4 Ways to Improve Convict Conditioning System

Convict PressesSeveral years passed, but Convict Conditioning [CC] still challenges minds of fitness enthusiasts all over the world. Despite the fact that it was written and published at perfect time to become a bestseller, CC is as evergreen now, as it was at release date. If you haven’t read this book yet, I’m really jealous. You haven’t got those sleepless nights of obsessive reading yet. You haven’t experienced that feeling of exploration and touching the history of physical training. You might not have that “A-ha!” moment regarding heavy calisthenics yet (if you are reading Rough Strength regularly, then you probably had). Anyway, I think, I gave you enough reasons at least to take a look at this piece. You can find it here.

As for today’s article, what is its goal? Although CC is a full, all-sufficient training system, I just can’t leave it ‘as is’. My aim is to show you how to make it better and perhaps more suitable for your training. But first of all, let’s talk about CC system at its purest.

The Big Six?

The core of Convict Conditioning training system is so-called Big Six: Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Squats, Handstand Push-Ups, Leg Raises and Bridges. The whole trick is to progress from the easiest moves to the hardest. The book explains in detail how to do it. To boost your interest, here is just a highlight of so-called Master Steps for each of the Big Six exercises: One-Arm Push-Up, One-Arm Chin-Up, Pistol, One-Arm Handstand Push-Up, Straight Leg Raises and Stand-to-Stand Bridges. You can see that I’ve included links to some of them. If you want to get better understanding of those skills or just to read some thoughts on them, I encourage you to explore the articles.

The Big Six system makes perfect sense. 2 pushing exercises (1 horizontal, 1 vertical), 1 pulling exercise, 1 exercise for legs, 1 for your core and 1 for the lower back – everything is reasonable. Then what is the problem? There is no actual problem. There are possible adjustments to make it better.

4 Ways to Improve CC Training System

1. There is no dynamic movement for lower back

This is probably the biggest problem of any strictly bodyweight training program. Sooner or later you’ll feel it. You can argue with me all day, but it won’t change the fact that to make our lower back stronger and healthier we need to lift heavy stuff off the floor. Bridges are not the same, even Stand-to-Stand ones. Those who tried both Deadlift and Bridging will tell you the difference right away. Bridge is:

  1. mobility/flexibility exercise
  2. mobility/flexibility test
  3. cool party trick

Yes, you can put it into “strength training mode”, use progressive resistance, move to more advanced variations. Still it won’t give you the same training effect as simple lifting heavy stuff off the ground.

Is Bridge useless? No. It should be a staple in your program if you need to improve your lower back flexibility. However, adding direct dynamic strength-building exercise for those muscles will be a huge step forward. The only problem is that you can’t do it with your bodyweight. Despite the fact that weights are mandatory for this type of training, you have plenty of options (I’ll give you barbell examples too):

  • Sandbag Shouldering
  • Sandbag Bear Hug Good Morning
  • Sandbag Zercher Good Morning
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Kettlebell Snatch
  • Kettlebell Clean
  • Kettlebell High Pull
  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Barbell Power Clean
  • Barbell Snatch

You can easily come up with more exercises. If you do, write them in comments.

My personal preference would be Double Kettlebell Snatch. It is hard when performed with heavy weights, and looks awesome.

Practical application: pick one exercise from the list above and add it to your current CC program. It can be performed on “Leg” or “Back” day. If you are still in doubt, you can put it on separate day. Use 3 x 5 set/rep protocol. There is no need to go very heavy, use 7-8 RM.

2. Leg work is limited

Let’s face it. Pistol is quite easy, if you are training for reasonable amount of time. I was able to do 15 reps per leg the first time I tried it (of course, at that time I worked on Barbell Squat a lot). Paul Wade writes that there is no need in increasing intensity for leg work past the Pistol level. I should disagree with this statement. In my experience, the more reps I did – the more my knees hurt. Excessive training volume can lead to annoying pain in joints. So what’s the solution?

