Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by BILLtheSTRIKER, Aug 22, 2012.


    BILLtheSTRIKER New Member

    Hi guys, Bill here. I have recently read a book called "convict conditioning" by paul wade. In it, he explains about a training method called progressive calisthenics.

    He says that instead of just pounding out countless reps of pushups to gain strength, you should slowly progress to do harder pushup movements. And every rep is 2 seconds down, pause, 2 seconds up. This eliminates all momentum that would easily carry you through the movement.

    What I love about this is that you can continually grow stronger and more muscular with nothing but your body.

    he give 6 moves that each have 10 steps to mastery. Before you progress to the next step you must be able to complete a set amount of slow reps.

    These are the master steps:

    one arm pushup (strict form, no spread out legs or twisting the waist)
    one arm handstand pushup
    pistol squat
    hanging leg raise
    stand to bridge to stand (OMFG!!!)
    one arm pullup (only one arm, not one hand holding the wrist)

    If you master these, he says you'll be super strong, I tend to agree. After you master these which may take over a year, you can do harder stuff like the barstarzz.

    Go google barstarzz and watch :super human pullups

    this is true, functional strength that you cannot gain through weight lifting.

    BILLtheSTRIKER New Member

    Ok, more on progressive calisthenics.

    What blew my mind in this book was this revelation : the plate loading barbell wasn't until invented around 1900. But men have been strong and powerfully built throughout history. What did the gladiators do to build super-muscled bodies that made some people claim they must have been the descendants of the titans?


    There were no powders or pills back then, you couldn't inject yourself then go do some bicep curls.

    Here is where it gets really neat. To build a big chest, most guys go do bench presses. Slowly as they get stronger, they up the weight 5 pounds at a time. The same thing can be done by slowly moving on to doing harder pushups! And this is real, rock solid muscle, that you can use in real life.

    Just because you can bench 400 pounds does NOT mean that when you hit me with a right cross my head is going to explode.

    If you wanna be strong, you have to do hard stuff.

    I have been lifting weights week in and week out, very hard for 4 years (I did do the de-loading periods, everything by the body building book!) I can attest that pull ups are just as hard today as they were 4 years ago. I have done thousands of curls and lat-pulls, I LOOK like I can do 25 pullups no prob.

    But all those curls and lat pulls didn't make pulling my own body up any freaking easier.

    Weight lifting isolates muscles during contractions. That can build bulk fast I do agree on that, but your muscles are not designed to work that way. They are designed to work together.

    Take this as an example its a true story that relates to my point:

    I love to jump over things, mostly to impress people and just for the sheer fun of it. I used to be able to leap over a big plastic trash can (the kind the trash truck can grab with it's claw). After my first day doing heavy squats, I was so sore I wasn't jumping over any thing. As my squatting improved and I could handle more weight my jumping ability diminished. I can do my body weight for 12 reps on squats, maybe more but im not THAT GUY, what I'm saying is that if I can squat my own weight, plus a barbell with 180 pounds then in theory I should be jumping higher than ever. My legs are bulky, and they FEEL bulky. I cant jump worth a flip now.

    Having bulk is great but it needs to be earned through these calisthenics, in order to have real functional strength.

    One more awesome fact:

    You can do a proper calisthenics workout, build up a sweat, AND get really pumped(muscles all popping out), then rest a few hours and you could do it again. Your body recovers so fast from this type of exorcise that you shouldn't even get sore.

    I have quit weights and started this quest to master the master steps.

  3. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter


    [ame=""]these are not the isolations you're looking for[/ame]

    the only difference between bodyweight and weight training is that in weight training the intensity can be regulated within each individual exercise, whereas in BW training you need to modify or switch the exercises (although you can also add weight to them).

    BILLtheSTRIKER New Member

    Ok, your right not ALL weight lifting isolates a single muscle. And if I had to chose weight training moves to increase strength, then I would go with the Olympic lifts.

    But don't count this system out just yet! Think about a monkey and how doing a pull up for him is as easy as taking a step is for us. If you could do a pull up as easily as that don't you think you'd be strong? Unless you are abnormally strong or very skinny then pull ups are hard!

