I recently decided to give up weight lifting for a while due to a back injury. For a while, I was doing what I can, but I was just informed of Convict Conditioning. Having read the book, I was convinced that since I couldn't do most of the exercises, that it would be an acceptable substitute for weight lifting and even better, work my balance, flexibility, and stability (my three weaknesses). I've made each question very visible, but if you want, there's an explanation you may read to understand where I'm coming from on each question.

Somewhere in the book, the author describes a fictional person who takes a "smart" approach to the program. This person, while quite fit already, starts at level 1 for all movements. Fair enough. Despite how easy these exercises seem, he sticks with them for a month before progressing. It's a similar situation with all the subsequent exercises in the story of his progression. This seems ridiculous to me. While I understand from the book that this is strengthening the joints and doing other things that I could benefit from before doing more advanced exercises, I see much strength loss if I approach it this way. If I was still a civilian, I would be willing to accept this, but in the Navy, I have standards to maintain.

Question 1: Do I really need to progress so slowly?

Another thing that worries me is that I perceive my activity level being lowered. My plan was to do two exercises twice a week, which means six days of strength training. While the amount of days may make it appear quite active, each exercise is to be performed for 3 sets at the most, and these are doing exercises that will seem easy to me. I see my overall conditioning going down (bad for my run time on the Navy PT test). But more importantly, it will interfere with fat loss. I have been eating based on a "moderate" activity level as defined by calorie calculators. I await half of you to jump down my throat for using a calculator. But it has worked out for me. Doing nothing but the Stronglifts routine before, I was losing weight at a satisfactorily rate. If my activity is lowered when doing nothing but Convict Conditioning, I'm going to have to endure about a month of experimentation to find a new calorie intake level. Again, I have standards I need to meet and don't have a lot of time to figure out what works and what doesn't. By the way, fat loss is my primary goal right now.

Question 2: Is doing Convict Conditioning 6 days a week in conjunction with walking and sprinting (as outlined in PBF) considered at least moderate activity level? or If it's less than moderate activity, what can I do to supplement the workouts to also help maintain my test scores for the Navy?

When I was weight training, I did regular carb refeeds. Convict Conditioning is a strength program, so I assume it will have glycogen depleting affects.

Question 3: If I generally eat VLC, will carb refeeds be helpful or unnecessary?

Question 4: Is creatine something I can benefit from on this program.
Question 5: When the book says keep your back straight for squats, is that the same rule as squatting with weights (don't round or hyperextend the back) or does it mean keep the back vertical?
Question 6; What do I do if I can't do the level 1 exercise? Just tried the Knee Tucks, and I don't have the flexibility to get my legs 6-10" from the chest as the book says to do (though I should mention that the picture looks like the bottom position of a parallel squat, which I can do)
Question 7: On straight bridges, is it considered improper form to start with the hands behind the hips? Following the form in the book, my body can't straighten without either my legs moving forward or starting my hands further back.
Question 8: Is two exercises twice a week too much volume (not enough recovery)?


That's it for program questions, but I would also like to know of anyone's success with it. I have no doubt that a dedicated person will see strength gains, but will it also deliver muscle endurance or any other side benefits? I would especially like to hear from those who used this program while in the military.