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  1. #1
    KallosThenos is offline Senior Member
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    Default Paul Wade Replied to my Email #2: Busting Myths and backstory on Paul's Old Mentor

    Het Kallos,

    great to hear back from you man! Thanks for absorbing what I said last time, I hope you found it useful in your own approach. Let me respond to your kind email:

    Thank you for answering my questions, it's cleared up a lot of my questions and misunderstandings with you. I have some more questions if you don't mind answering them. I have a lot of respect for you and I am glad you created the Convict Conditioning system, I may have given a lot of criticism about it but that is because I want to erase any misunderstandings and make the CC system work better for myself and everybody else.

    Great! But never quit--keep criticizing Convict Conditioning!

    CC is one man's imperfect attempt to systematize old school bodyweight methods. A lot of folks talk to me about what is CC "canon" or what's "official", and this way of looking at progressive calisthenics was never my intention. As soon as the system becomes crystallized, set in cement, it begins to die. It needs young blood, the new generation, to come in and shoot it to bits. That's the only way a method can continue to grow. So criticize, chage, explore, experiment and adapt, and teach others what you've learned.

    Go do better than me!

    1. In your last email, you mentioned that the claim where you could do a dozen one-arm handstand push-ups were actually "one-arm elbow lever to one-arm handstand". You mentioned that you performed the latter One-arm handstand push-up (the one in the book) as well and it was introduced to you by your mentor Joe Hartigen. My question is how many of the book-style One-Arm Handstand Push-ups could you do back in your prime? Could you do them without a wall? I would imagine the head will lean away from the pressing arm, similar to the way your body leans when doing a heavy one-arm dumbbell press.

    Honestly, maybe two--three on my best ever day. But in a corner and with some leg help--this is probably key to the technique and I should have discussed it more in the book. Without a wall? No way. I certainly have never seen anything approaching that. Also, I should clear up that Joe showed me how to do handstand pushups for strength, but he didn't show me this technique. He did show me the progressions--which really were typical of prison training at the time--that led from two-limb work to transitions, to one-limb stuff. If something sums up a "CC-style" it's this dynamic. I put the two components together for the one-arm pushup.

    As for leaning, leaning helps your leverage, as you say, like a db press. You look at Jim Bathurst's approach to a strict (no legs, no corner) oahspu, and you see how well he approaches this. But for making the exercise possible, the way you use legs is more important that leaning.

    2. Many gymnasts claim that a perfect handstand push-up must be "hollow", meaning the body must be perfectly straight with no arch. This claim is exactly the opposite of what you claimed, which is allowing a natural curve of the spine in the inverse position. The gymnasts also claimed that having this hollow body allowed more load to be placed on the lateral (middle) deltoids and the trapezius rather than the anterior deltoids and the clavicular region of the pectorals. So which type of more efficient for building the shoulders?

    Curving your body in any kind of inverse work recruits more strength--it helps you use the upper pectorals in conjunction with the top shoulder girdle. You mentioned the analogy to weighted presses before, so let's do that now and look at a barbell press. Can you press more with a straight body or a body that's curved back? The answer is, and always has been, that a curved spine helps you press more. So much more, that the press was banned from Olympic lifting partly because some guys were leaning back like a motherfucker. It was more like a standing bench press for some guys!

    As for which builds side delts better? Probably a straight bod. But remember that the side delts are actually very weak muscles. If it's strength you want, unless they work with other muscle (the anterior delts, traps or pecs), they aren't shit.

    3. In the book, the elite step for the One-Arm Pushup is 1 set of 100. I am wondering if this is for the hip-bend prison-pushup or the straight-body prison pushup? I would imagine it is for the one with the hip-bend since it is much easier than the one without. I find the prison-pushup with the hip-bend works the chest more than the one without (I could do a couple of prison-pushups with a hip bend). Just how much harder is the non-hip bend prison push-up compared to the one with the hip-bend?

    No, I never did this many reps. I wouldn't be able to--not in my prime, not ever. The pushup chapter was the first chapter I ever wrote, and I put it in almost as a type of super-challenge, something so radical it would slap folks around the mouth. It just stayed in...the rest of the "ultimate" standards in the book are rep ranges that I have done or confirmed that others have done. It's messy, I know.

    The non-hip bend is much, much, much harder. Others have said to me that it's twice as hard again as the hip bend style, but I don't know how they'd calculate that shit. It may even be more. It's pure leverage, like holding a weight out from your body; with every half inch, the force required increses exponentially, and when you are working with aound 60-70% of bodyweight, that's a huge amount of weight. Huge.

    4. You may have already answered this one, but is the one-arm pullup series alone enough to balance the shoulder girdle in your experience? What kind of horizontal pressing do you do? I would think that Front Lever Rows and its progressions would be a good idea, but that's moving into the gymnastic realm (some skill elements involved).

    These days I do a lot of hand-balancing; I'm having fun with it right now, and your routine changes as you age. I will go back to wall work at some point, because nothing beats it for pure strength and muscle. I actually agree with you about the front lever rows. In many ways these can be seen as a progression from horizontal pulls, which is how some guys work them.

    5. Does the Big Six in CC develop the body fully in the most efficient way? Would you add any more exercises in the list?

    Sure you could. I agonized over twisting, but it's really not a strength exercise like the others, and it was something I gained a lot from rather than a prison staple, so I never included it. Flags are something that would go well. So would hanging levers, but these jar with the other moves coz they're statics. I'm certain if I had worked with Al in writing the book, we would have included sentry pullups. Some people wanted me to add dips.

    See, there's nothing "holy" about the idea of the Big Six. They do cover the whole body really well. You could squeeze in the above moves, but there are risks in this, Kallos. The body was meant to work as a unit. That's where bodyweight shines, but the more moves you add in, the less this basic principle of abbreviation gets diluted.

