A champion requires wisdom. He employs this wisdom in his own physical training, in the heat of battle, in his recovery from both, and also in teaching and guiding others. Wisdom arises from each of these pursuits, yet is not a guaranteed outcome. A great many athletes become terrible coaches. A great many strong men have sent young men down the path of injury and ruin.
Avoid these overeager teachers who lack true wisdom.
Instead, learn from the great mentors of your time, and those who came before. Herein you’ll find everything a member of the brotherhood requires to make a hearty attempt at becoming a champion. The books are not always easy to read. A champion, after all, is rarely a poet. Luckily, however, this is not the library of Alexandria; there aren’t that many books to read. For though a great many books have been written, there have only been a handful of masters, and only a few books worthy of their place in every champion’s canon.
Level 1 – Strength
by Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline.
Somewhat scattered, yet still arguably the greatest book ever written regarding the acquisition of strength for athletes. This book includes manageable and subtly powerful training guidelines for those whose lives are lived, and battles fought, outside weightlifting facilities. It is not a book for powerlifters or bodybuilders. As such, it constitutes the foundation of most Ludus trainees’ strength programs.
by Mark Rippetoe
Starting Strength is the Bible of barbell training. As with the Bible, it is not easy to comprehend, it requires near-daily thought and practice, and most who read it will fail to utilize its wisdom. Even so, it will teach you the methodology for acquiring strength, in a focused and optimized way, during the first twelve weeks of your training. The Novice Linear Progression described in this book is your Step 1, your gateway to physical strength. Use it wisely.
by Jim Wendler
There are programs, there are books, and there are timeless principles. 5/3/1 only concerns itself with the latter. Trainees who execute the programming within will make steady progress, acquire real strength, and learn how their bodies respond to all classical forms of resistance training and conditioning. As such, it represents the distilled wisdom of a great many strong men and their coaches. It is efficient, brutal, and effective. It will make you better.
by Dan John
In the act of pondering, it fails to occur to many coaches that the need for strength does not equate to the pursuit of maximal strength, which carries certain costs. Yet by prioritizing the fundamental human movements, applying reasonable reps and load, and remaining conscious of one’s own physical gaps and insufficiencies, any member of the brotherhood, young or old, healthy or broken, can build strength while simultaneously improving their performance in the arena. For that is a trainee’s only goal. And the goal must always remain the goal. This book teaches one how to pursue it across the varying seasons of a life.
Level 2 – Resilience
by Kit Laughlin
The worlds of strength and athletic training are rife with charlatans, snake-oil salesman, and dangerously overeager idiots. Flexibility, however, as an athletic quality, seems not to attract much interest. This is good. Because Mr. Laughlin has already beaten the game. It’s difficult to find this book, and may not even be worth it, as Mr. Laughlin produces much free content. Yet if a trainee seeks to increase his pliability, then this book will provide enlightenment in text. There can be little else worth knowing.
by Tim Anderson
There are a great many Original Strength books. Approximately seven too many, in fact. Were one to combine them all into a single tome, it would be little better than this. However, this is no slight against Mr. Anderson’s remarkable, profound discoveries about human health and athleticism and their relationship to movement. It’s a powerful system, one so unbelievably effective, it’s no longer a suggestion. Original Strength is a requirement for all trainees.