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Thread: Hwlp me out with a couple Convict Conditioning questions page

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    squeally dan's Avatar
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    Hwlp me out with a couple Convict Conditioning questions

    Primal Fuel
    Just got done with a years worth of P90x. I have been following PBF for the past month. I bought Convict Conditioning and have read part of it. I would really like to master these 6 exercises.

    I can do a good set of 50 push-ups. My 2nd set I start falling apart around 30-40. Anyway, should I just start the program from the beginning as the book suggests. He says you should start with the wall push-ups and follow exactly. If so, when do I move to the next level. I haven't really found an exact answer to that question in the book. Did you guys all just start from the very beginning? It seems like it will be a month or more of not pushing very hard if I do it that way. He seems to feel very strongly that no matter what you should start from the beginning.

    Also, would I be better served to combine elements of this w/ PBF or just go w/ one or the other?
    Last edited by Admin; 12-15-2011 at 01:48 PM.

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    MightyAl's Avatar
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    I did not start from the beginning at least on all of them I did not. Bridges and HSPUs I started from step one but like yourself I was already doing push ups so it made no sense to to start at step one. Hanging Leg Lifts I did a lot of work on the floor before getting on the bar and squats went fairly quickly. I have so far only mastered those two exercises. Pull ups I am so far kind of stalled on and have been going back and forth with full pull ups and assisted one arm pull ups. All in all I am extremely happy with the program and look forward to mastering a couple more moves before the summer is over. I think that one armed push ups and one armed HSPUs are going to take awhile for me to get to step 10.
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    What I found was that the form Coach stipulates and the slow movement really shifted things for me. I started at the beginning for everything and spent longer than I expected at level 2 of the pushups, as my form always used to be with wide arms, moving as fast as possible for my Army fitness tests. Having my arms tight to my sides really made me work my triceps more than I was used to, and reducing the speed really made it burn.

    My advice? Start at the beginning and take it slowly. I've been doing this for a couple of months and I'm at least at level 3 for everything but the handstand pushups and pullups. I've kinda settled into things now and have figured out the intensity levels I need to use, so trying to skip ahead doesn't feel like it will gain me anything useful.

    What seems to help, though, is to do a short warmup, then your work sets. I usually try to make the last work set of the next higher level if I can. Also I've been doing random crow/frog stands whenever because I need to. I really like this workout plan and I'm going to stick with it and do my damndest to master them.

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    About the last question: unless you have very specific goals and know what kind of programming would be needed to get there, I would suggest sticking very fastidiously to whatever program you're using until you know what you're doing -- a good-quality program will be well-rounded and provide enough (structured) activity to stimulate adaption, and enough rest to recover.

    I don't have CC and am currently following a barbell program so I can't really answer the other questions, sorry. Starting from the beginning definitely wouldn't hurt, and in some cases might have other benefits (australian pullups/inverted rows target different muscles, for example). As a compromise I might suggest starting a full level below what you're capable of -- that'll get you used to the volume of the workout without having to worry about the absolute intensity just yet.

    From what I've read, I understand that each level has three different progressions, and you're supposed to stay in each at least a week before you "graduate" to the next level. I imagine the book will tell you whether you need to be completing all the reps/sets of the workout the full week before you go to the next progression. If you do a search on the forums for "convict conditioning" you should find some other posts, I know it's been brought up before. One post links to a flowchart that very clearly explained the progression process.

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    Mike Gager's Avatar
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    yeah id start at the beginning and when you feel like you are ready for the next level then go ahead and progress

    might only take you a couple days to progress right back where you are now but at least you would know for sure
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    JeffC's Avatar
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    Start at the beginning. Part of the benefit of the lower steps comes from strengthening your tendons and ligaments which prepares them for the stress of the higher steps. If you start off higher, you'll lose out on those benefits. Some people have had problems with the first step of the squat since a large belly can get in the way so you may have to start on phase 2 of the squat for no other reason than this.

    I'd say too that having difficulty in progressing can identify weaknesses that you need to work on. If you don't start at the beginning, you won't identify these weak points.

    My only gripe is that some of the earlier exercises have too many reps. Even if the primary and secondary muscles worked are strong, doing 150 reps can be taxing. Also, phase 2 of the pullups, is extremely difficult unless you can keep your feet firmly affixed, a carpeted floor would work best, on tile or linoleum you may be very frustrated with how much you slip around. After 6 months of slipping feet on phase 2 of the pullups, I graduated to phase 3, even though I was only doing 24 or so of 3 sets on phase 2.

    Also, phase 2 of the bridging has a slight discrepancy in how it is described, you have to make a slight modification to do it.

  7. #7
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    Personally I did not see the point in starting on step one with those exercises which I already was accustomed to. I started two weeks ago with CC and was already a fairly good body weight squatter for example. However, I have never ever done anything like the bridge so I will take that one from step one soon enough.

    For each exercise I picked a step where I easily could do the beginner level without breaking a sweat and where the middle level raised my heart level a little bit. As with the pushup it placed me on the kneeling pushup and with the leg raises it was full leg raises lying on the floor (step 4 and 5 if I can recall correctly).

    If you are fairly used to body weight exercises (and doing them in the CC manner) I don't believe that you necessarily has to start at step one. Bear in mind that you need to leave your ego at the door and be modest if you start on another level then what is laid out in CC, starting to high will inevitably deliver struggle at a later level. If you are new to calisthenics, and even if you have been going to the gym for a long time; start on level one and progress as you find suitable. Concerning the ligament and tendon argument; If you can do 50-60 pushups in the proper form, you already have strong enough ligament and tendons.

    Concerning the mix of PBF and CC: In the PBF fitness book the fundamental movements are almost the same as the big six in CC (the progressions are even quite similar). I do not see any reason why you could not combine PBF and CC where CC will constitute your lift heavy things day. Get some kettlebell swings in there as well!

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    It seems to me that CC is an advanced form of PBF, and Building the Gymnastic Body is the next, more advanced step after CC. They all seem very compatible, though.

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    Mike Gager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfreaksho View Post
    It seems to me that CC is an advanced form of PBF, and Building the Gymnastic Body is the next, more advanced step after CC. They all seem very compatible, though.
    definitely agree with this. BGB seems from what i have read so far a bit more advanced then the other two but i think if someone mixed some of all 3 together it could make a great progressive workout schedule

    i am starting at level one of everything more or less. i always felt i was strong lifting external weights but i guess when you have as much bodyweight to lift around (370lbs) it makes a huge difference. my short term goal is to be able to do a pull-up. i think at my weight that would be pretty impressive
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    Thanks for the feedback!

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