Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Tavis G

Gymnastic bodies book vs convict conditioning?

Recommended Posts

Coach Sommer

Once again; nonsense.

How can one write an authoritative book on a subject in which one is NOT an authority?

This is indeed 'apples to apples'. This is not a theoretical discourse, this is a practical discussion based on whether or not real world Gymnastic Strength Training™ results have been achieved via the program in question. It is not enough to assert that another program is just as good. Where is the proof? Where is the verification of efficacy?

GymnasticBodies is a proven system with fully finished students and an ever growing number of GB Seminar graduates to judge its efficacy by (simply check out the GB facebook page seminar photo album to verify this). The others are nothing more than unsupported theory or glorified hype; with no high level students, photos or videos to judge the system's worth by. No amount of smoke and mirrors will ever change this fact.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FREDERIC DUPONT
(...) the commercial motive of the site is clear.

Really? Commercial?

For the price of a book, I get free and unlimited access to this forum and all the good people of this community that are (literally for some of them! :D) bending over backwards to answer my questions! :) All the answers in the forum have been read by Coach and have his tacit approval; it is said somewhere that only when Coach sees an imprecision, a misleading information, or something outright wrong, will he step in and correct... And he does!

Don't you guys see the value in that? How much precisely do you need to pay for it? Commercial.... hummmmmmm!

The least I can do, is to make sure I educate myself and learn, and progress... and avoid asking that what has been answered already... and maybe sometimes, contribute a little bit.

I certainly also believe that being a little bit considerate of what and how certain things are discussed here is a duty!

This forum is a gift to anyone interested in proper training, and in depth learning; it gives access to a wonderful and supportive community; all the info collected along the years is available and verified!

Some don't see the value, and others forget about this value... as Coach just reminded us all, at that high a level, there are no other places to turn to...

Let's remember that we are guests in a goldmine; we are invited to dig and learn, and take away anything we want; for free... Our part of the exchange is to behave accordingly!

Cheers

Fred

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nic Branson

Was staying away because I like to avoid this kind of topic typically, especially when we degenerate into one vs. the other. I've been around a bit read and been to seminars with various experts in other forms of training. WSB, Svend Karlsen (Strongman), Research with Dr. Kraemer blah blah, name dropping just for those who know for a reference.

Find an expert whose system makes sense to you, that works for you. One that when there is a question has answers that make sense and can explain what is happening. For Coaches a big thing to me is one who has athletes that can perform. I judge my own success more by my clients then what I can personally do at any given time. The ability to teach is not something many people can do well. In my eyes Coach Sommer has proven his ability and he continues to give back to the community and tries to grow awareness and interest in this style of training for everyone not just people trying to become gymnasts.

I'm an RKC and yes I own the first CC, it was somewhat of an entertaining read but the system it self is not comparable. If you like it then fine, but I would not compare the two at all.

***Keep calling it commercial and I'm going to suggest a paid membership section for advice instead of the free knowledge given out by people who actually care more about helping then making money. (That is very rare in this industry by the way)***

One last point. Read and think for yourself. Do not keep trying to build a better mouse trap. Figure out how to use the one you have. Too many resources, too many approaches, too many experts will just make your training haphazard and your progress will stagnate and go nowhere. If this place is not for you then fine, if it is then settle in and open your mind. Be patient, there a more things on the horizon.

Some rant in there, my apologies for that, also likely not the best typed. Just finished training and am rather shaky right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Larry Roseman

I don't think there's any question who is, perhaps in the world, the leading authority on using gymnastics for strength development.

At the same time it doesn't mean that an low to intermediate level performers can't learn from less advanced teachers.

In the real world we wouldn't have access to Coach Sommer unless we had elite potential. His time would be

reserved for elite athletes, or at least those who had potential to become elites. Rather we would be put in with

less accomplished teachers, until we had proven ourselves to be worthy of more serious attention. We would have to work

our way up through the system. And until that time we would be learning mistakes, which may or may not be noticed

and corrected. But cream still rises to top. At some point because our potential we would be streamed into a pre-olympic or elite program where the mistakes would have to be ironed out. Even then, perfection is an lofty ideal rarely realised - how many 10.0s are given out in Olympic gymnastics?

It's great to not have to learn mistakes however at the same time, at our level I don't think it matters excessively either.

Just being able to do a handstand, perfect form aside, is a sufficent goal for me. Knowing about the existance of perfect form

is useful, though somewhat theoretical at my level. I would also add that less advanced teachers may be able to empart useful training tips. They may work with less gifted athletes with similar issues. They may have more recently encountered or even passed through what the student is experiencing. I think we help each other out here on this board in a similar manner.

