T Nation

Which Books to Buy?

Hello I’m going to be spending a couple hundred dollars on training books and was looking for advice on which ones to purchase. So far I’ve compiled this list.

Practical Programming for Strength Training Mark Ripptoe

Black Book of Training Secrets CT

Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods:

Maximum Strength Eric Cressey

Any feedback on these books? other books you’ve found very helpful?
Thanks in advance


does the edition matter?

Newest version would be best.

I think Starting Strength is the better book by Mark Rippetoe, lots of technique on the big lifts, some on the assistance lifts plus some programming.

It depends what your after but there are far more practical books than Supertraining, I have it but have only really ever flicked through it. It is a text book.

Ed Coan’s booked is great - the man, the myth, the method - I got my copy from him direct.
Also recommend The Purposful Primitive by Marty Gallagher.
5/3/1 and 5/3/1 for Powerlifting have lots of good advice.
Dinosaur training by Brooks Kubik is a good read.
John Christy’s book (should find through a Google).
The Brawn books and lastly, the classic, The Keys to Progress - maybe not to follow exactly, but a very entertaining read with the right principles.

Next on my list is Power: A Scientific Approach by Fred Hatfield.

Hope that helps.


It really depends on your knowledge base and what you’re going to get value from. For instance I’d like to pick up some more russian manuals as my knowledge base is what most would consider advanced, whereas someone without that knowledge base might benefit more from something a bit less complex and less text-bookish.

Thankyou for all the replies. I have a decent knowledge base, somewhat limited experience (around a year) but would like to get into the science behind everything, so a textbook (like supertraining) isn’t a bad thing.

Black Book of Training Secrets CT
Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods
Now to wait forever for them to get to Canada. Thanks for the guidance.

If you haven’t ordered books across the border before, prepare to shit a brick, when UPS want’s an additional 50% of clearing them through customs for you. x.x Shit’s highway robbery.

I personally got a lot more out of the ebook on the texas method by the '70’s big guy than I did from Rippetoe’s practical programming book. For that matter the posts by Glen Pendlay on squatting that are floating around the net have more great info in them than most books.

Honestly out of all the books on my shelves, Supertraining easily has the most wear-to-info gained ratio, crossing all genres. That is I’ve spent more time pouring over Supertraining with the least to show for it out of any book in any genre I’ve ever read (and I read or listen to audiobooks every day).

I would say 5/3/1 has to be the most reward vs time invested. I started and finished that in one sitting and can easily say that 5/3/1 is one of the major factors behind me breaking through a long-term plateau and hitting a 2x bodyweight raw bench.

Supertraining on the other hand… not so much. It looks like you’ve already ordered it but like everything you read, don’t be afraid to question the teacher and take everything with a grain of salt. It is certainly not gospel.

I would say CT’s book Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods covers practically every useful aspect presented in Supertraining in a much more presentable and digestible method.

If you want a textbook… pick up Enoka’s Neuromechanics of Human Movement. It will serve you much better in its background knowledge than something like Supertraining.

If you want to be an expert on working around injury (or even getting out of pain), I’d recommend the following books/products:

…in the specific order presented (going through the list in the opposite way will be much harder).