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Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength (Second Edition)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  841 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Kindle Edition, 987 pages
Published December 26th 2019 (first published November 12th 2011)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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Max
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most under-rated gems out there. Far superior to other body weight/calisthenic books that are heavy on the marketing and so-so on the actual content.

The instructions on progressing to a one arm pull-up alone, were worth the cost. Tips and progressions I've never read about before. And no, it's not using a towel btw.

This is like getting a contestant on American Ninja Warrior show you exactly how to develop the same skill set. And this book is huge, more than 500 pages and cov
...more
Charlie
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is more like a textbook for the initiated. It was recommended by someone to me as someone interested in bodyweight exercises.

I trudged through it, but I can say that I have no idea what I read. It was a technical manual for those already in the know. There's no way someone new to the idea of bodyweight exercises will understand this.
Sol
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This and Never Gymless are the premier bodyweight books on the market right now imo. This would've gotten 5 stars but it's a little too dense. The material needs to be a little more user-friendly, but the content is gold.

I've spent over a decade in the professional S&C community, and these are my other top rated books for getting into amazing shape:

Strength:
Practical Programming by Rippetoe

Conditioning:
Tactical Barbell 2: Conditioning (K Black)
Full Throttle Conditioning (Ross Enamait)

Put the
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Franck Chauvel
I was mistaken about this book: It is about gymnastics (rings, parallel bars, etc.) in the first place but not really about training without equipment as I initially thought. Most exercises require rings (thought some can be performed on the ground as well).

This said, the text is comprehensive and includes very interesting chapters about how to train for strength, how to plan your workouts, what exercises to select, how to recover from injuries, etc. The last third is a catalogue of exercises, w
...more
Winson
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very good for bodyweight training very in depth, highly recommend reading first half for the theory and the exploring up to level of strength for exercise technique in the second half. more in depth second half is fun to see what is actually possible
David
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interest in calisthenics/gymnastics/bodyweight fitness has surged in the last few years with a global community of practitioners. Most exercises can be done with a mere $30 investment in gymnast rings, which can be hung from a thick tree branch, basement joist, pull-up bar, neglected soccer goal, forklift, playground equipment, etc. Barriers are minimal and you get a challenging workout while avoiding the gym -- big pluses for me. Over a million of these athletes convene on reddit.com/r/bodyweig ...more
Raz
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it! Overall it is a very comprehensive book that emphasizes particularly strength training with bodyweight, you can think of it as a two-part book, the first part's main objective is to teach you the scientific background and how to actually build a training plan and progress towards chosen goals.
(of course, it goes way more than that but that's the general direction)
the second part (about 300 pages) are all can be considered resources, on how to actually progress within movements and pe
...more
Ferdinand
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actually, it is not a book that you read once and then put back in the shelf. It's a workbook. It not only gives a scientifically founded overview of the training-scientific basics of strength training in general and body weight training in particular. It offers a clear strategy for your own training planning and continuous measurement of the set goals through the progression tables. The author is a former gymnast, studied biochemistry and holds a Ph.D. in physical therapy. I think he knows what ...more
Noritaka Hara
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for all body weight and calisthenics practitioners
Albert Chang
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All around a great book. Second edition should be coming out spring of 2014, so if you're looking to buy, you may want to wait. The biggest reasons to get this book is for learning how to include BWF into your GPP and it has some examples of progressions.

There are other books that delve deeper into progressions and broke them up even more. For me this wouldn't necessarily be the first book I reach for to learn how to be able to perform a certain move. But the thing about progressions is that the
...more
Nicușor Chiciuc
Jul 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: partial-read
A very technical book with a lot of useful material, yet I would not recommend it for novices since sometimes it uses concepts that are to advanced (even I felt confused at some points).

The book is composed of three parts. The first one is the most important, the author talks about everything dealing with exercises (strength vs endurance) with emphasis on strength training.
The second part deals with injuries. I just read some passages from this part since it was of no real interest to me.
The l
...more
James Watt
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been informed by my LMT sweetheart that Steven's grasp of anatomy is lacking (and out-and-out incorrect in parts) but that's really not where this book shines anyway. His careful breakdown of all the various progressions, and his description of how to create a useful plan that will lead to progress have been extremely helpful. Coming from gymnasticsbody.com and learning what I know from there, this was very useful at answering a few questions, and helping to clarify how I wanted to struct ...more
Jeff
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really remarkable book. I'm primarily a weightlifter, but picked this up because my gym is temporarily closed and I wanted to do some bodyweight training to maintain my strength. I thought I was pretty strong, but some of the progressions in this book are hard! The discussion of periodization is also the best I have seen in any fitness related book and valuable even if you plan on sticking to weightlifting and not doing bodyweight training. I will definitely continue to incorporate som ...more
PJ
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: learn
This book changed my life. Right after Hurrican Maria struck PR in 2017, I was stuck at home with no water or power for 3 months. This book guided me through my bodyweight fitness journey which is still going strong to this day. I myself have become stronger, and have trained friends with it who have gone on to become stronger too. It is a never ending trove of knowledge that I regurlarly consult to this day.
Theo Karner
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been using this book for a few months now. Having been doing body weight training for a few years, mainly as a way to get in exercise while travelling and a busy family and work schedule. So on picking up this book I was familiar with a few different bodyweight variations, mainly around rows, pull-ups, push-ups and dips. This book was a whole new level!

