Advance reviews

These professionals were invited to review an advance copy of The Physics of Fitness and offer their feedback.

“The Physics of Fitness is absolutely superb. Doug’s unique combination of biomechanics/physics knowledge and practical/competitive bodybuilding experience provides a perfect background/basis for his excellent advice on exercise selection and performance. Because I am an old timer who has studied this area extensively (although much more of my research is in the area of exercise physiology than biomechanics), I was actually aware of many of the principles and concepts that he presents.

However, I did not have the confidence to change my workout exercises until I read  Doug’s compelling advice. He is indeed a qualified expert in academic knowledge, muscle development, and athletic achievement. Also, I have never read any author who is more proficient at illustrating complex concepts with clear/practical/sensible examples that the average reader can understand and apply.”

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D.
Professor of Exercise Science

“I found The Physics of Fitness to be absolutely fascinating.  Clearly, the human body is made up of levers, which naturally follow the same rules of physics as do all other mechanical systems and structures.  I found it remarkable that Doug Brignole was able to apply these well-established principles to the human anatomy, in the performance of resistance exercise, and then simplify the myriad of recommendations we are all given by the fitness industry, down to that which is most efficient and safe.

This is the best book on the subject of resistance exercise I’ve ever seen.  In fact, I cannot imagine anyone being in the business of teaching resistance exercise, and NOT understanding the bio-mechanical principles which are presented in this book.  After reading Doug’s book, I made several changes to my own workout regime and can attest that I feel better and see improved results.”

Jeffrey Mackey, Ph.D.
Astrophysics engineer, Professor of Physics
Consultant for NASA

“The physics principles Doug Brignole discusses in The Physics of Fitness, are universal principles.  They apply to all things that are mechanical or structural.  The human body is both mechanical and structural.  The concept of applying these formulae to resistance exercise, in order to determine which exercises provide more or less load on specific muscles – as compared to the actual amount of weight being lifted – is extremely sensible and practical.  Doug has done a good job of simplifying what is otherwise a very complex mechanical analysis, involving considerable math.  For the purpose of acquiring a basic understanding of how to maximize exercise efficiency and minimize injury risk, I believe The Physics of Fitness is an important contribution to the Fitness Industry.”

Jacob Rosen, PhD
(Physics / Mechanical Engineering / Biomedical Engineering)

“In The Physics of Fitness, Doug Brignole uses a rational and systematic approach to answer the question: What are the most efficient movements for building muscle? Drawing from anatomy, physics, exercise science, and extensive experience, Brignole makes a compelling case that a specific set of basic movements should make up the bulk of a person’s physical culture practice, while dispelling a number of fitness industry myths in the process.”

Stephan J. Guyenet, Ph.D.

“Doug Brignole’s extensive knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system, as demonstrated in The Physics of Fitness, is very impressive.  It is obvious that he has done quite a bit of research and study, and that he clearly understands the mechanics of body.

What’s most astounding, is his ability to then connect the ideal mechanics of the human body, with the physics that makes an exercise more or less efficient (muscle load versus energy cost).  It’s wonderful to see resistance exercise being approached from the perspective of safe and efficient movement, instead of the contortionist version we often see, or focusing primarily on simply moving a very heavy weight.  It makes good sense to exercise in ways that provide a muscle with the most load, while simultaneously reducing the stress on the bones and joints.”

Ronald Kvitne, M.D.
Orthopedic Surgeon

“In the many years in which I’ve been involved in weight lifting, power lifting and physical fitness, I’ve never read a more intelligent analysis of the biomechanics of resistance exercise, for the purpose of physique / muscular development, than The Physics of Fitness. Doug Brignole has done a remarkable job of explaining the elements that factor into this type of training.  This book will likely revolutionize the way ‘resistance exercise’ is taught from this point forward.”

Fred Hatfield, Ph.D.
(Sports Psychology)

“The human evolutionary lineage is marked by its unique brain, which has expanded in size by roughly 300% over the last three million years. However, the changes in our brain and behavior follow and build upon the evolution of upright posture and bipedal locomotion that began at least six million years ago. That revolution in locomotion set in motion profound anatomical changes throughout the human postcranial skeleton. These occur not only in the legs and feet, but also in the shoulders, arms, hands, and back. All of these evolutionary skeletal changes have had multiple consequences in changing muscle masses, origins, and insertions.

Doug Brignole’s The Physics of Fitness is a rare example of a work on exercise training that is not based on repetition of approaches using stock movements sanctioned by long traditional use. Rather, it is based on an original, informed understanding of the primary function of each muscle. This knowledge has then been used to generate productive resistance curves that maximize the benefit of each given exercise, while minimizing injuries that could result from unnecessary joint strain. As an evolutionary biologist, I often am told that knowledge of human adaptive change over time is interesting but of no practical use. Now, thanks to Doug Brignole’s book, I can say that awareness of our unique long-term human musculoskeletal adaptations can be used to establish the basis for more effective exercise with reduced probability of injury. That’s practical.”

