Best Books for Strength and Hypertrophy?

What are your favourite books related to strength and hypertrophy?

I was looking at The Science of Lifting for $47 by Greg Nuckols and Omar Isuf.

Which other great books are on the market?

Every trainee, irrespective of goals, owes it to themselves to read “Powerlifting Basics Texas Style” by Paul Kelso. I still make sure to read it at least once a year, and I still get something out of it each time.

“The Complete Keys to Progress” by John McCallum is an amazing book and a long read. Good historical overview of training.

Stuart McRobert’s “Brawn” is a classic.

5/3/1 Forever is fantastic for learning and understanding how to program for long durations.

The Deep Water ebook contains the most effective and insane program I have ever run.


I still have the original Poliquin Principles

Bench Press, The Science by Josh Bryant. The book talks about different strength training methods (concentric emphasis, isometrics, rest/pause, plyometrics, Nancy and chains, etc) and how to use them to increase your bench press. Bryant presents the sciencey info in a really easy to understand way. And everyone has done some benchings before so its not hard to relate to what he’s saying and “get it” and have ideas about how to use these methods for other lifts.

Then you know all that stuff, plus you understand what other coaches who are sciencey but less effective communicators are talking about.

Power by Fred Hatfield is pretty good. It is from the 80s, so the graphics are pretty rad. Fred was ahead of his time doing things like speed work, and using his invention (the SSB bar). Probably a bit outdated, but interesting, because of how much of his methods are borrowed from.

x2 The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum that Pwnisher mentioned. This is a taste of one of his programs, but there’s tons of great content in the book and it’s actually an enjoyable, fun read.

Super Strength by Alan Calvert is another legit gamechanger. As I explained here:

“A small sample of the advice Calvert talked about in the 1920s includes the importance of barbell squats and deadlift variations; doing farmer’s walks and kettlebell swings; using heavy, low-rep compound lifts as well as targeted isolation exercises for moderate reps; lifting with thick bars for grip strength and forearm size; starting with fundamental bodyweight training like push-ups (called floor dips at the time) and bodyweight squats (called deep knee bends back in the day); the benefits of a hook grip; and the idea of ‘looking like you lift.’”

Vince Gironda’s The Wild Physique is a classic, right up there with Arnold’s Encyclopedia, I say. Talks about his approach to training and diet. He was one of the first true bodybuilding coaches and the principles still hold up well.

Strong Enough? by Mark Rippetoe talks about general principles and exercise technique, but not specific programming. So if you have any preconceptions about Starting Strength and can set those aside, it’s a good read.

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Supersquats pamphlet and anything by Dr. John Stossel who writes Ironmind. Good for beginners but also a good gutcheck to read. Are you working hard enough?

Dr. Ellington Darden’s books about HIT training are really instructive. Even if you don’t subscribe to that type of training, you could find a few things to add to your stuff. The Colorado experiment alone is worth a read. Just reading about Arthur Jones and what a different type of cat he was is cool. “The New HIT” was the one with all the backstory and then the training philosophy at the end.

Even if you never plan to inject: the underground steroid handbook by Dan Duchaine. Anabolics by Lewelin (spelling) are both in depth and well written.

Only Arthur Jones would be crazy enough to think he could sell a training program that couldn’t even put muscle on Arnold.

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The Mentzer brothers loved Jones though. And they looked better than Arnold. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

One of them a bit TOO much…

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X3 for Keys to Progress. I’ve reread that more than almost any training book.

Never Let Go by Dan John was a game changer for me, as was the original 5/3/1.

I’m just starting Powerlifting Texas style and it feels like it’s going to need many reads to get the most from it.

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Enjoy your adventures with Lope Delk!

I forgot all about Never Let Go. Another great read.

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My conclusion from the Colorado experiment is that high levels of drugs can cause a bunch of muscle growth. Especially if the test subject has excellent genetics and previously had an inhuman amount of muscle. Dardin conveniently skirts around that and attributes the gains to the training method.

Somehow he has not been able to reproduce those results.

I think it’s the elite genetics that gate that result from being repeated. I could put everyone on this forum on all the drugs they could handle and nobody would gain 60lbs of muscle in that time. Still interesting they had an “independent” researcher there weighing and measuring the guy.

There’s this part in Keys to Progress where McCallum is talking to some beginner kid and says something like “I’m old but i have the body of a younger man,”

And the kid is like is like “give it back, you’re getting it all wrinkly.”

I’ve been looking for an opportunity to use that line in real life for like 20 years.


No doubt Casey has crazy genetics. Done if the best muscle bellies in his arms.