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CONVICT CONDITIONING 2
“Paul Wade's section on developing the sides of the body in Convict
Conditioning 2 is brilliant. Hardstyle!”
—Pavel Tsatsouline, author of The Naked Warrior ***
“The overriding principle of Convict Conditioning 2 is ‘little equipment-big
rewards’. For the athlete in the throwing and fighting arts, the section on
Lateral Chain Training, Capturing the Flag, is a unique and perhaps singular
approach to training the obliques and the whole family of side muscles. This
section stood out to me as ground breaking and well worth the time and
energy by anyone to review and attempt to complete. Literally, this is a new
approach to lateral chain training that is well beyond sidebends and suitcase
The author’s review of passive stretching reflects the experience of many of
us in the field. But, his solution might be the reason I am going to recommend
this work for everyone: The Trifecta. This section covers what the author calls
The Functional Triad and gives a series of simple progressions to three holds
that promise to oil your joints. It's yoga for the strength athlete and supports
the material one would find, for example, in Pavel’s Loaded Stretching.
I didn't expect to like this book, but I come away from it practically insisting
that everyone read it. It is a strongman book mixed with yoga mixed with
street smarts. I wanted to hate it, but I love it.”
—Dan John, author of Don’t Let Go and co-author of Easy Strength “Coach Paul Wade has outdone himself. His first book Convict Conditioning is to
my mind THE BEST book ever written on bodyweight conditioning. Hands down.
Now, with the sequel Convict Conditioning 2, Coach Wade takes us even deeper into
the subtle nuances of training with the ultimate resistance tool: our bodies.
In plain English, but with an amazing understanding of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and, go figure, psychology, Coach Wade explains very simply how to work the
smaller but just as important areas of the body such as the hands and forearms, neck
and calves and obliques in serious functional ways.
His minimalist approach to exercise belies the complexity of his system and the
deep insight into exactly how the body works and the best way to get from A to Z in
the shortest time possible.
I got the best advice on how to strengthen the hard-to-reach extensors of the hand
right away from this exercise Master I have ever seen. It's so simple but so completely
functional I can't believe no one else has thought of it yet. Just glad he figured it out
Paul teaches us how to strengthen our bodies with the simplest of movements while
at the same time balancing our structures in the same way: simple exercises that work
the whole body.
And just as simply as he did with his first book. His novel approach to stretching
and mobility training is brilliant and fresh as well as his take on recovery and healing
from injury. Sprinkled throughout the entire book are too-many-to-count insights and
advice from a man who has come to his knowledge the hard way and knows exactly
of what he speaks.
This book is, as was his first, an amazing journey into the history of physical culture
disguised as a book on calisthenics. But the thing that Coach Wade does better than
any before him is his unbelievable progressions on EVERY EXERCISE and stretch!
He breaks things down and tells us EXACTLY how to proceed to get to whatever
level of strength and development we want. AND gives us the exact metrics we need
to know when to go to the next level.
Adding in completely practical and immediately useful insights into nutrition and
the mindset necessary to deal not only with training but with life, makes this book a
classic that will stand the test of time.
Bravo Coach Wade, Bravo.”
—Mark Reifkind, Master RKC, author of Mastering the HardStyle Kettlebell Swing “I’ve been lifting weights for over 50 years and have trained in the martial arts
since 1965. I’ve read voraciously on both subjects, and written dozens of magazine
articles and many books on the subjects. This book and Wade’s first, Convict
Conditioning, are by far the most commonsense, information-packed, and result
producing I’ve read. These books will truly change your life.
Paul Wade is a new and powerful voice in the strength and fitness arena, one
that is commonsense, inspiring, and in your face. His approach to maximizing
your body’s potential is not the same old hackneyed material you find in every
book and magazine piece that pictures steroid-bloated models screaming as they
curl weights. Wade’s stuff has been proven effective by hard men who don’t tolerate fluff. It will work for you, too—guaranteed.
As an ex-cop, I’ve gone mano-y-mano with ex-cons that had clearly trained as
Paul Wade suggests in his two Convict Conditioning books. While these guys didn’t look like steroid-fueled bodybuilders (actually, there were a couple who did), all
were incredibly lean, hard and powerful. Wade blows many commonly held beliefs
about conditioning, strengthening, and eating out of the water and replaces them
with result-producing information that won’t cost you a dime.”
