Calisthenics expert Paul Wade is an elusive character because he doesn’t give in-person interviews and pics are impossible to find. Some people don’t even believe he is a real person, and honestly, I have doubts myself. I could only find two interviews with the guy from the last ten years, and they were both via email.
Is Paul Wade a real person? We might never know the real truth. But, one thing is for sure – Convict Conditioning is an awesome calisthenics program that has some real benefits. And, the person in these interviews had some interesting things to say. Here are seven surprising facts about the creator of Convict Conditioning, Paul “Coach” Wade.
Table of Contents
- 1. He wrote Convict Conditioning because of his interest in how OG convicts trained
- 2. His training saved his life
- 3. He says bodyweight work should be like working with weights
- 4. Paul preaches that when your progress stops, there’s always a reason
- 5. He avoids total muscle failure
- 6. He believes the “big six” exercises all have a corresponding explosive movement
- 7. There are a number of Paul Wade books, DVDs, and even an App
- How to Build a Superhuman Body with Calisthenics
1. He wrote Convict Conditioning because of his interest in how OG convicts trained
Paul says that when he was incarcerated he was nuts about training his body, and several people told him to write a book about it. However, he wasn’t interested in writing about how inmates train now. Instead, his interest was how former generations trained. The OGs.
Paul explains that those guys had a very different mindset and approach to training their bodies compared to people today. There were no weights or equipment, just their body and a gymnasium. He didn’t want that approach or their techniques to be lost.
He claims that modern coaches often use calisthenics as endurance work or as a warm-up. But, there are hundreds of great calisthenics techniques, and only push-ups, sit-ups, and (worse) crunches seem to be popular. He says that few people see the value of training in an empty room.
New school approaches to calisthenics are about adding more reps of the same old exercise, but that boosts stamina and nothing else. Paul goes old school, to master basic movements and find technical variations to make them harder over time.
2. His training saved his life
Paul makes it clear that training became everything to him when he was in prison, and there were two major reasons for that. First, training has a lot of benefits. And second, it changes an inmate’s perception of time.
He says there’s no five years or seven years to think about. Instead, the focus is on today’s workout and tomorrow’s goals. And, that mindset helps inmates more than you can possibly imagine.
However, the benefits don’t stop there. Paul says he is convinced that his training helped him get off drugs because he is an addictive person and he simply swapped chemicals for training.
I have no doubt that I would be dead without calisthenics.Paul Wade
3. He says bodyweight work should be like working with weights
Paul says that he trained way too much in prison, especially in Angola when he had days where he would knock out 1,000 push-ups. But, after a while he had to ask himself what he was really getting out of putting in all of that time into his training.
He explains that he is just as guilty as any other prison athlete of pushing endurance calisthenics. But, just like being on an endless treadmill – the body adapts quickly and you end up training for hours. However, training that way just kills you because all it does is give you the ability to train for an unlimited amount of time.
This doesn’t increase strength, speed, power, size, or any other important quality, but it can irritate joints. Eventually, his training and thinking came full circle, and he started to advocate the methods he learned in San Quentin.
Bodyweight work should be like working with weights. Keep it tough, brief, and keep making it harder.Paul Wade
4. Paul preaches that when your progress stops, there’s always a reason
If you are trying Convict Conditioning and find yourself stuck on one step, Paul says that your progress is all about body wisdom – awareness of movements and behaviors. There’s always a reason why your progress suddenly stops:
- Not enough rest
- Weight gain
- Not enough calories
- Unbalanced diet
Paul advises to pinpoint and tackle the issue that you’re having, and at the same time take a slight jump back in your training as a small break.
However, if you are having trouble leveling up from one exercise to the next, then get creative and use the “hidden steps” between exercises. This is something he touches on in his books, and explores in great depth on the DVDs.
5. He avoids total muscle failure
Paul says that there is no getting around the reality that building real strength and muscle mass is how the body adapts to stress, and that the adaptation is proportionate to the stressor. In other words, the harder you train, the better results you will get.
Training shouldn’t be about volume, it should be about intensity. When it comes to building muscle, the stressor’s effects aren’t cumulative. For example, he says that if you do a 500-pound bench press, then five minutes later you do a 50-pound bench press, the body doesn’t register it as 550 pounds.
There is a limited window to stress the body before the chosen adaptation ceases to be muscle growth and becomes stamina instead. For muscle growth and strength, there is no point in thrashing away to exhaustion because it’s a waste of energy, like a 50-pound bench press.
However, he doesn’t like training to failure for safety reasons. He says to always leave some energy in your body for control. Paul advises a warm-up and then working hard for two or three sets while avoiding total failure.
6. He believes the “big six” exercises all have a corresponding explosive movement
For fans of Convict Conditioning, it’s no surprise that Paul preaches the big six exercises – Push-ups, pull-ups, squats, handstands, a forward abdominal bend, and a backward spinal bridge – and he believes in working hard with those movements. Why? Well, Paul says they are the most basic way the body moves.
On top of that, each move has a corresponding explosive movement. For example, squats are a great muscle building movement, and the corresponding plyo move would be a tuck jump. And, the explosive version of a bridge would be a back handspring.
He says that just like strength, athletes should build up their explosive power progressively by dedicating themselves to a chain of increasingly harder moves – and this is the focus of his third book Convict Conditioning 3: Explosive Calisthenics.
7. There are a number of Paul Wade books, DVDs, and even an App
If you thought all Paul Wade had to offer was his original Convict Conditioning book, think again! Paul actually has three books in total, and while they all focus on calisthenics, they are very different workouts.
Paul also has five DVDs, and each one focuses on a different movement and its progression:
- Leg raises
Finally, if you don’t want to spend money on his books or DVDs, but you are still curious about what his program is all about, you are in luck. There is a free App available where you can get all the information you need to get started with Convict Conditioning.
There is literally nothing you have to buy when it comes to Wade’s workouts – no equipment, gym membership, books, or DVDs. And, that means there are no excuses when it comes to getting started.
How to Build a Superhuman Body with Calisthenics
You’ve read these 7 little known facts about the infamous Paul Wade, you’ve heard the amazing details of his bodyweight training methods, and you KNOW that bodyweight training can get you a killer-looking body built on powerful strength.
Now you just need to get started right. Unfortunately, when most guys get started with calisthenics, they make a bunch of mistakes like:
- Doing the same movements over and over
- Picking exercises that look cool but don’t build strength
- Eating badly and sabotaging your progress
- Training too much or too little for any muscle to actually build
But you can save weeks if not months of wasted time by checking out the most detailed review of the incredible Convict Conditioning Workout you’ll ever see.