    And you said body weight exercise cant get harder without changing the movement and you are 100% right on that buddy. That's why its called PROGRESSIVE CALISTHENICS. You get stronger, then you progress to the next movement.

    I'm telling you, if you can do the master steps SLOWLY in a purely controlled manner, then you are very very strong.

    ps:you didnt watch the barstarzz video on super human pullups did you?
  5. Rand86

    Rand86 likes to butt heads


    Any more trite and worn out cliches you'd like to bring up before this thread runs its course?

    Quite frankly this stuff reads like an ad copy, and not a particularly good one at that.
  6. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    you can get stronger faster with weights than without, though. if you don't have weights, then yeah, bodyweight progressions are awesome. if you do, then choose the exercises that best suits your needs among all that you have available.

    BILLtheSTRIKER New Member

    Your right you CAN get stronger faster with weights. BUT I say, this is different strength. This is real strength, without aching joints from heavy weights, and Its built VERY slowly. For most people it will never happen.

    Its a slow slow strength building system, but its got to be worth it to be strong enough to do the master steps I stated above.

    Sounds like an ad? Sounds like an excuse! LOL

    No seriously I know a person who obtained a copy of this book via piracy and I don't care if you buy the book, steal it, or go kidnap the author and make him give you a lecture. I'm just waking up from the whole body building for strength illusion.

    I have been lifting for years. I am muscular and strong from it. Its just different man, and your doing yourself a disservice not reading the book.

    Just look at these moves man!

    one arm pushup (feet together and absolutely no twisting of the waist)
    one arm pull up (not with one hand holding the wrist)
    pistol squat (google it)
    one arm handstand pushup (wtf i didnt even think ppl would try that!)
    hanging leg raise (slowly and very controlled for reps)
    stand to bridge to stand (bend over backwards till your in a bridge, then stand back up)

    Just think about those. Think about how hard, and strong your body would have to be to do these movements.

    Don't you think you would be strong by the time you worked up to doing all these slowly, and for reps? And for extra muscle, you just eat plenty of extra food(he doesnt say that in the book but it just figures)
  8. Fish Of Doom

    Fish Of Doom Will : Mind : Motion Supporter

    or, given the appropriate resources, you could, you know, get strong much more quickly and THEN start working on all the funky stuff and achieve it a lot more rapidly than if you just started out with them.

    BILLtheSTRIKER New Member

    I'm not trying to sell a book. I'm just so enthusiastic I want everyone to know about this stuff. For the pushup progression set, your not even doing a regular push up until step 5.

    At first I thought,"Well this is a load of freakin BS, I aint doin no wimpy A*% wall push ups, I can bench 230 pounds!!!"

    But then I actually thought about the theory. The theory is you start low, at the bottom and work your way up these steps, and in doing so, the steps never seem that hard. By the time your doing one armed pushups your like,"Dude, whats the big deal, this aint so hard!"

    Its not that one armed pushups got any easier.

    Its that your body is just so hard and strong that they FEEL easy.

    Do you at least understand the concept? I really want you to.

    BILLtheSTRIKER New Member

    ahh crap i just saw your post. Yea well thats what I did, like I said I have been lifting hard for 4 years.
  11. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Building the Gymnastic Body by Coach Sommer (as well as the forums) are waaaaay better than this book.
  12. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    The other thing that you (BTS) seem to have missed is that BB and weight training are not the same thing. Yes both involve barbells but I think the approach is so different that you wouldn't compare them.

    Specifically I think that if you looked at Power lifting as opposed to body building you might see one reason that you weren't getting as much out of the weights with the BB protocols.

    I like Coach Sommer's book but also like stuff from power lifters like Westside barbell and The Juggernaut method. The Juggernaut method was written by Chad Wesley Smith and he recently squatted 900 pounds raw!!

    Take a look at a few more things. You obviously have a favourite for the moment but there is a lot out there.

  13. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    I think BTS will find the best results come from intelligently combining these various methods.
  14. CrowZer0

    CrowZer0 Assume formlessness.

