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8 Best Powerlifting Books in 2024

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

In modern society, a wide variety of books are available to educate you on powerlifting and many other topics. With some much information readily accessible, how do you determine what’s accurate? What parts are relevant to your training?

I’ve chosen 8 best powerlifting books that cater to a wide range of powerlifting audiences. I’ve also classified them to help you choose the correct book for you. Whether you’re looking to improve your technique, program your workout, or improve your performance, the books about powerlifting below represent some of the best choices to purchase.

Best Powerlifting Books

Top 8 Best Powerlifting Books Reviewed

  1. The Complete Guide to Technique, Training, and Competition – Top Pick
  2. Full Power Powerlifting Program – Runner-Up
  3. 5/3/1 For Powerlifting
  4. Powerlifting – A Scientific Approach
  5. Powerlifting Over 50 – Best for Seniors
  6. The Squat Bible – Best for Squat Improvement
  7. Bench Press: The Science – Best for Bench Press Improvement
  8. How to Deadlift 600 lbs – Best for Deadlift Improvement

1. The Complete Guide to Technique, Training, and Competition – Top Pick

powerlifting books
  • Author: Dan Austin and Dr. Byran Mann
  • For Whom: Beginner – Advanced Levels
  • How Can it Help: Knowledge Development in the Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press, Fueling, Execution, and Performance
  • Format: Paperback, Kindle, PDF

Highly rated, the Complete Guide to Technique, Training, and Competition provides a large amount of defined information, based on first-hand experience from the nine-time powerlifting champion Dan Austin. After teaming up with a strength and conditioning expert, Dr. Bryan Mann, the pair created one of the sport’s most comprehensive resources that provides an elaborate breakdown of topics such as fueling, execution, and preparation.

This book is aimed to help anyone from beginner to advanced level, seeking to develop their knowledge in the 3 primary lifts: bench press, squat, and deadlift. As well as help with training, this book also offers tips on competing, for those wishing to excel in their performance and take training to the next level.

It provides detailed foundations of movements, methods to improve technique, and offers new insights to those classed as intermediate.

Positives:

  • The book provides a wide range of information that can be used by all levels of athletes, from beginner to experienced
  • The book has been written by a powerlifting champion and strength and conditioning expert. The knowledge in this book comes from first-hand experience from someone who’s had great success with the methods discussed
  • Whilst this book offers a vast amount of information, it also demonstrated ways to successfully implement it into anyone’s routine

Could be better:

  • To get the most out of this book you need to commit to reading a lot of information

2. Full Power Powerlifting Program – Runner-Up

Full Power Powerlifting Program
  • Author: Yan J. Mathias
  • For Whom: Beginner – Elite Powerlifters
  • How Can it Help: Improve Powerlifting Strength, Improve Periodization Programs
  • Format: Paperback, Kindle

Full Power Powerlifting Program, written by Yan J. Mathias, is a novel written to help gain maximum strength in the powerlifting moves – squat, deadlift, and bench press. Primarily directed at the average gym goer, this book has been said to have great success with men, women, and teens of varying experience levels.

This book provides an in-depth look into programming for powerlifting and how to perform your workouts according to different goals and needs. It discusses the basics of powerlifting and utilizes this to find your raw strength by using a periodized program. Available formats for this product are paperback and Kindle.

Positives:

  • This book provides an easy-to-follow program to help any gym goer improve their powerlifting technique
  • This book focuses only on powerlifting and what to do to improve your lifts, with useful exercises to help gain strength
  • This is a short and sweet book, whilst there isn’t much information, it is a case of quality over quantity

Could be better:

  • Whilst the information is specific, it doesn’t go into much detail about other important mental aspects of powerlifting

3. 5/3/1 For Powerlifting

5/3/1 For Powerlifting
  • Author: Jim Wendler
  • For Whom: Beginner – Elite Athletes
  • How Can it Help: Improve Strength, Learn the 5/3/1 Method
  • Format: Paperback

This book focuses on how to program your sessions to get strong. Written by Jim Wendler, this book can help anyone wanting to improve their strength in the three main powerlifting moves; bench press, squat, and deadlift. The book details his 5/3/1 program which focuses on using percentages based on your 1RMs to perform 5/3/1 repetitions on a three-week cycle. This is clearly explained alongside how to prepare for competitions and achieve new one rep maxes.

