BOOK REVIEW: Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts by Frédéric Delavier & Michael Gundill

I spotted Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts, alongside Delavier’s Stretching Anatomy on Amazon.  My friend, Ellen, saw them on my Amazon Wishlist and got them for me to fuel my fitness fanaticism.

Let’s be real – reading about getting fit is easier than doing it.  So, I really appreciated getting this book!

Regrettably, I can only say the generous gifting of the book was enjoyable.  Two terrible books in a row!

Besides being awful, Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts shares some other similarities with Hocus Pocus: Titania’s Book of Spells.  Their pages are both glossy, with narrow margins.  Both make use of bullet lists and pictures or sketches. 

Books trying to keep readers’ attention on dull content employ this tactic – think back to your school text books.

But, where Titania Hardie’s text was a scant 99 pages, this one is nearly 350.  Oh, and the authors share a sexist outlook.

No spoilers.  At least from the beginning of the book – I didn’t finish it.

I’ll admit it: I hate, hate, HATE not finishing a book once I’ve started it.  I’ll slog through almost any writing, just to say I did it.

But, this book rubbed me like nails on a chalkboard from the second sentence on.  It went something like this: Young women using this book gain a hot body for life! 

(In fact, verbatim, it’s “Younger women can use strength training to sculpt an attractive body they can keep all their lives.”)

It tells me, straight away, who the target audience for this book really is.  It’s the men looking at the women who have used this book.  It’s not for women at all.

Maybe it’s better that I didn’t finish the book.  Having only read the intro and about 20 pages of the text, I won’t bore you with my rants for an entire 350-page crap-fest.

The intro could have been gender neutral, or cut and pasted from a “men’s fitness” book with minimal change needed.  I’d expect, in a book dedicated to women’s fitness and health, the author would present data on women.  Here, most of the intro’s facts are gender neutral, unclear, or based on experiments using only male subjects.

It’s also obvious that the authors wanted their readers to recall certain facts.  Either that, or they think their readers are idiots.  The text is repetitious, going so far as to define “over-training” (and warning against it) twice in one sentence.

After that rocky start, the text goes into an explanation of safe training practices and developing your unique exercise program.  It almost recaptured my interest for a couple of paragraphs.

The authors lay out what muscle groups to work, the number of reps and sets, and whether to use free weights or machines.  They play up using machines, noting that machines work multiple joints.  However, I think the writers would have made a stronger point if they explained that free weights involve a range of motion and level of balance that beginners might find hard. 

I think I found this part enjoyable because it was genderless.  When they were describing muscle groups and the exercises, for the most part, the focus was solely on the workout.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a gal when it comes to safety and form!

Of course, the neutral language doesn’t last.  The authors start inserting gender nouns where they aren’t necessary (example: “sedentary women” used when the comment applies to “sedentary people”). 

I glanced at the book again when I writing this review.  It has been such a long time since I DNF it.  I wanted to remember exactly why I was so disgusted.

150 pages about lifting the glutes and shaping comely legs.  40 pages on flattening the abdominal muscles.  Toning the back and shoulders so that they roll back, flattering and pressing the breasts forward.

But, of course, the arms and back can’t be too bulky.  Because “[overly] developed upper traps (trapezius muscles) are not aesthetically pleasing on women” (page 219).

That’s what I found when just flipping through to see what I missed by not finishing.  Clearly, I missed more sexism dressed up to sound objective.

Final Score:

1 out of 5 stars!  If I could, I would score it “0 out of 5 stars.”  The fact that it has images and sketches of exercises is enough for a star, I guess.  I’m keeping the book for that reason. 

Maybe I’ll use it to make an exercise program in the future.  An exercise program that isn’t just to make sure my butt looks good.

Now, I’m not saying men can’t write an exercise book for women.  But, Frédéric Delavier & Michael Gundill make it clear they believe women exercise to look pretty.  Their readers don’t use the book to better themselves; it’s so others think they’re “aesthetically pleasing.”

I’ve done weight and strength training since college.  It’s a sexist environment.  It’s hard enough trying to work out in a room full of meatheads.  I feel like they’re either looking at my body or silently critiquing my program.

I don’t want to have to imagine them doing it while I’m reading.  The text was vile.


4 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts by Frédéric Delavier & Michael Gundill

    • AW! Thank you!! I am trying to rush through about 2 years worth of backlogged reviews, so if you really like ’em, you’ll get to see plenty more!

      The books I’m reading right now are both really good. I stopped reading one on G-d to read a friend’s eBook. Have you read any good books lately? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always seem to have a backlog on everything. I’m still getting Kindle books every month since I got Prime and a free book every month can’t be turned down. I’m currently on a book I got in 2019 (so almost caught up, right?)

        Let me look though the last books I’ve read and see if any of them were good:

        Currently reading An Equal Justice (should finish it today) will probably get 4 out of 5 stars
        before that was

        A Transcontinental Affair – a journey across the country in the late 1800s on a Pullman Train – was good and enjoyed the history part, but could have been better

        The Dressmaker’s Gift – switched between current time and WWII – a lady goes to Paris as a fashion designer because of a picture she has of her grandmother. She learns the grandmother’s story about being in occupied France during the war. Another good but not great

        The Man who Played with Fire – If you ever read/watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, this might be a must read. The book starts off explaining the obsession the author of that series had with finding out who killed the prime minister of Sweden in 1986. He uncovered a lot, did take a break and wrote the series, but never completely solved the mystery. The author of this book continued the investigation of the assignation.

        Every Thing You Are – I don’t remember it, but I finished it quickly. Not sure what that says about the book

        Little Voices – Another one I don’t remember, but I think I liked it. Guess that’s not much of an endorsement

        Those Who Wander – extremely depressing book and the homeless and how it happens – written by a journalist about her times researching this topic

        And now we’re getting to books I’m having a hard time remembering without looking them up 😦

        A quick look down the list that I do remember really liking are:
        Forgotten Bones – supernatural mystery
        One Word Kills – geeky type mystery
        Smoke and Summons – another supernatural story

        Aren’t you glad you ask. Miss seeing you online, but I think this might make up for it (until I fall hopelessly behind here too)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Have you seen my posts? They’re 99% book reviews – of course I’m glad I asked you about your reading habits!!

        Your description of One Word Kills makes me want to know more. LOL


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