The best books for training for bodybuilding

Craig Cecil Author Of Bodybuilding: From Heavy Duty to SuperSlow: Evolutionary Strategies for Building Maximum Muscle
By Craig Cecil

The Books I Picked & Why

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding

By Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins

The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding

Why this book?

This is the book I started with, and the one almost all aspiring bodybuilders get as well. And for good reason. It contains everything you need to get started, from exercise explanations to workout programs, nutrition, dealing with injuries, posing, and competition preparation. Of course, the author seems to be a reliable source of this information ;-) Even after three decades of bodybuilding training, I still reach for this book for inspiration and information.


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Keys to the Inner Universe

By Bill Pearl

Keys to the Inner Universe

Why this book?

Early in my bodybuilding career, a fellow gym member introduced me to this book. I was astounded by the sheer volume and variety of exercises and variations possible within those pages. Over 1,000 exercises are illustrated and described, so if you ever think you will get “bored” by training with weights, just flip open this book. There truly is a universe of options available. Oh, and Bill Pearl, 5-time Mr. Universe is still going strong lifting weights in his 90s. Variety is the key to longevity.


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The Complete Keys to Progress

By John McCallum

The Complete Keys to Progress

Why this book?

Never before or since, has a bodybuilding book been written in the style and flair of John McCallum. Instead of simply describing exercises and programs, John presents bodybuilding lessons in an ongoing series of stories involving Marvin, Ollie, and a cast of others. After reading this book, you’ll never look at a bottle of milk or a cheese sandwich the same again.


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The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football

By Bill Starr

The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football

Why this book?

Why am I recommending a football strength training book for bodybuilding? Because every great bodybuilder is a good powerlifter at heart. Football training is about powerlifting movement, and there is no better source on this type of training than Bill Starr, the man who invented the modern strength training programs, used by all college and professional football teams, as well as professional strongmen and powerlifters. Starr learned these techniques from Tommy Kono, the most decorated weightlifter in American history, and he passed those lessons on to one of his students, Mark Rippetoe.


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Brother Iron, Sister Steel: A Bodybuilder's Book

By Dave Draper

Brother Iron, Sister Steel: A Bodybuilder's Book

Why this book?

If there was ever a bodybuilder’s bodybuilder, it was Dave Draper, the Blond Bomber. Dave was able to combine his blond-haired, good-looking California style of living and training, with a successful career in professional bodybuilding in the 1960s and 1970s (Mr. American, Mr. Universe, Mr. World), with a passion and eloquence in writing that was only matched by John McCallum. So, do yourself a favor, read Dave’s book and soak in the true essence of bodybuilding and his training wisdom.


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