31 Dec The 5 Best Strength Training Books of 2013.

Well, this is my 2nd annual “top 5 fitness books I’ve read this year” article.

To see last year’s top 5, click here.

I love books, always have.

Today, more than ever, I realize how important it is to constantly learn.

To be an expert, you must be a student.

Can I be honest with you?

Everything we want to know about is found in the pages of great books.


Someone, somewhere has poured their specialized knowledge into the pages of a book.

All we need to do is just read, learn, and apply.

There are very few books I read that I don’t learn a few things from.

Every single book I read is part of the journey.

I’m not sure how many books I read this year, but I know it was a lot.

Looking back, I thought a lot about the top 5 strength training books I read.

These are all recent books that were published in the last year, with the exception of one.

I decided to keep the list to recently published books to narrow things down a bit, as opposed to some of the older classics.

If I included other classic books that I finally got around to reading this year, this list may have looked a little different (for example, Supertraining by Yuri Verkhoshansky and Mel Siff, which could have easily been included on this list).

So, here’s my top 5 for this year (2013).

1-ORIGINAL STRENGTH by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert.

This is a great book about reclaiming fundamental human movement developed by Tim Anderson and Geoff Neupert.

I love this book because it’s simple, beneficial, and anyone can use and apply these great principles.

The authors did an outstanding job in presenting the material and providing a solid rationale of why the methods are so important for people of all levels and backgrounds.

I would classify this book as a simple guide to understanding why the movement we’re born with is crucial in optimizing our performance.

I frequently use the OS system and I teach it to others to restore, improve, and maximize movement skills and improve performance.

One of the great things about the OS system is how applicable it is to people of so many different levels.

From older to younger, high skill level or raw beginner, this simple system is easy to learn and extremely useful for movement, mobility, and strength.

And, here’s one more huge benefit.

It won’t take away from any strength or conditioning program you’re currently doing.

It’s complementary to any program you can think of, as it’s used as a pre or post mobility session.

If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend reading and using the OS system.

And, to listen to the interview with one of the authors, Tim Anderson, click here and check out podcast episode 29.


I’ve already written a full review on this book, but it’s another easy read that is jam packed with key principles on strength training using kettlebells.

Simple and Sinister is a system, a set of principles, and a program.

It represents fundamental kettlebell training principles that are essential to maximize results and performance with the tool.

It goes deep in the key exercises, the kettlebell swing and the Turkish get up.

But, it goes way beyond what it appears on surface level.

This is a book for beginners through advanced.

A very important book for anyone involved in the most efficient style of kettlebell training, as taught by Pavel.

I would say it’s required reading, no matter where you are in your training journey.

I won’t go into all the details on Simple and Sinister because I’ve already written about the value of this book.

To read my full review, just click here.

3-BONES OF IRON by Matt Foreman.

This is the only book listed that didn’t come out this year.

It was published a couple of years ago, but had a big impact on me and really stood out.

Here’s a book that may be surprising, but I’ll give you my reasons why I love this book.

First off, it’s written by Matt Foreman who has a significant background in Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting.

This book is a collection of great articles written by Matt from the Performance Menu Journal.

Matt’s a great writer, offering unique perspective and valuable content in his articles.

This book covers a lot of different subject matter from training myths, programs, technique, athletic competition, and practical experience.

In some way’s, Matt’s writing style is similar to the masterful Dan John.

Similar style, but different.

For any strength athlete, coach, or fitness enthusiast, this is a great read.

The chapter called “The Four Phases of Weightlifting” is worth the investment alone.

No BS, but solid material and very engaging topics that I believe we can all learn from.

I’m going to do a ‘re-read’ of this one, to absorb the material even further.

If you get this book, you won’t be disappointed.

Once again, Matt is an exceptional writer.

4-SUPPLE LEOPARD by Kelly Starrett.

What can I say about Supple Leopard?

Supple Leopard reads more like a textbook than a book.

It is a textbook at almost 400 pages – it’s a beast.

What is Supple Leopard?

Here’s my very ‘top line’ explanation of this book.

It’s a comprehensive guide to human movement, exercise technique, and mobility.

The 1st half of the book is setting the stage for the importance of movement and a detailed review of many exercises.

The 2nd half of the book is all on mobilizations, which is what made Kelly famous at MobilityWOD.com.

While the mobilizations are really innovative, the biggest value in the book is the 1st half about the principles of movement and the technical aspects of exercise.

The introduction to human movement and the principles such as mid-line stabilization, the one joint rule, and the laws of torque are very valuable and important concepts in function and performance.

While I was very familiar with many of the concepts, based on my own educational background, I found this to be enlightening to further reinforce the concepts, with a new perspective.

What’s the biggest take away with such a powerful book?

Here it is.

We will better understand how to optimize the function of our bodies for pain-free training and performance.

What you take away from the book may depend on your background, experience, and your passion to learn about human performance.

As I mentioned, it is a “heavy read” and it’s packed with content, so if you can take a few things away and continue to use it as a reference, it’s totally worth the investment.

A very unique book with many applications for people of all levels, however, I do think it may be best suited for the coach or die-hard fitness enthusiast seeking to better understand how to optimize performance.

To listen to the interview I had with Kelly, check out episode 25 on the podcast.

5-STRENGTH COACH by Jeff Connors.

This is a late addition to this list, but the book is so good I had to include it.

This is a recently released book and my guess is it’s very much “under the radar.”

The book is written by collegiate strength coach, Jeff Connors.

Jeff has 30 years of experience as a college athletic strength coach and shares his stories, experience, and wisdom in this great book.

Sometimes, I don’t know how I stumble onto books like this, but this one caught my attention and I ordered a copy.

I really had no idea it would be this good.

Jeff goes into many great stories about his collegiate football strength coaching experiences and accomplishments at East Carolina University (ECU) in what are some riveting situations we can learn from.

While the book is a lot of his personal journey into his career as a passionate and dedicated strength coach, there is also great programming in there, as well.

Not to mention powerful “life lessons” for every athlete and coach.

The book goes deep into the character builders learned from physical strength and conditioning.

I’m a strength coach because I help people get stronger and move better and more efficiently.

However, to read the story of a veteran collegiate strength and conditioning coach in the trenches with so much passion and experience has been really enlightening, inspiring, and educational.

Think of this book as the ultimate insider’s guide of an elite strength coach.

It’s part story, but it’s also an outstanding training manual.

The “foundational principles/perspectives” at the end of each chapter are extremely valuable for every serious strength coach or athlete.

If you’re a coach at any level or an exercise enthusiast, I feel this is a “must read” and honestly hope more people discover this great book.

Check it out for inspiration and practical application of strength and conditioning.

These are my top 5 strength training books I read in 2013.

I highly recommend all of these.

If you’re a strength athlete, coach, or serious fitness enthusiast, consider this as your reading list for the next quarter.

There were definitely many others I thought about and could have easily been included here, as well.

However, I had to choose my top 5, so this list are those books.

Thanks for reading and if you have a great book or two that you’ve recently read, please post it below for others and I’ll be sure to add it to my reading list.

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