• Product: Convict Conditioning Review
  • Price: $39.95 USD (Retail)
  • Cheapest Place to Buy: DragonDoor.com
  • Size: 294 pages
  • Guarantee: If you follow the program, you will see massive strength gains
  • My Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Paul “Coach” Wade’s passion is building incredible strength using nothing but body weight exercises (aka Calisthenics) and teaching others how to achieve incredible results themselves. In this article I’m going to give you a fairly in depth Convict Conditioning Review…..Convict Conditioning being “Coach’s” first book.

The writing style is a little unconventional and this is no doubt due to the fact the the author is, or should I say was, a convict himself.  The book as it is written, provides an “in your face” approach to hardcore body weight training.

If you are interested in both the development of functional strength using body weight training and the mental aspect of training, then you will find this book to be an enjoyable read.

He established many of the mental and physical principles laid out in this book while behind bars. This book will help you to develop functional strength and stability by utilizing some incredibly intense body weight exercises.

In the book, Paul establishes his credibility by explaining how and why he came to be an expert in Calisthenics training. He talks about how the Calisthenics techniques that he was taught as “fresh meat” in prison had been passed down from generation to generation within the prison environment and that the “original teachers were imprisoned “Strongmen” from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

If you are looking for a “normal” book on how to do more push ups and get in better shape, this book is not for you.

If you want a hardcore look at the kind of Calisthenic training it takes to sculpt a chiseled body, then Convict Conditioning is perfect for you.


The Good Stuff…

The first thing that I really liked about Convict Conditioning was that “Coach” delves into the history of Calisthenics, their development, and how the performing strongmen of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s used Calisthenics to develop the extreme levels of strength required to perform their feats of strength.

The second thing that I really liked about Convict Conditioning was that “Coach” Wade explains why training with Calisthenics reduces injuries. He explains how the limbs and joints move in “natural” ways when training with Calisthenics unlike when weight training. Having injured myself through incorrect technique, this section of the book really struck a chord with me.

The next important aspect of the book that was really well done is the fact that all of the exercises are broken down into systematic progressions. This is great because it gives you small steps to help you reach your functional and muscular strength goals while importantly allowing time for the surrounding tendons to develop properly.

The hardest part is going right back to basics and starting at level 1. As a fit guy, I found this the hardest thing to swallow. However, having done it for some time now, I know that it was the right thing to do as it builds a “foundation” of strength.

The systematic approach designed by Paul “Coach” Wade will help any fitness enthusiast have a clear and concise plan of action for attaining their goals. If you stick to the program, the consistent improvements you make throughout will ensure that you WILL maximize your strength potential.

To show you exactly what I mean by maximizing your strength potential, check out the video below which is from the Convict Conditioning DVD series. Specifically it showcases Step 10 from the Convict Conditioning Pull Up DVD series…One Armed Pull Ups! (Yes…that was not a typo…One Armed Pull Ups). This could be you if you stick to the program.



As shown in the video above, by the end of the detailed training you should be able to pull off 1 arm pull ups, hand stand push ups and several other incredibly difficult body weight exercises. Just stick with the program and follow the progressions.

That is all you have to do – but its not going to be easy and the author, Paul “Coach” Wade has a fascinating approach to attaining mental strength as well.

I also really like the workout routines that “Coach” details. There are several and that is great for changing things up or changing the intensity of your workouts.

Paul “Coach” Wade briefly delves into the mental aspect of the systematic progressions and foundations. He explains how mental strength is required to achieve the results and shows that mental and physical strength go hand in hand.


The not so good stuff….

Ahhhhh….Ummmm. Nah…I got nothing.

I could have said something along the lines of “there could perhaps have been more info on increasing grip strength and develop massive pop-eye like forearms or how to develop a thicker, more muscular neck…blah, blah blah” but the fact is, “Coach” covers that in his follow up called..you guessed it…Convict Conditioning 2.

He explains that to have put it all in one volume would have meant about 700 pages of solid book! Carrying it around would have been a workout in itself so he broke it down. Makes sense to me.



I think that just about every fitness enthusiast could learn a heck of a lot just by reading this book. Not only in terms of fitness but they can take some valuable life lessons from it. At the end of the day it was written by a guy who “lost his way” somewhat and spent a lot of time in prison reflecting on the decisions that led him there. Despite straying from the path, “Coach” rebuilt himself physically and mentally and despite ups and downs has remained motivated.

In my opinion, Convict conditioning is certainly one of the best, if not the hold grail of Calisthenics books available today! It gives you both the training exercises and a systematic approach to consistent progressions.

It is one thing to learn the different body weight exercises but it’s very difficult without years of knowledge and expertise to come up with a progressive system. Many people lack intensity in their body weight workouts because of they don’t have a progressive system to follow.

Oh and by the way, like most decent books these days, it comes in both paperback and eBook format at DragonDoor.com.

Convict Conditioning will entertain and motivate you. It is a must read and is part of my personal collection.

If you only ever buy one book on the subject of Calisthenics, make it Convict Conditioning.

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Take care and I’ll be blogging again soon.


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