My answer would be to increase intensity. There are two ways:

  • If you want to follow CC protocol as close as possible, then add weight to Pistol. You can use kettlebell (one or two), sandbag or barbell. If you want to increase your awesomeness, you can use real person on your shoulders.
  • If you don’t have the urge to train One-Legged Squat, then stick to other weighted variations. For example, Sandbag Zercher Squat, Sandbag Shoulder Squat, Double Kettlebell Squat, Double Kettlebell Lunge etc. They all are reasonable replacements.

Another good addition would be Glute-Ham Raise. This exercise is very hard, when performed properly. For you to understand better, perfect rep in Glute-Ham Raise roughly equals Leg Curl with bodyweight. How awesome is that?

Practical application: instead of doing endless One-Legged Squats, pick either Weighted Pistol, or some other sort of weighted squat. Use reasonable strength-oriented set/rep scheme like 5 x 5. Read this article for more insights. Add Glute-Ham Raise right after the Squat. Set/rep prescription is the same as it is also strength work.

3. There is only 1 Pulling exercise

While this may be enough, you’ll feel at some point that system lacks pulling work. You can either add another Pull-Up session with different parameters (more endurance-oriented), or add Horizontal Pulling movement. I found that regular Horizontal Rows are useful only if you suck at Pull-Ups and have weight to lose. If you are not in this category, then you need to add weight or use One-Arm Horizontal Row. These would be beneficial additions to your CC regimen.

Horizontal Rows aside, I would concentrate on developing the Front Lever. In my opinion, this position/move is much more effective. However, it requires decent initial strength. Your possible solution can be to develop strength in Horizontal Rows and then move to Front Lever.

Another good exercise is Inverted Hang Pull-Up. You will need a set of rings to perform them without pain in the ass. This can be another good addition to your CC program.

Practical application: pick one of the exercises above. If you train one skill per day, then read this article on how to implement this into your program. If you use some sort of split, then you need to train them on “Back” day after the Pull-Ups. If you use full-body routine, then read this article on implementation. Use set/rep scheme for strength.

4. I would add Handstand

Although HS is not purely strength exercise, it would be awesome idea to add it to your regimen. It will help in building robust shoulders and arms. It will increase your body awareness. It will help even with better blood circulation. Benefits of Handstand are limitless and they are far wider than bigger muscles or more strength. I’ve seen instant increase in pressing power of my clients after adding consistent Handstand training to their programs. In addition, it can be practices anywhere.

Practical application: start with 3 sessions per week. Perform 2 sets of Back to Wall Handstand and 2 sets of Face to Wall version. Once you will be able to hit 30+ seconds in both versions regularly, move to Wall Spotted variation. Also, add Kick Ups when you reach that goal. You’ll be able to hold free-standing HS really soon after that. For more tips check out this article.

Closing Thoughts

I believe that information in this article will help you to improve your Convict Conditioning journey. Of course, it is only my take on the theme. You may agree or disagree. Anyway, thanks for reading.

If you have a friend, obsessed with Convict Conditioning, do a good thing and share this article with him.

Do you have any thoughts? Do you think that adding something to CC is sacrilege? Do you want to feed me with tasty steak for sharing this information? Let’s chat in comments.

Play rough!

Alex “Improve Everything” Zinchenko

Subscribe to my RSS Feede-mail newsletterFacebook page and Twitter for more improvements.


Rough Strength Files: 42 Ideas on Low-Tech Strength TrainingRough Strength Files Book

What if you could gain impressive strength, build serious muscle, and get ripped with no gym memberships or fancy exercise machines? What if you could do it with anything you have at hand?

The Rough Strength Files will share with you 42 useful ideas on getting more with less in regards to strength training, nutrition, and mindset. This book is an organized treasure chest densely packed with knowledge and practical advice on how to make everything work even if you have nothing.

