Best Bodybuilding Books You’re Missing Out On

It’s 2020 and not many people read books, nevermind books about bodybuilding. There’s so much information out there that people don’t take advantage of. There’s a million articles about chest exercises, but how many books have they published? If you’re not reading books, you’re missing out on golden era information. Solidified pillars of information about bodybuilding have stood the test of time.

News Flash! Human musculature hasn’t changed in the last 50 years, so fortunately bicep curls still work your biceps. You don’t need the latest workouts from Mens Health magazines. Back workouts haven’t changed much, just pick up some heavy weight and row it.

Today I’m going to go over the best bodybuilding books money can buy right now so YOU can benefit the most and build a quality body.

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised

Okay, if you haven’t heard of this book then you must have been living underneath a rock.

This should be your starting point in learning about bodybuilding from the man himself, Arnold

From exercises, tips on lifting to even the health aspects, such as nutrition and diet, this book covers everything you need to know. Hell, he even covers proper posing techniques as well to fit your physique the best. Small biceps? Maybe don’t do front double bi then 🙂

Starting Strength

While this is not strictly a bodybuilding book, this is an awesome book for your basic strength principles. The author, Mark Rippetowe, was a competitive powerlifter for 10 years and has worked with many weight training coaches. Having the perspective of a powerlifter can greatly change your attack and programming towards the three big lifts (bench, squat and deadlift). You should be changing your training up anyway, so why not change up your opinion?

This book should be your starting point in basic barbell training. Not only does Starting Strength go over the basic barbell movements, but allows you to notice movement errors and corrects them.

Bodybuilding relies on several barbell movements to build the fundamentals of strength. These skills will transfer to other movements, such as barbell squats transferring movements to a walking dumbbell lunge. Small steps to the bigger picture of working out.

Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning

If you’re looking for a more indepth and scientific approach to bodybuilding (and weightlifting in general) this is the book for you. One of the things I find most fascinating about the book is regarding the biomechanics of the body. For example, the science of how weight is loaded and distributed on muscles.

Before you start lifting weights in the gym, do you actually warm up or do you jump right in? If you’re jumping right in, you’re doing it wrong. Read this book and start lifting better.

The M.A.X. Muscle Plan

There’s tons of buzzwords and acronyms in the fitness industry, so you may stay away from things like MuscleMaximizer3000 2.0. To quote the book

“M.A.X. is an acronym for Mitogen Activated Xtreme training, a scientifically proven program to help you maximize your muscle potential and transform your physique.

The author, Brad Schoenfeld, has been a certified personal trainer and member of the National Strength and Conditioning Associations (see the above book!) so his credentials speak for themselves. A drug free competitor as well, he’s written several books about achieving the most from your body and the best way possible.

The MAX Muscle Plan covers his own proven training technique to maximize your gains. Over 100 exercises are included, as well as pictures of the exercises. The goal around the training theory is to increase growth-oriented training response to attain the maximum muscle growth.


Nothing beats a hardcover book. Studies have shown you’re more likely to read a book than you are read the same text from a digital device.

I think the most important thing you can take away from the books listed above is they have real-world applications and people have built their physiques by reading those same books too.