T Nation

Books Every Lifter Should Read


I find reading about lifting, nutrition, mobility, and all other things fitness related very interesting. Just thought it would be good to have a thread (I looked for one but may not have gotten the search quite right) that amasses some of the better titles.

To start it off:

Starting Strength by Rippetoe
Practical Programming by Rippetoe
5/3/1 by Wendler
Supertraining by Mel Siff
Science and Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorsky
Periodization by Tudor Bompa

Feel free to give your opinions of mine and add some of your own.


What a good thread idea.

The Purposeful Primitive by Marty Gallagher
Beyond 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
Becoming a Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett

I'm not sure if many people have read Marty's book that I listed, but that is my top pick by far. Seriously check it out; it is packed with inside knowledge on the methods of many of the old school greats.


Beyond Bodybuilding by Pavel Tsastouline changed my life.

Other great books

Super Squats
Powerlifting Basics: Texas Style by Paul Kelso
Brawn by Stuart McRobert
Any 5/3/1 manual


I have Supple Leopard but have only glanced at it. I guess its about time to dig a little more into it. And I will have to put the Gallagher book on the radar.

As far as nutrition, I read Power Eating by Susan Kleiner when I was a freshman in high school and still feel like it is one of the better books for giving a young athlete a reasonable foundation in what when and how to eat.


A couple more:

The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum (1960s)
Super Strength by Alan Calvert (1924)


Starting Strength
The Strongest Shall Survive
Girth Control
Encyclopedia of a Bodybuilder?..not because it's a good training manual but because Arnold is awesome
Poliquin's Modern Trends in Strength Training --> very underrated


Plus the two books that THIBS have authored.

These compliment my Anatomy and Physiology collection...


Good suggestions so far. I'd just add:

Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors Volumes 1 and 2 by Randy Roach

From The Ground Up by Dan John


Oh geez, mentioning Dan John made me remember "Never Let Go"

Could not put the book down. Great read.


Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance

by Kelly Starrett


You saying this was enough to make me purchase the book lol


Enjoy it. It's a great read. I used to re-read it once a year.


''Brawn'' changed my life litteraly. Lots of good strength books, but this is the bible


McRobert does a great job of spelling it out there. He repeats himself a ton, but it ensures that there is no way you miss the message.


My opinions:
SS and PP by Rippetoe are good. So is 531.

Supertraining taught me almost nothing, partly because most of it is very boring and is far, FAR more science than application. Same goes for the other two, but not as much.

I will add Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto and anything by Chris Aceto.


I don't see a point in reading training and nutrition books. There is endless amounts of articles online about training and nutrition. Am I missing something here?


Most books are giving advice without having it conected to tying to sell you somthing.


Great thread idea, and great list sulli!

Since most of the training basics has been covered, I'll add to the self care theme. Along with Supple Leopard...

McGill's Low Back Disorders
Trigger Point Therapy Workbook - will help to identify and understand trigger points better.
Anatomy Trains - is an interesting look at muscle connections through fascial lines.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes - is more of a textbook/reference but has some amazing knowledge for those dealing with disfunction.


I could definitely see that complaint with the last three. I personally greatly enjoy the science side of it (I was only a few hours away from getting a second bachelors in Kinesiology just from taking classes that I found interesting). So maybe that is why I found them so appealing. Periodization Training for Sport by Bompa appears to do a little better job with the application but I have only thumbed through it.


They are trying to sell the book istelf.....