Top 6 Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Books

Updated June 11, 2020

Despite there being tons of free information online in the form of blogs and YouTube videos, reading bodybuilding and powerlifting books can still be hugely beneficial.

Most online articles/videos are just snippets – compared to books which often give you a much more detailed picture. So with that said, in this article we’re going to look at the Best Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Books…

#1 The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding – Arnold Schwarzenegger

arnold bodybuilding book

Arguably the best book to buy for aspiring bodybuilders, this mammoth encyclopedia (800 pages!) contains everything you need to know about bodybuilding.

Written by Arnold Schwarzenegger, this book is known world-wide, famous for it’s high quality content. Every topic is covered: nutrition, supplements, exercises, workout programs, you name it!

#2 Powerlifting – Dan Austin & Bryan Mann


For those of you out there who are looking looking to add shear strength – this book is a must buy. Powerlifting is a complete guide into the sport: focusing on technique, and training. The author Dan Austin, who’s the winner of nine world Powerlifting championships and 15 USA National Championships, shares his wisdom in this concise powerlifting manual.

There are 100 different exercises inside – which are designed to help you improve your strength and performance. Other topics in the book include: nutrition and flexibility.

#3 Championship Bodybuilding – Chris Aceto 

Championship Bodybuilding book

This old school classic (1996) will stand the test of time. Whilst not as well known as books like Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, it’s still a fantastic book to pick up for bodybuilders.

Author Chris Aceto (old school bodybuilder) shares tips and strategies on building muscle and losing fat. Topics within the book include…training splits, nutrition i.e. calorie, protein, carb and micronutrient intake, supplement advice, and plenty of effective routines (for beginners, intermediates and advanced trainees)

You can actually download the book for free here –

#4 Strength Training Anatomy – Frederic Delavier 

strength bodybuilding book

Full of colourful illustrations, this book is a must buy for those who want to understand muscle mechanics and how the body works when lifting weights. Strength Training Anatomy goes through the entire body, illustrating in detail what muscles look like, and explaining how each of the individual muscles work in relation to certain exercises.

There’s a section for arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs, glutes, and the abdomen – and within each section there are exercises to suit each muscle group.

#5 Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy – Brad Schoenfeld

muscle book

Author Brad Schoenfeld is currently one of the most respected speakers in the muscle building field. Brad specialises in hypertrophy training, which is predominantly aimed at bodybuilders.

In this book Brad explains the science of hypertrophy, putting things into easy to understand terms, and backing up the science with proven studies. He also clears up any confusion, and dispels any old school bodybuilding myths.

#6 Becoming a Supple Leopard – Dr Kelly Starrett 


Whilst not directly linked to bodybuilding or powerlifting we couldn’t leave this book out. It’s a must read for those of you who want to improve performance, mobility and strength.

In Becoming a Supple Leopard Dr Kelly Starrett gives you tools to look after your body, enabling you to perform more efficiently during workouts, recover quicker in between sessions, and reduce the chance of injury.

There’s a chapter on each part of the body i.e. chest, back, shoulders, arms, abs, thighs, hamstrings, calves, and hips. There are hundreds of exercises in the book to help you release tight muscles and improve performance.

He’ll get you using implements like a lacrosse ball, and foam roller to release tight muscle tissue. This book will help you increase strength, power, speed, agility and most importantly encourage ‘training longevity’ – if you want to be lifting for years to come, and to keep healthy muscles and joints… then make-sure to pick up a copy.

Are there any other bodybuilding/powerlifting books that you’ve enjoyed reading? Leave a comment below listing your favourite reads. 

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