Several years ago and completely unrelated to the subject of strength training, I first heard the idea that by simply reading and studying books and other valuable resources related to your industry for just one hour every day, that would amount to 12 books per year. In 5 years, you’d have gathered the knowledge and wisdom from 60 books and could be considered a national authority on the subject.
Whether or not this is true I don’t know but that mantra has stuck with me ever since I got into training people. Interestingly enough, at some point I noticed that Eric Cressey – one of the biggest names in the industry – was saying the same thing, so I realized I was onto something.
Below are a few of the best training related resources I’ve come across – ranging from books, manuals, DVDs and research reviews all the way to training equipment – that I highly recommend you check out in case you possess an inkling of interest in strength training and pushing your numbers up in the gym.
Be sure to check back often as I will be updating this section on the reg (that’s “regularly” for all ya peeps who need to brush up on your Kenny Powers references).
Affiliate disclosure: Throughout this list, I may make use of affiliate links. Affiliate links have a unique tracking code that identifies me as a referrer, so I make crumbs of money any time you click through and purchase.
I only recommend and provide links to buy products or services that I wholeheartedly recommend and use myself. However, to make sure I cover my ass, please assume that for every recommendation on this page I’m receiving monetary compensation, sex, swag, and champagne. Lots and lots of champagne.
If you aren’t a fan of this, feel free to search for the products listed and buy with the original link. But I appreciate the token of support and appreciation if you buy through my link.
Hockey Strength Training
The best resource on training hockey players on the internet.
Featuring tons of great articles, videos, interviews and training programs from some of the top professionals in the field – Sean Skahan (Anaheim Ducks), Mike Potenza (San Jose Sharks), Darryl Nelson (US National Team Development Program) and many others – this is a must-have resource if you work with hockey players.
• Ultimate Hockey Training by Kevin Neeld
Kevin Neeld is one of the brightest guys in the sports performance field I’ve ever had the opportunity to talk shop with. Much of what I know about training hockey players I learned when I interned with him at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, New Jersey.
I value this resource highly and would recommend anyone working with hockey players to get their hands on it.
In fact, I liked the Ultimate Hockey Training book so much that I begged Kevin for an extra copy I could give to my niece who plays goalie!
Books (Strength & Conditioning, Fitness, Nutrition)
• Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Thomas R. Baechle & Roger W. Earle
Covers nearly every aspect of strength training and conditioning, from basic exercise physiology (hormones, energy systems, muscular adaptations to resistance training, etc.) to applying that information in practice for improving athletic performance.
• Advances in Functional Training by Mike Boyle
Despite its generic title, this book is not exactly aimed at the mainstream gym-goer but serves more as a guideline for strength coaches and athletes on how to design training programs that help in developing a greater degree of performance on and off the field.
• Designing Strength Training Programs and Facilities by Mike Boyle
Lays out different aspects of setting up a training facility and strength program, though much of the contents overlap with the information presented in Advances in Functional Training. Still a decent book.
• Your Muscular Potential by Casey Butt
No other person on this planet has researched human genetic potential in terms of muscle growth as extensively as Casey Butt has, at least to my knowledge. The next time someone claims to be naturally 6% body fat at 200 pounds and 5’10”, refer back to this book to set him straight.
• Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Applications by Marco Cardinale
Excellent resource that covers underlying principles in strength & conditioning. Provides a theoretical background and practical applications, although the practical part on programming is rather lackluster. Scientific and very in-depth, yet easily understandable.
• Advanced Techniques in Glutei Maximi Strengthening by Bret Contreras
The book that changed the way the entire fitness industry views training the buttocks. Whereas everyone told you to squat to get a bigger ass in the past, guys (and girls) now lie down on the floor with their backs elevated on a bench, place a bar over their genitals and hump the bar towards the sky.
• Maximum Strength by Eric Cressey
A 16-week crash course to weight training provided by one of the best in the business.
• Strength Training Anatomy, 3rd ed. by Frederic Delavier
Ever wonder which strength exercises train which muscles? This book tells you exactly what’s what.
