Best Weight Lifting Books – Getting Brainy with Your Brawn

by Cole Matthews - Last Updated March 7, 2018

There are lots of weight lifting publications available, but not all of them will help you discover the best methods for improving your weight lifting practice. With that, I ended up thinking – is there a book out there that works well for every kind of lifter? So I did some digging and looked into the market of weight lifting books to find out which one would make the most suitable read for weight lifters from all walks of life.

After having done hours of review and research, the Strength Training Anatomy Workout has come out on top as the ultimate book for your body building library. This scientifically-backed publication delves into the way your muscles work, and teaches you hundreds of exercises to guarantee gains where you want them.

Is it the only book that deserves a spot on your must-read line-up? Of course not! I was able to pinpoint a few other choices that are definitely worthy of a good skim as well. But before I get into those, I want to tell you why the Strength Training Anatomy Workout should be your first pick.

Scientifically-Based Workout Suggestions

One of Delavier’s goals when he came up with this book was to give people effective workout suggestions and pointers that were of sound scientific basis. So one of the things you’ll notice about the content is that it will read a little less personal, and a lot more fact-based than other workout publications.

Personally, I think this is a whole lot better than books that appeal to your emotions. Weight lifting references that use anecdotes and inspirational talk don’t sit too well with me because I think they’re a little too subjective.

Keep in mind that each body is different. So no matter how inspiring that author’s story might seem, what worked for him might not work the same way for you. That said, I think it’s way better to base your routines off of science-based publications like Strength Training Anatomy Workout because it gives you the facts behind your movements and how they come to affect your muscles.

Detailed Illustrations for Easy Replication

Another thing I love about this book is that Delavier goes above and beyond expectations by providing readers super detailed illustrations of the human form. Each exercise in the book comes with its own image reference. These illustrations make it a lot easier to replicate movements to a tee. They also help to improve control of error, so you work out exactly the muscles intended.

Aside from giving you a better idea as to how to perform the outlined exercises in the books, the illustrations also go as far as telling you how your muscles move. Over 600 different illustrations detail how your movements affect your muscles and surrounding structures to give you a clear understanding of what exercises will be best for you, especially if you want to target specific parts of your body.

At the end of the read, you might even be able to whip up your own exercise routines. This is because the content provides you scientific information on the mechanisms of movement. So you’d be better equipped to develop your own routine because you know what to move to target specific structures.

A Smarter Way to Avoid Injury

What warrants an injury? For the most part, a lot of us have nothing more than rudimentary knowledge on the physiology of injuries. So we usually end up limiting our performance significantly especially because we don’t know where injury begins.

In this latest version of Delavier’s best seller, anatomical depictions of strength training injuries have their own dedicated chapter. This section tells you when and how injury occurs and defines the movements and ranges of motion you should avoid to guarantee a problem-free workout.

The chapter also offers precautions for before, during, and after your session so you can curb injury at all points of your workout. Personally, I think this section is incredibly helpful, especially if you feel like you’ve been holding back your performance too much in fear of incurring an injury.

Pros of the Strength Training Anatomy Workout

  • Scientifically sound exercise routines and suggestions guarantee the best possible results.
  • In-depth information on human anatomy and muscle physiology so you can become better aware of how your exercises affect your body.
  • Detailed illustrations serve as reliable guides for a complete understanding of the provided information.
  • Injury prevention and exercise precautions in a dedicated chapter lets you know how injury happens and what you can do to prevent it.
  • Hundreds of new exercises to try in the gym, enabling you to mix up your routine.
  • Constantly updated and revised to keep up with new research and discoveries linked to body building.
  • Crazy affordable at just half the cost of other body building books.

Some Possible Downsides

  • Might read a little too boring or monotonous at times.

3 Other Weight Lifting Books Worth Reading

If you really want to get brainy with your workouts, then there are a few other publications I can recommend. Although they didn’t make the cut as the very best in my opinion, they do provide some pretty substantial knowledge that you’re not likely to find anywhere else.