Click here for more information


Rough Strength Online CoachingThe Shortcut to Your Goals

Are you tired of lack of results? Strength training seems like the rocket science to you? Do you want to get strong, build muscle, lose fat, and get awesome finally? Let the professional do all the dirty work for you.

Click here for more information

38 thoughts on “4 Ways to Improve Convict Conditioning System

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Scott, I mean that exercise where you find open space, place your hands on the ground and kick up to HS (just like with the wall, but without it), try to hold it for a second or two and then drop back down. Repeat for desired amount of reps. The goal of this movement is to get you comfortable with the actual ‘kick up’ part of HS. You won’t be able to get into HS every time when you start. Working on kick ups will help with this problem.

      – Alex

      Reply
  1. Andrew

    Hallo! I want to say a few things about “1. There is no dynamic movement for lower back”. If hyperextensions and reverse hyperextensions doesn’t challenge you, you can try gymnastics based stuff like a:
    A. back lever (on a rings, a bar);
    B. reverse leg lifts (on a stall bar, a single overhead bar, from a freestanding headstand, from a wall-standing handstand);
    C. press handstands (straddle, picked, Japanese, from a straddle L-sit, etc).

    It is wonderful bodyweight movements for lower back.

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Andrew, thanks for the input. All the exercises you’ve mentioned are good and useful. Still they are not the same as lifting heavy stuff off the floor.

      – Alex

      Reply
  2. Kshitiz

    Lots of good points which I have also noticed in my CC training. After diligently following the New Blood routine I have found that 3 days rest is more than enough after a exercise, though the once a week protocol was useful when just starting out.
    I have now switched to the the Veterano routine, done with airborne lunges on bridges day and hindu pushups on Handstand day, as I am not close to doing these. GHR can also be added on bridges day. Hindu pushups work both shoulders and spine, and thus are useful till I can start handstands and bridges.
    Legs also can take much more than just 2 sets of squats once a week. Hence I added lunges.
    Since CC only has higher rep work, adding deadlifts/weighted squats for some pure strength work is high on my list.
    And its good to know its not just me obsessing over CC.
    Thanks,

    Kshitiz

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Rifat, still not the same. Just try both for reasonable amount of time and feel the difference. It is hard to beat Deadlift or Swings, or Snatch in lower back development.

      – Alex

      Reply
  3. Robert

    What is your take on adding resistance bands for additional pulling/dynamic back exercises? I personally use bands at the moment to help with front lever progressions and front lever pull-ups. Also, I find that they kill, in a good way, my glutes, hams, and lower back during band speed dead lifts to high pull, band pull throughs, and single leg deadlifts. The trick is getting bands heavy enough though, but still cheaper than kettlebells. I do use kettle bells too though. There is nothing like swinging a 44kg bell for 8-12 reps at my current level.

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      I’m totally OK with them, Robert. I didn’t find them mandatory as well as useless. Bands can give you great number of variety options. They are very good for assistance.

      – Alex

      Reply
  4. vvolf

    Hey Alex,

    awesome post – well done!

    I’ve been doing a CC based training for a while now and I have to say it rocks, but it does need a few adjustments. I particularily found that some progressions are a lot more difficult than the others. For example, going from uneven pushup to half one-arm pushup is next to impossible for me – so I started doing fingers-assisted pushup – with one arm in front, assisting with four fingers for now.
    Same with pullups – going from close pullup to uneven pullup is tough – i can barely do 2 reps per hand – it’s mostly my grip giving in, but still tough all the same. Here I actually prefer going to towel-assisted (so one arm on the bar, and the other grabbing a towel wrapped around the bar) – still nicely tough, but I can manipulate the difficulty by grabbing the towel at different length from the bar.

    And I couldn’t agree more – DL are awesome and I try to have at least strenght session with a barbell a week.

    stay rough!