Well, all I can say is it's good that gymnastics for strength training is getting more noticed. To be honest, I never thought of doing it until I saw crossfit using it. Then that piqued my interest. I'm happy that I started and don't intending on stopping any time soon. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joachim Nagler

It is just disrespectful to be here on this forum, get all this information for FREE, and then promote another man's book!!!

You can read what you want really, but you don't have to post such things on coach's very own site!

So i can totally understand that he's upset.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cole Dano

He's upset because people are comparing his qualifications to others that are clearly inferior. This is not a matter of debate.

Again by analogy it's like comparing your local little league coach to Tony La Russa.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coach Sommer
In the real world we wouldn't have access to Coach Sommer unless we had elite potential.

For years, prior to the opening of this website I wrote over 500 articles on Gymnastic Strength Training™, given away for free, on a wide variety of websites. And with GymnasticBodies.com, I believe that we can all agree that there is not a finer Gymnastic Strength Training™ resource available to fitness enthusiasts anywhere in the world.

As for being a normal fitness enthusiast and being able to personally spend time training with me; that is only a GB Seminar away. And I can most definitely assure you that I am the only high-level coach in the world who grants access of this type to non-elite level athletes.

As for the claim that a beginner can benefit from spending time with an intermediate level instructor; how much faster would they progress learning from the best? There is a reason that year after year, only a small handful of coaches continue to produce the strongest GST athletes in the world. And the two aforementioned products are NOT a part of that small group.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Sapinoso
:facepalm:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Larry Roseman
In the real world we wouldn't have access to Coach Sommer unless we had elite potential.

For years, prior to the opening of this website I wrote over 500 articles on Gymnastic Strength Training™, given away for free, on a wide variety of websites. And with GymnasticBodies.com, I believe that we can all agree that there is not a finer Gymnastic Strength Training™ resource available to fitness enthusiasts anywhere in the world.

As for being a normal fitness enthusiast and being able to personally spend time training with me; that is only a GB Seminar away. And I can most definitely assure you that I am the only high-level coach in the world who grants access of this type to non-elite level athletes.

As for the claim that a beginner can benefit from spending time with an intermediate level instructor; how much faster would they progress learning from the best? There is a reason that year after year, only a small handful of coaches continue to produce the strongest GST athletes in the world. And the two aforementioned products are NOT a part of that small group.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Thanks for your reply Coach.

Perhaps I should have said "traditionally" rather than "in the real world". I do appreciate that you have made your knowledge very accessible, and personal presence possible as well.

It's like going to university, initially you are taught by graduate students. It takes a while usually before you merit instruction

by the professor emeritus. Granted, you can force your way into his office, but unless he's willing to talk down at your level,

it' may be a waste of time. Some professors can and some can't. I do think you have been relating to lower level students needs while maintaining your high standards. And being "where I am" I certainly am happy with that and any future expansion in this direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rik de Kort

It's like going to university, initially you are taught by graduate students. It takes a while usually before you merit instruction

by the professor emeritus. Granted, you can force your way into his office, but unless he's willing to talk down at your level,

it' may be a waste of time. Some professors can and some can't. I do think you have been relating to lower level students needs while maintaining your high standards. And being "where I am" I certainly am happy with that and any future expansion in this direction.

Have you ever been to university? Because I sure get taught by professors who know what they're talking about and I'm just finishing up my first year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Philip Chubb

Derailed topic.

I have to agree though. It is a jerk move to bring up another book on a site that is giving out loads of free information, exposing you to a new way of training, and all from a world class coach. He could have kept it for himself and a few clients who pay 200 an hour and it would still be worth the price.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Daniel Burnham
In the real world we wouldn't have access to Coach Sommer unless we had elite potential.

For years, prior to the opening of this website I wrote over 500 articles on Gymnastic Strength Training™, given away for free, on a wide variety of websites. And with GymnasticBodies.com, I believe that we can all agree that there is not a finer Gymnastic Strength Training™ resource available to fitness enthusiasts anywhere in the world.

As for being a normal fitness enthusiast and being able to personally spend time training with me; that is only a GB Seminar away. And I can most definitely assure you that I am the only high-level coach in the world who grants access of this type to non-elite level athletes.

As for the claim that a beginner can benefit from spending time with an intermediate level instructor; how much faster would they progress learning from the best? There is a reason that year after year, only a small handful of coaches continue to produce the strongest GST athletes in the world. And the two aforementioned products are NOT a part of that small group.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Thanks for your reply Coach.

Perhaps I should have said "traditionally" rather than "in the real world". I do appreciate that you have made your knowledge very accessible, and personal presence possible as well.

