Improve your calisthenics workouts with these books

2 Essential Books To Improve Your Calisthenics Workouts

When you want to develop a new skill, what do you do?

Do you just try, or do you look for people who have done it before?

Do you ask for advice?

Or do you just despair at the gap between what you want to do an what you actually can do?


Most of us are unhappy with what we look like and with what we can do.

We feel demotivated. Incomplete. Not good enough.

That is if we just keep looking at those on the other side. Like the young kid ‘leaning against the window’ with the dream to become a pilot as he watches big airplanes disappear in the clouds.


Instead of looking, start reading.

Instead of being demotivated, start asking.

Instead of thinking you aren’t genetically gifted, start realising that as long as you have a beating hart, there is something to learn.

How? Start by reading these books. 





Calisthenics Book 1: Building A Gymnastic Body


Probably one of the older books on ‘calisthenics’ out there.

This might be a tough cookie to swallow for complete beginners.

But the main lesson it teaches is that there is a step-by-step process to any high level move.


You don’t just jump into a handstand, just like a young kind with the dream to be a pilot doesn’t just jump in a BOEING 707 and flies over the Atlantic Ocean.

Just like a mathematical genius doesn’t solve the ‘theory of everything’ after finally learning how to calculate fractures.

You don’t, even if you are a genius. Let’s get that idea out of the equation.

What can you expect from this book?



The Content Of Building A Gymnastic Body


The book starts with a short summary on why body weight training is a very effective way of training in general.

How strong you can really become through proper progressions.

And how you can achieve this.


The big secret is the power of ‘incrementally’ increasing the difficulty of a certain exercise.

Something which is commonly know as a ‘progression’.

This part of the book is followed by a comparison between weight training versus body weight training.


Experience shows that people with a gymnastic background are generally far more capable of transferring their skills to weights than it is the other way around.

A calisthenics master for example will be able to do a military press with 110% of his body weight in addition to being able to do various forms of handstand push ups.

Whereas a weight lifter will be able to do a military press, but will not be able to do a single handstand push up.

The learning time for a weight lifter to acquire this skill additionally, is much longer than it is for a well trained gymnast to acquire the skill element of a certain weight lifting exercise.


In the following chapter you will get a detailled description of what you might need in terms of equipment and what different terms mean.

Things such as a ‘pike position’, a grip position and support positions are addressed.

Following these chapters there are detailed progressions of so called: Basic strength, static positions and other strength elements.

The book ends with some basic information on programming and extra tips.



Notable Quotes:


“A common misconception is that bodyweight exercises do not build substantial strength but are rather more suited for building endurance. For most people this conjures images of endless pushups, sit-ups or for the strong, perhaps pull-ups and dips; great maybe for general fitness or endurance, but of little value in building real strength.”

“How strong is it possible to become with gymnastics exercises? Amazingly strong. In fact I would go so far as to say, done correctly, far stronger than someone who had trained for the same amount of time with free weights.”

“Success at these exercises requires consistent incremental improvements. Do not seek improvement quickly or become frustrated after only a few weeks. You would not poke a seed into the ground and then jump back waiting for the plant to explode out instantly. You must be patient with physical conditioning also.



Read This Book If…


…you enjoy solid progressions for high level moves.
…you are able to grasp detailed explanations of terms and definitions.
…you are looking for insights into the thought process of an elite level gymnastics coach with years of experience.
…you have basic levels of flexibility such as the front pike and pancake.
…you want to read a book that explains how you can transition, prepare and build a relatively advanced skill set. 


Key Takeaway: If you are a complete beginner building a gymnastics body might be a bit too advanced for you to start with.

If you have a pretty solid level of basic strength and flexibility it’s definitely a book I’d recommend you to read.





Calisthenics Book 2: Overcoming Gravity


If there is every going to be a price for the ‘Holy Grail’ of calisthenics books.

This book deserves:

the first;

the second;

and the third price.


Yes, you can fly and this book teaches you how.

It’s a true guide to ‘how you can overcome gravity’.

Want to become the pilot of your body?

This book will make sure you take off.



The Content Of Overcoming Gravity


This book starts by explaining how you can use gravity to make exercises increasingly difficult.

Rather than adding weight, you can effectively increase the resistance by changing the position of the body.

After that the book explains how different exercises work and which body weight exercises work best.

This is followed by a detailed description of physiological processes and psychological habits that will improve your rate of success.


After this foundation, the book addresses different approaches strength and skill elements, program design, progression charts and more.

Even injury management is addressed and how many repetitions are useful for recovery.

The rest of the book addresses different progressions including illustrations and descriptions of the execution.

The book ends with a ‘how to construct a workout routine’ plan, which is basically a summary of the to-do-steps to develop a proper workout plan.



Notable Quotes:


“On a basic level, force is force. Thus, if we can apply the correct stress to the muscles and nervous system through various exercises we can see increases in both strength and mass.”

One final thing before you get started: Set a goal and write it down. Whatever the goal, the importance thing is that you set it, so you’ve got something for which to aim – and that you write it down. There is something magical about writing things down. So set a goal and write it down. When you reach that goal, set another and write that down. you’ll be off and running.”

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that we want our joints, tendons and muscles moving well. Good quality body tissue should not hurt when we apply pressure or massage to them. Likewise, if we move them around without putting any tension into the muscle they should be pliable and easy to move, but not tight with adhesions, scar tissue, and trigger points.”



Read This Book If…


…you enjoy building a solid mental foundation and clear understanding of what it means to make a program and to program around injuries, recovery and progressive overload.
…you want to progress to high level calisthenics skills that might require years if not decades to master.
…you’ve are a geek when it comes to programming and have a basic understanding of calisthenics programming.
…you want more than just a workout plan, but also want to get into the mind and way of thinking required to develop high level calisthenics skills.


Key Takeaway: If you are looking for a deeper understanding with regard to programming and progressions, overcoming gravity is definitely a go-to book.

Initially the amount of information might be overwhelming and you’ll need time to figure it out, but when you do, this book is nothing less than pure gold.



Why I Read Calisthenics Books And Why You Should Too


It’s easy to get people to spoon-feed you information they believe in.

But you aren’t a baby anymore are you?

So go look for that information, invest your time, invest your money.

Do what you can with what you have.


Once you’ve decided that you want to do this, you have to go for it.

What you can do right now, doesn’t define who you are. So stop worrying about not being able to do a full planche or a one arm human flag and commit to your next training – it’s waiting for you.

You’ll learn more by focusing on the process instead of just on the result.

You might not have the skill yet, but now you have the MINDSET.


Remember that young kid with the dream to become a pilot?

I used to know someone who became a pilot at a late age.

Even if at the time he finally flew a plane he already was an old man, his willingness to read and learn kept him young.

He fulfilled his dream to overcome gravity.

And so can you.


Beast mode ON!


Now I’d like to hear from you:

Did you like this post?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, make sure you get your download and leave a quick comment below right now.




6 thoughts on “2 Essential Books To Improve Your Calisthenics Workouts

  1. Hey Rich!
    Could you please send me the link for the 2 books too, also living in the netherlands without creditcard etc.

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