    Reply
  5. Carlos Leyva

    Yep. I agree with you.
    I’m following Viking Warrior Conditioning (KB snatching 4 days a week) and I’m doing CC for strength training because I found KB clean & press plus heavy snatching really taxes my shoulder joints.
    Even though I love KB C&P, I have found CC exercises are easier on my joints and I can train really hard without pain.

    I also think it’s necessary to add some deadlift-like drill to the CC program and I also think pistols are not THAT hard and maybe taking your time to add weight to your pistols it’s a valid aproach. Also, I get really bored with high reps :P, so I better add weight in a slow and steady way.

    I would say CC also lacks cardiovascular conditioning, but for me Viking Warrior Conditioning (kettlebell snatches) does the trick.

    Reply
      1. Carlos Leyva

        Hi. It’s me again.

        Yesterday I had the chance to use a barbell. The last time I used one was one and a half year ago.
        And I tested my deadlift like in the old days.

        Believe me, I can do legit hanging leg raises (the master step for abs), 2 seconds up, one second pause at the top, 2 seconds down, 1 second pause at the bottom, and I’m even working for the V raises.
        Well, today I feel my abs totally smoked. My lower back not so much because the 4 days a week snatches.

        So, yeah. I have no doubt a heavy deadlift like movement is a really nice addition to CC.

        Reply
  6. Vlad

    Hi there! The article is great and when I finished reading it I decided to leave some of my thoughts relating leg training.
    I think that one can progress endlessly in bodyweight squats without touching the weights at all and the answer here is the intensity which is generated thru the speed. Let me explain it here.
    Some people think that bodyweight squats are quite easy but i would disagree – try the following:
    If you want to significantly increase the intensity (and intesity = strength and mass gain) then try to play with the cadence of movement. Let’s say ur perfoming Step 5 of CC squats and instead of going like 2 sec down/up move as fast as you possibly can. Think in terms of sprinting here – give yourself a certain amount of time limit in seconds (let’s say 20 secs – use the watch pls) and try to perform certain amount of quickly done reps (i bet none can perform 100 CC squats in 20 sec =) ). That is ONE set. And also let me stress here that you need to perform these ‘speedy squats’ with a proper form – dont even approuch them if you have not developed the right technique otherwise you’ll just get serious knee problems! No jumping around pls – just do a set of strict squats.
    The same idea you can apply for pistol squats and guess what that would be a killer!
    How to progress? Easy. You have two basic options:
    1) Lowering the amount of time limit in each set
    2) Increasing the amount of reps performed

    The other concept comes from doing the movement very slooow – like 30 secs down/up (again use the watch pls). Have u seen anyone doing the strict pistol squat for a minute? =)

    Try to perform like 30 CC 5 step squats in 20 sec for 3 sets combining each set with additional set of sloow 30 sec down/up squats and I bet you’ll be happy at the end =)

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Nice addition, Vlad. However, there is a big question about how will such type of progressing translate into actual strength.

      Let’s use Barbell Squats to Bodyweight Squats correlation as a measurement of our strength level (I know that the skills are different, but still, if your theory is right, there should be roughly a 30-60% carryover). Say, your 5-rep maximum in Barbell Squats is 100 kg at bodyweight of 100 kg, and it is similar effort as performing 50 Bodyweight Squats in 60 sec (all these numbers are from thin air and are given here for example purposes). In several months, you lowered down the 50 Bodyweight Squats set to 30 sec. It is a 50% increase in performance. 50% * 0.3 = 15%. 50% * 0.6 = 30%. Thus, if your 5RM in Barbell Squats increased to 115-130 kg in the same bodyweight, then yes, your system works and you gained strength. If not, then your theory has a serious flaw and shouldn’t be considered.

      Can you provide such data? Do you have videos to back it up?

