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on 24 March 2015
Was a but hesitant to buy this book, thinking what can it teach me that I can't learn off youtube?

But I ordered it anyway thinking maybe I can learn a few Calisthenics exercises for my core, after all I've seen that guys that do a lot of calisthenics have really strong cores than the bodybuilders eg; Dragon fly's and the Human Flag WTF?!!#

I only ordered this yesterday and got it today, had a quick skim, thought I'd try the first exercise called the scapula push ups, its under the warm up stretching part of the book, but after doing the recommended 10 I felt muscles groups and mobility in my upper back that I have probably never used in the gym, like ever even with all the fancy equipment.

I'm so pleased with the purchase the exercises are broken down and explained in 1,2,3 picture illustrations, and am really looking forward to some of the other exercises that I never even thought of, like having your feet planted mid wall and doing pressups using your feet digged in mid air against the wall and using your core muscles, brilliant.

My Parallel bars arrive tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to these challenging exercises, I really recommend this book you won't find most of these exercises on youtube and even if you do they are not broken down in so much simple details so anyone can do them
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on 24 June 2014
I have currently in my library "Convict Conditioning", "You Are Your Own Gym" and "Overcoming Gravity" all of which have their merits. Overcoming Gravity is geared more towards gymnasts with an excellent level of information and good progressions although it is a little dry. Convict Conditioning is an exciting read and introduced me to the harder levels of bodyweight strength but I found fault with some progressions not leading well to the next. You Are Your Own Gym is aimed at everyone but does not have a linear progression system, it does have a good fitness regime and exercises for everything.
Where Complete Calisthenics scores above all these is with a greater emphasise on progressing strength, its layout is such that each exercise listed contributes to getting to the next. Also the introduction pointing out the strengths/ weaknesses and unique aspects of calisthenics is very good and marks it above Convict Conditioning and You Are Your Own Gym which though inspiring do make out that calisthenics is the answer to everything.
The only minuses I found were the nutrition section which is back to basics - no bad thing but some readers may expect more detail. The other minus is in the push up section which is not organised as logically in terms of progressions as the rest of the book. This book is also superior to the others in that the explanations are better and photography much clearer. All in all for a serious guide to all things bodyweight this is the best of the best. (in my humble opinion).
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on 30 July 2014
Seriously, this book is very complete, in my opinion anyway. It has more than enough information for basically every single calisthenics move you could think of, yes even the planche and dreaded things like that. While some say it's lacking in the nutrition department, I think the information provided is fine. I didn't buy it for nutritional information...
The book is hefty, I thought it'd be smaller, but no, it's a good, A4 sized, over 300 pages thick volume.
It has very clear progressions for each exercise.
There are a few programs to follow located at the back of the book.

Equipment needed:
-Sturdy chin-up bar (I have one of those cheap 'Iron Gym' things, and have done for years, it suffices)
-Large, stable push-up stands or parallettes (Parallettes can be made cheaply from wood, like seen on the cover or made from pipe, for large push-up stands, if you have Beachbody's old PowerStands, those metal ones? Those are very sturdy and large enough)
-Dip bar (Most designs will be good enough but a parallel bar set-up in your garden is preferred, they're relativity cheap to make)
-Space to move, about 2 x 2 meters with a wall to lean on should be about OK. (It all depends on your height)
-Chalk, powdered, solid, liquid, it all works fine (I have liquid chalk which I also use for rock climbing.

If you're looking to gain strength this is a good book for you, it has helped me progress in bodyweight training, like, a lot. I can't see any faults with this book at all. There are progressions for exercises and even programs for beginners to advance at the back of the book.

Also, thought I should mention, this book DOESN'T cover usage of gymnastic rings, if you want a book more gymnastics based then try: Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength
Try and get a used copy if you can, it is pretty expensive.

Thanks for reading.
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on 7 July 2015
I really liked this book. It has a great variety of calisthenics exercises that you can do with a minimum of equipment - pretty much an overhead bar is all you need, and maybe some parallettes if you are keen. As someone who has been doing calisthenics for about 4 years, I found that it gave me a broader range of exercises to spice up my regular program.

