Updated Edition of Becoming a Supple Leopard -- A Book Review

**Make sure to read all the way through this post to find out how you can win a free copy of the Updated and Expanded Edition of Becoming a Supple Leopard.**

In my eagerness for every human on earth to own, read and use this book (Becoming a Supple Leopard or BASL), I will try not to just give everything in the book away in this review. I do want Dr. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza to be compensated for the work they have put in. Just know it is very hard for me to summarize this book.

It’s like when you buy a new car and someone asks you about your new car. You can’t just say, “well, it’s pretty cool … and it’s red.” It’s more like, “GET OVER HERE AND GET IN MY NEW RED CAR AND WE ARE GOING TO RIDE AROUND FOR AN HOUR AND YOU HAVE TO CHECK THIS CAR OUT AND IT HAS 1,000 HORSEPOWER AND YOU WON’T EVEN BELIEVE THIS!!!!!” That’s where I’m coming from.

The updated and expanded edition of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Becoming a Supple Leopard -- The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance is a book that is on the top of my list when someone asks me "what are the most important books in your life?"

Dr. Starrett (with help from Cordoza) takes an incredibly complex and confusing topic -- the correct ways in which humans are designed to move -- and puts it in a format that the “average human” has no choice but to comprehend.

A quote from the beginning of Part I -- “Prioritizing spinal mechanics is the first and most important step in rebuilding and ingraining functional motor patterns, optimizing movement efficiency, maximizing force production and avoiding injury.” (I have that one in the ole memory bank -- it’s a “keeper”).

So that quote is specific to prioritizing spinal mechanics. But, in my opinion, the benefits from prioritizing spinal mechanics also apply for moving in correct ways from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. So it could also read,

“Understanding correct movement and doing the mobilizations from BASL are the first and most important steps in rebuilding and ingraining functional motor control, optimizing movement efficiency, maximizing force production and avoiding injury.”

To put it even more broadly -- “if you want to make correct motor control an automatic function, optimize movement efficiency, maximize force production, and avoid injury, read BASL and do what it says.”

It starts with spinal mechanics, but it also applies to the global movement picture here.

If you own the first edition and use it regularly, that’s a good start. If you don’t own the first edition or don’t use the one you have, you’re in luck because this is like missing out on the iPhone 3 then ending up with the iPhone 62.

So what’s new in the updated edition? How could it get anymore comprehensive?

  • 80 more pages
  • 50 more mobility techniques
  • an entire new chapter on body archetypes and the “tunnel”
  • Chapter highlights at the end of each chapter
  • Colored tabs on the sides of the pages making it easier to find what you’re looking for
  • New graphics and illustrations which make it much easier to understand
  • An entire section in the back of nothing but mobility prescriptions

The first edition was marketed towards doctors and healthcare professionals. This one is more directed to the layman -- or the person without an extensive bio-mechanical background.

Not only do I mobilize daily using this book as a guide, the handful of collegiate athletes I work with get a large dose of BASL several times per week. And the athletes that take it seriously and do the work are seeing MASSIVE gains in their mobility and ranges of motion which is translating to MASSIVE gains in their performance in the weight room and on the practice field.

The book is broken down into four parts:

Part I -- Principles and Theory

“Principles” as in the principles of optimal human movement. This section includes all the information you need to navigate the rest of the book. It must not be skipped over.  

Part II -- Categories of Movement

Dr. Starrett breaks down the three categories of movement which are designated by positions of high stability (PHS) and whether or not the connection is lost within the movement. For example, in an air squat you start from the top, go down to the bottom position and come back up without removing tension. In a squat jump, you start from the top, drop down to the bottom, come back up to the top, then the connection/tension is lost while you are in the air...but you need to land in a stable position. Those are two very different movements.

Part III -- Mobilization Techniques

This section starts with a list of tools you need to mobilize: bands, lacrosse balls, foam rollers, floss bands, etc…

And this will be the section of the book you probably use the most. It starts with Area 1: Jaw, Head and Neck, and ends with Area 14: Ankle, Foot and Toes. So, yeah, it’s comprehensive.

Part IV -- Mobility Prescriptions

This is a new edition and one that I am stoked about. Don’t want to have to go through Part III and decide which mobilizations to do on any given day? No worries. Got some knee pain? Check out the four knee pain prescriptions. Upper back pain? There’s a prescription for that. Hip impingement issues? Yup. One for that, too. The prescriptions give you the mobilizations to do, how long to do them, and a total time each prescription will take. It’s. Genius.

I recommend that everyone read the entire book straight through. But you don’t have to do that. Read Part I then use the rest of it on an “as needed” basis. Bottom line is this -- USE IT.

I can think of only one human on earth that shouldn’t be required to own this book -- Dr. Kelly Starrett...because he wrote it. Everyone else is on the hook.

Think about this: as glued up as your joints are today, that’s as mobile and flexible as you’re ever going to be from this point forward...unless you DO something about it. Don’t wait. 10-15 minutes a day of this stuff will change your movement patterns which will ultimately change your entire life.

Pre-order a copy today. Then go subscribe to Starrett’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/sanfranciscocrossfit

Starting on May 6, 2015, Starrett started a 14-day mobility challenge -- basically giving you a glimpse at some of the new programming.

You can also hear Starrett on the Simply Human Podcast, Episode 39 or find it on iTunes.


OK -- now for the giveaway part. This post was linked on the Simply Human Facebook page. Like the page and share the post and you will be entered into a drawing.

This will also be on twitter. Follow @SimplyHuman52 on twitter and re-tweet the link, and you'll also be eligible to win. We'll do the drawing the day the book comes out -- May 19, 2015.

The other way you can win a free book is by signing up for the Simply Human Reset. Read about it here. The first person who signs up gets the other free book.

Good luck and thanks for reading!