      – Alex

      Reply
      1. Vlad

        Hey there!
        The best example here is sprinting. Have u seen sprinters who run a standard 100 metres distance for 10-9 sec time and their legs (the same goes for ice skate sprinting)? =) And sit ups are harder than running.
        The major idea here is to reach the maximum amount of reps within certain time limit and it is bound to get the same type of overload professional sprinters get (pure physics). And most of them weigh around 90 kg and can do around 230 kg on their backs squats for reps in full set.
        Of course for the maximum results in this case one is supposed to perform one-legged squats for speed. In fact I am talking about pistols only as a logical CC progression goal (I pointed out the standard squats just for a mere example).
        It is NOT easy and straightforward to calculate the amount of ‘actual’ strength here. Because some guys who weigh over 120 kg and do powerlifting squats with the barbell over 250 kg can’t do a pure single pistol squat because of their bodyweight (seems like when person weighs over 90 kg and is generally taller than others – the pistol becomes much harder). And it is roughly estimated that the one legged squat must have the same effect as the barbell with the weight equal to the athlete’s bodyweight. As you can see there is no direct correlation.
        Therefore you’ll never find any special vids for these (you may watch Tyson Gay/Usain Bolt workouts however).

        Although I may recommend to watch these guys for similar ideas:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rY64D1-th8
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZsOmoNnGwo&list=PLEAB304F80224A19A

        P.S: talking about ‘actual’ strength… I think that the major idea here is functionality anyways if you can’t generate enough power in your legs in order to move your bodyweight properly then there is no point in increasing the barbell’s weight. Depends on your goals eventially – i am talking about function only i.e standing/walking/wrestling effectively.
        As I mentioned above that plenty of heavy weight powelifters can’t do a single leg squat properly (neither can they run a 100 metres distance for 10-11 secs)… Who do you think would have more functional strength: the guy who weighs 120 kg and can do a proper no- jerking-around/leaning forward pistol for 20 reps or the guy with the same weight who squats 250 kg in powerlifting fashion and can’t do a single rep of pistol?
        Although I can generally agree that weigthed pistols could be simplier in terms of understanding than thinking and ‘calculating’ the angles and speed each time for pure bodyweight squat variations in order to progress.
        For ‘actual’ strength gains try to increase your bodyweight in general – if you’re considering such direction only (up to 130 kg would be great – I know one guy who is 150 kg and squats with huge weights but can’t do a single pistol) =)

        Btw here is the most difficult bodyweight squat variation (that is the starting position this guy shows): https://www.facebook.com/portal.ido/posts/548255915216393
        Here is an ‘easy’ variation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EJtZsA43vI

        Good luck!

        Reply
        1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

          Hey, Vlad.

          You’ve written so much, but still, there were no answers to my questions.

          Firstly, there is nothing sophisticated about your method. It is on the surface.

          Secondly, there is no point in sprinters-and-powerlifters-that-can’t-do-a-single-pistol talk. Those are just words. Sprinters do Back Squats. A LOT of powerlifters who are not heavyweight can do at least 10 pistols. “The guy” from your P.S. is Ido Portal. He also uses/used Back Squats and Olympic lifting for his lower-body development.

          The videos you posted also don’t answer the actual questions. On the first video, the guy clearly doesn’t push through heels during squatting. And the bodyweight leg extensions are epic.

          I gave you clear numbers. Do you have real data to prove your point (of course, with videos) or you just want to be a smart-ass?