    After I looked at this I downloaded the book, you know what really great book.

    I don't agree with Bill about everything he has said about how it could be better than weights, But it is a great book, the author himself was in maximum security prisons for 19 years hence "convict conditioning", he basically moved around a few prisons during his time in there, studied old school methods of callisthenics and was a coach to a lot of guys in there who wanted "functional strength".

    His progression system is great, for people with very little functional strength, he does give progression for "wall push ups" etc. Basics for the squat, half squats variations and so on. It does make me think he has set up a system for me to be able to do a full hand stand push up. So I will give this a go, I can do a couple of piston squats, but I can't do one armed push ups etc (well not without a struggle). I'll take the authors recommendation and start at the bottom and progress slowly, to build a base. It is a good book to check out for those of you who might want to look at a progressive system of callisthenics to try and do hand stand push ups, piston squats, one armed pull ups etc.

    Edit: also Bill, how far down the book did you get? Cos the author does talk about the benefits of weights after building this calisthenic base, he talks about piston squats with heavier dumbells etc. The author likes to call it "hybrid exercises" a mix of callisthenics with weights. Piston squats with dumbells? Sounds like fun.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2012
  15. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Some pearls of wisdom from this thread all from bill

    Please please stop the stupidity it hurts my brain
    Umm they were professional athletes lifting and throwing each other, lifting heavy weapons (a form of weight training) running etc everyday with good trainers, the best food and recovery methods avaliable to them ....way to go in comparing what they did to doing pushups
    As opposed to the unreal unrock solid muscles build by lifting weights…news flash resistance is resistance, strength is strength

    The fact you equate weight lifting with body building and isolating muscles just speaks volumes to your level of understanding on the subject…or lack of it
    Again really, most people would go with the powerlifts to build strength maybe you should look the sport up its kind of popular and been around for a while

    And you would be wrong, but just to clarify you are trying to sell a system which is slower in results that weights, which isn’t as easy to measure progressive with and which for a lot of people wont work (in your own words) but you still think its better? theres logic for you
    News flash if you can bench press 230 you are weak

    this reads like an infomercial not a review
  16. Oldi

    Oldi Valued Member

    I find Coach Sommer's book hard to use in terms of programming. CC is pleasingly "point and click", especially if you google up some of the summary sheets some kind people have put together.

    CC is a great book with easy to follow progressions for people who for one reason or another have a need or desire to eschew weight training (of which there are a good few). It does however have all the hallmarks of a Dragondoor publication- needless macho posturing and sweeping generalisations. Cut through that and it's a solid piece of work in my opinion.
  17. Patrick Smith

    Patrick Smith Tustom Cuser Uitle

    Oh yes, it's not bad for a beginner, but CC doesn't come close to the level of Coach Sommer's material. I understand that many people had trouble with programming from Coach Sommer's book, and I agree that it needs to be improved, but really, if you just read the book carefully you can figure it out. I at first "skimmed" and thought it was too complicated but then a year later I read it carefully and used it to write a simple program that worked for me for quite a while. Now I just follow the WODs that Coach puts up on the GB forums.

    By the way, if you liked BtGB but thought it wasn't polished enough, check by the GB website sometime around the end of the year! A ton of new things are going to come out to make it more straightforward and beginner-friendly!
  18. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Agree with the programming issues with BtGB. Considering it took so long to get the first version out in print, I would have thought a few ready to use beginners training routines wouldn't have been that difficult to include.
  19. Body Sushi

    Body Sushi Valued Member

    A few things about CC:
    - the suggested reps are out of the freaking moon, and they do not target strength, but endurance.
    - No-one has ever done a one arm handstand push up... Certainly the model used in the picture cannot do them. CC is a work of fiction in that respect.
    - The whole prison mentality subtones are somewhat dodgy.
    - CC does not really give you a workout protocol.

    If you are into bodyweight training and progressions, follow the Bodyweight 666 instead:
    Better progressions, better protocols for strength development, no impossible exercises, and best of all: free
  20. Oldi

    Oldi Valued Member

    Great resource, thanks for sharing.

Share This Page