—Loren W. Christensen, author of Fighting the Pain Resistant Attacker, and
many other titles ***
“Convict Conditioning is one of the most influential books I ever got my hands
on. Convict Conditioning 2 took my training and outlook on
the power of bodyweight training to the 10th degree—from strengthening the
smallest muscles in a maximal manner, all the way to using bodyweight training as
a means of healing injuries that pile up from over 22 years of aggressive lifting.
I've used both Convict Conditioning and Convict Conditioning 2 on myself and
with my athletes. Without either of these books I can easily say that these boys
would not be the BEASTS they are today. Without a doubt Convict Conditioning
2 will blow you away and inspire and educate you to take bodyweight training to
a whole NEW level.”
—Zach Even-Esh, Underground Strength Coach Copyright ©2011 Paul “Coach” Wade
All rights under International and Pan-American Copyright conventions.
Published in the United States by:
Dragon Door Publications, Inc
P.O. Box 4381, St. Paul, MN 55104
Tel: (651) 487-2180 • Fax: (651) 487-3954
Credit card orders: 1-800-899-5111
Email: [email protected] • Website:
ISBN 10: 0-938045-34-2 ISBN 13: 978-0-938045-34-2 This edition first published in January, 2012
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the Publisher,
excepting brief quotes used in reviews.
Printed in China
Book design, and cover by Derek Brigham
Website • Tel/Fax: (763) 208-3069 • Email: [email protected]
The author and publisher of this material are not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury that may occur
through following the instructions contained in this material. The activities, physical and otherwise, described herein for
informational purposes only, may be too strenuous or dangerous for some people and the reader(s) should consult a physician before engaging in them. To Pete H,
You gave me a computer, edited every word I ever
wrote,and arranged an account so I could pick up
my paycheck. Back on day one, you even gave me a
pencil to write with! None of this could have
happened without you or Stella.
You really are my brother from another mother. —
Fitness and strength are meaningless qualities without
health. With correct training, these three benefits
should naturally proceed hand-in-hand. In this book,
every effort has been made to convey the importance of
safe training technique, but despite this all
individual trainees are different and needs will vary.
Proceed with caution, and at your own risk. Your body
is your own responsibility—look after it. All medical
experts agree that you should consult your physician
before initiating a training program. Be safe!
This book is intended for entertainment purposes only.
This book is not biography. The names, histories and
circumstances of the individuals featured in this book
have accordingly been changed either partially or
completely. Despite this, the author maintains that
all the exercise principles within this volume—
techniques, methods and ideology—are valid. Use them,
and become the best. TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS — — Foreword The Many Roads to Strength by Brooks Kubik Opening Salvo: Chewing Bubblegum and Kicking Ass 1. Introduction: Put Yourself Behind Bars III
VII PART I: SHOTGUN MUSCLE
Hands and Forearms
2: Iron Hands and Forearms: Ultimate Strength —with Just Two Techniques 3: The Hang Progressions: A Vice-Like Bodyweight Grip Course 4: Advanced Grip Torture: Explosive Power + Titanium Fingers 5: Fingertip Pushups: Keeping Hand Strength Balanced 6: Forearms into Firearms: Hand Strength:
A Summary and a Challenge 1
57 Lateral Chain 7: Lateral Chain Training: Capturing the Flag 8: The Clutch Flag: In Eight Easy Steps 9: The Press Flag: In Eight Not-So-Easy Steps 63
89 Neck and Calves 10. Bulldog Neck: Bulletproof Your Weakest Link 11. Calf Training: Ultimate Lower Legs—No Machines Necessary 113
131 I II CONVICT CONDITIONING 2 PART II: BULLETPROOF JOINTS
12. Tension-Flexibility: The Lost Art of Joint Training 13: Stretching—the Prison Take: Flexibility, Mobility, Control 149
163 14. The Trifecta: Your “Secret Weapon” for Mobilizing Stiff, 173 15: The Bridge Hold Progressions: 189 16: The L-Hold Progressions: 211 17: Twist Progressions: Unleash Your Functional Triad 225 Battle-Scarred Physiques—for Life The Ultimate Prehab/Rehab Technique
Cure Bad Hips and Low Back—Inside-Out PART III: WISDOM FROM CELLBLOCK G
18. Doing Time Right: Living the Straight Edge 19. The Prison Diet: Nutrition and Fat Loss Behind Bars 20. Mendin’ Up: The 8 Laws of Healing 21. The Mind: Escaping the True Prison 225
271 !BONUS CHAPTER!
