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Updated January 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Mark Rippetoe Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition
Mark Rippetoe
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd edition
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Classic Guide
Bottom Line

Loaded with details on proper power lifting, this classic weight training book is a must for all levels of lifters, according to our fitness expert.

Pros

Introduces beginners to power lifting and provides excellent advice on lifting with correct form. Plenty of technical info for novice, intermediate, and advanced weight training.

Cons

Information overload is a risk for beginners trying to learn from this book. Alternative lifting methods aren’t always explained clearly.

Best Bang for the Buck
Frederic Delavier The Strength Training Anatomy Workout
Frederic Delavier
The Strength Training Anatomy Workout
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Build Lean Muscle
Bottom Line

For novice body builders learning why muscles are trained in a specific way, this weightlifting book provides many of the answers.

Pros

Supplements the author’s volume on anatomy with a guide to workouts with strength and body building in mind. Provides easy to understand graphics. Excellent breakdown of muscle-specific exercises, along with do’s and don’ts.

Cons

Lacking in some strength training points that advanced body builders or physical therapists might notice. Dumbbell and bodyweight specific exercises only.

Michael Matthews Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (Second Edition)
Michael Matthews
Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body (Second Edition)
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Expert-Recommended
Bottom Line

A very good guide to general weightlifting combined with nutrition to achieve strength gains and weight loss, aimed squarely at novice to intermediate weightlifters.

Pros

Presents classic body building concepts in an engaging package that can inspire novice to intermediate lifters to get better gains. Combines workout plans with nutrition guide.

Cons

May be too complex for beginning lifters, and too simple for seasoned athletes. Older lifters may want to supplement this book with a wider range of material. A tad too marketing heavy.

Greg Everett Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches
Greg Everett
Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches
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Specialized Information
Bottom Line

Unnecessarily wordy, but highly detailed instruction on Olympic-style lifting that will help in getting bigger power lifting gains.

Pros

Packed with photographs of lifting techniques. Includes chapters on correcting errors in form, strength programming, and flexibility. Helps lifters of all levels exponentially improve their Olympic lifts.

Cons

Often too wordy when explaining even simple movements. Geared toward novice and intermediate lifters, less so toward competitive lifters.

Matt Foreman Olympic Weightlifting for Masters: Training at 30, 40, 50 & Beyond
Matt Foreman
Olympic Weightlifting for Masters: Training at 30, 40, 50 & Beyond
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Best for Experts
Bottom Line

Fills an important niche in the weightlifting field, with key information for older lifters, but could stand to bulk up its training and nutrition sections.

Pros

A fast read, well-edited, and concise. Includes basic lifting info for beginners and novices just learning power lifting. Engaging, supportive commentary on starting or continuing in the sport.

Cons

Somewhat lacking in age-specific instruction for lifters above intermediate skill. Could bulk up its nutrition section. Supplemental lifting texts may be needed by some.

HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Researched
Category cover

Weightlifting books are available to teach you everything you need to know about weightlifting. These books include technical insights related to the science of weightlifting. Furthermore, the books feature expert tips and recommendations to help individuals achieve the best possible results.

Expert tip
Before you purchase a weightlifting book, make sure you understand the difference between Olympic Lifts, Power Lifting, and Body Building. Each type of weightlifting routine delivers very different results and many books only highlight one category.
Judd NeSmith
BestReviews Fitness Expert

They are frequently written by professional weightlifters and intended for weightlifters of all ages and skill levels. A weightlifting book often includes photographs of assorted lifting techniques and exercises. Books may feature chapters on strength programming, flexibility, and other weightlifting topics. A book may highlight the do's and don'ts of weightlifting. Weightlifting books typically feature commentary from a wide range of weightlifting experts. Some books include convenient workout plans and nutrition guides, among other related topics.

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