Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Convict Conditioning System - Mastery of Bodyweight - New Blood - CC Video Summary - Intrinsic Strength - 10 Commandments - Final Note and When to 'Skip' - Thank You to Paul Wade

 

Convict Conditioning

New Blood

Intrinsic Strength

by Adam Mundorf



Quote by Steve Maxwell
“People have lost sight of the true purpose of exercise.  It’s not about the reps or weights; it’s about producing a deep level of fatigue without damaging the structure so that the body is compelled to adapt and increase its strength.  It’s about discipline.  With discipline comes integrity and virtue.  This is the source of beauty in the well-trained human body, and why you can’t acquire it from the outside; it’s an internal, mental quality shining through.”


Quote by Martin "Farmer" Burns
"I am not favorable to heavy weights used in physical culture...I believe that abnormal development brought about by heavy weights is harmful. The muscles become large and hard, and lose their elasticity and suppleness. They do not respond like the elastic muscles built up naturally by light weights and common gymnastic exercises."



The Convict Conditioning System

Man, if there's one thing that I've looked into too much it's Convict Conditioning. There are four main mistakes I think people make when first approaching Convict Conditioning. The first mistake that many people make is ignoring that there are three books to the series plus a good log book and some other ancillary books if you want extra reading. It IS a complete system :

  1. Convict Conditioning

    1. Focuses on the big six calisthenic movements.

  2. Convict Conditioning 2

    1. Incorporates finger training, grip training, calves, flag work, oblique training, neck bridging and joint mobility/active stretching.

    2. Also has sections for diet, lifestyle and mindset.

  3. Convict Conditioning 3 (Explosive Calisthenics)

    1. Offers options to work up to superman pushups, suicide jumps, front flips, back flips, kip ups and the muscle up.

    2. Animal Movements and Small Space drills.

  4. Convict Conditioning Log Book
    1. This is a great book with awesome advice and training excerpts throughout. It also has some cool training plans which I may be using in the future.


The second mistake I think many people make is taking the rep ranges far too literally. Like, 3 x 50 horizontal pull ups done at waist height and a 2-1-2 cadence, forget it. From what I've gathered from speaking with the Kavadlo's and others, is that the rep ranges were there just as a rough guide but became gospel.


The third mistake is not realizing how difficult calisthenics can be. Every change in leverage amplifies any weakness you have whether that is extra weight or tendon strength. Weights are so much simpler to progress with which is why Convict Conditioning is such an impressive attempt at quantifying calisthenic progressions without getting into gymnastic style training.


The fourth mistake is not respecting the early progressions, steps 1-3 are pretty much rehab steps. When done at a proper tempo, these exercises oil and stimulate the muscles/joints/tendons without destroying them. These movements will set a broad base for the future movements. No one ever got worse by practicing the basics. Instead of asking yourself : "When can I progress?" instead ask yourself : "How much benefit can I get out of this movement?" Keep on wringing that sponge until all of the water is out.



Mastery of Bodyweight

Why would you move an external object for exercise when you aren't even able to move yourself? I find many people who look over calisthenics as an easy modality but aren't even proficient in the basics. Some people can't even do a basic push-up or flat foot bodyweight squat. Reaching a certain level in calisthenics proficiency will lead to better performance in weight lifting but it doesn't go the other way. More body awareness has never been a bad thing. It's not that I don't value weights, I certainly do but dude, why not 100% our body first before lifting externally. I just can't wrap my head around how that could be a bad thing.....



Enter New Blood

Enter the basic New Blood program from the original Convict Conditioning book. It involves using the basic four movements : push-ups, squats, leg raises and chin ups. It is recommended that you hammer these four movements hard until you complete step 6, then you can introduce dynamic handstands and bridging. Along with these four movements I am incorporating some movements from the other Convict Conditioning books. Remember this is a complete system. I am adding in : grip, fingertip work and calf work. Until I reach a basic proficiency in these movements I am omitting : explosive work, animal movements and neck bridging. I'll also be doing trifecta stretching sporadically throughout the day, before bed and when I have time or feel the need.


Things will get more complex when I earn by spending quality time on the basics.


New Blood with Mobility, Form and Warm-up Guidelines

  • Day 1

    • Push ups

    • Fingertip Push ups

    • Grip Work

    • Leg Raises

    • Calves

  • Day 2

    • Off

  • Day 3

    • Off

  • Day 4

    • Off

  • Day 5
    • Pull-Ups

    • Fingertip Push-Ups

    • Grip

    • Squats

    • Calves

  • Day 6
    • Off
  • Day 7

    • Off

Realistic Standards
In Convict Conditioning, Paul Wade laid out some pretty absurd master rep ranges for the master steps.
Luckily he edited these in the Convict Conditioning Log Book. Some moves are omitted because I want
exercises I can do from my upstairs apartment, I'm not big on 'going out'. If I'm not at work, I'm a recluse.
They are as follows :
  • One Arm Push-Up
    • 2 x 10
  • Pistol Squat
    • 2 x 10
  • One Arm Chin Up
    • 2 x 3
  • Hanging Leg Raise
    • 2 x 10
  • Stand to Stand Bridge
    • 2 x 3
  • One Arm Handstand Push-Up (?) (LOL) or Handstand Push-Up
    • 2 x 2
      • The One Arm probably isn't possible....
    • 1(10)
      • The Full Handstand Push-Up is achievable.
  • Finger Tip Push-Ups
    • 2(5) One Arm Fingertip Push-Ups
  • Grip
    • 1(1 min) One Arm Towel Hang
  • Calves
    • 4(50) Single Leg Calf Raises Off a Step (Straight Leg)
  • Power Push-Ups
    • The Superman Push-Up
Where I am Beginning

