Book Review: The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins

Title: The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding
Authors: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins
Publication Date: 1998
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 800
ISBN: 978-0684857213


“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding” by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins is often hailed as the “bible of bodybuilding.” This comprehensive guide covers every aspect of the sport, from training techniques and nutrition to competition preparation and injury prevention. With over 800 pages of detailed information, this book is an essential resource for anyone serious about bodybuilding.


Training Techniques:
The book provides an extensive range of training routines for different experience levels, from beginners to advanced bodybuilders. It includes exercises for all major muscle groups, complete with step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and tips for maximizing effectiveness. Schwarzenegger shares his personal training philosophies and techniques that helped him achieve legendary status in bodybuilding.

Nutrition and Supplementation:
Understanding the critical role of nutrition in bodybuilding, the book delves into dietary strategies to optimize muscle growth and recovery. It covers macronutrients, micronutrients, meal planning, and the use of supplements. Schwarzenegger emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and offers practical advice for maintaining peak physical condition.

Competition Preparation:
For those aspiring to compete, the book offers valuable insights into preparing for bodybuilding contests. It includes tips on posing, stage presence, and mental preparation. Schwarzenegger draws from his extensive experience to guide readers through the competitive process, from the initial decision to compete to the final moments on stage.

Injury Prevention and Recovery:
The authors address the importance of preventing and managing injuries, a crucial aspect often overlooked in bodybuilding. The book includes strategies for proper warm-ups, cool-downs, and recovery techniques. It also provides advice on dealing with common injuries and maintaining long-term joint and muscle health.

Personal Anecdotes and Motivation:
One of the standout features of the book is Schwarzenegger’s personal anecdotes and motivational tips. His journey from a small village in Austria to becoming a bodybuilding champion and Hollywood star adds a unique and inspiring dimension to the book. His insights into the mental aspects of training and competition are particularly valuable.


“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding” is a treasure trove of knowledge for bodybuilding enthusiasts. Here are some of the key strengths and potential drawbacks of the book:


  • Comprehensive Coverage: The book covers every aspect of bodybuilding, making it a one-stop resource for anyone interested in the sport. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced bodybuilder, there is something valuable to learn.
  • Detailed Illustrations: The step-by-step instructions and accompanying illustrations are clear and easy to follow, helping readers perform exercises correctly and safely.
  • Expert Advice: Schwarzenegger’s expertise and experience shine through, offering readers insights that can only come from a true legend of the sport. His motivational tips are particularly inspiring.
  • Practical Tips: The book is filled with practical advice that can be applied to everyday training and nutrition, making it a useful guide for achieving real-world results.

Potential Drawbacks:

  • Length and Density: At over 800 pages, the book can be overwhelming for some readers. It requires time and dedication to fully absorb the wealth of information it contains.
  • Dated Information: While the core principles of bodybuilding remain relevant, some nutritional and supplementation advice may be outdated given the advancements in sports science since the book’s publication.


Overall, “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding” by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins is an indispensable resource for anyone serious about bodybuilding. Its comprehensive coverage, expert advice, and practical tips make it a must-have for both aspiring and seasoned bodybuilders. Despite its length and some dated information, the book remains a timeless classic in the world of fitness literature, offering invaluable insights from one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.

Explore More: Check out our Book Reviews and Fitness Guides for more insights into the best resources for bodybuilding and fitness.

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