Bob Eckhardt, PhD

“So much of what is considered ‘conventional wisdom’ about resistance exercise exists as anecdote – ‘tips’ passed down from one person to another. Belief of the effectiveness of certain exercises is often garnered by the appearance of the person promoting that exercise, as if there isn’t a better method by which exercises can be evaluated. Ignored in all this is the bio-mechanical factors that are involved in each exercise.

In The Physics of Fitness, Doug Brignole has tackled this problem successfully by presenting, in a precise and easy-to-understand manner, how the musculoskeletal system works, and the role of physics during resistance exercise. The brilliance of this book is Doug’s ability to explain and illustrate to the reader how this knowledge can be utilized to get the best results, with the least wasted energy and the least risk of injury.”

David H. Le, M.D.
(Orthopedic Surgeon)

“As a professor of Sociology, my focus is on the cultural behaviors that are adopted by populations – often in the absence of good reasoning.  Humans tend to be ‘copy cats’, which is evidenced by fashion trends, the use of slang, and also religious, cultural and political views.  Therefore, it’s easy to see how an obsession with ‘physical power’ has allowed exercise bias to exist for many decades.  This appears to have lead many people to favor ‘compound’ exercises, and eschew ‘isolation’ exercises, even though physics and anatomical analysis do not support those beliefs.

In The Physics of Fitness, Doug Brignole does a great job of breaking down the physics of what determines the load on a muscle, thereby revealing that traditional exercise selections are often based more on bias than on science, or even logic.  This book reveals that there are far better ways of achieving one’s goal of muscular development – with less wasted effort and less abuse on the joints – than has been used traditionally.”

Adrian Tan, Ph.D.

“One of the outstanding features of Doug Brignole’s extraordinary exploration of The Physics of Fitness is his appreciation for the importance of addressing psychological factors affecting exercise practices, athleticism definitions, strength building assumptions, and resistance to changing routines used to achieve different fitness goals.

Doug not only raises the bar in physical training by his vast experience and expertise in biomechanics, he also raises awareness of the profound roles played by personal biases, historical beliefs, and societal values in our pursuit of athletic prowess and muscular development.

The synergy of Doug’s disciplined dedication to the art of bodybuilding, discernment of the science of exercise, and passionate commitment to education elevates the fitness community.”

Ellen Basian, Ph.D.

“I have known Doug Brignole since 1986, when we presented a series of sports and fitness seminars in Pasadena, California. Throughout the years, Doug´s theoretical and practical expertise has stood as a national and international reference in the field. This book – The Physics of Fitness – contains a wealth of knowledge regarding proper training procedures and methodology as viewed from the perspective of a bodybuilding champion as well as a person of great maturity and wisdom. I have learned a great deal from Doug, and it is my sincere wish that you will too.”

Guillermo A. Laich, M.D., Ph.D.

“Doug Brignole brings together cutting edge exercise science and decades of experience as a world-class athlete in The Physics of Fitness. As a former engineer and professional bodybuilder, I appreciate the solid foundation of exercise science combined with real world applications. The concepts presented are solid, and once mastered, will take your training to a new level. This book is a MUST-READ, if you’re serious about understanding the WHY’s and HOW’s of all the sets, reps and training that you do as an athlete.”

Lee Labrada
International Professional Bodybuilding Champion

“I’ve known Doug Brignole since 1979.  We met when he was competing for the Teenage Mr. California title, at the age of 19.  Throughout my many years involved in the sport, I can honestly say that Doug is one of the most passionate, sincere and intelligent of all the bodybuilders I have had the pleasure to know.  There are very few bodybuilders who have achieved the same degree of physique elegance and artistry as Doug Brignole, and there are probably very few scholars (non-bodybuilders) who have reached the level of knowledge related exercise mechanics, as Doug Brignole. But Doug has achieved both.

The Physics of Fitness is the culmination of Doug’s 40+ years in the sport, passionately pursuing the ultimate in physical development, as well as the scientific knowledge of how to best optimize efficient biomechanics.  It’s an honor to regard Doug Brignole as my friend, and my pleasure to recommend this outstanding book.”

Samir Bannout
(1983 Mr. Olympia)

The Physics of Fitness is a welcome addition to the fitness industry, which fills a gap that no other book has filled. I wish I had this information years ago. I would have avoided injuries and not wasted time on useless exercises. Great going, Doug!”

Richard Baldwin, Ph.D.