By Paul "Coach" Wade - featuring Brett Jones and Max Shank
Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning Volume 4, Advanced Bridging: Forging an Iron Spine explodes out of the cellblock to teach you in absolute detail how to progress from the relative ease of a Short Bridge—to the stunning, “1-in-1,000” achievement of the Stand-to-Stand Bridge. Ten progressive steps guide you to inevitable mastery of this ultimate exercise for an unbreakable back.
This home-study course in ultimate survival strength comes replete with bonus material not available in Paul Wade’s original Convict Conditioning book—and numerous key training tips that refine and expand on the original program.
Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning system represents the ultimate distillation of hardcore prison bodyweight training’s most powerful methods. What works was kept. What didn’t, was slashed away. When your life is on the line, you’re not going to mess with less than the absolute best. Many of these older, very potent solitary training systems have been on the verge of dying, as convicts begin to gain access to weights, and modern "bodybuilding thinking" floods into the prisons. Thanks to Paul Wade, these ultimate strength survival secrets have been saved for posterity. And for you…
Filmed entirely—and so appropriately—on "The Rock", Wade’s Convict Conditioning Volume 4, Advanced Bridging: Forging an Iron Spine explodes out of the cellblock to teach you in absolute detail how to progress from the relative ease of a Short Bridge—to the stunning, "1-in-1,000" achievement of the Stand-to-Stand Bridge. Ten progressive steps guide you to inevitable mastery of this ultimate exercise for an unbreakable back.
This home-study course in ultimate survival strength comes replete with bonus material not available in Paul Wade’s original Convict Conditioning book—and numerous key training tips that refine and expand on the original program.Whatever you are looking for from your bridges—be it supreme suppleness, a tigrishly powerful spine, extreme resilience against injury, or a godlike level of strength-flexibility—it’s yours for the progressive taking with Convict Conditioning Volume 4, Advanced Bridging: Forging an Iron Spine.
In Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning system, no matter what kind of movement you’re working on, you focus on a chain of ten progressive exercises. When you master one exercise, you move on to the next, and so on. Because the later exercises build on the earlier ones, they are sometimes called the "ten steps". When you reach the tenth exercise, you will be just about as strong as it’s possible for a human being to be in that movement. For this reason, the tenth exercise in any chain is called the "Master Step". How this all works will be crystal clear if you’ve picked up a copy of the Convict Conditioning bodyweight book.
If you go into any gym, you’ll see lots of guys working hard to train their biceps, their pecs, their lats and so on. But perhaps the most neglected muscles in modern strength training are the muscles of the back—in particular the deep layer of muscles that run up and along the spine. These are the spinal erectors.
The spinal column and hips are an essential feature of any body that needs to be strong or athletic. This area is like the universal joint on a motor vehicle. All the pressure of running, punching, lifting and tackling goes straight through the spine—so if you want a body that’s explosive, powerful and as injury-proofed as possible, the best way to get it isn’t through working your "beach muscles" like your biceps or pecs. The best way to toughen up your entire body is by toughening up your spinal column.
Previous generations of prison athletes understood the role that the back and spine muscles play in overall toughness. In a way, prison athletes, certainly before the seventies, were lucky when it came to spinal training; they didn’t have access to the kind of distractions that athletes on the outside had. We’re talking about Nautilus back training machines, Cybex machines, hyperextension units or cable machines. Back in the day, convicts didn’t even have weights to train their backs with—no deadlifts, good mornings or cleans.
If prisoners wanted to build powerful back muscles, they had to access the more ancient, traditional methods, using bodyweight alone. Luckily for them, the very finest back training techniques are bodyweight exercises—variations of the bridge family of techniques.
Bridging is an excellent, ancient approach to building a strong, supple spine—and if you do it properly it’s very safe. A lot of weightlifting for the back involves bending forwards with a heavy weight, and this can cause the discs to pop out, or make muscles rupture or split when the spine is stretched forwards under great pressure. Bridging is different; it involves arching the back. This "locks" the vertebrae into place, prevents subluxation and actually heals old back injuries rather than generating new ones. Prison bridges are different from most approaches because instead of just holding the bridge position, or moving to different positions, the athlete repeats the technique over and over, going up and down and back again—just like you would if you were doing pushups, for example. This approach not only increases flexibility, stamina and tendon strength all at the same time, it also goes a long way towards building muscle.
It’s pretty cool to have twin pythons of solid beef running up your spine. And prison-style bridges are also a fantastic workout for the shoulders, arms and legs.
Bridging has many benefits. It doesn’t only make your whole body stronger, more supple, and less likely to get injured—bridging will even improve your posture, your digestion, and increase your lung capacity. But most people rarely even train, let alone bend over backwards. So when you begin to tackle bridging, it’s important that you do it gradually.