This program remains simple and effective but gives you all the information for how to peak for a meet and display your strength on the platform using a wave-loading strategy. Even if you don’t have plans on competing, this book will show you how to break through barriers. This can be purchased in paperback format.

Positives:

  • This book uses an older method of training that has been used for previous competitors and has evidence of individuals improving in all lifts
  • This program has specific movements to include in your program but also allows for flexibility. This means that it is adaptable to competitive athletes as well as beginners with busy schedules
  • The programming in this book is simple and easy to follow, this means it’s hard to go wrong with the good instruction it provides.

Could be better:

  • This book isn’t available in Kindle format

4. Powerlifting – A Scientific Approach

Powerlifting - A Scientific Approach
  • Author: Frederick C Hatfield
  • For Whom: Average-Advanced Powerlifters
  • How Can it Help: Starting Blocks, Professional Competitions, Learning About Powerlifting
  • Format: Paperback

Powerlifting – A Scientific Approach is written by Frederick C Hatfield. In this, he discusses everything from the starting blocks to competing professionally, including aspects such as diet and nutrition, training methods, and topics such as drug usage. It covers a huge range of different topics that aren’t common in most normal powerlifting books. With such extensive research, everyone is bound to learn something new about powerlifting.

Something that differentiates this book from others is that it includes illustrations of some of the world’s best competitors and a detailed example of how to plan your program, rather than a rigid one-method approach like the majority of books out there.

Positives:

  • This book provides information not only on programming but all aspects of powerlifting. This makes it suitable for a vast amount of readers
  • This book is known as one of the ‘best books ever’ and is written by the world-famous ‘Dr. Squat’. Information is therefore tried and tested by someone with a large audience, that demonstrates success from his methods and knowledge
  • Programming in this book is taught by showing how someone could plan their sessions, not giving a strict format. This means that people can base their training around their wants and needs rather than using generalized methods that may not work for some

Could be better:

  • Beginners who are new to powerlifting may find this book hard to understand due to the scientific approach from the author. Ideally, there should be a good balance of technical information for more advanced athletes and more basic information for those just starting out

5. Powerlifting Over 50 – Best for Seniors

Powerlifting Over 50
  • Author: Richard Schuller
  • For Whom: Seniors
  • How Can it Help: Education on Lifting at an Older Age, Training Routines for Seniors
  • Format: Paperback, Kindle

Written by Richard Schuller, this powerlifting book is targeted at senior audiences. It focuses on training for people over the age of 50, looking at the positive impact it can have once you overcome the stigma around lifting heavy weights and pain.

In this powerlifting book, Schuller goes over topics that can help older individuals improve their strength and health such as performing the three powerlifting movements, training routines, and building a powerful body for those over 50.

This powerlifting book is available in two formats, paperback, and Kindle so is easily accessible to anyone. A particularly great feature of this book is the focus on the mental side of training. This is not something many books cover, yet a key part of everyone’s training.

Positives:

  • Clarifies who this book is best for, this reduces confusion but also provides information some individuals need specifically, that other books are unlikely to contain
  • The author has multiple years of experience so knows what he is talking about and in a lot of detail. This provides a good, accurate education for any reader
  • In-depth movement descriptions are given, removing the possibility of people performing them wrong or dangerously

Could be better:

  • This powerlifting book is targeted at the older generation. Whilst this is beneficial to them it also means that information can’t be generalized to other athletes

6. The Squat Bible – Best for Squat Improvement

The Squat Bible
  • Author: Dr. Aaron Horschig
  • For Whom: Anyone Wanting to Improve Their Squat
  • How Can it Help: Squat Improvement, Pain-free Movement, Mobility and Recovery Focus
  • Format: Kindle, Paperback, Spiral-bound

‘The Squat Bible’ is a very popular powerlifting book written by Dr. Aaron Horschig, focusing on true strength in the squat and different methods to get anyone to achieve their goals.

