💪Books & Biceps - Issue 165

3 questions with Elgin Baylor's biographer, an energizing upper body circuit and Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Every Friday I write an email recommending books & workouts including interviews with the authors and trainers who wrote them. If you would like to receive this directly in your inbox, subscribe now.


NBA Legend Elgin Baylor passed away recently and one of the themes surrounding his legacy was that…well…too many people weren’t aware of how astonishing his legacy really was. Not that being an 11x all-star, 10x first-team All NBA member and one of the top 50 greatest players ever wasn’t enough… It’s just that for those who have studied Baylor, he was arguably one of the top five most important NBA players ever from a talent, style and character standpoint. Bijan C. Bayne wrote the definitive book on Baylor: Elgin Baylor: The Man Who Changed Basketball and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the book. I’ve always loved the format of Esquire’s ‘What I’ve Learned’ interviews, so I’m just going to let Bayne take it from here.

1 - In the early 2000s it dawned on me that of Wilt/Oscar/Elgin/West/Russell there was only one missing biography. And that in the other two major North American team sports, there were biographies of Sayers & Mays. I began wondering why nothing on the Sayers or Mays of pro basketball?

2 - The word "superstar" was coined to describe Baylor.

3 - I enjoyed interviewing Baylor's college coach John Castellani, in part because I couldn't believe the good fortune he was alive. But speaking of that, I was highly blessed to speak with the nation's biggest Elgin Baylor fan, former Globetrotters' PA announcer David Stone.

You can buy Elgin Baylor HERE. And you can follow Bijan C. Bayne on Twitter HERE.


I found a great upper body circuit this week from one of the trainers I follow on Instagram. I personally liked it because it’s got a lot of full body/upper body movement and you can choose to do it with lighter weights for a lot of rounds or heavier weights for less rounds.

The circuit involves sets of eight for as many rounds as possible… which is a ton or a few based on the weight you pick.

8 dumbbell clean and press

8 dumbbell gorilla rows

8 dumbbell push ups

8 ab rollouts

The routine was created by trainer Ben Barker and you can watch him do it here.

I also spoke to Ben, who shared why he likes this routine so much:

“I’m always interested in optimizing training and being more effective with my time. I love this upper body circuit because it simultaneously elevates the heart rate as well as using functional, compound movements to build muscle!”

Kick Ass Quote of the Week

"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret."

- Jackie Joyner-Kersee


Yesterday was Opening Day and I shared this short Twitter thread of the best Opening Day I ever attended at Fenway Park with my dad…and we didn’t even get to see a game.

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PS - Have you pre-ordered my book, ‘1996’ yet?It comes out May 11th and I cannot wait to share a few of the legendary writers who have endorsed it. I mean, these are some of my all-time favorites. Lots of giveaways coming up so keep your screenshot when you get it.

Buy '1996: A Biography' Right Now

And follow me on Twitter before you go —> HERE