Influential Books

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
Because I, like probably many others here, have a hard time fighting the urge to read more strength books, I thought I would start a thread where we contribute recommendations for favorite reading material that others on this forum may be interested in. I know Pavel has mentioned, and quoted, Earle Liederman and his Secrets of Strength book numerous times and it's on my list to pick up now.

I would like to recommend a book from the early 70's called The Super Athletes by David P. Willoughby. It's a virtual catalog of old time strong men like Louis Cyr, Hermann Goerner, Sandow, etc. with hundreds of pictures. I found it in a local library one summer (1985) and kept it checked out the entire summer, couldn't put it down. It was the book that introduced me to all of those athletes of yesteryear.

Looking forward to other contributions!

Steve W.

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A relatively little known book that was hugely influential to me was Johnny Parker's Ultimate Weight Training Program. Johnny Parker was the New York Giants strength coach under Bill Parcells and this book came out right after the Giants won the Super Bowl in 1986 (the technique demonstration photographs featured Giants players like Phil Simms, Joe Morris, and Jim Burt). It included several levels of periodized, percentage-based programs, tailored to different football position groups. All the programs were based on big multi-joint exercises, and were laid out in worksheets, session by session, with spaces to fill in your poundages.

It was my introduction to planned, progressive training, using percentages, wave loading, unloading weeks, and so forth, and focusing on big multi-joint lifts. A lot of it was based on information that was beginning to come out of the Soviet Bloc that was completely unfamiliar to me at the time.

A great book that is sadly overlooked.

Among biographies, I loved The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein, The Mighty Atom, World's Strongest Man, by Ed Spielman. An inspirational "nothing is impossible" kind of story.

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Pavel Tsatsouline, Power To The People! (1999)

When I was returning to activity after my back injury, I asked on a running newsgroup about a book that would help me get stronger without adversely affecting what was then my main activity, distance running. Someone recommend the above book; the rest is history. :) :)



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If you're into weightlifting, then Klokov: Training Methods of the Russian Champion is a must. Although i have a hard time unlearning the jump-shrug move during snatch/clean, the rest is definately worth reading.

Pavel Macek

More than 2500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
Steve, similar story here, but for me the entry point was The Naked Warrior.

Lo and behold, almost 10 years I had the honor to write a foreword to the Czech edition :)


Harald Motz

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
John McCallum
"The complete keys to progress"
Great enyoying to read narrations about power bodybuilding (episodes came out 1965-1972 in Strength and Health).

Everything from Dan John: Anecdotes, no bullshit informations and pearls of wisdom of decades of lifting experience and coaching, all spiced up with a great sense of humour, even about himself.
A real strength philosopher.


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Dan John - Intervention
Made me reconsider how i approach training and life in general. Especially the part about managing work, rest, play & pray.


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S&S and Easy Strength. Dan's quadrants and S&S - I am where I need and want to be.
S&S not for the obvious though, what isn't in it is why it has opened many, many doors.
It will influence, and be a big part of, the rest of my life.

Harald Motz

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Influential articles and posts: all authored by Al Ciampa. I do not know if he has written a book yet, but when not he is hopefully writing or planning to write one. His experience, ideas, thoughts and style are always appreciated. In a strong body lives a strong heart. And mind, of course.
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Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor

Thank you for the kind words. I am (still) in the middle of the revision that will both update, and complete the piece.

Harald Motz

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Just received it a few minutes ago. Just flew over it.
First impression: a concise masterful piece of art about thoughtful physical training. A recipe for getting/staying healthy: mobile, strong, endurant. Not more, not less. Einsteins quote: " Make it simple, but not simpler" fits perfectly here.
I think I will read it more than two times.
Thank you very much.
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