Author: Nick Nilsson
Format: E-Book (Electronic Delivery)
Bonuses: Online Training from Nilsson, Improvising Training Equipment Out Of Anything Ebook, Training Log, Fitness Calculators
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When you first get a look at Nick Nilsson’s large library of sometimes unusual , sometimes terrifying and, yet, always effective exercises, it can be a bit overwhelming.
It’s like “What the $@#%?” and “Oh my God, I’ve hit the motherload” all at once.
If you think you’re pretty knowledgeable on the various exercises available to build muscle and strength but have never trained Nilsson style, you probably don’t know squat.
The “Best Exercise’s You’ve Never Heard Of” series of ebooks Nilsson’s produces are truly fascinating.
The Best Exercise’s You’ve Never Heard Of (the main book that started it all, 53 Exercises that cover all major muscle groups)
- The Best Arm Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of (68 exercises covering the biceps, triceps and forearms)
- The Best Chest Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of (53 exercises covering the pecs)
- The Best Back Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of (145 exercises covering the back)
- The Best Abdominal Exercise’s You’ve Never Heard Of (55 exercises that cover the abs)
Now, it’s nothing special to go “outside-the-box” with exercises. If you’ve been to a gym you’ve undoubtedly seen many exercises you’ve never heard of being performed by newbies. Often these exercises are really just just mistakes of the inexperienced (just recently I saw some tool doing something on a leg press machine that I can’t even describe, except to say I hope he doesn’t dream of future children).
Getting your training “outside-the-box” while maintaining effectiveness and safety can be a completely different story. That’s a place that can be difficult to find. Taking trainers to that place is Nilsson’s specialty. He’s a great guide.
All the exercises are explained thoroughly. There are pictures, descriptions and videos for most. He guides you away from risking injury with the exercises and gives tips on how to best target the muscles you are working.
One thing I’ve noticed about Nilsson is that he has a very good appreciation for exactly what needs to be explained and what needs to be shown.
So many times I see trainers, even some of the best, explain a movement or technique but leave out important parts. Maybe they explain what you are supposed to be doing with your upper body but totally leave you guessing about how your legs should be positioned.
Nilsson does a great job of fully covering all the exercises, leaving you fully prepared and confident to do each. He does the details without being long-winded. If the way to set up a machine is complicated, he shows you. If your stance has an effect on an upper-body exercise, he tells you where you should have it.
It’s those little touches…
As enthralled as I am with this The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of series, they still bring a certain question to my mind…
“Is this really necessary? Is the addition of these exercises to my muscle building arsenal going to help me reach my goals?”
Yes. No. Maybe. Probably not.
It comes down to where you are in your training. If you are a beginner or even an intermediate, these exercises aren’t likely going to represent anything but noise to you (and “noise” can confuse and hamper progress, you are best sticking with the basics – that’s where the results are).
It’s important to note that these aren’t the “best exercises”, they are the “best exercises you’ve never heard of”. Nilsson isn’t saying he’s come up with better exercises than squats or deads.
These exercises aren’t the “secrets of the pros”. I’d wager that few pros have ever heard of, much less performed, the majority of these exercises. They won’t make or break with you.
The above said, the experienced trainer can certainly put these exercises to good use. It isn’t a secret that changing up what you do in the gym can bring a fresh response from your muscles.
Incorporating just a few of these exercises from The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of into your training can certainly help bust you out of a plateau and/or help get a response from a lagging body part. For example, someone who has seemingly tried every mainstream approach to calf building but just can’t get any growth (like me, for one), is going to want to try Nilsson’s Full Range Calf Raises (not likely what you are thinking) or Calf Rock-Ups or Swinging Dumbbell Calf Raises.
I would consider myself a fairly conservative trainer. I learned the lesson I tried to impart five paragraphs up a long time ago – that staying simple and going hard will beat out fancy almost always.
So, I wasn’t really intrigued by the books outside of wanting to review them for the site. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed studying and testing out some of the exercises. I was surprised by how many times I came back and referenced the books.
I was also pleasantly surprised to wake up with calf soreness after working through a few sets of the above referenced exercises. That’s a good thing. It’s something I hadn’t felt in a long time.
4 of 5 Stars: If you are a long-time, serious trainer, if you suffer from routine boredom from time to time, if you like to tinker and try new things, then you are going to really love this series. You will certainly get a lot of new ideas in The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of series. It can reinvigorate not just your body but your mental state as well.
Nilsson does a great job with the subject. His passion is contagious.
But, again, if you aren’t that long-term trainer, if you can’t remember training “years ago”, then this isn’t the best place to look for results. The known exercises are known for a reason… Because they are the best.