Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting deeper into Convict Conditioning

Now that it's had some time to percolate and folks have had a chance to, oh, I don't know... actually read the frigging book before passing judgment, Convict Conditioning is proving to be a runaway success. If you don't own this book you should.
My own strength practice has improved tremendously in 2010, and we're only a month in. I have been rock solid in my training and I am making leaps and bounds forward.
On my VWC days I have been doing my convict conditioning work. Hanging leg raises, pistols (obviously), one arm push ups, pull ups, bridges, headstands, handstands, all are showing marked progress.
People have given Paul Wade some guff because of his 'free weights are evil' attitude that is pervasive throughout the book. Well, in a lot of ways I can't really say I disagree with him all that much. Is it way easier to jack yourself up with external resistance that it is with your own body-weight? Yup. Do the bodyweight feats in CC require a solid degree of flexibility and stability that you can get away with not having when you use free weights? Yup.
A good trainer will insist you learn how to handle your own bodyweight before loading you with external resistance. It seems the myth of machines being 'safer' is finally starting to be dispelled (though not quick enough for my tastes) and so it would only seem logical that bodyweight exercises would become the foundational skill. However logic doesn't sell copies of Men's Fitness, so most likely we will see people hopping around on these.
Mastering even the basic skills in CC will give you a solid foundation to move into other things such as kettlebells. As you work through the progressions, take the time to ask yourself why a specific movement is so hard. I have people come to me to improve their pistols and the answer is always the same: "You have crappy flexibility." Likewise if you find the bridge to be insurmountable, you probably have some pretty good hip, t-spine, and shoulder tightness.


  1. Question: in CC, are the progressions starting from ground zero? Meaning, if a de-conditioned SOB like,, was to get the book, is there a "first step"? Or does it assume that you can pull five strict tactical pull ups (that's your "tactical") before you can even get in the game? Thanks for your blog.

  2. The progressions do start from ground zero. From not being able to do a regular push up, to a one handed push up.