Elite Physique — by Chad Waterbury

Title: Elite Physique
Author: Chad Waterbury
Year: 2021
Publisher: Human Kinetics


It’s always good to read the latest training books and keep up with what’s happening in the world of bodybuilding, fitness, strength and conditioning.

One of the most recent training books that has become available (as an ebook and paperback) is “Elite Physique” by Chad Waterbury. If bodybuilding and strength training is your passion (like it is mine), chances are that you will have heard of Chad Waterbury. If you haven’t, Chad is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), neurophysiologist, coach, writer, and author of several bodybuilding books.

“Elite Physique” is Divided into 4 Parts and 12 Chapters

“Elite Physique” is divided into four parts with a total of 12 chapters. In the three chapters of part 1 Chad explains assessments to test your balance, mobility, strength, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

This will give you a good indication of your own strengths and weaknesses and give you some awareness of what areas need attention. Goal setting advice is provided to help you make progress to improve your muscularity, body composition and strength.

Like myself, if you enjoy the science of muscle-building, there is sufficient scientific talk in these chapters, especially in chapter 3. You’ll get familiar with terms like motor unit recruitment and postactivation potentiation, stuff that’s important to know as you become more serious about your training. It’s all nicely written and presented in a way that’s easy enough to digest without becoming overwhelming to the reader.

There are over 100 Exercises Featured

Over 100 exercises are featured in part 2 of “Elite Physique”. Each exercise has photos and clear guidelines on how to perform it with useful coaching cues at the bottom of the page.

Lower body training is covered first in part 2. The meat and potatoes of any leg programme – squats and deadlifts – are described well and their importance is emphasised by the author.

Multiple variations of each of these exercises are shown to suit different body types and goals. It’s not just about legs in this section either; some exercises are included to help you build glutes of steel.

Crunches are Dumped for Safer, Anti-Rotation Exercises

There’s not a sit up or crunch in sight in the core chapter. Chad has opted for far safer and more productive anti-rotation exercises, the Pallof Press for instance, and several plank variations to build your midsection muscles.

The highly effective Farmer’s Walk is included as a full-body exercise which strengthens your core and multiple other muscle groups.

The upper body training chapter features an equally impressive array of exercises. Plenty of lifters will be satisfied to see that familiar exercises like the much-loved bench press and lat pulldown can be found in this section.

Lesser-known exercises such as the Ahrens Press and the Yates Row will interest those who like to explore and add variation to their workouts. Being a fan of gymnast ring training, I was pleased to see a good selection of ring exercises in this chapter to challenge your upper body muscles.

There are lots of Suggestions for Putting Muscle-Building Routines Together

If you need a bit of guidance in constructing muscle-building routines after learning about the exercises presented in the book, you’ll find lots of suggestions in part 3 of “Elite Physique”.

Straight sets, drop sets and circuits are some examples of training methods recommended to stimulate muscle growth. Several workout plans are shown for lifters who want to build muscle and for those who want to lose fat.

Chad reinforces the importance of optimising the use of time in a workout and avoiding unnecessary and unproductive training techniques or exercises. There is also some great information on High Frequency Training (HFT) in this section, a topic which Chad is hugely knowledgeable about.

Diet & Macronutrients are Covered

No bodybuilding book would be complete without a mention about diet. The final part of “Elite Physique” explains macronutrients and recommends food sources for each type. These pages contain useful information about intermittent fasting, a powerful and effective method for losing body fat.

Chapter 12, the last in the book, is the one I found particularly interesting. Written for lifters with a few decades’ of training under their belts, Chad gives his perspective on the changes needed in your training as you age. Being a middle-aged lifter myself, this felt like a perfect way to bring “Elite Physique” to a close.


Having read many of Chad Waterbury’s articles over the years I knew that this book would deliver on the high standard that I expected. He has brought much of his lifetime of training knowledge to “Elite Physique”, educating the reader well on every page.

The exercise selection is superb, showing a good amount of modern-day exercises and the all-important basics that have been around for generations.

If building a lean and muscular body is your goal, reading “Elite Physique” will give you the knowledge that you need.

Favourite Chapters: Upper Body Training (Chapter 7), and Strong and Lean for Life (Chapter 12).

Favourite Quote: “When you see big glutes, thighs, and calves on a guy it just screams “power!”

Favourite Exercise: Ring pull up

Book Rating: 9.5/10

Have you read Elite Physique? What were the best takeaways from it? What are your favourite types of workouts? Join in the discussion below and on FacebookTwitter & Instagram

Alan Riseborough

Alan is a strength and physique enthusiast and has 28 years' of training experience behind him. He has competed in powerlifting, arm wrestling, bodybuilding and grip strength competitions. He also includes rigorous bodyweight, sprinting and kettlebell training regularly in his routines. He believes in the transformative power of the squat which is (believe it or not) his favourite exercise!

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