Best Strength Training Books – 17 Essential Reads for Gym Goers
The internet is an amazing resource for gaining knowledge and information. But is does have its downfall:
Information online is often broken down into single pages or topics, which makes learning a large amount of information on a single subject rather time-consuming.
If you ever want a deep-dive into a topic, reading a book by experts in the field is still the way to go. That's why I have created my ultimate list of the best strength training books available.
They say knowledge is power. Well, in this case its strength and power!
Below is a series of what I feel are essential books for different aspects of strength training.
I have broken them down into categories for easy navigation but many books overlap and could have gone into multiple categories.
In all honesty, you will learn something from any book on this list, no matter what type of training you are involved with.
Best Weight Lifting Books for Beginners
Practical Programming for Strength Training - Mark Rippetoe & Andy Baker
Best Powerlifting Books
Powerlifting - Dan Austin & Bryan Mann
Westside Barbell Book of Methods - Louie Simmons
Louie Simmons and his Westside Barbell brand is a huge name in powerlifting. His methods are somewhat divisive but they have certainly made an impact on the powerlifting world.
The writing is pretty sporadic but there is a lot of information to give you some different views and methods of training.
Best Bodybuilding Books
New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Best Olympic Weightlifting Books
The Weightlifting Encyclopedia - Arthur Drechsler
Best Books for Strength Coaches and Advanced Lifters
Scientific principles of strength – Dr. Mike Israetel, James Hoffman and Chad Wesley-Smith
As the title suggests, this book provides an in-depth look at the science and principles behind programming for short and long-term strength gain.
Definitely not for the beginner lifter but coaches and individuals who are looking to learn about proper program design will benefit from this one.
The Science and Practice of Strength Training – Vladimir Zatoriorsky and William Kraemer
I would deem this to be almost essential reading for anybody involved with strength training.
Divided into 3 parts, the book covers a wide variety of practical information as it relates to strength training.
There is a lot of scientific information and it is rather textbook-like but is still readable and digestible for anybody.
Essentials of Strength and Conditioning - Gregory Haff and Travis Triplett
Best Movement and Mobility Books
Becoming a Supple Leopard - Dr. Kelly Starrett
Movement - Gray Cook
Gray's book outlines the importance of assessing and fixing dysfunctional movement patterns to improve performance and reduce injury occurrence.
The book is a textbook style book and is certainly not light reading. However, it provides a great deal of important information for serious lifters, athletes and coaches.
Best Calisthenics and Bodyweight Training Books
Never Gymless - Ross Enamait
This is a 230 page book that covers a wide range of exercises and their progressions for a number of different training goals.
The book also features information on programming and periodization for bodyweight exercises as well as sample routines.
Note: purchase this from Ross's website (rosstraining.com); it's way cheaper than Amazon!
Other Great Books for Strength Enthusiasts and Lifters
This section is for books that I love but don't necessarily fit into the categories above. However, I think lifters will get a lot out of reading them. I imagine this section will be added to and updated the most over time.
Never Let Go: A philosophy of lifting, living and learning - Dan John
For now, that concludes my list. I know there are plenty of others great books that could have gone into the list.
However, if you just read the books listed here to start with, you will gain more knowledge than you know what to do with.
Let me know what you think of my list in the comments and suggest some of your own for me to read myself.