Pumpin’ Iron in Prison: Myths, Muscle and Misconceptions 285 Acknowledgements 301 Photo Credits 307 Index 309 FOREWORD FOREWORD
The Many Roads to Strength
By Brooks Kubik A fter writing over a dozen strength training books and courses of my own, and literally
hundreds of training articles, I’m finally able to take it easy and write a short foreword
to someone else’s book. In this case, Paul Wade did the heavy lifting (if I can use that
term in the foreword to a book about old-school physical culture through advanced calisthenics),
and after Paul knocked out 300-plus pages, I get to be lazy and type a few words of my own. The fact that Paul asked me to write this foreword may surprise you – just as you may be surprised by the fact that I agreed to his request. After all, Paul is the guy who wrote Convict
Conditioning—a book devoted to old-school calisthenics—and I’m the guy who wrote Dinosaur
Training and other books dealing with old-school weightlifting and weight training.
“So where’s the common ground?” you might ask.
Well, I’ll tell you.
Let’s begin with the cover of Dinosaur Training. It features a simple line
drawing of an old-school physical culturist lifting a heavy barrel overhead. The
photo comes from an old-time forearm and grip training course written and
sold by George F. Jowett, an old-school lifter, wrestler, strongman and athlete
who was setting records about 100 years ago, and who wrote his courses and
books way back in the 1920s. If you’re familiar with his work, you know that
he was one of the best and most inspiring writers in the history of Physical
Culture—and you also know that a lot of people have gotten really strong over
the years by following his training advice.
(Brief note: Jowett’s best book is The Key to Might and Muscle, which is available in a high quality modern reprint edition from a very good friend of mine—
Bill Hinbern at . Bill also carries that old George
Jowett forearm and grip course I mentioned. Both are well worth reading.)
In any case, imagine my reaction when I read through the final draft of Paul’s
manuscript for Convict Conditioning 2 and spotted a line drawing of an old-school physical culturist lifting a heavy barrel. It’s not the same drawing that appears on the cover of Dinosaur
Training, but it’s from the same George Jowett course.
And that’s a clue to why a guy who primarily writes about lifting heavy iron is writing this foreword. III IV CONVICT CONDITIONING 2 The real link is an appreciation for old-school physical culture, and the training methods of oldschool athletes and strongmen. As both Paul and I have noted many times in our respective books
and other writing, most people who think about building strength and muscle make the HUGE
mistake of thinking that the way to do it is to go to the nearest commercial gym—what I refer to
as “Chrome and Fern Land” in Dinosaur Training— and start following the latest super program
in whatever muscle comic you happen to be reading. In other words, they start doing a modernday bodybuilding program, they train for the pump, they use the latest exercise machine knockoffs of the Nautilus machines that flooded the training world in the 1970s, they use the cardio
equipment, they guzzle the supplements and follow this month’s version of the super-duper muscle-building and fat-burning diet for bodybuilders, and in way too many cases they start looking
for someone who can supply them with their first stack of steroids.
I’m opposed to that nonsense. I believe in building strength and muscle the old-fashioned way.
I believe in things like hard work, sensible training programs, and training for lifelong strength,
health and organic fitness. I believe in following the training advice of the old-time strongmen
who flourished in the period I call the Golden Age of Strength—which was roughly from 1890
and the days of the French-Canadian powerhouse, Louis Cyr, and the magnificently muscled and
remarkably strong German, Eugene Sandow—through the 1930s, and 1940s, and the amazing
exploits of men like Tony Terlazzo, John Grimek, Steve Stanko, John Davis, and others— and into
the 1950s and the era of men like Reg Park, Tommy Kono, Doug Hepburn and Paul Anderson.
And Paul seems to believe much the same thing. Interestingly, in Convict Conditoning and
Convict Conditioning 2 he mentions many of the men I write about in my various books and
courses. I’m working off memory right now, and this isn’t an exhaustive or complete list, but we
both cover the strength, power and exploits of Sig Klein, John Grimek, Maxick, Doug Hepburn,
Bert Assirati, George F. Jowett, Eugene Sandow, and Thomas Inch. And as Paul properly notes,
each of these men—all of whom are Iron Game immortals, meaning that long before steroids,
wraps and super-suits they set lifting records that very few men can match even today—were
accomplished gymnasts, hand balancers, and acrobats or combined their weight training with
some form of advanced calisthenics.