It's like going to university, initially you are taught by graduate students. It takes a while usually before you merit instruction

by the professor emeritus. Granted, you can force your way into his office, but unless he's willing to talk down at your level,

it' may be a waste of time. Some professors can and some can't. I do think you have been relating to lower level students needs while maintaining your high standards. And being "where I am" I certainly am happy with that and any future expansion in this direction.

I don't think that the analogy holds. In a university setting you are trying to gain the same knowledge that the professor has. To become good at a sport (gymnastics) you don't have to know much about the coaching aspect of the sport you just have to follow the coaches training regime. This can be seen when professional athletes are not great at coaching and coaches were not the best at their sport. Now lets say that you are more interested in learning the training methodology. In a university setting there are generally basic concepts that everyone needs to know to move on to more advanced things. And the prerequisite knowledge is generally well understood. In the case of gymnastics training, there very few people who know what the advanced concepts look like and how to get there. Everyone else is speculating based on their own lesser experiences. It's not that these people are trying to lie to the general public(for the most part), but they sincerely do not know what things might need to be built to get to the higher level and what bad habits might hurt progress. Things like nuances in form and movement and what strength needs to be built before continuing training. Coach Sommer is one of these people that really know how to get to the next level. Not because he says so, but because his athletes show it.

So if you want to use convict conditioning go ahead. You will build strength in the basic exercises sure, but unless you really are stuck in a cell without rings or other equipment, there are other methods that will bring much greater strength and control over your body.

I've also read Overcoming Gravity. Its a good read sure, but you can tell by the progressions that it doesn't focus on more complex movement patterns and instead is based more on developing great strength in intermediate exercises. Some people may not want to move much farther than being able to do basic moves with one arm, however I don't think that any gymnast would be able to do a routine only building strength in a couple of basic exercises in a few planes of motion. Steven Low is a pretty knowledgeable guy and knows a good amount of theory but I have not seen him produce the athletes that coach sommer has. The same goes for Jim Bathurst, the guys from gymnastics WOD etc...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mats Trane

I always stay away from these long and time waisting discussions. All I think is:

why dont people just SHUT UP and TRAIN! and TRAIN HARD!

When you choose who to instruct you, the following what Coach writes is KEY

I have always found it interesting how no one has ever pointed out that there are no photos in his book of either himself or his supposed students going thru the progressions. Only drawings. Why only drawings? And for that matter, why no videos? Because no one has ever been developed using Steven's protocols; they are hypothetical only. There is no evidence of Steven ever having produced an athlete with high levels of gymnastics strength via his methods.

Take a moment to engage in some rational analysis. No photos. No videos. No students developed thru the proposed methods. Other than the 'authors' own statements and some nifty advertising, on what are you basing your support?

The reason I started following Coach and Gymnasticbodies website was the proof of excellent results! The videos, pictures, the wods, etc. The stuff convinced me so much that I traveled to Spain and a Seminar. He brought with him Allan and Dillon which was living proof.

So everyone out there, when you choose who to listen to conserning anything in life, look for the proof and results that the coach/instructor has accomplished with himself or his/her students.

And dont ever forget to put alot of hard work into whatever it is you want to get great at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nf46

Seeing all the trouble this thread has caused, are we to take it that mentioning other products on the GB forum is banned? If so , then I think a post should be made clarifying that which it is incorrect to do. As far as I see it, in the absence of concrete guidelines, there is nothing wrong with this thread, other than the tone in which parts of it have been said. I remember that the forum used to say that "agreement on all points is not necessary, but civility in disagreement is".

I do really feel then that a good idea would be to create a kind of beginner's sticky, explaining these kind of things (perhaps also having suggestions on searching for information before creating new topics, and what correct beginner guidelines are ie prereqs, running the WODs). Clearing this sort of thing up would save the forum from a lot of unwanted hassle.

Finally, I would like to apologise if any of my posts were found inflammatory or offensive in tone, I assure you that nothing was meant with malice :) , just calling it as I see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Vagabond

Hey, I just want to add my grain of salt: GymnasticBodies.com is by far the best forum dedicated to bodyweight training on the Internet. Not only does it have a very very good and knowledgeable community (with well educated moderators), most of the information available in coache's book is also available here on the forum. In fact, there's even more information on this forum than there is in coache's book, which is already a very good book in which I recognized the drills and progressions that worked the best in my gymnastics training.

Like said previously, it is just amazing that coach reviews all our posts and topics to make sure valid information is provided. He has a lot to do, and certainly, that supplementary task takes a lot more of his time. To me, it denotes the most sincere dedication and interest towards gymnastics.

