Note: This is a comprehensive list of the best strength and conditioning books, DVDs and other strength training related resources I update regularly.
Last update: March 27, 2019
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 one book per week, or about 50 books per year.
Repeating that for 3 years would put you at the top of your field.
In 5 years, you’d have gathered the knowledge and wisdom from 250 books and could be considered a national authority on the subject.
After 7 years, you could be one of the best people in the world in your chosen profession.
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.
(Update: After close to a decade training clients and athletes, I can say without a doubt that one hour of concentrated self-study per day makes a HUGE difference and you'd be a fool not to do so if you want to become a better trainer or strength coach.)
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 – at zero extra cost to you.
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.
This system explains my training philosophy and how I design programs for my hockey players.
Next Level Hockey Training 2.0 features 60 weeks of done-for-you off-season and in-season training programs designed to make you strong and explosive for hockey. You also get access to a high-quality exercise database featuring 130+ videos showcasing correct lifting form for each exercise included in the program.
I’ve successfully used these methods with hundreds of junior, college and pro hockey players – and even World Champions and NHL Draft picks – to best help them prepare for the rigors of a long and physically draining hockey season.
Ultimate Hockey Training - 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!
Best Strength and Conditioning Books
These are some of the best strength and conditioning books I have read over the past 10 years - ranging from general fitness to strength training and nutrition.
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning -
National Strength and Conditioning Association
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.
Check out my in-depth review of Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning here.
Advances in Functional Training - 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 - 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 - 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.
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.
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 - 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.
Never Gymless - Ross Enamait
One of the best fitness books I’ve ever read.
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).
Triphasic Training - 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.
Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 - 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 - 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.
Ultimate MMA Conditioning - 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.
The Coach's Strength Training Playbook - 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.
Practical Programming for Strength Training - 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.
The Strongest Shall Survive - 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.
Convict Conditioning - 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.
Science and Practice of Strength Training - 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.
DVDs 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.
Elite Athletic Development Seminar 3.0 - Joe Kenn and Mike Robertson
10 DVD’s and 12+ 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 - 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.
I've compiled a HUGE list of wicked training gear here: Garage Gym Equipment Guide - Build a Kick-Ass Strength Gym on a Budget
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.
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.