There is a lot of information online about calisthenics. And here on Calisthenics Worldwide we certainly do everything to make the best and most useful information available to all of you. But sometimes, having an actual old-school book can be great too. We found one book that we can totally recommend to you: Complete Calisthenics by Ashley Kalym. There are not a lot of books about calisthenics available. That is kind of surprising since calisthenics has been around for thousands of years. Even the old Greeks and Romans were true calisthenics enthusiasts. Warriors and gladiators did push-ups, pull-ups and train with their bodyweight and rocks. But after all those centuries, we finally have a really good book about calisthenics. Here is our Complete Calisthenics Review
Complete Calisthenics Review
In his book, Ashley shares his enthusiasm about calisthenics and what is is like to train with only bodyweight exercises. The book has 5 sections in which he talks about his own experience with calisthenics. He also provides a big variety of exercises for beginners, intermediates and experts. And he conveys his knowledge about nutrition, rest and training schedules.
Complete Calisthenics Review – The Exercises
All the exercises are explained in great detail and come with pictures to give you a better understanding of the exercise. Exercises mostly go from easy to more advanced. More importantly, the book does not just contain strength exercises but also mobility exercises. This is something that is not always available since most people focus on strength. As physical therapists, we can confirm that the anatomy discussed in the book is correct and explained very understandably.
Overall, the book is a very helpful and quickly accessible source for someone who is interested in calisthenics and wants to learn more about body weight training. This is especially true for beginners and intermediates. When you go out training and want to try something new you can take the book with you and follow the description and pictures. We really like the way the exercises follow a logical build-up and how Ashley explains them.
Of course, the emphasis in calisthenics lays within core strength to perform more difficult exercises and how you can get your whole body to move like one vessel. If you want to learn more about this, this book can be a great help. Because the main focus of the exercises is in this area. It contains compound exercises which require a lot of core strength. This is something many athletes can not do because their core is underdeveloped. This makes calisthenics so special. You do not usually learn these movements in the gym since gyms are mostly focused on muscle gains.
Complete Calisthenics Review – One Downside
The only downside of the book and something in general in calisthenics are the lack of leg exercises in comparison with upper-body exercises. This is often the case in articles about calisthenics and bodyweight training. But exercising your legs is essential. They carry your bodyweight. Ashley acknowledges this in his book. But in our opinion there could have been some more leg exercises or variations to emphasise different leg muscles in the book. With his experience, we are sure he could provide those. Maybe the next edition will have them. We could all use extra exercises or variations for the muscles in our legs.
Concluding out Complete Calisthenics review, we can say that we find the book very helpful. We totally recommend it to anyone, especially to beginners and others who are interested in learning about calisthenics and resistance training in general. It is also great for more experienced athletes though. Because there are exercises that you probably have not heard of and helpful tricks to improve your training.
1: Kalym A. Complete calisthenics. The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Exercise. Lotus publishing; Chinchester, England 2019.