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The Required Reading List for Strength and Power

Lyle "L3"
The list author says: "This list is geared towards saving those who find strength training and/or competition lifting to be a serious part of their life much of the time it takes sifting through books to find a quality one that offers something new or vital. Useful, non-fad driven books are hard to find, and if you are serious lifter you know this. As a side note I will say that although I am a strength & power athlete, not a mainstream bodybuilder, I have also included a few bodybuilding books that are top of the line. I feel that a power-bodybuilder holds some common ground with strength athletes such as powerlifters and to a lesser degree strongman competitors and olympic lifters. The modern version of bodybuilders that care solely about muscle size and appearance at any cost and not the functional use of their muscles,strength or their health, however, have nothing in common with me or most strength athletes. Needless to say any books along those lines are not included here. There are plenty of other lists to (mis)guide you down that road. By the way when I mark something as for "beginners" below, I mean people with less then 3 years training. When you start finding repetition in what you read then start moving on to more advanced books, however long that takes. This nonsense I've been seeing all over in reviews, etc. of a new lifter being "less than 6 months or a year" is idiotic...it's a way to make people that don't know very much feel like they are now "veteran lifters" that are somehow qualified to take other lifters under their wing, simply because they've lifted 6 mo. longer than someone else. It takes at least 5 years to really start becoming advanced and thats with your free time being totally consumed with studying the best books as well as actual lifting. If you thoroughly & completely read even the first 5 of these books you will know more than probably 80%+ of people who lift."
Supertraining
Supertraining
"Hands down, one of the best books on strength training ever. If you know Westside Barbell, you need to know this book. Not for beginners."
Science and Practice of Strength Training, Second Edition
Science and Practice of Strength Training, Second Edition
"One of the most cited and referenced books in strength training. Every serious lifter needs to read this book. Not for beginners."
Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training
Essentials of Weightlifting and Strength Training
"This truly is an encyclopedia of strength. Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, Recreational lifting, nutrition, physiology. Its all here and more. This 2nd edition is much, much better than the 1st (though double the price), due largely to editing the grammatical errors and well worth the extra money."
Science of Sports Training: How to Plan and Control Training for Peak Performance
Science of Sports Training: How to Plan and Control Training for Peak Performance
"This book covers everything that no one else does and alot don't know...and more, it's unique and covers an absolutely huge amount of conventional and unconventional information. Not for beginners."
Build a Better Athlete:  What's Wrong with American Sports and How To Fix It
Build a Better Athlete: What's Wrong with American Sports and How To Fix It
"Serious trainees and trainers/coaches need this book. This book has tons of great and unique information, coming from one of the best around...Michael Yessis."
Sports: Is it All B.S.?
Sports: Is it All B.S.?
"This book is great. When Michael Yessis puts something on paper it needs to be read by everyone lifter. You'll learn alot from this one. It will open your eyes to alot too. Check it out when you get around to it."
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 2nd Edition
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 2nd Edition
"A must have, especially for strength coaches and trainers."
Practical Programming for Strength Training
Practical Programming for Strength Training
"A must have, especially for strength coaches and trainers. One of the best books out there on Programming & Periodization. All serious lifter need this book."
Strong Enough? Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training
Strong Enough? Thoughts from Thirty Years of Barbell Training
"Mark Ripptoe has a lot of excellant information to convey...lend an ear, or check out this book."
"Z Last Book You'll Ever Need On Strength Training"
"Z Last Book You'll Ever Need On Strength Training"
"No frills, not a lot of pics, but has everything you need to get strong right here. This book belongs in every powerlifter or lifter who's just bent on getting really strong's library. The author is great and really did all the work in completly laying out all the programs, all you need to do is plug in your 1 rep maxes and your ready to lift."
Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods: Modern methods of attaining super-strength
Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods: Modern methods of attaining super-strength
"This guy can teach everyone something. Really an excellant book on uncommon knowledge and training methods. Definately a must have book for those seeking to maximize their training effectiveness."
The Black Book of Training Secrets: Enhanced Edition
The Black Book of Training Secrets: Enhanced Edition
"Good book from one of the best."
Strength and Power in Sport (The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine)
Strength and Power in Sport (The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine)
"Obviously don't pay $200 bucks for it. Get it somewhere reasonable. Not for beginners."
Strongman Book 600 Pages Titled Personal Best Powerlifting, Strongman, Bodybuilding, Weight lifting
Strongman Book 600 Pages Titled Personal Best Powerlifting, Strongman, Bodybuilding, Weight lifting
"Hands down the BEST book on Strongman training. Whether you compete in this sport or not, this book will show everyone how to get incredibly and functionally strong."
Training for Mass
Training for Mass
"One of the best bodybuilding-type books I've seen and definately THE best on proper utilization of HIT. This book will get you results, and it isn't some hype-filled, model photo-shoot filled crap either. It will likely appeal to most lifters not just bodybuilders. There are no photos, just high quality information."
The Conditioning Handbook: Getting in Top Shape
The Conditioning Handbook: Getting in Top Shape
"One of the best books on all types of conditoning. No hype, no garbage just tons of excellent result producing options. How to get strong and still not get easily winded."
Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development
Dinosaur Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and Development
"A truly unique, must-have classic on how to lift heavy, get big and strong, and do it basically the way it was done 80 years ago. An outstanding book on training without pills, steroids, hype, complexity or machines. Brooks Kubik proved what he writes about having won many lifting championships in drug-free bench press competitions. Note: It only costs about $20 from Brooks' website."
Power to the People! : Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American
Power to the People! : Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American
"This is great book, in all its simplicity, it applies to everything strength. Pavel's best book, in my opinion, however is "Beyond Bodybuilding: Muscle & Strength Training Secrets for the Renaissance Man". Amazon never has it, which absolutely baffles me. Get it at www.dragondoor.com"
The Naked Warrior, Master the Secrets of the Super-Strong--Using Bodyweight Exercises Only with Pavel
The Naked Warrior, Master the Secrets of the Super-Strong--Using Bodyweight Exercises Only with Pavel
"One of the best books on bodyweight training. ie. Training without weights, just your own body's weight. Covers the 2 best exercises for this type of training, in depth. This book is a gem."
Enter The Kettlebell! Strength Secret of The Soviet Supermen
Enter The Kettlebell! Strength Secret of The Soviet Supermen
"The book about Kettlebell lifting, by the guy that literally got Americans into lifting it. If you are interested in the wonderful world of kettlebell training, get this book."
Bullet-Proof Abs: 2nd Edition of Beyond Crunches
Bullet-Proof Abs: 2nd Edition of Beyond Crunches
"The best book I know of on FUNCTIONAL abdominal strength. It's from Pavel, so you know its the real deal. The first chapter is about his abdominal training apparatus, but don't let that deter you."
Kelso's Shrug Book
Kelso's Shrug Book
"Every strength lifter NEEDS this book...period. It covers tons of shrug variations for powerlifter needs, bodybuilder needs...everyone's needs. Shrugs carry over into tons of lifts and athletic activities, so study up!! This book WILL benefit every serious lifter."
Powerlifting Basics, Texas-Style: The Adventures of Lope Delk
Powerlifting Basics, Texas-Style: The Adventures of Lope Delk
"A classic powerlifting book in somewhat of a story-like form. A very good book, though different in style, kind of like The Complete Keys to Progress is. Everyone can learn something from Paul Kelso."
Rock, Iron, Steel: The Book of Strength
Rock, Iron, Steel: The Book of Strength
"Steve Justa...well, no one's like Steve Justa. This guy knows a ton, and he'll lift anything, cars, barrels, scrap metal, this guy is everything but conventional and EVERYONE can learn more than a few things from him. Steve Justa is insanely strong, and he lifts in his back yard. His methods work and it doesn't matter if its pretty or looks good on paper."
Of Stones and Strength
Of Stones and Strength
"If you want to lift big stones as men have done for 100's of years this book will help you get into it. If you don't want to this book may change your mind, and if it doesn't it will still inspire you. Pick it up sometime, you'll enjoy the only book of its kind from the great Steve Jeck."
Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks
Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks
"Eat and squat and you will make tons of progress...I don't care who you are. This program works and always will, as long as you eat enough to recover."
THE Complete Keys to Progress
THE Complete Keys to Progress
"Great book for beginners, but a fun read for everyone. This book is old school, no hype, no wheelbarrows full of supplements needed. This book is in the form of short stories, it tells you what you need to know to get big by just eating and lifting."
Championship Bodybuilding: Chris Aceto's Instruction Book For Bodybuilding
Championship Bodybuilding: Chris Aceto's Instruction Book For Bodybuilding
"One of the best books on drug-free bodybuilding and strength training. Constantly updated."
Brother Iron, Sister Steel: A Bodybuilder's Book
Brother Iron, Sister Steel: A Bodybuilder's Book
"One of those classics, from a living legend."
Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great: Everything You Need to Know to Transform Your Body
Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great: Everything You Need to Know to Transform Your Body
"Stuart McRoberts newest book. Check it out. Maybe even get it instead of, or before the 3 original "Brawn" books. The Brawn books are good, as well as constantly being updated, however, so check them out."
Brawn, 3rd Edition
Brawn, 3rd Edition
"The classic book that shunned the hype and B.S. and brought common sense and success, without the drugs, back the the gym. Good for beginners and everyone else. Get Beyond Brawn first, even though this was the 1st book of the series, even the author suggests that."
Beyond Brawn: The Insider's Encyclopedia on How to Build Muscle and Might
Beyond Brawn: The Insider's Encyclopedia on How to Build Muscle and Might
"The first book to get of the Brawn series, has the most info of them all and has the basis before going on the the Further Brawn book. Gets you pointed on the road to success right away. GREAT FOR BEGINNERS and everyone else."
Further Brawn
Further Brawn
"The final Brawn book, for the advanced level lifters following the Brawn series. Another updated edition must be coming out, judging by the price options. I'd wait for the next edition."
Insider's Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique: The Illustrated Step-By-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Exercise Form
Insider's Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique: The Illustrated Step-By-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Exercise Form
"An absolute must for all lifters!! The price is probably high right now because another updated edition must be coming out.  As the first 2 books were just updated. I'd wait for the next edition."
Mastery of Hand Strength
Mastery of Hand Strength
The Grip Master's Manual
The Grip Master's Manual
Ironmind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies
Ironmind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies
"The title says it all. Read it sometime, you'll be glad you did."
2 list items are no longer in our catalog.