Complete Calisthenics: The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Training
Using solely their bodyweight for resistance and relying on minimal equipment, readers will learn how to perform a range of exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, core exercises, and lower body exercises. Read this book, and develop the strongest and most capable physique ever.
Complete Calisthenics includes everything you need to know, such as;
Step-by-step instructions with over 500 photographs to guide you through the exercises.
Nutritional advice with simple-to-follow diet plans and sample diets.
Program creation to suit your needs.
Complete Calisthenics is the most detailed and comprehensive bodyweight exercise manual available on the market today. It is for anyone; male or female, beginner or advanced who is interested in building complete strength and taking their workouts and themselves to the next level.
Reviews of Complete Calisthenics: The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Training
Review 1: One of the best two or three bodyweight systems out there
I consider this to be one of the top two or three books on bodyweight training. Not the most original, but it brings together progressions similar to Convict Conditioning (though using mostly different intermediate exercises), it combines both active CC-style exercises with some basic gymnastic static holds, like those found in Building the Gymnastic Body, into a comprehensive workout, and it goes into the use of neuromuscular tension as the real source of strength somewhat like Pavel’s “Naked Warrior,” but applied over a much wider range of movements. He also explains how straight-arm exercises can build loads of strength and size in the biceps, and both how to strengthen soft tissue and what signs to watch for to prevent soft tissue damage.
Some things worth noting are first, this system is more oriented to intermediate to advanced trainees rather than beginners. It does give a few variants that are easier than the basic beginning point of the system, which is mostly “Step 5” exercises in Convict Conditioning progressions, but that beginning point and harder is the focus of the system. Second, there are no bridging movements. I can only speculate on the reasons for this, but likely it is either because Mr. Kalym believes they are unsafe for the spine (they are still controversial from Furey’s Combat Conditioning and Wade’s Convict Conditioning, where some criticize them as being bad for the soft tissue of the spine), or because he lacks shoulder flexibility to achieve full bridges, as some people seem to naturally lack the skeletal structure to achieve them. I suspect his gymnastic holds, such as the back lever, planche, and the human flag, substitute for training the erector spinae and related muscles.
It is presented clearly, with pictures adequate to see what to do, if you already have some background in calisthenics or have some facility for figuring things out between the text and the pics. Mr. Kalym is also well-spoken or else very well-edited–he represents the Royal Marines very well here, treating the reader with respect, neither talking down to him nor being verbose. I consider the system presented in the book to be on a par with the best out there, and would encourage anyone interested in intermediate to advanced bodyweight training to study it.
Review 2: One of the better body weight workout books out there.
I own and have followed the Convict Conditioning series. I wish I knew about this book before I bought those. Don’t get me wrong the Convict Conditioning (Con-Con) series is very good and I would still have bought them but I think Complete Calisthenics is a better book. I currently have tailored my own program from this book with some ideas from Con-Con 1 & 2.
Kalym’s Fundamental Five (F5), his starter program if you will, is well thought out. Any beginner should be able to achieve the F5 requirements in a reasonable number of months with the exception of the 10 pull-ups which will probably be the sticking point for some. That’s not a flaw with the program but rather highlights two issues that are common with many. Too many of us are too heavy and too sedentary. Our pulling muscles are weak from disuse and it’s hard to hit a decent number of pull-ups with a spare tire acting as a anchor.
I believe hitting the F5 requirements is a reasonable foundation. His second and third programs are well thought out in my opinion. The second program uses some harder exercise variations to build greater strength and introduces handstands. Perhaps this is why some people are calling this book intermediate to advanced but remember you don’t start here, you earn your way here by nailing the F5. The third program further develops handstands and introduces levers and this is getting into advanced territory for most.
In my opinion this is a no nonsense, no hype book with a very good treatment of a large selection of body weight exercises and reasonable programming. The book lays out a plan to go as far as you want to go with calisthenics.
Review 3: Just what I’ve been searching for!!
I’ve been following the “Convict Conditioning” plan since 2012 with excellent results. But I’ve been trying to include more gymnastics style training into my routine (Planche, Levers, Human Flag, etc). I’ve searched on line for progressions for these with limited success.
I was on Amazon and saw this book in the “People who purchased this also purchased these” section. I read the description and the reviews and decided to give it a shot. I am VERY glad I did. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It has similar progression information to Convict Conditioning, but for more exercises. It covers Planche, Levers, and Human Flags along with many others. It gave great information about building strength in the scapula which will improve overall strength and stability.
The book is well written with plenty of pictures showing how to complete each movement.
The nutrition section is brief and basic, but I didn’t purchase it for nutritional advice.
I’ve only had the book for 2 days and I’m already incorporating new exercises described in the book into my routine.
Thank you Ashley Kalym for the great book! I will post back in a year with my results.
10/7/2014 Update: I have begun to incorporate the static holds into my routine and I am already feeling a major difference in my upper body strength. The post workout (next day) muscle soreness feels different then when I am doing my standard repetition work. I am very much enjoying these new static hold exercises.
12/1/2015 Update: L-Sits, Planche, Front Levers & Back Levers have all been incorporated into my regular routine rotation. I now have a set of rings and I built a set of PVC pipe parallettes. I achieved my first back lever (held for 8 seconds) on a bar about a month ago. I can hold good clean L-Sit for 15 seconds on the rings. I am working on the panche (on the rings and parallettes) and front levers (on a bar), but I’m still a long way off from doing those. I also regularly work on ring muscle ups (haven’t got these yet) and human flags (I mastered the clutch flag a long time ago). This is a great book and I have recommended it to many people.