Some Recommended Fitness Books
It’s been a while since we shared our opinion on recommended fitness books, so below are a couple we think are informative, comprehensive and, most importantly, practical. Neither of these are new books but when a book stands the test of time it says something.
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There are commonalities between the two books but, at a high level, it would be fair to say one combines strength, hypertrophy and conditioning while the other one emphasizes strength development.
Be advised, these recommended fitness books are built around the barbell, so if you don’t have access to one or you prefer other types of training then you’d probably be better off looking at our bodyweight or kettlebell resource pages or using our own programs.
Coach Remedios has around 30 years experience training athletes to perform in a number of sports and also has a deep understanding of what drives hypertrophy (muscle growth).
He follows an alternating linear periodisation model which means the rep ranges change frequently to evoke a better response. This, with some of the other features of the program explained below, will ensure that the program doesn’t get stale.
Coach Remedios doesn’t prescribe set movements, he gives the reader a broad range of exercises grouping them into categories e.g. hip dominant, knee dominant, vertical push and pull, horizontal push and pull and further splits them into unilateral and bilateral movements, then asks you to pick exercises of your choice from those categories. He encourages you to change exercises frequently as he believes that eventually by cycling through all of them you will become more rounded. You can see his degree in Kinesiology informs the way he structures his workouts. There are some Olympic lift variations in this book but the instructions are well laid out.
There are 3 twelve week templates in the book, total fitness training, hypertrophy training and strength training. Each of these are variations on a theme i.e. they follow roughly the same template but the rep ranges and recommended loads are different. Coach Dos Remedios recommends that if you choose either the strength or hypertrophy templates that you always return to the fitness one.
In total, including a warmup none of his workouts exceed an hour and most are under the 45 minutes. If this is too long and you need something less than 30 minutes, you’ll find lots of options on our programs page.
Interestingly, Coach Dos Remedios has been a vegan for over 30 years and while he doesn’t promote or push it, for those of you of a similar persuasion it might be reassuring that he believes it’s no impediment to building strength and fitness.
The workout design can take a couple of reads to get your head around but we believe it’s worth it as you could easily follow this book for a couple of years without feeling bored while making significant progress. Highly recommended.
Eric Cressey is a renowned coach, most well known for his work with many MLB teams, additionally he has a Masters in Kinesiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Beyond his accomplishments and credentials as a coach, he has held state, national and world records as a powerlifter, so you can be confident he knows what he is talking about.
The program in this book is designed to increase strength dramatically over the course of 16 weeks and follows a 4 day core with two optional days of energy workouts as he calls them. The energy workouts can be anything from walking to HIIT sessions and he doesn’t go into great detail designing these, just gives broad guidelines. The strength workouts are designed to be finished within an hour including a comprehensive warmup session* . If this is too long and you need something less than 30 minutes, you’ll find lots of options on out programs page.
* This book is over 10 years old and Eric has made some slight adjustments to the warmup routine based on the latest research around biomechanics, particularly concerning the shoulder, a search online will show you the exercises he recommends replacing.
The program has a periodization model using 4 phases, Foundation, Build, Growth and Peak.
Eric extols the virtues of strength in relation to health and longevity rather than simply athletic performance or even vanity. Eric also makes a case that looking to add muscle rather than strength is a poor choice not only in terms of outcomes but also in terms of how long you need to workout.
Again, highly recommended.
So, there you have it, two recommended fitness books that would be a great addition to anyone’s bookshelf.