best bodybuilding books

Top 20 Best Bodybuilding Books for 2021

If you want to become the best bodybuilder you can be these 20 best bodybuilding books should be in heavy rotation when you’re not in the gym for a workout.

Bodybuilding can take years of hard work and it’s as much a mental game as a physical one. 

By taking advice from the top professionals we’ve listed below you can help to make the process as streamlined and short as possible. Get pumped!


The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

The world champion bodybuilder who went on to become governor of California has plenty of great advice in The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. He reviews the science and hard data to help you become the best you can be.

You can find The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding : The Bible of Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger online.

New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

Strength Training Anatomy

When you combine biology classes with bodybuilding classes you get Strength Training Anatomy, a gloriously visual approach to seeing how every exercise affects each muscle group.

The 600+ illustrations make this book indispensable.

You can find Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition by Frederic Delavier online.

Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd Edition

Train Like a Bodybuilder

As the title suggests Train Like A Bodybuilder helps you to shift fat, develop lean muscle and get ripped just like a professional. 

The techniques described here are natural and easy to understand.

You can find Train Like a Bodybuilder: Get Lean. Get Big. Get Strong. by Erin Stern online.

Train Like a Bodybuilder: Get Lean. Get Big. Get Strong.

Jim Stoppani’s Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength

With a doctorate to back up his knowledge Jim Stoppani’s Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength is a scientific program to get you jacked.

Think of it as an advanced study of biohacking to make your body better. 

You can find Jim Stoppani’s Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength by Jim Stoppani online.

Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength

Bigger Leaner Stronger

If you want a bodybuilding plan that anyone can stick to then Bigger Leaner Stronger might be the book for you.

You won’t find any silly diets or over the top training regimes here, just honest and simple advice to get you heading in the right direction.

You can find Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body by Michael Matthews online.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

The Bodybuilder’s Kitchen

We said it in our How to Be The Strongest guide and we’ll say it again here – you need to eat right to develop muscle.

Erin Stern’s The Bodybuilder’s Kitchen turns that process into an enjoyable and tasty one but never loses focus of your need to bulk up.

You can find The Bodybuilder’s Kitchen: 100 Muscle-Building, Fat Burning Recipes by Erin Stern online.

The Bodybuilder's Kitchen

Men’s Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible

If you want results that you can see in a sensible time frame the Men’s Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible gives you a 6 month restructuring course that really works.

Tyler English is a natural bodybuilder with a great understanding of how to get results.

You can find Men’s Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible: A Complete 24-Week Program For Sculpting Muscles That Show by Tyler English online.

Men's Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible

Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding

When the professional bodybuilder needs a coach they turn to Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding.

A lot of top competition winners have read this and used the tactics within its pages to succeed. You can’t ask for more than that.

You can find Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding online.

Joe Weider's Ultimate Bodybuilding

Tactical Strongman | The Complete Guide

Don’t fancy all the fancy modern accoutrements of bodybuilding? Then go old school with Tactical Strongman

No trendy gym equipment here, just classic strength training that has been proven to work for decades. 

You can find Tactical Strongman: The Complete Guide by Josh Bryant and Adam benShea online.

Tactical Strongman

Arnold | The Education of a Bodybuilder

Sometimes, you just want a little inspiration and that’s what Arnie’s second book on our list Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder offers.

This is his story and while it does touch on technique – it’s better read to get your ambition soaring.

You can find Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold Schwarzenegger online.

arnold

Grind Style Calisthenics

Looking for something a little different to add to your training routine? Then Grind-Style Calisthenics has got you covered.

You use the Muscle Tension Hierarchy to develop a workout that really helps fill in the gaps in your current work out.

You can find Grind Style Calisthenics: A Holistic Program For Building Muscle and Strength With Calisthenics by Matt Schifferle online.

grind style

Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts

We’re big fans of Delavier’s work and this guide to Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts is another well-illustrated tome which can help the ladies take advantage of their own physiognomy to bulk up faster.

You can find Delavier’s Women’s Strength Training Anatomy Workouts by Frederic Delavier online.

delaviers

The Science of Getting Ripped

How do you go from an average (and a bit lazy) commuter to a stacked bodybuilder?

The Science of Getting Ripped comes from exactly that journey. 
The fat was gone and the muscle came and it did so fast, you can benefit from that process too.

You can find The Science of Getting Ripped: Proven Workout Hacks and Diet Tricks to Burn Fat and Build Muscle in Half the Time by Raza Imam online.

science of getting ripped

Serious Strength Training

If you want to delve deeper into the academic side of bodybuilding then you should read Serious Strength Training.

It looks at how training ought to relate to our personal goals and how we can develop strength and mass training workouts that are differentiated from each other.

You can find Serious Strength Training by Tudor O Bompa online.

Serious Strength Training

Bodybuilding | The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook

If you intend to compete at any level then Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook is the perfect companion for you.

There’s no competition in this niche probably because it’s so good.

You can find Bodybuilding: The Complete Contest Preparation Handbook by Peter J Fischen and Cliff Wilson online.

body building

Starting Strength | Basic Barbell Training

This isn’t a bodybuilding book per se but it’s a very important primer for barbell training which many bodybuilders will do.

Starting Strength allows you master squats, deadlifts and overhead presses with ease.

You can find Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd Edition by Mark Rippetoe online.

Starting Strength

Pumping Iron | The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding

To celebrate our art, we need to embrace its history and there is no better way to do that than to read Pumping Iron (based on the docudrama).

This is inspiration incarnate and everyone should read it even if they don’t bodybuild.

You can find Pumping Iron: The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding by Charles Gaines and George Butler online.

Pumping Iron

Inside The Mind Of An Iron Icon | On Strength And Bodybuilding Training

If you’re looking for shortcuts to your routine that really work then look no farther than Inside the Mind of an Iron Icon.

Stuart McRobert is a recognized expert in this field and his tips are incredible.

You can find Inside The Mind Of An Iron Icon: On Strength And Bodybuilding Training by Stuart McRobert with Chuck Miller online.

Inside The Mind Of An Iron Icon

Bodybuilding | The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

If you want a long hard look at the pros and cons of bodybuilding there’s no better text than Bodybuilding: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

It explores all the positives and the not so positive things to come out of bodybuilding and delivers good news overall.

You can find Bodybuilding: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly by George Touliatos and Dimos Velenjas online.

Bodybuilding

Last Word on Body Building Books

We hope that you’ve found our list of the top 20 best bodybuilding books to be helpful and that you’ve found a book or two to help your workouts.

If you want to become tougher all round you may also find that a mental workout can help with the process. Check out our reviews of Think Like A Warrior, The Undefeated Mind and 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do?


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