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Book Review - Muscle Up

Image by Arvi Pandey from Pixabay

Image by Arvi Pandey from Pixabay

Book: Muscle Up: How Strength Training Beats Obesity, Cancer and Heart Disease and Why Everyone Should Do It
Writer: P.D. Mangun
Year:   2015
Pages: 140

This is another one of those book reviews that you, dear reader, may be tempted to go right passed. Don’t do it! Because maybe it has never crossed your mind to lift weights. But alas… everyone should! Yep! EVERYONE! Young, old, weak, strong, everybody. PLEASE KEEP READING!

This book in three sentences:

  1. Strength training is THE most potent form of exercise.
  2. Strength training beats every other form of exercise, hands-down.
  3. Anyone serious about their health, must strength train. (Does it sound like I’m repeating myself?)


This is a terrific book because it details, with sources, the almost unlimited benefit of strength training. Mr. Mangun is just a regular guy who somehow reads and digests scientific data and regurgitates it in very clear and concise language. He doesn’t use a ton of gym jargon; he just builds his case like an attorney would. By the time you have finished reading, it is pretty hard to find an excuse not to strength train. But this is not primarily a “how-to” book, this is a “why-to” book. Honestly, why would anyone spend time building strength?

Perhaps a better question is not why anyone would, but with all the benefits, why not? Robust health, as we age, cannot be divorced from muscle mass. The less muscle mass you have the more susceptible you are to sickness and incapacity. And I know some of you are thinking muscle mass is synonymous with massive muscles, but they are two very different things. Stop thinking bodybuilding and start thinking body resilience and longevity building.


According to Mr. Mangun, proper strength training has been shown to prevent certain forms of cancer. Proper strength training can prevent you from developing cardiovascular disease. Proper strength training can keep you lean, or at least leaner, by improving your metabolism. Proper strength training can be a hedge against aging. Proper strength training can increase testosterone in men. Do I need to continue? What other type of exercise can claim all this? As I said, Mangun provides all the references in the back of the book to substantiate his claims. And Mangun, from the other things I have read of his, is typically spot on.

Proper strength training really is the best bang for the buck for robust health and longevity.

Notice I keep saying “Proper”? Well, there is a right and a wrong way to strength train. Most people do either too much or too little. Finding that sweet spot is not only doable but surprisingly simple.

Gym memberships are incredibly cheap these days, truly everyone can afford one. “But I do my own routine at home”, I can hear some of you saying. Home gyms are nice and all, but most people don’t use them because there is always something else that needs to be done, immediately staring you in the face. Go somewhere else to workout, where like-minded people are gaining strength too. Plus, the equipment at the gym gets regular maintenance, something I’m guessing most home gyms don’t get.

Folks, don’t be intimidated by gyms. Join one. Then ask me or Alysson for a workout. Heck, I will even meet you at a local gym (except the rec center, they have paid professionals) and get you set-up. We use the Idaho Fitness Factory. Planet Fitness is also a good choice or any of the other 24-hour fitness places. They all will make you stronger. But only if you go!

“I don’t have time!” is the other push back I hear. Like I said, the sweet spot is about 30 minutes two times a week, depending on your goals. If you can carve out that much, you can become stronger. And if you are stronger, you live better and potentially… longer. No question.

We have had folks in their 80’s begin regular proper strength training and they are benefiting greatly. Age is no excuse. Buy a cool outfit and go!

Stay strong!


There is one copy in the office for checking out or go to Amazon: Muscle Up Quite worth the read!

Here is a list of a few local options with a link to their websites:

Idaho Fitness Factory: Idaho Fitness Factory
24-Four Fitness: 24 Hour Fitness
Anytime Fitness: Anytime Fitness
Planet Fitness: Planet Fitness

Pick one as close to home as possible!

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