contributors. It is almost infomercial like in the way it is presented. You get just enough to get interested in the topic, then the chapter ends in almost a cliffhanger fashion.

There also seems to be too many chapters on the same subjects: fat loss and nutrition. It would’ve been better to stick with one author and get more detail from one person rather than the same information spread out over multiple sources.

I wish I would’ve had the chance to thumb through this at a bookstore prior to buying it. It don’t consider it a waste of money, but it isn’t something I’d rush to get.


It is a compilation by some of the biggest names in the fitness industry of their tips to lose weight, reduce body fat, set goals and get as strong as possible among other things. This isn’t a bad approach, but its like being on a Carnival Cruise where you only get a glimpse of all of the ports of call, and to really experience them, you need to stay there for few days.

The information is really good, but it isn’t comprehensive enough to really be anything other than a well written reference book. The authors give good information, there just isn’t enough of it to really satisfy the reader. Plus, there are a lot of international authors from the UK that I will never get to see speak, so that’s another negative of the book.

” Is there a secret to maintaining your body size/ shape when you get it to where you want it? • Is there a health or fitness secret that would help you that is not being shared? The answers to these and many other questions lie inside the pages of this book. The Celebrity Experts® who authored this book have been through many of the same phases that you have gone through – in their quest for answers. These Celebrity Experts® share their expertise and knowledge of mindset, nutrition and fitness to assist you in your quest for better health and an improved body. These men and women have been guiding and training others like yourself to attain the level you aspire to – to be the best that you can be – to use a familiar term.”

Well, there you go. I batted .500 here, but the content of Shuler’s book more than makes up for the let down of the other one. Definitely get the “New Rules,” coin flip “The FIT Formula” if you are feeling adventurous.


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Never attempt any new exercises mentioned in the Fitness411 blog without a thorough evaluation from a physician, personal trainer, strength coach, athletic trainer, physical therapist or sports chiropractor.