Here is where I'll be beginning :

  • Pushups
    • Incline Pushups (Step 2)
  • Leg Raises
    • Bent Leg Raise (Step 2)
  • Chin Ups
    • Horizontal Pull (Step 2)
  • Squats
    • Shoulderstand Squats (Step 1)
  • Fingertip Pushups
    • Kneeling Fingertip Pushups (Step 1)
  • Grip
    • Bar Hang (Step 2)
  • Calves
    • Bent Leg Calf Raises (Step 1)

Pre-Bed Mobility/Flexibility (Workout Day)

  • Trifecta Stretching (20 seconds)

    • Bridge
    • L-Sit
    • Twist
  • 5 Minute Squat Sit
  • Passive Bar Hanging

Pre-Bed Mobility/Flexibility (Off Day)
  • Joint Circles
  • Toe Touch/Reach Overhead
  • Stick Dislocates
  • Trifecta Stretching (20 seconds)
    • Bridge
    • L-SIt
    • Twist
  • 5 Minute Squat Sit
  • Passive Bar Hang

Convict Conditioning Warm-Up and Cool Down Guidelines

  • Before Anything

    • Joint Circles
    • Toe Touch/Reach Overhead
    • Stick Dislocates
  • Grip Work

    • Fingertip Pushups

      • Eagle Claws 2 x 10

    • “Forearms”

      • The Fingertip work pretty much gets you ready.

  • Calves

    • Perform after lower body work

  • Explosive Work

    • Joint Circles

    • 3 Minutes of Small Space Drills or Animal Movements

  • Cool Down
    • 3 Minute Slow Nasal Breathing while Sitting in Seiza. Eyes closed preferably and treat this
                      as a mindfulness exercise.

Convict Conditioning Video Summary

  • Push ups

    • Moving Plank

    • Feet Together

    • Grip with Hands

    • Soft Arms at Top

    • Smooth Descent and Complete Control

    • Keep Elbows Tight and Fire Lats

    • Keep Hands Close

    • Breath In/Down Breathe Out/Up

    • 2 Seconds Down - Pause - 2 Seconds Up

    • During 1 Arm Work keep Reps identical for both sides.  Begin with a weaker

    • arm.

  • Leg Raises

    • No Isolation Movements for the Abs.

    • Always use the Full Body

    • Hard Work, Not lots of Work

    • Biomechanical Breathing

    • Keep breathing smooth.

    • Keep Gut Tight

    • No Momentum

    • 2 Seconds Down - 2 Seconds Up

    • 1 Second Pause at Top

    • Never let feet touch the floor

    • Train your spine through bridging

  • Chin Ups

    • Natural Grip

    • Begin from the Top

    • Keep Shoulders Packed

    • Soft Elbows

    • Hollow Body

    • Get Chin over the Bar

    • No Kipping

    • Keep Elbows Free

    • Pause for 2 seconds at the top / 1 second at the bottom

    • Lose Weight

  • Squat

    • 30 to 40 degrees turned out for feet.  Comfortable and Natural.

    • Push knees out to track feet.

    • Keep a natural spine.  Don’t round the spine forward.  Keep your head up

    • and straight.  Keep shoulders square and down.

    • Lead with the hips.  Sit down and back.

    • Always use full range of motion.

    • Never bounce at the bottom.  Pause for 1 second.

    • Press through the heels.

    • Biomechanical Match Breathing

    • Brace the core.

    • For one legged movements, keep reps the same on both sides.

  • Bridging

    • Move for Reps

    • Seize the Arch

    • Pause at the top for 2 seconds.

    • Breathe smoothly and naturally.

    • Keep feet at shoulder width.

    • Push through all the limbs.  Use arms and legs.

    • Use your entire hands.  Grip the floor.

    • Press your chin up.  Look at the wall behind you.

    • Raise your hips.

    • Keep heels flat.

    • Bang out some Trifecta stretches post bridge work.





Intrinsic Strength
Intrinsic strength to me means doing exercise because it makes you a more capable and virtuous human being. Not lifting a certain weight to impress or building big gee-whiz muscles to impress on the beach. It's about treating your body as a temple of gratitude. It's about building a body that doesn't need joint replacements and that allows you to be available for society deep into old age. Keeping your form paramount and keeping quality at the forefront. Willingly harming your body is a selfish act and should be frowned upon. Imagine someone asking you for help and you can't because you blew out your knees with a ponderous poundage squat. Imagine not being able to pick up your grand-kids because you left your health in Gold's Gym. Imagine not being able to defend your animals and family because you messed up your shoulders showing off in the gym. Imagine needing others to care for you simply because you couldn't check your ego at the door. Keeping goals intrinsic and exercising simply because it is the virtuous thing to do.

Now of course a man can't live his life without challenging himself but you should always assess the risk to reward of an exercise. You also need to assess why you are doing it.

Final Note and When to 'Skip'
Don't let perfection be the enemy of progress.  I understand that the above is a lot and there WILL be scheduling troubles or life will get in the way.  That's okay.  Just extend your training week to 8 days and keep the ball rolling.  For example, if I get home late from work and need to be back at work in 11 hours, I am not training that day.  If I had a completely ridiculous and exhausting day, I will take that day off.  You know the day I mean : the kind where you drive home with the radio off in the car.  The pull-up bar will still be there tomorrow when I'm well rested and have more time to really give that session my all.

Thank you to Paul Wade
We will never forget you. While most of us have never met you or seen your face, your guidance and knowledge will echo through eternity. Every rep we do and strength we use, it is because of you.

Thank you.

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