Bodyweight training is often misunderstood since many people understand progressive callisthenics without having the proper knowledge about its outcomes and requirements.
This misinformation can be largely curbed if fitness experts and athletes promote reading callisthenics books. If you admire someone’s body fitness and muscle mass, it’s important to learn about their efforts instead of impulsively starting your own workout plans. And bodyweight strength training is the fastest way to achieve various body goals while building a healthier lifestyle.
However, regularly performing bodyweight exercises can be quite challenging and, therefore, require a lot of tenacity and pain tolerance. So, it is advisable to learn about bodyweight training and other associated styles, such as street workout styles, through informative books. And to this end, we’ve reviewed a list of the best callisthenics books available on the market.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
4 Best Callisthenics Books
|1. Overcoming Gravity
|2. Complete Callisthenics
|3. Convict Conditioning
|4. The Naked Warrior
‘Overcoming Gravity’ by Steven Low is commonly known as the ‘exercise Bible’ among fitness enthusiasts and athletes due to its comprehensive guide on bodyweight strength training and gymnastics. You can consider reading Overcoming Gravity if you’re looking for a foundational text for a more systematic approach to callisthenics. In this book, Steven Low helps you build a personalised body weight training routine from scratch while explaining the principles behind basic and advanced movements.
Moreover, Overcoming Gravity doesn’t just encourage bodyweight exercise theoretically – it directs the readers to utilise the training program to create actionable goals. This book goes beyond just physical therapy and muscle-building exercises since it also covers important topics, such as injury management, health, diet, etc.
This ultimate guide to gymnastics and bodyweight strength training is quite expensive for the average reader, especially if you aren’t invested in callisthenics.
Overall, ‘Overcoming Gravity’ explores one of the most systematic approaches to gymnastics and callisthenics training, explaining each principle and routine in a scientific way. It is a good starting point for people who are serious about building muscle and a capable physique.Check the price on Amazon
Written by Ashley Kim, Complete Callisthenics is a highly-detailed reference book useful for understanding how human anatomy responds while we perform core exercises, which are integral to callisthenics. Moreover, Complete Callisthenics offers more than 500 pictures to help you get a visual experience while understanding various movements, including pull-ups, push-ups, lower body exercises, core movements, etc.
And for those who are interested in more advanced bodyweight training, Complete Callisthenics also provides instructions for exercises, like handstand push-ups, the human flag, the plange, floor levels, etc. Besides, this book will give you ample resources regarding workout prep, nutrition, different training routines, and simple props.
The exercise and workout routines suggested in Complete Callisthenics can be quite risky for people without experience in bodyweight exercises.
‘Complete Callisthenics: The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Exercise’ is a one-stop guide to intensive callisthenics training, which can help you gain a fatigue-resistant, mobile body through full-body fitness exercises. The second version of this callisthenics book also provides advanced muscle-building techniques and a guide to optimal nutrition and rest.Check the price on Amazon
Convict Conditioning is one of the better-known books on progressive callisthenics. This book is written by Paul “Coach” Wade, who explores the athletic side of callisthenics while providing a hands-on experience for its readers. Paul Wade focuses on helping his readers become better fighters through a routine of 10 progressions consisting of a six-set system.
Of course, the book offers enough resources to build your own routine as well, but it naturally gears your body towards developing explosive and raw strength. Moreover, Convict Conditioning helps you make the best use of bodyweight training by targeting the relevant muscle group without using any equipment.
This popular book on callisthenics consists of very intense bodyweight movements, which are explained by Paul Wade in a rather vulgar manner, making it inappropriate for sensitive readers.
Even though Convict Conditioning explores and puts forward one of the hardest workout routines in the callisthenics world, it is popular due to its effectiveness. So, if you’re ready to fully commit to a routine that tests your strength and tenacity, Convict Conditioning can serve as a good reference book.Check the price on Amazon
The Naked Warrior is written by the world-famous Pavel Tsatsouline (an ex-Soviet Spetsnaz instructor and former gymnast), where he guides his readers through the various military-grade bodyweight exercises.
It recounts his tales of going from a mere recruit in the army to a warrior who can fight on the battlefield with steady strength and vigour. He effectively gathers ancient kung-fu techniques and Greek war movements into a transferable skill set, which he teaches in this book.
Pavel Tsatsouline solely focuses on certain bodyweight exercises, such as pistol squats and one-arm push-ups. If you can properly manage to do these exercises, your limbs are allegedly fit to fight. Moreover, the Naked Warrior is fraught with experiences from the Soviet military, and the writer points to various examples to depict the mind-over-matter attitude.
The paperback version of this book is quite expensive, so if you want to read this manual, we recommend purchasing the Kindle version.
The Naked Warrior claims to train its readers’ minds and bodies to perfect the different aspects of bodyweight training in minimal time. It is also a good read for those who are interested in ancient styles of battle and bodyweight exercises.Check the price on Amazon
Understanding the theory of callisthenics and the different approaches to bodyweight training can significantly improve the chances of your success. The four books we’ve reviewed in this article will give you sufficient knowledge and mastery over the basic components of callisthenics.
However, if you want to learn everything from scratch, we recommend reading our top choice, ‘Overcoming Gravity’ by Steven Low. It is not called the ‘exercise Bible’ for no reason – this book will help you learn most of the callisthenics principles and techniques in one go.
We hope you liked our thorough review of the best books on callisthenics. Until next time, goodbye!
Founder of www.calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.