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Convict conditioning- a book on prison fitness

Updated on June 6, 2013

Convict conditioning, the book and the workout

Convict conditioning in general is marked with workouts geared towards achieving maximum strength. The exercises that convicts use in their fitness were explained in detail by Paul Wade in his, appropriately named book called Convict conditioning. On this page we will take an in depth look at what the book brings to the table and where you can get one for yourself.

As an added bonus, Convict conditioning 2 review has been added to further improve the quality of this page.

Both books have been of great help to many bodyweight exercise fans and have provided impressive results. Besides the The Naked Warrior, this books are in my opinion the best practical and theoretical work on achieving maximum strength.

Enjoy my review, my thoughts and my opinions and please, feel free to add your own!

You can get my full Convict conditioning review here.

An intro into Convict conditioning

The best convict fitness manual

Convict conditioning or CC as it is called by those that avoid its long name has been accepted as a authority book for fans of bodyweight exercises. The convict part has some positive and negative implications and when i first heard of the book i was a bit worried about its contents. But fear not the book is not about prison life, but about how to become strong.

As you will see in the following chapters, the book does not disappoint in making its point heard. It provides many useful workout plans (along with progressive plans for starting from scratch), exercise descriptions and explanations on the workings of the body during these exercises.

A quick poll - A poll about Convict conditioning

Have you read Convict conditioning part 1 or 2?

Why convict?

Why relate with fitness in prison when you are on the outside?

Why would anyone want to train the same way as the societies rejects? Well inmates are exactly that, pardon the expression. Rejects. They are there to unlearn their bad habits and relearn to be functional members of society.

Now lets drop the sweet talk. Prison life is by all means hard. Being threatened from all sides, prisoners are no strangers to violence. And because of the lack of any sophisticated weaponry, crude weapons and hand to hand combat are the norm for prison violence. In such situations, being hardened by intense exercise is a deciding factor. Not only is a trained body more resistant to injury, but improved strength means that you can avoid injury entirely, either by prevailing in combat or making sure that you give out an aura of strength and fear, which deters potential threats.

Convicts train because they need to defend themselves. And the ones that are able to defend themselves the best are survivors. As such, prison fitness is geared towards results, strength and not as much towards looking good. Therefore this page, the book and the discussion is geared towards achieving superior strength.

Most of the training preformed in prisons is done using bodyweight exercises. Let's see the following segment to find out why!

Image source: Valerie Everett under CC 2.0

Why bodyweight?

Why is Convict conditioning a book on bodyweight exercises?

Bodyweight exercises have the benefit of providing a holistic body development. It is probably impossible to find a bodyweight exercise that only works one or just a few muscles. Think of the pull up! Doing it will strenghten your arm and back. But when oyu look at your stomach, you will no doubt notice your abs have hardened up as well. That is how bodyweight exercises work. They work many muscles, which work together to provide something called functional strength. Your body will not fall apart because you neglected a muscle, because you do not have the option to. Bodyweight exercise progression is only assured when all the muscles needed are strong enough. When your abs are strong enough, when your grip is stronger, only then can you hope to make a harder version of a pull up.

That is one of the best reasons for doing bodyweight exercise.

The next important reason is connected to the first one. Bodyweight exercises are safe. It is quite hard to overstack on weights since you are your own weight. That brings up a point we should clear out before we move on. Because of the weight, which is your own, many doubt you can generate enough tension needed to keep strength growing. Fear not. The intensity of any bodyweight exercise can be increased. Push ups too easy? Try them elevated. Too easy? Try them on one hand. Still too easy? Try them on only a few fingers! The list goes on and on. The sky is the limit (well and your precious time on this planet).

Need a few examples of strong men who only train with their body weight? See gymnastiscs, climbers , martial artists, buddhist monks, even monkeys (seriously, monkeys are skinny, but possess wiry strength!).

Other reasons for doing bodyweight exercises:

- health

- joint and tendon strenght

- price (there are no gym fees)

- availability (do it anywhere, you got the weights with you)

Let's see how to get some of that strength through the systematic course detailed by Paul Wade, a legend in the bodyweight fitness circles and a convict who trains other convicts how to become as strong as he is.

Source:Everkinetic under Share alike 3.0

Convict conditioning book summary - A review to help you get the picture on what the book is all about

Convict conditioning is a book, best described as a manual for progressive calisthenics as the author himself calls it. But instead of using these calisthenics for building muscle endurance, the author brings them back as a strength gaining method. I am sure you will agree that even the mightiest warriors of all time, the spartans had no gym memberships? How did they stay strong enough to become legends?

The exercises the book breaks down are:

- squats

- push ups

- pull ups

- leg raises

- bridges

- handstand push ups

Each exercise goes through various stages. The author makes a point of going through all the stages gradually, not skipping through any, even if they are too easy- That way you are well prepared for the next exercise and avoid injury which could set you back a long time.

Convict conditioning 2 review - About Convict conditioning 2

Convict conditioning 2 is a must have book for anyone who enjoyed the first part. It builds on its original techiques and teaching styles. This time around, the author focuses on the often neglected parts of the body and tries to get us to strenghten them in order to become more well rounded. If you had success with CC, then picking up this book will be the best way to continue where you left off and also add more variety into your exercises (although i find the original 6 exercises plenty).

This time you will be improving your:

- hands (fingers especially)

- forearms

- obliques

- neck muscles

- calves

Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss, and Bulletproof Joints
Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss, and Bulletproof Joints

The second part of CC, designed to further increase your strength using two amazing exercises.



Final thoughts about the book and convict fitness in general

Convict conditioning is indeed one of the must have books in your library for any fitness buff who wants to promote or sustain a healhy relationship with his body. I hope this site presented what you wanted to know on Convict conditioning book.

If oyu loved it as much as i did, then by all means check out the following books for further reading!

Other useful books - See these bodyweight exercise books for more information

The Naked Warrior
The Naked Warrior

Pavels bodyweight exstravaganza. A great book to start off your bodyweight training.


User opinions and comments - Speak your mind on just about anything related to the book, bodyweight training or fitness in general.

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    • irminia profile image


      5 years ago

      I have to say that it's a surprising turn in thinking - we are volontarily imprisoning ourselves in our homes, offices ... and of course, this is not a good excuse not to excercise :)


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