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Overcoming Gravity 2 – A Book Review

Image result for overcoming gravity 2

On the 14th of April this year, a book arrived on my door step. This was the biggest book I’d ever purchased. With 583 pages and many iconic gymnastics positions illustrated on the front, I knew this book was nothing if not thorough.

It’s now September and I’ve finally finished reading the book! It’s taken nearly 5 months of reading sections and segments here and there; and while you could read a book of this depth faster, I certainly question the quality of retention in such a short span.

What’s Overcoming Gravity 2 All About?

Overcoming Gravity 2 is a new and improved version of the original ‘Overcoming Gravity’ by Steven Low – who has a PHD in physiotherapy, a gymnastics background and experience with many physical activities such as sprinting, weightlifting and rock climbing.

The book is intended as not only an A-Z of gymnastics and bodyweight exercises but also a wealth of information on rehabilitation, recovery, programming, technique, plateau busting strategies, flexibility and mobility, as well as anatomical and bio-mechanical breakdowns.

What Made Me Buy Overcoming Gravity 2?

Becoming increasingly interested in calisthenics, bodyweight and gymnastics based moves, I was in search for deeper info and was looking for the most comprehensive book I could find. I already own books such as Complete Calisthenics – which is a great resource in and of itself, but is more a library than an informational document. Overcoming Gravity 2 seemed like the next step. The book also promised to teach the reader the art of constructing proper programs for themselves. As a personal trainer and coach, I seize any opportunity to learn more and expand my arsenal.

Is The Book Only In Favour Of Bodyweight Exercises?

No. Steven Low reiterates many times how beneficial weight work can be and the carryover between the 2. This isn’t a dogmatic pitch trying to sell you on bodyweight exercises for the rest of your life. Steven makes the case for calisthenics/gymnastics being equally as good (if not marginally better) for upper body development, in terms of strength and hypertrophy.

He does concede that weighted exercises like deadlifts and squats are more efficient for the lower body though.

Did The Book Deliver On My Hopes?

I believe there’s a real art when it comes to programming effectively in order to continue obtaining results, both for yourself and your clients’. Anyone can get someone results for the first 6-12 weeks but what about the 6-12 months after that? Can you still keep the gains coming? That’s what sets the good trainers from the run of the mill trainers/coaches.

Overcoming Gravity 2 has a spectacular amount of information on progression models and variables that can be modified in order to ensure progress remains safe and consistent. Even if you’re not a trainer or coach, you will still learn a thing or 2 for your own training, if even simple things such as making sure you maintain structural balance.

Another really neat feature of the book which I really appreciated is the progression charts and levelling of different moves. This will appeal to the purists and the connoisseurs; what’s harder, a one arm chin up or a full front lever? What about a one arm handstand or an iron cross?

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Not only are the moves broken down into scalable difficulty levels but they’re also displayed in charts that show what moves have best carryover to each other. For example, if you want to achieve a press to handstand, what other moves can you train that will speed up the process?

What I Didn’t Like?

I suppose I’m being very greedy here, all things considered……but I would have liked to have seen more examples of routines specific to certain goals. Don’t get me wrong, the book is packed with enough info to create your own programs but I find seeing examples helps, sometimes.

Do You Need To Be At A Particular Level In Order To Benefit From This Book?

Even though Overcoming Gravity 2 covers some seriously advanced moves, there are also the most basic of exercises included – such as push ups on the knees, bodyweight squats, planks and inverted rows. It’s basically a huge spectrum and you feel like your observing a galaxy when you look at how one could go from a push up on their knees, to a top planche on the rings.

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Overcoming Gravity 2 is by far the best book on exercise I have read to date. I’d give it a 9.5/10 and enjoyed every page. It’s one of them books that will serve as an infinite resource.

If you have questions or would like to know more, leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.


JR @ Straight-Talking-Fitness View All

The 'brains' behind StraightTalkingFitness, a site all about discovery that leads to strength in all formats; fitness, mental, emotional and spiritual. Everything starts from within and projects outwards. Master the body, master anything and everything.

6 thoughts on “Overcoming Gravity 2 – A Book Review Leave a comment

  1. Hi James, first of all, thank you for very interesting and informative blog!
    My question, regarding this book… If you have ” Overcoming Gravity 2″ book, “Complete Calisthenics” not relevant anymore? Or they complement each other?
    Thank you very much!

    • Hi there, thanks very much for the kind words, I’m so glad you like it 🙂

      My honest answer to your question would be: Complete Calisthenics is a great starting book to prep you for Overcoming Gravity. I hope that makes sense?

      • It makes sense, yes)) But if Overcoming Gravity has everything that Complete Calisthenics has, even more, why not to buy the first one in the 1st place? It’ll be too much for a beginner in calisthenics and gymnastics?
        I’ve been doing Crossfit for a year and a half but lately going to calisthenics direction (big weights over the head doesn’t effect well on shoulders, as you know) so I’m looking for something much deeper than just youtube videos and want to learn to make programming by my own (found your blog because I’ve been looking for reviews of Calimove programme ;)) Who knows maybe it’s better to follow their programming at the beginning. At the end I hope to be able to combine best principles of crossfit, kettlebells and calisthenics in my training

      • No, I wouldn’t say Overcoming Gravity would be too much for a beginner as it covers all levels.

        Yeah Olympic lifting is great as long as your technique is absolutely sound. But I think there comes a time when you either get bored of lifting weights or you just straight plateau. Overcoming Gravity is awesome for programming tips and definitely was pivotal for me both with my own programming and that of my clients.

        CaliMove would be good if you want to purely work on calisthenics and it depends on your current level? How many pull ups, dips, push ups etc you can do.

        Eventually you can self program kettlebells and calisthenics into one ass-kicking program 🙂

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