Now, about Convict Conditionning... I red it. I think BtGB is better, but CC is entertaining. I don't think the progressions shown in the book are the best. These progressions were meant to be used with nothing more than what convicts have access to. So to put it simply, that reduces a lot the number of intermediary steps available between progression elements. I would not use CC's routines either. It doesn't mean the book is not interesting. But BtGB offers better exercises with more realistic progressions. A perfect one arm push-ups is very hard, and a one arm handstand push-up, even on the wall, is beastly too. But for those two moves, and for the one arm chin, there exist better progressions than depicted in CC.

I didn't read Overcoming Gravity, but I'd be interested in doing so. A friend on mine red it and told me he couldn't agree with everything written in it. But I'd still be interested in reading it simply because it's there and I want to know what's in it.

Anyways. Building the Gymnastic Body is very likely the best book, that has the most ressources. Even in the book I wrote about handstands (in French), I recommand it for those who understand English, and I recommand this forum to people who speak English, because I believe it's the best ressource and I'd rather participate here that creating a forum just for myself (hope that's okay with coach, I'll PM him in case he didn't see this).

Otherwise, I don't think it's a bad thing to mention other products on this forum, especially because the members, and coach, are able to answer with honesty. I think that a forum where talking about other products would be forbidden would look gimmicky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rik de Kort

Going a tad off-topic for a bit:

I do really feel then that a good idea would be to create a kind of beginner's sticky, explaining these kind of things (perhaps also having suggestions on searching for information before creating new topics, and what correct beginner guidelines are ie prereqs, running the WODs). Clearing this sort of thing up would save the forum from a lot of unwanted hassle.

I've thought about doing this (explaining WODs, Killroy, SSC, prereqs, warmup, etc. etc.), but since the 2nd edition is supposed to come out later and clarify a huge amount of things, didn't see much use in it. It's also a lot of work to explain it well, get the phrasing right. You'll always be forgetting stuff.

That said, if the current stickies are to remain stickied even after the second book is released (so they are perceived as having significant use after 2nd edition release), I'd be willing to put in some time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joshua Naterman

I'm always surprised that these threads pop up. :facepalm:

For one thing, Coach's gym isn't quite like other gyms. He doesn't turn people away when they are not talented, and he doesn't put up with talented kids that aren't consistent or don't consistently come to practice with a good attitude. He looks for one thing: Someone who is going to be a positive part of the practice and will be there consistently and do what they need to do. Doesn't matter if you're talented. Talent is nice, but his gym represents a wide range of talents that all manage to become impressive gymnasts.

Convict Conditioning has an awesome-looking cover and is promoted by the best hype machine in the fitness world today, so you should expect all kinds of ridiculous claims and testimonials. The few exercises that the book focuses on are ok, and has some pretty neat progressions like using a ball or other rolling object to assist one-arm and one-leg progressions but that's really all that can be said for it. You won't build anywhere near the physical ability that you will build with BtGB, because you don't learn anywhere near as many exercises. You don't do any kind of hamstring work. You don't do any straight arm work. There is no calf work. No preparing the body for explosive performances. The list goes on... Why waste the money and time on an inferior product that will just make you wish you had something better?

I've taken a read through overcoming gravity, which I'm not going to bother capitalizing, and I've got to tell you guys... from someone (me) who has a) excellent formal education, b) excellent understanding of real-world programming and tissue/CNS responses to exercise as a function of both programming and nutrition, C) helped a large number of people, both here and in the real world, correct numerous different musculoskeletal problems as well as recompose their bodies successfully, Low's book really isn't that good.

Staying away from a discussion about... shall we say... ethical dilemmas, let's focus on the contents of the book. There is a mixture of good information regarding healing and muscle response to exercise combined with total bunk. His concentric vs eccentric comparisons are complete garbage. There is very little emphasis on many of the important parts, and I honestly got extremely angry several times during my read-through.

Building the Gymnastic Body is the only book anywhere that you are going to get a solid, proven set of exercise progressions for Gymnastic Strength Training™ from beginner all the way to fairly advanced strength work. It is the only system out there that consistently takes ordinary people and lets them develop high level gymnastic strength.

It is true that the BtGB book is not a comprehensive manual on putting together an individual program but it is made VERY CLEAR in the book that you need to fully master one movement in a family before incorporating the next. It is very clear on which exercise is next in the progression within each family. These are the two areas where most of us miss the mark when we start BtGB work, and I know why: We get excited and want to rush ahead to do all the cool stuff. We are supposed to go step by step. It's not Coach's fault that so many of us do that, but many people are focusing on the aspects of the 1st edition that were lacking...

