Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Strength and Yoga Anatomy Books

Two good anatomy books I've read recently are today's topic. They are oriented to different specific and non-technical audiences, one for yoga and the other for strength training. Both show the muscles involved in their respective activities and describe technique in anatomical terms.

"Strength Training Anatomy" by Frederic Delavier contains graphically superb and extensively detailed illustrations of athletes doing weight lifting exercises. Not only are the major muscles involved shown, but also pretty much every muscle and bone that would be visible without skin. Proper form is carefully shown and described, with variations for modifying which muscle or muscle part is emphasized. There are also very good explanations of common weight lifting injuries and how to avoid them.

Even though most of the exercises are muscle specific and use single plane of motion machines, while I do exercises involving the entire body, the quality of the book is so high I really enjoyed it. Showing exercises that isolate muscles also helps convey with more anatomical precision what is happening.

The other book is "Yoga Anatomy" by Leslie Kaminoff. It covers a broad scope of hatha yoga asanas and anatomy, but the anatomy is secondary. After some good discussion of breathing and the spine, the book covers individual asanas, detailing the technique and alignment for each. Unfortunately the muscle specifics are a bit vague, at least for my level of anatomical background. For dedicated yoga students and teachers this book will be well worth having, but for non-yogis it won't be very useful.

For someone interested specifically in yoga, or strength training and body building, pick the book with that focus. If you have a general fitness and anatomy interest, I recommend Delavier's book.

A quick garden update- The bean seedlings have emerged with admirable vigor, and I've been thinning them to pick the best.

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