• Triphasic Training by Cal Dietz
Written by the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men’s hockey (among other sports) at the University of Minnesota, Triphasic Training focuses on periodization for intermediate and advanced strength trainees. You won’t find a better read aimed at team sports athletes seeking greater strength, speed and power.
• Infinite Intensity by Ross Enamait
A great book combining free weights and bodyweight exercises for strength and conditioning.
• Never Gymless by Ross Enamait
Learn how to utilize the resistance your own bodyweight provides for short and effective workouts when you don’t have access to a fully equipped gym (or if you simply prefer to train at home).
• Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 by Jason Ferruggia
The original Muscle Gaining Secrets e-book opened my eyes to what training for strength and size really means for the genetically average guy. Highly recommend this updated edition for beginner strength trainees.
• The Charlie Francis Training System by Charlie Francis
The late, great Canadian sprint coach was in many ways ahead of his time. From recovery methods, periodisation and training journal excerpts of world-class sprinters to his famous high/low approach, you can find it all here.
• The Way to Live by George Hackenschmidt
Originally published in 1908, “The Russian Lion” shares his timeless advice for better health and performance in The Way to Live.
• Knowledge and Nonsense: the Science of Nutrition and Exercise by Jamie Hale
One of the most comprehensive books on the subject of strength training and nutrition I’ve ever read.
• Should I Eat the Yolk? by Jamie Hale
102 different exercise myths examined under the microscope. A very light read you can finish in one sitting.
• Ultimate MMA Conditioning by Joel Jamieson
The most detailed look at energy system development for athletes I’ve ever come across. Don’t be put off by the title – whether you’re an MMA enthusiast, hockey player or weekend warrior, you can gain plenty of valuable training nuggets for enhancing aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels from this book.
• Raising the Bar by Al Kavadlo
A guide for building freakish strength with bodyweight exercises only. Extra props for the sweet layout and design of the book.
• The Coach’s Strength Training Playbook by Joe Kenn
As the name of this book implies, its message is aimed more at trainers and coaches who help others get stronger than the general trainee or fitness enthusiast. Written by NFL strength & conditioning coach Joe Kenn, it lays out an annual periodized training plan divided into micro-, meso- and macrocycles.
• Overcoming Gravity by Steven Low
A great book on bodyweight training with a decent amount of science.
• Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon
Excellent introduction to intermittent fasting without the mainstream hype surrounding IF these days.
• Practical Programming for Strength Training by Mark Rippetoe
One of my all time TOP 5 training books. Especially valuable for coaches looking for ways to design simple yet effective strength training programs for their clients. You don’t see wisdom like this in gen pop fitness publications.
• Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
Teaches you the basic barbell lifts – squat, bench press, deadlift – in depth.
• Anabolic Cooking by Dave Ruel
Tons of awesome, tasty, healthy meals to support your training efforts.
• The Development of Physical Power by Arthur Saxon
Written by one of the pioneers of Physical Culture. You can’t get any more old school than this!
• Facts and Fallacies of Fitness by Mel Siff
As the title indicates, this book contains a ton of information on what’s true and what’s not in the fitness field today.
• Supertraining by Mel Siff
Geek alert! Perhaps the most comprehensive book ever written about strength training. A classic but the content is definitely on the heavier side.
• The Strongest Shall Survive by Bill Starr
Written in the 70’s by Iron Game legend and former strength & conditioning coach of the Baltimore Colts, this book includes information as relevent today as it was 40 years ago.
• Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto
Possibly the best mainstream diet book out there.
• Convict Conditioning by Paul Wade
The book that brought bodyweight training back from the dead. If you’ve ever wondered how to work your way up to a one-arm push-up or pistol squat, the information in here will get you there.
• Convict Conditioning 2 by Paul Wade
Picks up where Convict Conditioning left off with several new advanced bodyweight movements such as the human flag.
• 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler
Bringing training back to the very basics. No fluff. Just the way I like it.