    The same is just as true for weights. More big moves work the whole body way better than lots of little moves. Look at how successful Pavel was with Power to the People. You have guys in gyms with zero fucking strength wasting their energy doing fifteen types of curls, and along comes this Russian kid and says "try doing just two exercises" and suddenly everyone is twice as strong overnight doing his shit. This is no coincidence. Keep it simple as you can if you want to gain.
    Last edited by KallosThenos; 04-15-2012 at 02:46 PM.

  2. #2
    KallosThenos is offline Senior Member
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    6. I would like to hear more about your mentor Joe Hartigen if you don't mind sharing some more stories about him. It seems like he was a very strong guy.

    Joe was an amazing human being, and one of life's real characters. I can still hear his voice in my mind, and although I tried to get some of his ideas down in print, I wonder how well I really captured him. I really wish I could write a book about him. He certain had forgotten more about training than I ever knew. If he could have written a training book, it would have been the best in the world.

    Joe was originally from Missouri, got in trouble there, and later moved to Sausalito. This was back in the thirties when that place was a center for bootlegging, and off the back of that, black marketeering. Some time before WW 2 Joe got hooked up with some bad business and was convicted of a multiple homicide. I know he returned to St Louis from time to time before incarceration, but to my knowledge he didn't have any family.

    Joe was indeed very, very strong. He favored pulling movements, and for his age--early seventies when I met him--was unbelievably powerful. He loved all different types of pullups, and he could use different fingers too. He knew how to hand-balance, and respect wall-style pushups but tended to stick with regular pushups, flat and on different fingers. Once a month he tested himself with one-arm pressing work (always flat). He swore that leg raises were the key to health, and did one-leg squats but (surprisingly) saw them as an accessory exercise to help pullups! He did a lot of grip work, too, which may been what saved his elbows. His hands were like leather, and callussed as hell. He once showed me a trick where he lit a match under his index finger and let it burn until the skin was black with soot. He showed no pain. Sounds impossible, but I saw it with my own eyes.

    Funny story; when I wrote the first draft of the book, there were a lot of prison stories, anecdotes about characters I met along the way, and how they trained. There was a lot more comedy in the book, too, humor based around these guys. These stories spanned many years, and there was no way I could trace all these fellas and ask permission, so I was originally advised to change the names of all these men to prevent any kind of legal comeback. When that happened, I was told I needed to include a disclaimer in the front of the book, that some names and shit had been altered. Ironically, almost all the prison stories got cut in the end, and the book was kept centered around training. The only person I managed to keep in there was Joe--and I didn't change his name, that's his real name! But the disclaimer stayed in, and a lot of people read it and said "well that proves this shit must all be fake".

    You live and learn, huh? Probably would have made old Joe grin.

    Thanks for letting me share the memories, Kallos. Take care man, and speak soon,

    Paul
    Last edited by KallosThenos; 04-15-2012 at 02:14 PM.

  3. #3
    TheSavageAthlete is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for sharing these Kallos! I've e-mailed Coach a couple of times as well and always enjoy reading what he has to say. You ask great questions, by the way, which helps make these so informative!
    Don't just train, GET SAVAGE!

  4. #4
    Easey Jack is offline Senior Member
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    Kallos, this is great...I mean, just GREAT!

    Two points: one, any chance you could bold or slant the questions so this is easier to read please?

    Two, is someone saving all this stuff somewhere? Shouldn't it be filed? This is pages and pages and pages of CC/Paul Wade stuff that I can't see appearing anywhere else. It'd be tragic if it goe lost in the hustle of a forum. This is stuff newbies in five, ten years time will want to read.

    Savage is right, great questions

  5. #5
    Chiggers Guest

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    Good stuff. Thank for posting.

  6. #6
    KallosThenos is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easey Jack View Post
    Kallos, this is great...I mean, just GREAT!

    Two points: one, any chance you could bold or slant the questions so this is easier to read please?

    Two, is someone saving all this stuff somewhere? Shouldn't it be filed? This is pages and pages and pages of CC/Paul Wade stuff that I can't see appearing anywhere else. It'd be tragic if it goe lost in the hustle of a forum. This is stuff newbies in five, ten years time will want to read.

    Savage is right, great questions
    Sure thing, was a bit rushed for time when I posted so I didn't get to bold the questions

  7. #7
    Karate Pipes is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by KallosThenos View Post
    Curving your body in any kind of inverse work recruits more strength--it helps you use the upper pectorals in conjunction with the top shoulder girdle. You mentioned the analogy to weighted presses before, so let's do that now and look at a barbell press. Can you press more with a straight body or a body that's curved back? The answer is, and always has been, that a curved spine helps you press more. So much more, that the press was banned from Olympic lifting partly because some guys were leaning back like a motherfucker. It was more like a standing bench press for some guys!

    .
    Paul wade allways right on the money

    http://doubleyourgains.com/wp-conten...head-press.jpg

  8. #8
    KallosThenos is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiggers View Post
    Good stuff. Thank for posting.
    No problem, no hard feelings. The stuff about the bullet to the face was an exaggerated claim to mimic a response from another poster. A One-Arm Handstand Push-up in a corner with help from the feet is doable, but a Freestanding One-Arm Handstand Push-up without kipping is impossible, not even Paul Wade has seen it. The truth is finally out.

  9. #9
    speaker is offline Senior Member
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    this is great info, Kallos. there has to be a way to sticky this or get it put in the Mega thread.

  10. #10
    Devez is offline Senior Member
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    This is absolute gold for ccers. Thx to you Kallos for this. Paul's blunt and honest self never gets old.

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