The 10 Best Weight Training and Bodybuilding Books to Buy in 2018

Resources of Information on Lifting and Bodybuilding

Whether you're a novice or an experienced weightlifter or bodybuilder, books are still an excellent source of information even though there is a lot online. You will find much that you need to know about weight training in these books, whether you exercise at home or you are a committed gym trainer or bodybuilder. These 10 selections balance the quality of information, readability, and range of interests from the basics to specific weight training disciplines.


Sub-Title: A Simple and Practical Guide for Coaching Beginners
Authors: Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore
Formats: Paperback or spiral bound
Suitable for: Novice to intermediate, coaches

This is a fine book for anyone considering weight training in general and powerlifting in particular. It describes how to learn and teach the big three core lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift, plus the press and power clean. A chapter on programming and teaching youth weight training is included. Both authors are highly experienced coaches with lifting experience.


Author: LaReine Chabut
Formats: Kindle or paperback​
Suitable for: Novice to intermediate

This is a good starting out resource because it is quite comprehensive in its own way and very well written with short factoids, good humor, and no verbosity. Even more-experienced weight trainers could use this to brush up on some basic knowledge. The book includes illustrations and photographs of all exercises. Different versions are produced for some countries.


Author: Frederic Delavier
Format: Paperback
Suitable for: Novice to advanced

This is a favorite strength training book for quick-view anatomy instruction, and it is a bargain. It has wonderful illustrations and naming of the anatomy of strength training. It shows quite clearly which muscles respond to which exercises. About 100 exercises are described and illustrated plus some brief comments on injuries. If you have previous versions, there are new exercises and stretches in the third version of the book.


Author: Thomas Baechle and Roger Earle
Formats: Kindle and paperback
Suitable for: Novice to intermediate

The value of this book is its no-nonsense procedural description of weight training from the basic essentials to more advanced programming techniques. It's very thorough and much more focused on weight training programming than "Weight Training for Dummies," for example. It has plenty of tables and charts and excellent exercise illustrations. The fourth edition added full-color photo sequences. Both authors have certification roles with the US National Strength and Conditioning Association.


Authors: Vladimir Zatsiorski and William Kramer
Format: Hardcover
Suitable for: Intermediate to advanced

Both authors are esteemed academics with a long history of writing and training in the weightlifting sciences. This is not a book for the uninitiated unless you have a strong scientific background, preferably with some exercise physiology.

Its strength is the science and the many references that provide confidence that what they tell you is as accurate as possible. Zatsiorski describes research on decades of Russian weightlifting methods and results. The book is an essential reference.


Author: Tudor Bompa and Carlo Buzzichelli 
Formats: Kindle and paperback
Suitable for: Intermediate to advanced, coaches

Bompa is credited with establishing the concept of periodization within the weight training disciplines, particularly for sport-specific training. In this well-researched and referenced book, the guru takes you through the periodization process while offering many insights into what works and what does not with plenty of examples for different sports. It is reasonably complex and not perfectly organized, but still a great book to have if you coach weight training.


Authors: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins
Formats: Kindle, hardback, paperback
Suitable for: Novice to advanced

How can you not be impressed by an 832-page book by a legend of the sport and all for a low price? It has excellent content and acceptable writing and presentation. Note, this is about bodybuilding, pure and not so simple. You won't get specific information on sports training, powerlifting, or Olympic lifting. Even so, it has a huge amount to offer even if bodybuilding is not your thing.


Authors: Matt Brzycki and Fred Fornicola
Formats: Kindle and paperback
Suitable for: Novice to advanced

This is one of those books that fills a niche and is just great to have in a library. Dumbbell training is so flexible, and the sheer variety of exercises is very large, as this book demonstrates well. It's not the largest of the books listed here, but one of the best in concept and presentation. If you intend to do beginner or ​advanced training at home with dumbbells, then this is a great book to refer to.


Author: Joan Pagano
Format: Paperback
Suitable for: Novice to intermediate

As the title says, this books is written for women and it does not fail. An experienced personal trainer, Pagano teaches well and writes well, which results in this book being a very good guide for women starting out, but also for women with some experience of weights. There is some bias to working out at home, but that's not a bad thing. It ranges across equipment such as dumbbells, fit balls, bands, and plenty of bodyweight-only exercises. It's an excellent book.


Author: Mel Cunningham Siff
Format: Paperback
Suitable for: Intermediate to advanced

This book forms a part of the history of weight training practice and science and this would seem to make it a logical choice here.


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