The sequel to Jim’s original 5/3/1 program. Explains more ways to set up the 5/3/1 training plan than you could ever dream of.
• Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky
The most comprehensive and scientific fitness book ever written, along with Siff’s Supertraining. Though I would say Science and Practice of Strength Training is a much easier read for people without a background in exercise science.
• Rough Strength Files by Alex Zinchenko
Wise words on maximizing strength gains with minimalist equipment.
I had the chance to throw some questions Alex’ way on advanced bodyweight training strategies recently, check out the interview here.
DVD’s and Seminars
I attend several live training seminars each year and would encourage anyone in the training profession to do the same.
However, I can understand how the time and money commitment required when traveling out of town (or abroad) – with airfare, lodging and eating out – can significantly lighten your wallet.
Studying at home is a cheap yet excellent alternative. Below you can find a few DVD’s and seminars you can watch through in the comfort of your own home.
• Assess and Correct DVD by Eric Cressey & Mike Robertson
I don’t even pretend to be a corrective exercise ninja. What little I know on that topic comes from these guys.
• The Complete Athletic Strength Development System by Joe DeFranco & James Smith
With 5 different DVDs, this is the mother lode of strength training products for improving athletic performance.
• Complete Olympic Lifting DVD by Wil Fleming
A great visual reference for learning the Olympic lifts.
• Rings 1 & 2 by Gold Medal Bodies
The #1 training course for learning and mastering the gymnastics rings.
• Elite Athletic Development Seminar by Mike Robertson & Joe Kenn
12 DVD’s and 15+ hours jam-packed with strength training and athletic development information delivered by two highly respected guys in the field of strength and conditioning. Time and money well invested.
• Optimizing Movement by Kevin Neeld
In this DVD set, Neeld distills complex FMS, SFMA and PRI information for fixing common postural and functional asymmetries into a simple, practical model for enhancing movement quality and athletic performance. A must-have for any strength & conditioning coach working with athletic populations.
The following is a list of training equipment I use myself and highly recommend to all friends and clients.
If I don’t personally use it I WILL NOT recommend it.
• Squat Shoes
Hit a deeper squat with better form and eliminate butt tucking in the blink of an eye.
Friends don’t let friends squat without a pair of proper weightlifting shoes.
• Gymnastics Rings
Very high quality rings that feel comfortable in your hands.
• Spud Straps
The hallmark yellow straps from Spud will be the only pair you’ll ever need for securing your grip on heavy rows and pulls.
• Captains of Crush Grippers
It’s never a bad idea to improve grip strength. But ease into it. Excessive amounts of grip work can lead to elbow problems.
• Jump Rope
A basic jump rope is what I consider an effective (and cheap) conditioning tool.
• Fat Gripz
These bad boys build the forearms and grip strength by turning a standard bar or dumbbell into a fat bar.
The added thickness also makes it easier on the joints with exercises that can really bang up your wrists and elbows – such as the straight barbell curl.
• Alan Aragon Research Review by Alan Aragon
A monthly subscription service that summarizes key findings of research papers for 10 bucks a pop. Especially handy for coaches and trainers who need to stay on top of current training and nutrition research. Alan’s style of writing is both informative and entertaining.
• Strength & Conditioning Research by Bret Contreras & Chris Beardsley
Similar to Aragon’s subscription service, Contreras and Beardsley offer their research reviews including info on general strength and conditioning, biomechanics, nutrition, physical therapy and physiology for a tenner a month.
• BodyByBoyle Online by Mike Boyle
Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning has been named the #1 gym in America by Men’s Health, and BodyByBoyle Online gives you the chance to peek behind the curtains at what goes on at MBSC as if you were right there with them.
From exercise demonstrations and training seminars hosted by several big name players in the training industry (such as Charlie Weingroff, Dan John, Robert Dos Remedios, Joel Jamieson) to staff meetings and specific coaching cues, here’s an amazing training resource that will no doubt develop your own knowledge base and help you become a better coach.