This book is not for beginners though. It misses out on much easier versions of the exercises, such as kneeling pushups and standing wall pulls, that you need to work up through if you are just starting out and want to build up the strength to do exercises like pushups and pullups - let alone the really flashy stuff. It also does not consistently cover what makes up a standard where you can safely move up to a more difficult exercise. Some of the exercises shown are highly risky without the background work, such as clapping/plyometric pushups. I blew out a shoulder doing those a while back and it took a long time (and a lot of physio) to recover - you need to walk before you can run. There are also exercises which the author calls out as "unnatural movements" - translated: injury is possible if you have not worked up to them over a long period of time.

For those reasons, I would direct those new to calisthenics to Convict Conditioning (ebook only on Amazon, you have to get the print version from the publisher) - it gives a much better foundation, and clear standards for progression that keep you motivated (been on it for 4 years, so it's doing its job). For those who have been doing calisthenics for a while and want to up their game with more challenging exercises like levers or planches, or want some variations, there is more than enough in this book to keep you going for years.
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on 8 May 2015
This books owners review said it all and actually it is, anyone stepping into calisthenics no matter what lever your are you should have this book as your personal trainer, after start practice calisthenics I am no longer do weight excise and I do felt real strength inside me than before as just weight excise that feel your strength so easily fade away, this just my own experience you do have your own path.
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on 5 May 2014
This is by far the best book I have read on body weight strength training. It goes far beyond the one arm push up/ one arm pull up/ one legged squats, etc that other books talk about. Whilst it includes these exercises it also includes jaw dropping exercises like the planche, planche push up, front, back and half levers, dragon flag, human flag, etc.

No other book I have read gives you progressions for these exercises. The progressions that Ashley gives you are fantastic, clear and realistic. The workout programmes at the end of the book are much better laid out with much clearer goals to follow than other books too.

I'm not knocking other books on this subject but I wish I'd come across this one first. I wouldn't have wasted time and money on the other ones. I honestly feel like I can get to the point where I can do planche and dragon flags, Tec after reading this book.
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on 29 December 2014
This is an excellent book, my training has progressed more following the advice contained inside. I am not only seeing an improvement in my physique but also gains in strength on a weekly basis. Some stubborn body parts have even responded where weights have failed. To say i am happy with this book would be an understatement
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on 27 July 2015
Started doing this 8 months ago and after going through progression after progression I Am now able to do handstand push ups, muscle ups, parallette work(all sorts of moves) the planche is also coming slowly but surely and getting there on the leavers too. This book is the bible/Koran of calisthenics best investment I've ever made thank you Ashley I have never been so happy training, constantly want to get to the next session and do it all over again. One last thing I'll add I have never done a review on anything purchased before but with this book I felt compelled to share my journey I owe it to the book any one who dismisses this book has not read and followed it properly PERFECT FORM
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on 23 May 2014
I really enjoyed Ashley's previous 'The Bible' series, and began to check out some of the videos on YouTube and read his blog (that might come across as a bit creepy, erm). There's a succinct style to his writing, terse and straight to the point, that I enjoy, so had to check out the book.

There's a lot of information here on everything an athlete needs to know about body-weight training. From the simplest of exercises to full-blown routines; using the principles described in the book will provide anyone with the means to become truly powerful and challenge the gym-mythos. Even if the reader has some calisthenics experience, I found there are some elements and new perspectives to be taken from the book that can aid in one's training.

The book features images that are large and clear, a no-nonsense attitude to training and exceptional food advice. It is large too, great for just throwing down on the floor and using as a reference. The book could have done with some better proof reading and there are a few editing mistakes. I also think that some of the most simplest exercises can be too much for some as body-weight can be an immense shock to the system, so perhaps a foundation level of training was needed? It's something that is rectified later in the book's training plans, even if the initial information can be overwhelming.

It's an exceptional book for newcomers and experienced calisthenics practitioners alike.
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on 29 November 2014
Very comprehensive. It has great photos, and lots of explanation. The author is also motivational without being in your face, and encourages gentle advancement. I got it as an ebook for my kindle fire HD, and while it is good, I found its the sort of book I would rather have physically so I can flick back and forth easily. It has increased my strength massively without really bulking me out, which is nice as I like being slim and fit rather than large and muscle bound.
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