So, we begin with exercises that stimulate the spine and the protective muscles around the hips and back. After some more training to increase shoulder flexibility, we’ll move on to exercises like the classic full bridge. From there, we’ll move to even bigger movements like wall walking and closing bridges. These exercises are constructed in a ten step series that are designed to increase your flexibility, stamina, joint health and total body strength. By the time you reach the tenth step in the series—the Master Step—you’ll be an expert bridger with incredible posterior chain strength and a spine like a steel whip. And your days of bad backs and tight hips will be a thing of the past.
Paul Wade gives you ten key points, the "Ten Commandments" of bridging, that will take your prison-style bridge training from just "okay" to absolutely phenomenal. We want the results to be so effective that they’ll literally shock you. This kind of accelerated progress can be achieved, but if you want to achieve it you better listen carefully to these ten key pointers you’ll soon discover.
Bodyweight mastery is a lot like high-level martial arts. It’s more about principles than individual techniques. Want a REALLY powerful spine, with dense tendons and thick muscles? Then study and absorb these principles, and you’ll be on your way to a steel-whip spine in no time. Powerful, healthy spinal erectors that are trained to arch well, are worth their weight in gold to any strength athlete.
As Convict Conditioning author Paul Wade is quick to point out, the bridge is one of the best and most essential of all bodyweight exercises, yet it is also one of the most overlooked and underused. If you want to unleash the power of your posterior chain, this DVD can help you better than any other resource. Paul breaks down various bridging techniques in an easy to follow progression that can help anyone build an iron spine.
CC was probably the best resource on bridging I've ever seen. But I always felt the section on bridging was lacking for some reason. Don't get me wrong, it really laid out the importance of bridging for health and strength and has enough information to get anyone started but, when compared to other sections detailing the Big 6, I thought it could use more detail believe it or not. This was probably due to the fact that most people in Western culture have never even heard of the bridge. So how do you detail the history of this move, the importance of the exercise for health and strength, as well as give solid instruction on form and technique while trying to get us Westerners up to speed on what a bridge even is in the first place while keeping this gigantic book to 300 pages? With all things considered, I believe Paul Wade did an excellent job. But I still wasn't completely satisfied. That was until I ordered this DVD.
This is the ultimate course in bridging. If you agree that the bridge section in CC was somewhat lacking, you'll be more than pleased with this DVD and manual. The amount of new information, theory, and principles will fill in any gaps you may have thought there were in CC. If you're in a different camp than me and were satisfied with the bridge section in the book then you're in for a real treat! This DVD isn't a re-hash of the material you already know and it goes into much more detail. The 10 commandments for bridging adds more information than you could imagine. If you apply those principles you'll definitely up your game. This is a must-have if you plan to TRULY master the bridge.
I picked up my copy of this DVD the week it came out, viewed the DVD and read the manual several times, then applied the principles in my workouts. This review comes from someone who has spent time practicing what's in this product and giving adequate time for results. This DVD has inspired me to change my routine to something more effective, no longer pairing inverse work with bridges; improve my form with proper head placement and a unique way of activating the glutes which also promotes greater strength and flexibility; utilize a different tempo from the other movements of the Big 6 in order to milk all the benefits of the bridge; and improve my breathing, getting rid of short, choppy breaths almost overnight. I feel muscles working I've never felt before and, although this isn't the best gauge for how effective a workout is, I'm sore in spots where I haven't been sore before. And I'm talking the good sore, like the day after you attempted the ab roller for the first time even though you can do hundreds of crunches, not the bad sore like what you feel as the result of an injury. The physical results are pretty nice too! Before this DVD was released, months of diligent work on straight bridges finally gave me the full "horseshoe" on the back of my arm. I didn't expect much else from the bridge except maybe more flexibility. So imagine my surprise when I was told my back is more muscular and toned than ever before despite having done thousands of pullups in my day. All it took was one month of working these principles hard for someone who sees me everyday to notice a change in my body.
The CC DVDs have gotten a bad rap for a high price tag. "Who would pay $70 for a thing on pushups?" That's a fair criticism. There's a lot of instruction on pushups available, although a lot of it isn't very good. But that argument doesn't apply here. There aren't many resources available on bridging outside of CC. Coach Wade has stated many times over that the single most important exercise you can do is bridging so in my opinion the small amount of money I invested for the best bang-for-your buck exercise in existence is money well spent. This DVD will allow you to milk every beneficial ounce bridging has to offer. And it just so happens that it this is one of the lowest priced DVDs in the series. Buy it, you won't regret it.
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND ALL THE CONVICT CONDITIONING DVD SERIES AND BOOKS TO ANYONE LOOKING TO GET SUPER FIT, AND DEVELOP POWER AND STRENGTH FOR A LIFETIME. AT THE TIME OF WRITING THIS REVIEW, I AM NOW A DEDICATED STUDENT OF CONVICT CONDITIONING AND KETTLEBELL TRAINING.
FOR THE DISCIPLINED AND SERIOUS PRACTICIONER, CONVICT CONDITIONING WILL PROVIDE A LIFETIME JOURNEY OF FITNESS AND HEALTH.
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