You can do a lot of consistent weight lifting in 30 years. And over the course of three decades spent coaching and strength training, you may pick up a few things. Today I’m going to round out my Mark Rippetoe reviews with this look at Strong Enough? Thoughts From 30 Years of Barbell Training.
There is a line in Braveheart where someone says “Uncompromising are easy to admire.” I view Mr. Rippetoe as an uncompromising man. He says what he thinks, he thinks what he wants, and if you don’t like it, well–go talk to someone else about it. Strong Enough is a book of essays in which the man calls it as he sees it.
Rippetoe can write lucidly and at great length about the major barbell lifts like the deadlift, squat, bench press, and overhead press, and there are some great tips in this book for anyone looking to experiment and hone their technique. There are some very technical essays here about the mechanics of lifting, which will appeal to serious students of the iron game.
Most interesting to me, however, are the anecdotes. A man who has spent this long immersed in the culture of lifting has seen a lot of things. Strange things. Funny things. Inspiring things and things that made him roll his eyes and groan. For me, this is Mark Rippetoe at his best–when he is talking about something that disgusts him, or something that he loves. Both are to be found in equal measure in Strong Enough.
I’ve heard it said that if Starting Strength was the next best thing to having personal coaching from Mr. Rippetoe, then Strong Enough? was the next best thing to having a beer with him. I like that. That sums up what I meant about his weight lifting cultural observations as anything else I could say.
If you’re still reading this review, you probably already know who this man is. As such, you’re probably going to read this book. I highly recommend it to any fans of strength, barbells, humor, technical lifting, and the like. But some of it is quite technical and left me dozing when I tried to read about barbell path at bedtime.
For sheer humor, my favorite book by Mark is still Mean Ol’ Mr. Gravity, but that’s mostly because it is largely full of “Why would you even ask that?” type moments.