The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged

The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged: Ten All-New Muscle-Building Programs for Men and Women is yet another affordable read that’s worth checking out. The book puts emphasis on just four movements that change the way your entire body looks and feels.

Providing you updated knowledge on effective squats, deadlifts, pushes, and pulls, the book promises to improve your level of fitness with just 3 hours of exercise every week. But what really sets this publication apart from others is the fact that it lets you choose your workout.

The book provides readers a menu of exercises to choose from for each of the four moves. Categorized from beginner to advanced, this system lets you fine-tune your workout so you can target what’s most important to you at a difficulty level that suits your experience.

Pros of The New Rules of Lifting Supercharged

  • Focuses on just 4 moves, making it much less complicated to understand and follow.
  • Routines take up just 3 hours a week – ideal for readers who have limited time to spare.
  • Exercise menu lets you customize your routine to meet your needs and preferences more accurately.
  • Relatively affordable, making it a great choice if you’re on the hunt for a substantial read at a reasonable cost.

Some Possible Downsides

  • Not enough images for control of error when attempting to replicate exercises.

Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body

If you were looking for a comprehensive body building guide, then Bigger Leaner Stronger is the book for you. This publication delves into everything from your workout routine, to your diet, and even your lifestyle. It offers detailed information on every facet that could be affecting your gains in the gym.

The book also goes as far as debunking a bunch of myths. Most of us tend to live-by these falsehoods in our pursuit of the perfect form. I honestly really appreciate that the book brings a number of false notions to light, including ultra-strict diets, unreasonably intense and time-consuming workouts, and repetitive routines that don’t do a lot for our bodies.

Basically, Michael Matthews uses this book to challenge what you know about body building, and to give you insight on how a lot of what you know might be outdated, ineffective, and unnecessary.

Pros of Bigger Leaner Stronger

  • Debunk a lot of workout myths that hinder greater success and gains.
  • Offers workout suggestions with a little leg room, allowing you to enjoy food and activities that would otherwise be taboo.
  • Exercises energize you instead of wearing you out, making you feel more vibrant after each session.
  • Comes with tidbits of scientific knowledge to deepen your understanding of how your body works.
  • All in all, it’s really just a fun read.

Some Possible Downsides

  • Some parts might seem like total fluff. You might need to dig into the content to pinpoint just the important parts.

Starting Strength

Considered one of the holy grails of body building, Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe is a classic in fitness education. The book aims to provide readers a simple, straightforward, and logical approach to weight training. For that reason, it’s the ideal read for people who are only just beginning their body building journey.

The book is chocked full of exercises with easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations. These help to logically explain the sequence of each movement. Personally, I find the book really easy to follow despite offering some of the most challenging barbell exercises I’ve tried.

Perhaps the only downside I’ve found with the title is the fact that it centers on barbell exercises. Being that there are so many other weight lifting equipment, you might not be able to maximize what’s available to you in the gym if this is the only reference you bother to read.

Pros of Starting Strength

  • Fitness education classic imparts solid information on tried, tested, and trusted routines and exercises that have been used time and time again.
  • Logical, sequential explanations make it really easy to follow the presented exercises.
  • Illustrations are particularly helpful at controlling error.
  • Challenging exercise routines keep you on your toes, making every minute you spend in the gym fun and exciting.

Some Possible Downsides

  • Focuses only on the use of barbells.
  • Pretty pricey if you want a hard copy for your library.

The Bottom Line

Body building is actually 80% theory and 20% practical performance. So it’s important that you keep updating what you know to help you maximize your gains. If you ask me, I think Strength Training Anatomy Workout is the very best read you’ll find if you’re in search of something that will truly help you achieve the ultimate workout.

Another choice: Starting Strength, Bigger Leaner Stronger, and The New Rules for Lifting Supercharged are also some pretty solid titles in the market. While they all might have their own information gaps, reading them all together might just give you all the knowledge you need to become a weightlifting whiz.

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