Guess what: That is why this free forum is here!

It is impossible for any author to ever publish a book that doesn't need to get updated. That's why there are always new editions when an author really cares to keep his/her audience up to date. This forum acts as more than just an instant update, it allows people to share the experiences that have let them move forward in their training when they got stuck. It lets us remind each other when we make the obvious mistakes that the book clearly warns against. As time has passed, much more information that what is in the 1st edition alone has become public knowledge.

You get so much more here than just the BtGB materials... you get detailed nutritional information. You get real interaction with one of the top developmental gymnastic coaches in the world. You get all kinds of programming advice from people who have had the same problems. You have specialized knowledge from bigger people who have certain special considerations when it comes to the pacing of low-leverage movements compared to a smaller person. You have immense recovery resources so that you know what to do when you get hurt, no matter the cause. I mean seriously, how #*$%ing much more can you get for free?

The second edition is very specifically going to be focusing o detailed programming so that people know exactly what to do and when.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coach Sommer
... are we to take it that mentioning other products on the GB forum is banned? ...

Not at all. For example, I highly recommend Kit Laughlin's excellent work on stretch therapy available at kitlaughlin.com.

I do however refuse to allow inferior products to be promoted on equal footing with superior products within the boundaries of this forum. In this instance my preferred habit of gentlemanly restraint in not publically criticizing another approach has simply been misconstrued as fear of competition. :roll:

Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, I simply find these products unproductive and misguiding for the GB forum members. Gymnastics strength training is already complicated enough for beginners without further muddying the waters through inaccurate information from unverified sources who are unable to provide proof to substantiate their dubious claims.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nf46
I do however refuse to allow inferior products to be promoted on equal footing with superior products within the boundaries of this forum.

I have to say that I am uneasy about this quote. Inferior and superior are extremely subjective, and this is not a black and white issue as you make out, Coach. If this is the view taken, then what is going to stop threads like this appearing again? If you are going to take such a stance as you have done with this thread (expressing that it should perhaps be deleted) to all threads containing promotion of a supposedly inferior product, then at least let's have some consistency. Is it fair to say that reviewing or promoting other work on the GB forum is bad practice, but mentioning is OK?

Perhaps I did overstep the mark then with some of my comments earlier, which were offering direct comparison, but if this is not clear for all to know then I feel that noone can complain about threads of this nature-they will always be attributable to ignorance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coach Sommer
Inferior and superior are extremely subjective, and this is not a black and white issue as you make out, Coach

Yes, it is.

If my expertise is not sufficient to make these decisions, then you are all in the wrong place.

Overall I prefer to let the forum discussions percolate as they will, however when necessary I will step in as I have done in this instance as there were several misconstrued concepts pertinent to basic GST that required clarification. And I will continue to do so in the future as needed.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robert Rowland

I'm glad all of this was addressed, but it's only made me more excited for 2.0. :x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nic Branson

I have to take exception to one thing here though. Beginners and intermediates absolutely should get proper instruction. It takes a lot more time and in some cases an incredible amount of effort and time to correct problems that have developed from improper training in the beginning. You are only as good as your base. That foundation is so important for proper development.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scott Malin
I have to take exception to one thing here though. Beginners and intermediates absolutely should get proper instruction. It takes a lot more time and in some cases an incredible amount of effort and time to correct problems that have developed from improper training in the beginning. You are only as good as your base. That foundation is so important for proper development.

On that note, this is the entire purpose of the 2nd edition. There are also a number of changes in the works for the website in order to make it more accessible and understandable for beginners. But it is an intensive process, which is something that often never gets seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quick Start Test Smith
I'm glad all of this was addressed, but it's only made me more excited for 2.0. :x

Me too, Rob!

I don't have anything much to contribute to this discussion; however, I will say that if it's a matter of Coach's results vs. a "competitors" results than there's no competition. 1) because they haven't shown any results, 2) because Coach has produced fantastic results time and time again. It's as simple as results vs. results.

Coach, I really enjoy reading your posts. It always expands my vocabulary!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gravy
I do however refuse to allow inferior products to be promoted on equal footing with superior products within the boundaries of this forum.

If you guys are so sick of these threads, then have an admin make a Rules sticky that includes a list of what is considered to be "inferior" and "superior". If there are rules with consequences, people will either follow them or get warned/banned. It's that simple.

However, if the rules and intentions of this forum are not made clear, then users will continue to post threads like these.

And I'm not a promoter of anything. In my post, I did not even mention any of the other authors or books that I have read. In fact, I have my own copy of BtGB.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×

Important Information

Please review our Privacy Policy at Privacy Policy before using the forums.