Best Strength Training Books of 2016 | Next Level Athletics

Best Strength Training Books of 2016



Let's kick this article off with two alarming stats:

1. Nearly 800 million adults in the world are illiterate (which translates to a whopping 15% of the adult population)

2. 27% of US adults did not read a SINGLE book in 2015

So we have a colossal amount of people who can't or won't read.

As someone who averages two to three paperbacks per week - including the very best strength training books ever published, and quality business and fiction writings (the latter helps me fall asleep better) - I find those statistics above hard to fathom.

Just on the training/fitness/nutrition side of things, I'd estimate I'm well over 300 books in total by now.

(I lost count years ago, so can't tell you an exact number)

Having said that, my hunger for new information has never waned. In fact, it's as strong as ever.

Sure, when you've devoured a couple hundred books on any topic, you won't find much that is new or unique. And you shouldn't expect to have your mind blown anymore.

Still, I keep reading more and more because of the benefits.


It helps me stay connected with what the top coaches out there are doing to generate results with their athletes.

And I also believe that reading helps with my own writing.

I'm far from what anyone would consider a good writer but I practice it daily and have grown in leaps compared to where I was five years ago.

Ok, enough with the backdrop already...

Here are my picks for the best strength training books that I've read in 2016 so far:

Best Strength Training Books of 2016

1. New Functional Training for Sports - Mike Boyle

In our current era of Internet trainers and Instagram fitness celebrities, legit trainers are few and far between.

Having met Mike and visited his training facility back in 2014, I know he's the real deal.

I must have read the original Functional Training for Sports cover to cover at least four times, and would say it's among the resources that have influenced my coaching practices the most.

So you can imagine how stoked I was to learn that an updated version of it was available 13 years after the first edition.

New Functional Training for Sports details the current training methods, progressions and regressions used at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning, one of the top gyms in America - and it's without a doubt one of the best strength training books I've read all year.

2. Never Gymless - Ross Enamait

Ok, so I'm cheating here a bit.

I've read Never Gymless a few times over the years, so it's not exactly a new find.

Why am I including it on this list then?

Because without a doubt, it's one of the few quality bodyweight training resources available that focuses on building athletic strength and performance instead of strictly gymnastics strength.

(Nothing wrong with the latter but team sports and gymnastics training don't mix well together from a time standpoint)

Plus, you can't miss the passion for training that is evident in Ross' writing.

What's even more impressive is that he can demonstrate all the advanced exercises in the book - one-arm chin-ups, behind-the-back clapping push-ups, just to name a couple.

Many fitness writers can't do that, so they hire fitness models or athletes to demo exercises.

So props, Ross. You deserve to be on this list.

3. High-Performance Training for Sports - David Joyce and Daniel Lewindon

High-Performance Training for Sports is a bit of an oddity - a textbook that contains a wealth of practical information along with the usual training theory.

(I say it's an oddity because this hardly is the case in strength and conditioning literature)

Various coaches and researchers - such as G. Gregory Haff, Derek Hansen and Joel Jamieson (of Ultimate MMA Conditioning fame) have contributed to the book.

Topics covered range from warm-ups and strength training to agility, jumping, energy systems development, and building youth athletes.

Very informative read and lots of applicable information.

4. Total Hockey Training - Sean Skahan

You'd think that in 2016, off-ice training would be a priority at elite junior and pro levels.

Not so.

The hockey training world, by and large, has ZERO clue how to train for improved strength, health, and performance.

(It would require its own article to point out everything that is so blatantly wrong with off-ice training methods today)

I see it with my own eyes every day working with hockey players, and trust me...

It's not a pretty picture.

In Total Hockey Training, current Minnesota Wild strength & conditioning coach Sean Skahan does a solid job in laying out training practices for year-round hockey strength and conditioning.

Do I agree with everything Sean says or does with his hockey players?

However, his book is one of the few legit resources I've come across aimed directly at the hockey training population that I wouldn't deem complete and utter rubbish.

5. The Speed Encyclopedia - Travis Hansen

There's no abundance of strength training books available on the market today.

Not so for speed training.

The closest you get are some of the old Charlie Francis training manuals where he discusses speed training for sprinters, not team sports.

Fortunately, Travis Hansen has put together a resource that finally bridges the gap between speed training for sprinters and speed training for team sports.

The first part of The Speed Encyclopedia covers basic information on max strength training, plyometrics and Olympic lifting.

But Travis also explains sprint technique, volume, and frequency - very useful information that you won't find in many other books.

As such, you better get your hands on The Speed Encyclopedia if you're involved in team sports as a coach or athlete.

If you enjoyed this article, please do a brother a favor by liking, commenting and sharing it with others who might dig it as well.


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Yunus Barisik

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, specializes in making hockey players strong, fast and explosive. He has trained 500+ hockey players at the junior, college and pro levels, including NHL Draft picks and World Champions. An accomplished author, Yunus has had articles published on top fitness and performance sites, including T Nation, STACK and Muscle & Strength. He also wrote Next Level Hockey Training, a comprehensive resource for ice hockey players on building athletic strength, size and power, while staying injury-free.

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