Knowledge is power. In the sport of powerlifting, that statement becomes literal, as increased knowledge about the sport will translate to increase performance on the platform. There are many ways to increase one’s knowledge: attend a seminar, train with a more experienced lifter, go to a competition, even surfing the web helps a bit. But let us not forget an age old classic method of instruction: actually reading about the topic in depth. Reading and doing are the two keys to learning. Doing is great but one can only self-teach themselves so much. Reading is awesome as well but it must be combined with extensive practice with an aim toward mastery to be truly effective. Most lifters don’t fall short on the doing category, but we can always read more. When was the last time you read a book that was recommended to you by someone knowledgeable in the field and then you thought “Well, that sucked, what a waste of time.” I am betting never, because you almost always learn something valuable when you take the time to read. Seeing as we are in prime holiday time, don’t forget that lifters love gifts related to lifting. Know someone that likes to lift weights? Buy them one of these books. Know a teen just getting into training – what could be better than to start them off down right path? And for those folks addicted to their I-phones most of these come in a digital format if you prefer.
To not overwhelm you, I am going to keep this reading list short. 3 books, all of which I believe in my heart you will enjoy, you will learn from, and which will make you a better lifter. Here they are:
The Strongest Shall Survive: Strength Training for Football by Bill Starr
Bill Starr is an original bad ass, he helped train the Colts to win the Superbowl in 1970. He also popularized 5×5, one of the best ways to build strength. He is a good writer to boot. This book is harder to find but you can get it here (this book is available in hardcopy only).
Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 3rd Edition by Mark Rippetoe
Rip was a student of Bill Starr and it is not surprising he has some excellent advice on how to perform the lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, press, clean). He writes well and clearly, throws in a bit of humor here and there and is not afraid to share his opinion. He goes into great depth on the biomechanics of each exercise. He has videos and a forum for those interested as well. This book is available digitally or as a hardcopy and you can get it here.
All About Powerlifting by Tim Henriques
Yes it is a bit egotistical to plug my own book. All I can say is I can look in the mirror and say I genuinely believe that these 3 books would be extremely beneficial for anyone who is serious about lifting, and if I thought there was another book noticeably better than mine I would put it in the list. The reason that this information is not easy to find is one of the main reasons why I wrote the book. And it is has been well received, from “normal” people like personal trainers and regular gym goers, all the way up to the immortal Ed Coan who said I did “a really good job with this book” which was one of my highlights. All About Powerlifting is available both digitally and as a hardcopy here. If you like to use your Kindle, for the holidays the price has been reduced to just $9.99, down from $30! The Kindle version can be found here.
Wouldn’t you smile if someone gave you one of these books as a gift? Then give someone else that pleasure. For much less than a container of protein (hell, for less than 2 drinks at a bar) you can share the knowledge and help spread the love of the iron.