T Nation

Top 3 Books on Bodybuilding?

Give me your suggestions please.

While I love the vast amount of information readily accessible on the keyboard, I need something I can take anywhere.

I think it’s hard to find good books just covering bodybuilding. Many of the books in my collection could be considered bodybuilding in the fact that they cover basic muscle building routines and information, but they are not necessarily geared toward someone actually wanting to train like a bodybuilder or with aspirations to compete.

However, one of the best books I’ve found that covers bodybuilding is Christian Thibaudeau’s Jekyl and Hyde Body Transformation book. Also, he has a new book that is supposed to be even more geared toward building maximum muscle. So those two may be your best bet.

The Poliquin Principles is a classic, but it didn’t cover as much as I had hoped (not very many bodybuilding routines listed).

The Book of Muscle by Ian King and Lou Shuler is actually a very good book using four-day splits (two lower body and two upper body days) that is very similar to a basic bodybuilding type workout.

Otherwise, most of the other books I have talk about training “movements” and not “bodyparts.” Although I agree with them to a certain extent, I also disagree that by not focusing on smaller muscle groups (arms, shoulders, calves) or by avoiding isolation exercises you will build an unbalanced physique.

But I do recommend many other books that I think are fantastic for overall muscle gain including Alwyn Cosgrove’s “The New Rules of Lifting,” John Berardi’s “Metabolism Advantage” and “Scrawny to Brawny,” Charles Staley’s “Escalating Density Training” and several others.

Practical Programming

Starting Strength

Then pick anything else that people suggest.

I have most books available including the old stuff from the 30s etc… and honestly think Practical Programming is the absolute must read for all people if only to educate them so they don’t talk crap for years and waste time doing junk training. It’s a new book but it would be a different world if it was out 30 years ago.

Starting Strength is a good tutorial on how to perform the big lifts, will save you injury.

  1. Brother iron, Sister stelle.
  2. The “new” Hardcore Bodybuilding
  3. TC’s book.

Well, I think there are so many books it will be hard to choose. First off get a 3" binder and print out articles from this website. You could be together a pretty good bodybuilding book just doing that.

As far as books to buy, I think that will depend on what type of training works best for your body. Some people respond well to the one-set to failure using heavy weights. Some people respond well to higher volume training. The books you need depend upon your individual body type and who writes programs that are effective for you.

I would be careful of books written by bodybuilding personalities. Instead look for books written by the trainers of successful bodybuilders and athletes. The famous personality knows what works best for them, but the trainer knows what works for a large number of clients.

I’ll answer this as if the question was: if you could pick three books that are the most influential and representative of the way you train, what would they be?

  1. Beyond Bodybuilding, Pavel Tsatsouline
  2. Muscle Revolution, Chad Waterbury
  3. Muscle Logic, Charles Staley

The New Encylopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Ahnuld, it’s required reading, even if the programs in it are a little high volume.