          – Alex

          Reply
          1. Vlad

            I guess we’re viewing the subject in a quite different ways of how to progress in training. Okay – going a bit deeper…
            There was a quite interesting scientific study back in 2003 related to speed-strength correlation and here is the article:
            http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/3/285.long
            Take a look at the results and see the figure 1. The first chart shows the relation between 10 meters sprint result in secs and half squating with the barbell (1 rep for maximum weight). Looks like as a quite good example to demonstrate the similar effects body gets under different type of exercises (and the correlation was proved to be there). As you can see the half squat of around 210 kg was correlated to ~1.6 sec result in 10 m sprint (that is for athlete who is around 80 kg if i am not mistaken). There is also a correlation between vertical jumps height and barbell squat maximum as well.
            I proposed the idea of bodyweight squats as the most closely related to sprinting (and besides squats are pretty much ‘harder’ than running). I won’t even speculate how darn hard it’ll be to perform a lot of pistol squats in seconds. I dont think there are exact numbers in kgs (sic!! =)) for this somewhere.
            Concerning sprinters using weights – I do not deny that but it depends – some do more and some less. I was talking about getting *similar* effects of resistance in bodyweight exercises not exactly 100% the same.
            To cut it short I’d say that i view the ‘actual’ strength progression in calistenics in few major things:
            1) playing with the speed (the whole point of my comments here)
            2) increasing the athlete’s overall bodyweight – you gave me an example of powerlifters who are not heavyweights and can do pistols, but I gave you an example of estimated correlation of resistance one gets in this exercise and it was stated to be around the barbell of one’s bodyweight and still some heavy dudes who squat a lot cannot perform pistols. I am sorry but overall strength is also dependant on one’s weight especially in bodyweight exercises (eat more to go bulky instead of skinny – instead of cranking up the weight of sandbags etc).
            3) playing with the angles in order to get more resistance (keeping your hands behind your body will make pistol much harder to perform for example). Also Ido demonstrated the advanced shrimp squat which is ridicloulsy difficult to perform properly.
            P.S: I am not against adding weights I am against the idea you can’t progress without weights (depends on what you judge as a progression – kgs on the bar or the secs+reps in sets). Also at the end of a day it is up to functionality if someone is around 100 kgs and can run 100 meters for 10 secs, capable of doing lots of pistols then the one is definitely a functional powerhouse who can handle his body. Sorry for the big amounts of text and thanks for the article and the debate.

          2. Alex Zinchenko Post author

            Vlad,

            Conclusions: Maximal strength in half squats determines sprint performance and jumping height in high level soccer players. High squat strength did not imply reduced maximal oxygen consumption. Elite soccer players should focus on maximal strength training, with emphasis on maximal mobilisation of concentric movements, which may improve their sprinting and jumping performance.

            It is a quote from the study you mentioned. It means that the more weight the person can lift in Back Squats – the faster he/she will be in sprints, not the other way around.

            Once you have real-world data to prove the effectiveness of “the speed method”, I invite you to share it here. For example, two “before” videos of you performing Back Squat 5RM test and 20 pistols for time, and two “after” videos. Additionally, you should train legs solely with this “speed method” during this period (say, 6 weeks). As simple as that.

            Good luck!

            – Alex

  7. Mohammed

    Hi Alex,

    I love reading your articles and find them very useful. I hope to add sandbag training to my calisthenics training when I get more time, and your articles have inspired me to do so.

    I need some advice: I am on the kneeling pushups step of Convict Conditioning and I want to achieve 3 x 30 reps. Previously, the most I could do was 16 and 9 reps before regressing and cannot seem to add more than a rep per week. How can I achieve this goal slightly faster without hitting plateaus or regressing? Note that I do my reps at a strict tempo of 2 seconds down, 1 second pause and 2 seconds up. Also, before starting CC, I could do 50 full pushups (quick reps and, I realise now, not with good form); CC has been very beneficial for me in improving my form, strength and full body tension capability.

    I know that I have the option of doing slightly less reps/sets and to move on to a harder pushup exercise but I have a problem; because it is written in the book that the progression standard is 3 x 30, I feel I must achieve this, unless it can cause harm to me.

    Can you advise me on how to reach this goal, please?

    Thank you brother!

    Mohammed

    Reply
  8. Mohammed

    Thank you for your reply, Alex. The HLM sounds great; I’ll see if I can incorporate it into my routine.

