10 Awesome Bodybuilding Books You Should Read

Brad Borland
Written By: Brad Borland
June 19th, 2015
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Articles Training
191.5K Reads
10 Awesome Bodybuilding Books You Should Read
It's time to hit the books and make some knowledge gains! This guide to the 10 best bodybuilding books will tell you which books are worth reading.

Over the decades, few books have stood both the test of time and the tests done in the gym. The publication rate of new books promising you the key to more muscle and less fat seems to keep up with new Starbucks openings. Which books are worth their weight (pun intended) and your hard-earned money?

Please note, this article contains affiliate links. If you buy something after visiting the sites below we may earn a commission.

1. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins

awesome bodybuilding book - New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

What is a list of bodybuilding books without this mention? The impact this book has had on so many eager lifters over the last 3-plus decades cannot be understated. Chock-full of information spanning from the history of bodybuilding to every imaginable exercise and program, you will be hard pressed to find a better authority on the sport and practice of bodybuilding.

Check It Out!

2. Jim Stoppani's Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength

Jim Stoppani, PhD

awesome bodybuilding book - Jim Stoppani's Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength

Dr. Jim Stoppani backs up everything he says with science and this book is the culmination of his countless years of research. Not only is this book packed with science-based training, the good doctor also practices what he preaches by boasting a jacked physique himself. Full of training variations, precise exercise selections, and comprehensive programs, this encyclopedia delivers results.

Check It Out!

3. Natural Bodybuilding Bible

Tyler English

awesome bodybuilding book - Natural Bodybuilding Bible

As a natural bodybuilder, Tyler English drops his wealth of knowledge and his collection of years of bodybuilding training, competition, and client experiences into this comprehensive guide to reshaping your body the natural way. He also gives plenty of variations and specialized programs that differ from the traditional bodybuilding fare.

Check It Out!

4. Strength Training Anatomy

Frederic Delavier

awesome bodybuilding book - Strength Training Anatomy

Are you the type who likes to get knee-deep in the details? This book breaks down every muscle imaginable regarding traditional bodybuilding exercises. Replete with descriptions, anatomy illustrations, and function details, Strength Training Anatomy is a great companion for creating your own bodybuilding program.

Check It Out!

5. Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Douglas Kent Hall

awesome bodybuilding book- Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

This book falls in the inspirational category. Yes, it includes some of the basic bodybuilding programs Arnold advocates, but it’s more useful as a motivational go-to. As his first autobiography, Arnold chronicles his rise to bodybuilding champion, complete with setbacks and triumphs. Inspirational, impactful, and a great read!

Check It Out!

6. Delavier's Women's Strength Training Anatomy Workouts

Frederic Delavier and Michael Gundill

awesome bodybuilding book - Delavier's Women's Strength Training Anatomy

After the success of Strength Training Anatomy for men, Frederic Delavier revisited the basics with a program specifically for women. Much like the original book, this one details many traditional lifts women are interested in as well as workout guides to put them into practice. Another very comprehensive guide.

Check It Out!

7. Serious Strength Training

Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale and Lorenzo Cornacchia

awesome bodybuilding book - Serious Strength Training

This is another more academic style book complete with the science behind training. More importantly, it does a great job of differentiating styles of training in regard to your goals – yes, there is a difference between training for strength and training for mass and this book tells you the why and how.

Check It Out!

8. Starting Strength

Mark Rippetoe and Jason Kelly

awesome bodybuilding book - Starting Strength

I realize this isn’t necessarily a bodybuilding book, but Mark Rippetoe is worth listening to. A master of proper form and function, Rippetoe outlines the dos and don’ts of real, effective barbell training. As a huge advocate of simple barbell moves, Mark believes it’s the ultimate functional tool utilizing such moves as the squat, overhead press and deadlift.

Check It Out!

9. Pumping Iron: The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding

Charles Gaines and George Butler

awesome bodybuilding book - Pumping Iron

If you’ve seen the docudrama then you need to read the book. Full of stories and anecdotes from an outsider’s viewpoint, Pumping Iron is true bodybuilding history. Rare photos and destinations not included in the movie will inspire your training in many ways due to the fact that those physiques were built with minimal equipment.

Check It Out!

10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Stephen R. Covey

awesome bodybuilding book - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This book is a staple when it comes to self-improvement in any facet of your life. In a simple, step-by-step style, The 7 Habits has stood the test of time as a highly effective tool for organizing, prioritizing, and focusing on your life as a whole. How could that not improve your bodybuilding success?!

Check It Out!

Have any of these books influenced your training? Do you have any educational or inspirational bodybuilding books to share? Feel free to discuss in the comments!

Jean Wilson
Posted on: Fri, 01/01/2021 - 04:37

great article and well written. I am also recommending eat meat for health reasons

Posted on: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 08:39

My favourite bodybuilding book is this one: https://www.amazon.com/Muscle-Mass-Project-Science-Based-Hypothesis-eboo... The person who had written it is a professional athlete and explains everything you need to know about the muscles in the human body and all of its chemical interactions. A must to be read.

Wade Race
Posted on: Sun, 10/04/2015 - 08:10

Convict Conditioning-Paul "Coach"Wade

Daniel Green
Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2015 - 05:04

Poliquin Principles - Charles Poliquin

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:16

Good one!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/19/2015 - 11:11

Do you have a favorite or two you would like to add to the list?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 06/19/2015 - 14:08

Becoming a Supple Leopard - Starett
Supertraining - Verkhoshansky & Siff
The M.A.X. Muscle Plan - Schoenfeld
Assess and Correct - Cressey

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:15

Yes, love Kelly's work!

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Sat, 06/20/2015 - 16:43

The Power of Full Engagement- Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
Beyond Bodybuilding - Pavel Tsatsouline
Intervention - Dan John
Movement - Gray Cook

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:17

I need to read Carnegie's book! All great choices.

Posted on: Sun, 07/12/2015 - 18:26

Evoution by Joe Manganiello :D