The 10 Best Weightlifting Books

Updated July 01, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Olympic Weightlifting
Strength Training Anatomy Workout II
The New Rules of Lifting for Women
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you're just starting strength training, are hoping to lose a few pounds, or are an advanced lifter looking to amp up your routine and bulk up with some additional knowledge, one of these weightlifting books will be perfect for you. These selections will give you the technical know-how to take charge of your sessions and include options both for newbies and pros. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best weightlifting book on Amazon.

10. The Year One Challenge for Men

9. The New Rules of Lifting for Women

8. Practical Programming for Strength Training

7. Strength Training Anatomy Workout II

6. New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

5. Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength

4. Olympic Weightlifting

3. Bigger Leaner Stronger

2. Starting Strength

1. Strength Training Anatomy

Who Reads Which Weightlifting Books?

There are a lot of different kinds of weightlifting books on the market, and that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. You can spend a few short minutes looking into the best ways to get fit and build muscle online, and you’ll come across an endless amount of misinformation and competing styles of exercise. Most of these are one-size-fits-all approaches, however. It can be extraordinarily difficult to tell which method of lifting will give you and your unique body the best results.

That’s why so many people invest in weightlifting books. Compared to the journalistic standards on the internet (pro tip: there are next to none), book publishers — especially in this day and age — have to be as accurate and faithful as possible. What’s more, the additional space for text in a book allows many of these tomes to approach lifting from many different perspectives.

Instead of a single web page with a few dozen moves that are supposed to work for everyone, these books can freely luxuriate in the nuances within their approach or among different approaches. The odds are in your favor to find a regimen that’s right for you. Still, there are some key differences among the books on our list, and understanding who is going to read and employ the techniques of a given book will help you make your selection.

One style of weightlifting book out there is like an expanded version of those online offerings lambasted above. As we pointed out, the book versions of these are going to have more information for each maneuver, allowing you to customize your routine to fit your body and your fitness goals. They're a definite step above the online guides, as they often go into more detail about proper form. That can save you from sustaining a debilitating injury that could set back your fitness progress significantly.

If you already have a good regimen, though, you might not need this kind of book. Instead, delving deeper into the physiology of the muscular system and its triggers for expanded size and strength may be a better option. These are the kinds of books that you’ll also see personal trainers and physical therapists reading, as they give their readers a comprehensive understanding of how and why muscle responds to targeted stresses.

For those of us that have a little more trouble staying motivated and on track than an avid weightlifter or personal trainer, there are books out there that can still transform your life. You might not be able to get as much out of a simple lifting manual or a complex tome on the human body, but you could make a go of an specific, detailed program. Some weightlifting books, though limited in the adjustments you can make for your personal needs, will give you a daily regimen of moves and foods to drastically change your body for the better.

The Benefits Of Strength Training

For the better part of our media culture history since the advent of Hollywood, women have been held to unrealistic standards of youth and physique. In more recent years, the movie industry, as well as the health and fitness sectors of the market, have discovered an immense and as-yet-untapped demographic just waiting to be exploited: men.

For all the joy they bring to the world, superhero movies are at the center of this issue, as they routinely present viewers with a male form that is —as the actors who portray these characters are quick to point out — only achievable through extremely painful diet and exercise, eating to the point of sickness, and disregarding actual health.

Many of these supermodel actors may look physically fit, but more often than not their musculature is artificially inflated and their body fat is temporarily shed for shooting days that require them to go shirtless. The most ideal physical state, then, is not the unhealthy superhero, but the healthy individual, be they male, female, or anywhere in between.

That physique involves a lot of strength training, as increased muscle mass can help metabolize fat at more efficient rates. Building muscle also has the ability to strengthen bones, which is vital as we age, especially in women, who are more prone to arthritis and osteoporosis.

It’s important to regard any increase in subjective physical attractiveness as a byproduct of increasing your overall health. That attitude will keep you away from gimmicky programs, unhealthy supplements, and dangerous shortcuts. In the end you’ll feel even better than you look.

Don’t Wait, Get Some Weights

Now that you’ve selected a book that will help you physically train, and you understand the mindset that will get you the best results while protecting your overall health, you need to get some equipment. Some of these decisions will be informed by the routines in your weightlifting book.

Certain books are geared toward helping you get fit with as little paraphernalia as possible. These exercises primarily make use of your own body weight, but they do still require some other materials. A good mat is indispensable to most workout routines, as it will help keep your body balanced and your feet safe.

You can also use dumbbells, barbells, pushup assist bars, and a good pull-up bar to target almost any muscle group and create a toned physique. If you require something more intense, you can always make the space necessary to house a home gym. These can seem like hefty investments at first, but compared to a gym membership, they quickly pay for themselves. They also have the added benefit of eliminating certain excuses (travel time, weather, etc.) that might otherwise keep you from getting to the gym.


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Last updated on July 01, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.


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