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  1. #1
    Lakai is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Question Starting out with Convict Conditioning - a few questions.

    I'm a little confused about the section in the book about making progress. It says to start by meeting the beginner standard in any exercise and then add another repetition every week or two. Then once you hit ten reps, you can do two sets. After two sets (of presumably 10 reps), keep adding until you meet the intermediate standard. Then you add a third set, and add reps until you meet the progression standard.

    What's confusing is the part where it says to add another repetition every week or two. This makes sense for some of the hard exercises, but what about the beginner exercises such as wall pushups, where the progression is 1X10, 2X25, and 3X50? This would take forever. If I'm not adding another rep every week or so, then how many reps should I be adding? How fast can I add repetitions once I start out?

    My second question concerns knee tucks. When I do them I feel more pain in my legs than in my abs - and my form breaks down because my legs get tired. Is this normal, or does this mean I'm not doing them correctly?

    Last question - why does the Good Behavior exercise program list only 2 work sets with each exercise instead of 2-3 work sets like the other programs? How does this program work with exercises where the progression standard requires three sets?

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  2. #2
    jfreaksho is offline Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    1. Meeting the standards is a bit of a fuzzy line for some people, especially when starting out. If you look at the top of this page, there should be a link to the CC FAQ, where Coach talks through some of this. Basically, if you can honestly meet the progression standard, then move up. If you can't, then you have to work on adding reps.

    Add reps as you can. One every week or two makes more sense on the higher levels, or when you are struggling. Make them quality reps, with good form, and don't go to failure. Add as many of those as you feel like each week.

    Everyone progresses differently, but more often than not, people try to progress too quickly and then have to back off. This is a long, slow program.

    2. Lots of people have weak, tight hip flexors. This is pretty normal, I think. Many people (myself included) also lack straight-leg quad strength.

    3. Because there's an inconsistency in the program? Because the program move from 3 sets to 2 for progression standards at pretty low levels, and so it mostly doesn't matter? Because at the lower levels, excluding injury rehab, you can train more often and/or more sets than are recommended? I don't really know, but it's okay to go over a bit. It's okay to throw in a "testing" day once a month or so to see if you're ready to move up. Just be honest with yourself. I'm pretty sure I've dropped down levels almost as many times as I moved up.

  3. #3
    kodo kb is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Poughkeepsie, New York
    Blog Entries


    1. Add reps as quickly as you can without going to failure.
    2. That's fine, a few of the preliminary exercises (being preliminary) don't load the "target" muscle-group heavily, so it's normal to feel it elsewhere.
    3. It is a typo and most likely unintentional. Ignore it and just get the progression standard. If it's intentional, it's because following CC strictly means you shouldn't add handstand pushups or bridging into your routine until you reach step 7 in pushups, leg raises, and squats; when all those exercises are at a two work set progression. However, coming off New Blood to do Good Behavior means you are starting bridges, and Wade requires 3 sets for the first couple of steps... so it's still a typo.

    "I can't imagine how it WON'T you not doing it." — Dan John

    "I never went to the gym to "work out". Rather I went to LEARN. The workout was incidental." — Dr. Ed Thomas

  4. #4
    jetronin is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    One thing that the book DOES stress, and I feel is still probably highly understated, is this....
    Really take your time building up to the progression standards. Do not rush to get to the next movement. The strength and muscle that the book promises are only built by really milking each step. Not by simply using harder movements, but by doing what Dan john refers to as "punch the clock" workouts. Get started, do what you normally do, add a rep or two and then finish up. Work hard but don't go mega-hard. Add another rep or two next time. It's not the fastest way to go about it, but it's working very well for me.
    "Strength does not come from physical capacity.
    It comes from an indomitable will"-Mohandas K. Gandhi.

  5. #5
    DTris is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Dayton, OH


    With the early steps you might be able to add 2-5 reps a week. Personally what I did for say step 2 of pushups. I would do 3 sets stopping a couple short of failure. The sets would be like 15 then 13 then 11. I would keep the first set at 15 until the second and third set got there as well. Then next session I would stop each step a couple short of failure again so it would look like 18,17,15. Rinse and repeat.

  6. #6
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    jetronin is right. Listen to your body. Each step along the way is a foundation for the next higher step. Milk each step like he says. There will be some days where you can do a few more reps which is fine so do them - staying away from failure. Other days maybe not so much. Don't try too hard in trying to allways beat your previous days numbers - if doing so leads to crappy reps. Save max effort reps for TEST DAYS ONLY to establish new baselines for strength. Quality allways trumps quantity and this program by design is a LOOONNNGGG one - months/years/decades so whats the rush?..hehe!...Don't forget that warmup sets are part of the program. Step 5 pushups preceded by a couple of sets of any of the previous steps is for shoring up that foundation. CC also allows for innovation on your part. Be creative in breaking through platues but follow the basic guidlines and intent...Dennis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Aberystwyth, Wales


    I skipped some steps, I found that by the time I completed Kneeling push ups I was already able to do a solid ten full push ups, so I skipped step 4. This is mentioned in the FAQ, so you might not need all the steps.

  8. #8
    phreebie is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    I work it so that at the early steps I ad as many reps as I want to, in the 1st steps this sometimes meant I did beginner 1st time out, intermediate the second and progression on the third, not quite that fast, but close. HOWEVER once I hit the progression standard I stayed on the same level and did it to progression standard for a month. Only then did I move on. At the higher levels I still don't move on as soon as I can bust out the progression standard, one rep short of failure.

    Only move on when you can honestly feel that going to the progression standard is no longer a killer. By that stage I then step up and since the next level is only 1 set of a few reps I do that, and for the remaining sets I might do the intermediate level on the step I just came from, or the progression from the one below that.

    I started a year ago and am still on around step 6. I did take a little bit of time off a couple of months back, but I have the patience and the belief that I will end up where I want to be eventually.

    Milk it!

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