Interviews and Reviews

Book Review: Overcoming Gravity

After hearing the hype, I finally saddled up and paid the $49.95 to buy Steven Low’s epic training manual Overcoming Gravity – A Systemic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength. That was about 8 weeks ago. Since then, I’ve hustled my way through the massive 530 page paperback and have started to punish myself with some of the key pointers for upper-body strengthening, which is its key focus.

My interest in picking up the book was pretty straight forward: I wanted to improve my ability to do a variety of static gymnastic holds, such as the planche, and front/back levers. These skills don’t necessarily translate to parkour conditioning, but they are sick nonetheless.

The book certainly succeeded in its instruction. After one four-week cycle of training, I’ve been able to progress to advanced tuck planches and straddle levers. I’m a convert for sure.

The information within this classic is straight forward enough to help everyone from beginners to upper level athletes improve with their skills. If you’re interested in getting stronger with bodyweight movements, I would recommend it without reservations.

overcoming gravity - tuck front lever
Tuck front lever

Without giving away too much, some of the main highlights from the book include:

  • 242-page appendix of pictorial exercise descriptions (handstand variations, ring skills, planches, levers, pull-up variations, iron cross development, and the flag)
  • Rip-out training charts for exercise progressions
  • Plenty of practical reminders such as “elbows in” for handstand push-ups and use 6-seconds as the main goal for static holds
  • Discussion of periodization cycles (microcycles, mesocycles, macrocycles), and the idea of DUP or daily undulating periodization
  • 69 pages of potential injuries and possible treatment approaches, along with 35 pages of prehab/mobility/flexibility skills
overcoming gravity - tuck planche
Tuck planche

Finally, my favorite take-away from Overcoming Gravity is that if you’re serious about getting stronger with gymnastics strength, then you cannot neglect your posterior shoulder musculature.

You must do V-sit and Manna progressions!

Buy it here on Amazon.com. (non-affiliate link)

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