This powerlifting book provides insights into how to train effectively by identifying weaknesses in the body and areas that can hinder the ability to perform. It focuses on changing the approach to athleticism by including a focus on mobility and recovery rather than going straight into a raw strength-oriented plan which can result in injury and inability to perform.

As a physical therapist, coach, and certified strength and conditioning coach, this book is full of detailed, accurate information for any reader. It’s available in the format of Kindle, paperback, and spiral bound.

Positives:

  • Whilst this powerlifting book looks at programming for strength, it also has a focus on injury prevention to maintain athleticism
  • The author of this book applied his knowledge to Powerlifting after observing where many fail through injury. This means this book has practical application to the general public and therefore has the potential to help many avoid the mistakes others have made
  • Easy to follow guides on how to safely perform the squat to improve, without getting injured

Could be better:

  • This book specifically focuses on squats, only one of the three powerlifting movements. Therefore people wanting to look at the sport as a whole would have to go elsewhere

7. Bench Press: The Science – Best for Bench Press Improvement

Bench Press: The Science
  • Author: Josh Bryant
  • For Whom: Anyone Wanting to Improve Their Bench Press
  • How Can it Help: Bench Press Improvement, Utilizing Accessory Work
  • Format: Paperback, Kindle

https://gem-3910432.netWritten by Josh Bryant, ‘Bench Press: The Science’ delves into the scientific principles of methods for the strongest Bench Press. Based on practical experience and academic study, Bryant provides a simple guide on how to utilize accessory work to improve your bench.

This powerlifting book demonstrates factors such as explosivity and plyometrics that can be programmed successfully to increase your bench press. Targeted at anyone who wants to improve, this book is suitable for elite athletes wanting to win and others looking to improve in a standard commercial setting. Lastly, the formats this book is available in are paperback and Kindle.

Positives:

  • As the title suggests, this book looks into the facts; providing biomechanical explanations of the movements
  • Whilst this book is only about bench press, the information that it does provide is in great depth
  • As this book is based on scientific evidence, the information in it is highly credible. This means that there are no misconceptions

Could be better:

  • The focus of this book is bench press only. This information is unlikely to be applied to other areas of the powerlifting world

8. How to Deadlift 600 lbs – Best for Deadlift Improvement

How to Deadlift 600 lbs
  • Author: Ryan J, Mathias
  • For Whom: Anyone Wanting to Improve Their Deadlift
  • How Can it Help: Periodizing Your Deadlift Program, Tips and Tricks to Increase Your Deadlift Weight
  • Format: Paperback, Kindle

‘How to deadlift 600lbs’ is written by Ryan J.Mathias. In this, he provides a guide to help maximize your deadlift and improve strength by focusing on a 12-week periodized program. This powerlifting book is aimed at all ages and abilities so a great read for anyone!

The book in question provides all the tips and tricks behind getting strong, including all styles of the deadlift, breath work, accessory work, and common mistakes to avoid. Accessible to many, this book comes in paperback and on Kindle.

Positives:

  • This book provides a program that anyone can use, young or old, beginner or experienced; the information included can be interpreted by everyone and anyone
  • This method used in the book is a well-known, tried, and tested method in all forms of training
  • Whilst this book is focussed on the deadlift, the points it does include on the movement are very well developed and include a large amount of other work to include in your program

Could be better:

  • This powerlifting book focuses mostly on programming, with less work put into other vital areas

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The Importance of Education and Knowledge in Powerlifting

There are many reasons why educating yourself on performance and other areas of powerlifting before participating is essential. Safety is always an important factor to take into account when lifting. Without knowledge of the correct movement patterns and recovery protocols, the likelihood of injury increases. This forced time off training and competition can lead to decreased performance.

