Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning Review

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning Review




Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 4th Edition


  • Tons of Valuable Information
  • Quality Graphics That Enhance the Written Text
  • Excellent Resource for the CSCS Exam


  • Limited Practical Application
  • Covers Only the Basics of Strength and Conditioning for Athletes



"I hear the book's hard to comprehend - is that true?"

"How much practical stuff is included?"

"Would you recommend it for the CSCS exam?

"$100 for a textbook?! Jeez, it must have been printed by old Gutenberg himself!"

Those are only a tiny sample bunch of comments and questions I have received over the years about Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, one massive resource on athletic performance and THE TEXTBOOK for the National Strength and Conditioning Association's CSCS exam.

And since you're reading this review, you must be wondering...

Is it worth the time and cost?

Or would you be better served spending your hard-earned moolah on Under Armour boxerjocks and protein shakes?

Time to find out...

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 4th Edition

The Basics, Ma'am

Spanning 752 pages and weighing in at a hefty 5.2 pounds (that's almost 2.4 kilograms for all ya numerically and mathematically challenged folks out there), Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning comes equipped with some impressive thud factor.

Now in its 4th edition (released in November 2015), the book includes 24 chapters written by a number of distinguished authors and scientists with an impressive alphabet soup of credentials after their names.

Just to give you an idea of the caliber of authors who contributed to the book...


Among them can be found such strength & conditioning research superstars as William J. Kraemer (author of numerous strength training books and co-author of Vladimir Zatsiorsky's Science and Practice of Strength Training) and G. Gregory Haff (co-author of Tudor Bompa's Periodization).


And as for the content inside, here are a few chapter titles which illustrate what the book's all about:


Ahh... that sounds almost as exciting as the table of contents in Tucker Max's Sloppy Seconds, doesn't it?


Ok, maybe not.

Let's move on and look at the pros and cons more closely...



Packed with Solid Information

No doubt, this is one of the most comprehensive training books you'll ever come across (there's a reason why the book is literally as thick as a brick).

The sheer amount of information covering pretty much all aspects relating to training athletes - from anatomy, plyometrics, sprint technique to performance-enhancing drugs and far beyond - is staggering and will take multiple readings to fully comprehend.


Helpful Color Pictures, Charts and Tables

Splodging through hundreds of black-and-white pages written with a 9-point font complemented by obscure graphs that require a degree in engineering ain't no fun, jefe.

Seriously... whenever I find myself on the verge of insomnia, I pick up Mel Siff's Supertraining and roofie myself with a heavy dose of neurophysiological aspects of exercise before passing out like a newborn in fresh diapers after his 2 am feeding.

Internalizing important topics through bland text alone doesn't come easy for most of us.

I believe high quality pics, charts, tables and other visual learning aids help tremendously with comprehending key points - especially if you're visual learner like I am.


Great Resource for the CSCS Exam

All the information you need for passing the CSCS exam can be found in Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning.

When I was studying for the exam, it made the job a lot easier knowing that I didn't need to buy three different textbooks and memorize what often turns out to be contradictory point of views between different authors.

Read one book.

Soak it all up.

Then pass the test.




Heavy on Theory

The book is written by sport scientists.

Which means it relies heavily on research studies.

And as we know, research studies are years behind what the best coaches out there are doing to generate results for their athletes.

So don't think that you'll be able to use very much of the book's content in practice as a strength coach.


Very Basic

Like I said above, the book contains a staggering amount of training information.

And therein lies another flaw.

Yes, the book covers the basics (and again, does a terrific job at that) - but there are much better resources for gaining a deeper understanding on how to design athletic training programs that produce results.

Topics that every coach should immerse himself with - like post-activation potentiation, optimal training frequency for strength gains, or modifying a training program around common injuries - merely receive a short mention, if even that.

Customer Reviews and Score

As of this writing (July 10, 2016), there are 15 reviews on Amazon - all positive - and the book has an average score of 4.9 out of 5.

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning 4th Edition

Pour Conclure

For those of you looking to get CSCS certified, this book is a must - you simply won't pass the CSCS exam without it.

What about everyone else, though?

If you're the kind of person who loves reading about exercise in scientific detail?

Absolutely. You'll enjoy the book very much.

Should you buy it if you already train people/athletes?

Despite its minor flaws I mentioned above, I still recommend getting your hands on it.

It covers the fundamentals of exercise science in a way that few other books do.

And those fundamentals shouldn't be overlooked as they provide the base upon which you add more practical knowledge that ultimately determines what and how well you do with your athletes as a strength coach.

Amazon has slashed a few bucks off its regular price, so click the button below to grab Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning at the cheapest rate.

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Yunus Barisik

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, specializes in making hockey players strong, fast and explosive. He has trained 500+ hockey players at the junior, college and pro levels, including NHL Draft picks and World Champions. An accomplished author, Yunus has had articles published on top fitness and performance sites, including T Nation, STACK and Muscle & Strength. He also wrote Next Level Hockey Training, a comprehensive resource for ice hockey players on building athletic strength, size and power, while staying injury-free.

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