    Mohammed

    Reply
  9. Surtur

    Hi Alex – really enjoy your work, the way you describe exercises. Here are my two bits – I like pullups and handstands most out of CC.
    1) Pullups, I am currently on arm assisted ones (Coach Wade describes them as Rocky pullups) – I have found out that you can improve your strength before progressing into another step, by lowering your supporting hand down the wrist. I use tenis bands to measure my progress. Additional benefit is that you improve your grip strenght wickedly, which contributes to other CC exercises as well.

    2) handstand pushups – I like to alternate between normal HSPU and close hand stand pushups. However, to introduce some variety, I have found this little tweak ..which costst nothing. By placing two chairs next to each other (depending on your shoulder width), against the wall you increase the possible range on the descent. This puts deltoits at the additional tension and adds a whole lot of fun to my routing.

    keep up the good work Alex, hope to work out with you some time

    Marcin from Poland

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Hey Surtur,

      Thanks for kind words.

      Regarding the One-Arm Chin-Up, here is an article with what I believe is the ultimate way to achieve it. I think you can benefit a lot from this simple training tool.

      Regarding the HSPU, yes, I tried to increase the ROM. It is a cool way to add intensity to the regular version. By the way, you can do this with a pair of heavy kettlebells too.

      – Alex

      Reply
  10. Paul Smith

    Alex, thanks for the blog and ideas.

    The only one of the CC big six where I’ve gotten to level 10 so far is the Leg Raises. I decided to make a level 11 of hanging and pulling knees up to touch elbows. It seems harder to me than CC levels 9 and 10, which I am still doing for warm-ups. I’m doing 2 sets of 8-10 of hanging knees to elbows, and will try to work up to 2 sets of 30.

    Paul

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Hey Paul,

      You can find several ideas where to progress next in Leg Raises in the CC book in the “Going Beyond” section.

      – Alex

      Reply
  11. Benjamin Austnes Narum

    I’ve been following P90x3 for a little while now. I’ve gone from 0 dead-hang pullups to 8, but I am unable to progress further. I know it’s a combination of not doing enough strength training, and still having a bit of goo covering my abs. I tried commiting to CC, but I found it a bit challenging to set up a routine, and following up my results.

    I wish to be able to master the six moves eventually. I also want to add some kettlebell routines, since pure calisthenics doesn’t quite cut it for me.

    So, I have a few questions. I’ll start off with: how can I best implement the CC philosophy into a program? What is the best way to improve each exercise? Is it to focus on mastering one step at a time, or multiple? And, should I start off from scratch on every exercise? Although I’ve been doing squats, pushups and pullups for quite some time now.

    Thanks!

    – Benjamins

    Reply
    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Benjamin,

      > how can I best implement the CC philosophy into a program?

      Check these articles out:
      Top 3 Routines for Beginners
      How to Substitute Exercises

      > What is the best way to improve each exercise?

      Check this out:
      How to Gain Strength

      > Is it to focus on mastering one step at a time, or multiple?

      This depends on your recovery. Check this out:
      Volume/Intensity/Frequency

      > And, should I start off from scratch on every exercise? Although I’ve been doing squats, pushups and pullups for quite some time now.

      It depends on your technique. But generally, no, you may not start from the scratch.

      – Alex

      Reply
  12. owlstrength

    So, not leaving comments causes hair to grow on your palms? And all along I thought it was caused by something else!;-)

    Reply
  13. Dave

    Not surprised Convict Conditioning has limitations. :) Most of the big guys I know in bodyweight training regard CC as good introduction for beginners turn to suspension training (e.g. Steven Low) for more intermediate to advanced strength.

    In my training circle, things like the Pistol is more of a measurement for screening weak movements (e.g. Greg Cook, Michael Boyle). If an athlete can’t do bodyweight but can do weighted, then it’s an indicator something is wrong with the points, abductors et all.

    Funny to see your changes to CC is pretty similar to what miltary personnels innovate and what alpinists (eg. Mark Twilight, Steve House) recommend.

    Reply

If you don't leave a comment, hair will grow on your palms