The Elite Trainer Book Review

The Elite Trainer by John Paul Catanzaro is a synthesis of the very latest thinking in strength training and an indispensable guide to developing individualized programs for recreational and professional athletes.

John Paul Catanzaro, B.Sc., C.E.P., C.K., is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and a Certified Kinesiologist with a Specialized Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Health Science. He owns and operates a private training facility in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

Ten years ago, Catanzaro was asked to do a presentation on strength training program design. Originally, the book started off as a one-page outline for that lecture. As more talks were prepared on the subject, more information was added to the outline until the document was hundreds of pages long! It dawned on Catanzaro at that point that this would be a perfect manual for personal trainers, strength coaches, and other fitness professionals. He stopped adding and started refining, and in November of 2011, the book was finally released.

There is an art and science to strength training – the science involves more than just sets and reps though. Key parameters such as rest interval, tempo, and duration are often overlooked. The Elite Trainer introduces the theory behind strength training – what is required to design an effective program – and then delves into the programs themselves. The art, of course, is being able to implement these principles.

As Catanzaro states: “The state of strength training in North America is outdated. We seem to be many years behind the Europeans in this field. Most of the curriculum in our schools today deals with aerobic training spurred by the Dr. Kenneth Cooper movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. To make matters worse, the value of many fitness certification programs is suspect, as they recommend lengthy aerobic sessions, inappropriate static stretching during warm-ups, inferior isolation and machine-based circuits, partial range movements (e.g., half squats versus full squats), and so forth. Many trainers blindly follow this advice without questioning the rationale.”

The Elite Trainer provides 55 programs and over 100 exercise illustrations, covers dozens of training methods and cutting-edge techniques, and has been thoroughly researched with well over 300 references, including obscure material from Europe that was translated for the book. Intensity, volume, density, repetitions, sets, tempo, time under tension, rest interval, exercise selection and sequence, load selection, duration, and frequency are all covered in detail(in easy-to-understand language.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a beginner, The Elite Trainer provides a wealth of information that can be put to use immediately – you will be armed with all the tools necessary to construct and put into action an effective strength training program. At 201 pages in length, The Elite Trainer provides quality content with a perfect amount of text and illustrations. It truly is a great read!

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