Bones of Iron

A behind-the-scenes look at the world of weightlifting

Most books about weightlifting deal with technique and training protocols, as it should be. But at times, you should take a break from all this deep-dive learning and discover the fascinating stories of those who chose to participate in a sport that epitomizes the athletic moment in its clearest expression. For your consideration, Matt Foreman gives us Bones of Iron: Collective Articles of on the Life of the Strength Athlete.

Foreman is an Iron Game journalist who has an extensive background in weightlifting, powerlifting, and strength coaching. Those who have read his articles immediately recognize him as someone who knows what it’s like to push, pull, and thrown heavy weights. And his ability to share his observations and emotions about these sports has earned the respect of his peers. Consider this review by 3x US Olympic Team Coach Jim Schimtz:

Bones of Iron is very informative and all lifters and coaches would benefit from reading it. For new coaches there is valuable information they will read about for the first time here. For the experienced coach the information will be reaffirming. Also, by reading Bones of Iron you will get to know Matt’s knowledge, love, dedication, and wonderful memories of his weightlifting experiences. So, many of us have had very similar experiences, this book makes one proud to be an Olympic Style Weightlifter.”

The Hulk is the strongest creature in the comic book world, but in real life, that title belongs to weightlifter Tasha Talakhadze. At a height of 6’6” and a bodyweight of 403 pounds, this Georgian giant holds all the absolute world records with a 496-pound snatch and a 588-pound clean and jerk. (Photo by Viviana Podhaiski,

Bones of Iron is a collection of articles he wrote between 2008 and 2011, along with a few additional chapters. It’s divided into three sections: Training, Competitive Experience, and General Athletic Experience.

The Training section goes over the basics, such as technique and programming. It’s not designed as a “how to” coaching course but gives the general audience an overview of how weightlifters train and the challenges they face in progressing in the sport. One such challenge for Foreman was converting from the sport of powerlifting to weightlifting.

The Competitive Experience section introduces the novice lifter to what it’s like to participate in the sport as an athlete and gives insight into what goes on in international competitions. One athlete he focuses on is Russia’s Andrei Chemerkin, the super heavyweight gold medal winner in the 1996 Olympics and the only man to attempt a 600-pound (601 to be exact) clean and jerk in training. Foreman offers insight into why Chermerkin was qualified to say, “The dream of everyone is to defeat me.”

The final section on General Athletic Experience summarizes Foreman’s views on how to enjoy the sport and offers insight into how we can all help make the sport grow. With that, Foreman leaves us with this tribute:

“The greatest reward I could imagine would be to know that other lifters and coaches have learned something valuable in this book and then paid it forward by using that learning to make other people better.”

[You can purchase Bones of Iron by Matt Foreman through


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