What are the best strength training books? This definitive list holds all the answers. It goes without saying that these books are must-haves for any serious strength coach but many are also essential for athletes or anyone that’s interested in learning about strength or getting stronger.

Best Weightlifting Books 2020

If you are looking for a quick fix, The Year One Challenge for Men is not it. However, if you’re a dedicated person who wants a workout journal that contains a full year-long program to help keep you on track, then this book will be your new best friend.

  • Includes motivational quotes
  • Advises when to bulk up or cut
  • Too large to carry to the gym

The New Rules of Lifting for Women (around $6) tailors its content toward teaching women how to lift weights without injury and in a way that will enhance their female form. It focuses on sculpting, rather than building, so it’s perfect for anyone who’s worried about bulking up.

  • Excellent for beginners
  • Uses a lot of compound exercises
  • Programs require a lot of equipment

Practical Programming for Strength Training (around $20) details the mechanics of how muscles are built as opposed to simply showing you exercises. It contains chapters for novices, intermediates, and advanced athletes and will teach you how to set long-term, attainable goals.

  • Excellent for the injury-prone
  • Includes workouts for seniors
  • Focuses more on function than looks
     

Strength Training Anatomy Workout II (about $18) helps you understand complex workouts with over 500 color photos plus 485 illustrations of exercises and stretches. It teaches you how to determine the best program for your specific body, rather than offer a one-size-fits-all strategy.

  • Quick and easy read
  • Uses both male and female models
  • Advanced lifters may find it simple

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (around $17) may not be the most current book on the topic, but it details the tried and true methods that Arnold Schwarzenegger used to build one of the most fantastic bodies of our generation, using photos, text, and diagrams.

  • Written for competitive bodybuilders
  • Discusses sports psychology
  • Lots of fluff besides the workouts

The Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength is a meticulously-researched volume that acts as a comprehensive training guide and reference. It defines hundreds of key terms, explains the role and importance of each muscle group, and illustrates a lot of workout programs.

  • Evaluates gym equipment options
  • Great for building mass
  • Not good for home workouts
     

In Olympic Weightlifting (appx. $43), author Greg Everett unveils the best practices for anyone interested in pursuing competitive lifting. It’s a ground-up approach that’s ideal for both beginners and advanced athletes, and coaches will find the preparation material invaluable.

  • Great for learning clean and jerk
  • Teaches how to correct errors
  • Writing tends toward wordiness

Bigger Leaner Stronger (appx. $20) teaches you how to build muscles without using any supplements and shows you a method for cutting body fat without doing any cardio. It is specifically focused on the male form and will help you get serious results in as little as 12 weeks.

  • Reveals 7 biggest lifting errors
  • Easy and delicious diet plans
  • Helps instill self-discipline
     
  • Helps build strength as well as size
  • Fantastic info on squats
  • Filled with diagrams and charts

Strength Training Anatomy (appx. $8) focuses on how your muscles work, as well as the way they interact with surrounding ligaments and tendons. This is a must-have book for trainers and sports therapists, as it goes extremely in-depth into the science of building mass.

  • Gives reasons behind common injuries
  • Reveals correct techniques
  • Covers all major exercises