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For some time I debated over buying this book, I kept looking at it on Amazon and even added it to my wishlist but still couldn't decide if it was a good idea or a bad one. Then Amazon sent me an email informing me this book had gone down from £20 to £15 and I couldn't resist any longer! Due to having Hypermobility Syndrome my joints move too much and hurt alot and I thought some isometric style exercises might be the way to go. The write up about this book implies it will be packed with isometrics and I thought this would save me having to think up my own exercises.
The book arrived and I informed my physio I would be reading it and would let her know if there were any exercises I was considering so we could run through them together. To be honest I was very excited about the whole thing and had visions of my muscles becoming stronger and my joints less painful.
Isometric exercises have been used in rehabilitation for years, the reason they are recommended is because the joint doesn't move it remains static and the muscle building comes from immoveable force. So for example if you held your arm with the other hand and tried to move it but prevented this from happening with the holding arm that would be isometric. Likewise performing the plank exercise where you hold your body off the ground and keep still is also considered isometric as your body weight provides the resistance. It's simple enough to think of your own exercises but sometimes it's just nice to have someone do that bit for you!
Onto the book. The first thing I noticed about the book is obviously how slim and toned Wendie Pett is on the cover. It didn't take me long however to establish she'd always been slim so anyone hoping to lose weight using this method is barking up the wrong tree. Wendie is a bit preachy if I'm honest in the opening pages of the book, she regales us with tales of how she got into isometrics (hurt her shoulder) and how fantastic they work and how we could all benefit from them and while I saw where she was coming from I felt a bit irritated by her smugness and also thought she maybe didn't understand not every injury can be healed with isometrics. However it was the exercises I was interested in and not the author so onward.
Wendie explains about breathing during exercises, you have to breathe properly or it sends your blood pressure through the roof so anyone with high blood pressure be warned. She also explains about how long to hold the contraction for (mere seconds) and how many reps to do at various different points of the program and then we're onto the exerices themselves.
I have to say the arm section is very good, it gives alot of exercises you could use anywhere to tone your arms up and I liked it. The abdominal section isn't so good as it doesn't really show me anything I haven't already seen and used. Wendie doesn't really cover the deep stabilisers which is a shame but I can't complain about that because this is for the global muscles (outer muscles) and not the local system (inner muscles). I'm actually strong in my upper body but lack strength around the hips and legs so I thumbed through to the lower body section wondering what fantastic exercises I could use from there.
What a disappointment the lower body section is! Wendie Pett seems to be under the impression that women need lots of upper body work but not much lower body. The leg and hip section is a bit of a joke if I'm honest and seems to indicate more in the way of stretchy dance moves like high kicks! She does recommend squats but there are so many things that can go wrong with squats the majority of people will probably not benefit from them. Needless to say the lower body section didn't have anything for people like me with too much flexibility and not enough strength.
Another big problem I have with this book is some of the exercises look downright dangerous and I'd strongly recommend people don't do them. Take for example one where Wendie is in a crab position but she isn't resting on her hands, no, Wendie is resting on her forehead! So all arched over with her upper body weight placed on her head and neck. Now to me that looks like a broken neck waiting to happen, I glanced at that picture and wondered what the publishers thought they were doing suggesting people might like to try that one! I hope they've got a decent disclaimer!
On the plus side if you aren't injured and you did some of the body weight ones, the safe ones like the planks, you would definitely gain muscle strength. On the minus side if you are injured or have joint problems like me these are going to be too difficult to do and there's no build up to them so for us fragile folk this book isn't worth buying. To see if it was just me being negative I gave this to my physio to read, she returned it after a week saying she'd recommend I sold it on to get my money back!
Overall if you are already in good health this book might have some exercises you'll like, particularly if you need arm toning. If you're injured and struggling like me this book will not provide you with more than a couple of exercises you will be able to do and for me was a complete waste of £15.
If you still fancy having a go, remember this review is just my opinion and most people aren't in pain like me, the book is now available for £13.36 delivered from Amazon. I can't recommend it and give it 2 stars, 1 for the arm section and the other for the fact some of the safer exercises will help some people gain some strength. Not for me.