Furthermore, knowledge is power. Education is crucial to allow technique mastery, performance enhancement, and an all-around successful lifestyle. Educating yourself about all aspects of powerlifting allows you to think critically about what you’re doing in the gym. For individuals to excel, staying up to date with the ever-changing world of fitness is essential for growth.

Aside from performance, knowledge and education are required to help others around you. Learning the correct knowledge allows you to educate others and create opportunities for all to succeed.

Lastly, educating yourself provides you with a sense of empowerment and independence in the sport. People will feel capable of things they never thought they would from the success they have learned from others.

powerlifting workout

The Benefits of Learning From Experienced Coaches and Athletes Through Books

Learning from coaches and athletes who have years of experience can bring a host of powerlifting benefits:

✅ Knowledge

The key advantage of learning from experienced coaches and athletes through books is the first-hand knowledge that they have. They have tried the methods they talk about in the books and learned from previous mistakes. This makes them more applicable to everyday gym goers and also relatable for those who are looking to compete and educate others.

✅ Practical Application

With experience comes knowledge and practical education. Tips and tricks are often learned through time spent lifting. This means that the information these individuals include in their books is often valid and proven methods that work for different lifting populations.

✅ Relevant Information

In the modern sporting industry, information is always changing. Those that have experience are often still learning, therefore the information they write about tends to be the current practice.

woman working out

✅ Different Perspectives

Reading a range of books from individuals with different experiences also opens you to different perspectives. Everyone has different experiences throughout their lives and careers, therefore information given can be different depending on the person. Educating yourself on multiple experienced individuals allows you to explore what will work best for you.

FAQ

Are Powerlifting Books Worth It?

Yes! Powerlifting books are filled with the knowledge and experience of many coaches and athletes. Information is also either based on experience or scientific facts.

Is Powerlifting Harder Than Bodybuilding?

These two sports are very different in terms of goals. Powerlifting is typically a performance-based sport whilst bodybuilding focuses on aesthetics. Ultimately it depends on the work you are willing to commit to.

Conclusion

The best powerlifting books are subjective to the reader and what they want to get out of it. If you’re looking for an in-depth look into powerlifting as a whole ‘The Complete Guide to Technique, Training, and Competition’ provides all the knowledge on everything powerlifting,

However, this isn’t a quick read and may be harder to interpret. On the other hand, powerlifting books such as ‘The Squat Bible’ demonstrate an in-depth understanding of one specific movement. Whilst this doesn’t allow access to other parts of powerlifting, the amount of information it does present for that specific movement is in great detail.

What do you think of the books I’ve reviewed? Have you read any powerlifting books before and applied them to your training? Let me know in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Powerlifting // Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Powerlifting
  2. A Comparison of Muscle Activation Between a Smith Machine and Free Weight Bench Press // LWW: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/ 2012/07000/ Resistance_Training _is_Medicine __Effects_of.13.aspx
  3. Resistance Training is Medicine Effects of Strength Training on Health // LWW: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2012/ 07000/Resistance_ Training_is_Medicine __Effects_of. 13.aspx
  4. Lighter and heavier initial loads yield similar gains in strength when employing a progressive wave loading scheme // NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov /pmc/articles/PMC4993141/
  5. Building Muscle After 50: The Essential Guide // Strengthlog: https://www.strengthlog.com /building-muscle-after-50/
  6. A Biomechanical Comparison of the Traditional Squat, Powerlifting Squat, and Box Squat // LWW: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2012/ 07000/a_biomechanical _comparison_of_the_ traditional.10.aspx
  7. A Biomechanical Analysis of Wide, Medium, and Narrow Grip Width Effects on Kinematics, Horizontal Kinetics, and Muscle Activity on the Sticking Region in Recreationally Trained Males During 1-RM Bench Pressing // Frontiersin: https://www.frontiersin.org/ articles/10.3389/ fspor.2020.637066/full
  8. Improving the Deadlift: Understanding Biomechanical Constraints and Physiological Adaptations to Resistance Exercise // LWW: https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2010 /08000/improving _the_deadlift__understanding .4.aspx

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All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

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Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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