So that’s the common thread. Both of us have turned our backs on modern-day training—which
really means modern-day bodybuilding—and have turned back to old-school physical culture. We’ve
done that because the old-school stuff works—and the modern stuff doesn’t. And both of us want
YOU—the reader—to do what works. We both want you to achieve great things—and to develop the
type of strength and development exemplified by the legendary athletes of the Golden Age.
You hold in your hands a book that can help you build some serious strength. Use it wisely, and
use it well—and grow strong!
Yours in strength, Brooks Kubik CONVICT CONDITIONING 2 OPENING SALVO
“I’ve come here to chew bubblegum
and kick ass…
…and I’m all outta bubblegum.”
Roddy Piper in They Live (1988) B efore you dig into this pile of notes, stray ideas, and hard-worn advice that some have
generously called a “book”, I feel you need to be given some kinda warning. First up: if you are looking for a basic strength or muscle-building workout, don’t pick up this
book. You’ll find that stuff in the original Convict Conditioning. In that book, I let loose the
goods on how convicts use bodyweight skills to develop maximum strength and muscle—especially the old school guys who were around before the weight piles hit the yards.
Since Convict Conditioning landed on the shelves, I’ve been asked lots of questions about stuff
that go beyond the basics. Questions like:
• What about the extremities of the body? The neck, forearms and calves? • How do I train the muscles at the sides of the body? • What’s your philosophy for building strong joints? • How do convict-athletes get so big on the prison diet? • Do inmates have any tricks for dealing with injuries? • What about mental training in jail? The answers to all those questions are in this book. If you want to know this kinda thing, pick
it up. (And preferably pay for it. I got bills too, dude.) V VI CONVICT CONDITIONING 2 That leads me to a second warning to potential new readers. This manual is not like the thousands of other books about strength and fitness that you can find on the internet or littering the
shelves of Barnes & Noble. Those books are written by guys with dozens of certificates, maybe
doctorates, all with their own websites and Youtube accounts.
That’s not me.
If you want to be told s*** like:
• Lift weights
Do three sets of ten
Eat six times a day
Consume lots of protein Then you are wasting your time reading this book. I don’t say any of that—in fact, the stuff that
comes out of my mouth is, very often, the exact opposite of what the modern fitness scene thinks
is acceptable. (That’s why it works.)
I’ll say it straight. I’m not certificated, I’m not officially ranked, and you won’t find me on
Youtube. I don’t pretend to have degrees in nutrition or kinesiology. If you are looking for all that,
you won’t get it here.
I learnt what I learnt behind bars. I spent nearly twenty years total in some of the toughest prisons in America. I’m not proud of it, and I don’t want to glamorize it, but there it is. I can’t teach
you anything about the latest exercise machines, current studies in nutrition or biochemistry, or
even the new workout fashions.
I’m not claiming that I can tell you stuff “experts” and personal trainers will agree with, and I’m
not trying to be contentious. I’m just trying to teach you—in the best way I can—about all the
stuff I picked up on the inside.
Bear this in mind when you read this book, and don’t get too hot and sweaty about the controversial stuff. I just ask that you read it. If you don’t like what I have to say, don’t take it too seriously. If you do like what you see in these pages, then try it, test, it, use it.
It worked for us. Who knows? It might work for you too. Paul Wade CONVICT CONDITIONING 2 1: INTRODUCTION PUT YOURSELF
BEHIND BARS I magine the very best hardcore gym in the world. • Imagine an arena where men—there are no women—train as if their very survival depended
upon it. A politically incorrect environment where the goal of training isn’t cute little
Chippendale muscles or a cheap trophy, but ungodly animal power, raw, functional athleticism and sheer brutal toughness.
• Imagine a “gym” where—for the vast majority of the time—there is no access to new training
equipment or flashy gadgets to distract you from a brutal regime of bodyweight training…the
most primitive and effective form of conditioning known to man. A place with no juice bar,
no air conditioning, and no other luxuries. A place where you are literally locked in to sweat,
struggle and strive alone—with no audience or accolades—just the power of your own muscles and mind.
• Imagine if this place was largely cut off from the here-today-gone-tomorrow fitness fads and
fashions of the outside world…so that all that really counted was the kind of punishing daily
training which really produces results—quickly and efficiently.
Just imagine what you could learn about physical training—and what you are really made of—
from an environment like this, if such a place existed.
Well, a place li...
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- Fall '19
- strength training, Bodybuilding