Pros
• The density of information is huge. I needed to re-read multiple sections to get the full meaning. There is not much repetition at al
...more
Lloyd Faulkner
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fitness
Really technical and a bear to get through, but once you digest the info it's a gold mine. Not a book for beginners to bodyweight training - if you prefer that, I'd recommend starting with Convict Calisthenics or Complete Calisthenics instead, or even /r/bodyweightfitness, which have simpler breakdowns. After reading those and watching my daughter in gymnastics, I became more interested in how gymnasts train, which is what led me to this book. His credentials are legit.

Of particular interest to
...more
Jamie Sutherland
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very detailed and in-depth look into bodyweight training. I have re-read it for refreshing programming and structure for an upcoming obstacle race I'll be training for. Some of the book emphasises gymnastics and highly skilled moves, and other parts on what the author thinks the reader wants to do because it's cool. I'm looking for functionality and strength.

There are possibly other, better suited books out there, but the section on injury recovery and lifestyle factors, as well as the very e
...more
Miloš
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-get, sports, fitness
This is the first book on calisthenics/gymnastics I've ever read, and since I can't compare it to any other, I'm not sure that my 5* rating is valid. Nevertheless, the helpfulness as well as the immensity of information it provides leaves me no other option but to recommend it as a ground zero point to anyone trying to dabble in bodyweight training.
It will (hopefully) be my workout companion in many years to come.
What I disliked though was the reconvalescent part of the book, I felt it was total
...more
Rufus Johnson
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the Bible on calisthenics and will tell you everything you could possibly need to know. However, it is so densely written and full of so much technical terminology it can be an intense slog and require a lot of effort to actually apply. At times it dives so far into minutae that it seems more for a Phd student writing a thesis than someone actually wanting to apply it's principles. I would still recommend it, but not for those with a passing interest.
Malorie
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
If you are interested in bodyweight fitness and gymnastics, this is a very detailed book on training in that specific area. It is really the most comprehensive book on the subject matter. I have begun implementing a beginning routine based on this book, and I have noticed rapid and marked improvements. I am looking forward to continuing to progress. :)
Richard Meadows
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would be utterly useless and off-putting to someone with no programming/sports science knowledge. It's basically a textbook, and incredibly dry to read. With that being said, it's very thorough and detailed, and worth it alone for the step-by-step guide to progressions in each of the major movements at the end of the book.
Bob
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The bodyweight fitness bible. It's not really a book you read cover to cover, although the earlier chapters are best read in that way. A veritable mine of information on how and why to build a routine, plus all the progressions for the exercises. I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone with a passing interest in bodyweight fitness.
Dawid
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I had a feeling that the autor based his claims on nothing else but a vague logic of his, an example of that can be found in his adaptation of prilepin's chart to bodyweight exercises. Nevertheless it's a fairly well structured and comprehensive guide to structuring an upper body bodyweigth training. I'd love to find more references for the guidelines contained in this book though.
Don Kirker
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprehensive textbook for learning gymnastics strength skills through a series of progressions. Even offers a lot of information on how to build a gymnastics strength training routine. Highly recommend to bodyweight/calisthenics athletes or even avid yogis who want to develop a little more muscle definition.
Giorgos Bt
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book really learned me how I should make a routine and how should I train for skills and strength. Steven low also has a subreddit and he is super responsive. Totally recommended to all enthusiasts in bodyweight training.
Anil Gajiev
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely one of the best sport books out there which covers such vital topics as Physiology, Programming your routine, Overtraining, Injury management, Prehabilitation and rehabilitation, Flexibility, badass Exercises with progressions for each, and much more.
Nya
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Perfect book for body weight focused training

Bout the first edition of this book and that was good so decided to buy the 2nd version. Very in-depth in terms of explaining progressions, dealing with injuries, and sample routines.
Travis
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great, absolutely-thorough reference of the how-to and what-to of Bodyweight training (calisthenics). Will be a reference for years to come.
Petteri Luukkainen
This book is great for anyone who wants to learn the basics and more in the field of calisthenics. It gives detailed instructions for each move and suggestions for progression steps.
j
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Going far beyond just the thorough encyclopedia of gymnastics instruction in the second half of the book, the first half serves as an excellent primer to physical training and planning.
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