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Review and summary of Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy by Bret Contreras.

Detailed review and summary of the book "Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy by Bret Contreras". Also, read the review of 10 other books on calisthenics.

Review and summary of Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy by Bret Contreras.

Author Profile - Bret Contreras

Bret Contreras is a fitness trainer and author of 4 books on fitness. He calls himself the Glute Guy because of his expertise in helping clients develop strong, shapely glutes.

He is a fitness trainer and owner of Glute Lab in San Diego, California. 2 out of his 4 books are for women & many of his exercises are focused on better overall fitness & wellbeing.

He started working out at 15 and now has almost 20 years of experience in the fitness sector.

The author assures readers that after reading this book, you will get a sound understanding of major muscle groups & calisthenics exercises for each of them. And other important things like developing flexibility, & strength.

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Review of Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy by Bret Contreras.

The last book I read on calisthenics was the Complete Calisthenics: The Ultimate Guide to Bodyweight Exercise by Ashley Kalym. Coming from a very detailed and advanced book like that and then reading this book gives a refreshing feel.

This one is more colorful, simple, and refreshing.

And this book for sure is more beginner-friendly than later.

Don’t get me wrong - complete calisthenics by Ashly Kalym is a very detailed and well-written book. I read a black and white version of that book. So images were black and white & looks like it was shot at what looks like an underground gym somewhere.

shape but have no access to gyms. For example, people who travel regularly.

Very easy variations of almost all exercises are included in this book with anatomy and images.

As i said earlier, this book is not intimidating. Most workouts are things you can do at home. The only equipment needed is a pull-up bar.

All other exercises can be done with help of home furniture and stuff like that.

So it is a practical book if you plan to work along with it.

Chapter 1 introduces bodyweight training. Chapters 2 through 9 discuss functional anatomy and its role in sports and aesthetics and layout the best bodyweight exercises for these muscle groups: arms, neck and shoulders, chest, core, back, thighs, glutes, and calves. In chapter 10, I go over whole-body exercises and explain their purpose. Finally, in chapter 11, the most important chapter of all, teach you the basics of program design and provide several sample templates for you to follow.

This book has diagrams indicating - workouts for beginner, intermediate, intermediate/advanced, advanced.

Also, 2 colors indicate primary and secondary muscles involved in each exercise.

Summary of Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy by Bret Contreras.

Cover Photo of the book Bodyweight strength training by Bret Contreras

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Chapter 1 - pushing and pulling.

Pushing and pulling

Calisthenics is skewed towards pushing and pulling exercises. Pushing against gravity and pulling own body weight.

Chaptor 2 - Arms

Muscles of arms

Biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis, Triceps brachii.

Exercising the arms

Triceps Extension, Short-Lever Inverted Curl, Biceps Chin-Up, Narrow Triceps Push-Up, Three-Point Bench Dip

Chapter 3 Neck and Shoulders

Muscles of Neck and shoulders

Neck & upper back

Sternocleidomastoid, Scalenes, trapezius, Sternocleidomastoid, scalenes, cervical extensors such as the semispinalis capitis and splenius capitis.


Posterior deltoid, Anterior deltoid, lateral deltoid.


Wall Anterior Neck Isohold, Wall Posterior Neck Isohold, Manual Neck Isohold, Push-Back, Feet-Elevated Pike Push-Up, Three-Point Pike Push-Up, Rear Deltoid Raise, YTWL, Wall Handstand Push-Up.

Chapter 4 - chest

Chest muscles

Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior.

Chest Exercises

Push up, wide push up, elevated push-up, Torso-Elevated Push-Up, Feet-Elevated Push-Up, Side-to-Side Push-Up, Sliding Side-to-Side Push-Up, one arm push up, self-assisted one arm push up, clapping push up, whole body clapping push up, chest dip, sliding fly.

Chapter 5 Core

Core muscles

Rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, Gluteus maximus, erector spinae, Hamstrings, psoas, rectus femoris.


Crunch, reverse crunch, superman, bicycle, seated knee up, L -sit, Bent-Knee Single-Leg Lowering With Extension, Double-Leg Lowering With Bent Knees, Lying Straight-Leg Raise, Dragon Flag, Bent-Leg Sit-Up, front Planck, floating 3 point plank, Partner-Assisted Oblique Raise, RKC Plank, Side Plank, Feet-Elevated Side Plank, Hanging Leg Raise With Bent Knees, Oblique Hanging Leg Raise, Sliding Rollout From Knees, sliding body saw.

Chaptor 6 - Back


Rapezius, rhomboid major, latissimus dorsi, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, erector spinae.


Pull up, side to side pull up, towel pull up, one arm self-assisted chin up, modified inverted row, side to side inverted row, scapular shrug, corner scapular shrug, towel face pull.

Chaptor 7 - thighs

Muscle groups

The rectus femoris (which is also a hip flexor), vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis.


Sumo squat, wall squat iso hold, wall squat march, box squat, full squat, sissy squat, single-leg box squat, skater squat, jumping skater squat, pistol squat, static lunge, reverse lunge, sliding lunge, step up, Bulgarian split squat, Russian leg curl, single-leg Romanian deadlift, partner-assisted back extension, reverse hyper, sliding leg curl.

Chaptor 8 - glutes

Muscle groups

Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.


Glute bridge, shoulder elevated hip thrust, shoulder and feet elevated hip thrust, donkey kick, side-lying clam,side-lying hip raise.

Chapter 9 - calves

Muscle groups

Gastrocnemius, Soleus,quadriceps, gluteus maximus.


Elevated calf raises, squat calf raises, stiff-leg ankle hop.

Chaptop 10 - whole body


High intensity interval training explained.


Metabolic resistance training explained.


Jumping jack, burpee, push up with hip extension, towel row iso hold with glute march, sit up to stand with a jump and reach, mountain climber, bear crawl, crocodile crawl, jumping muscle-up,crab walk.

Chapter 11 - planning your program.

Individualization, autoregulation, structural balance.

Training chart

A training chart that you can use to plan your workout is included.

Training goals

Sport-specific training, strength, hypertrophy, body part specialization, fat loss.

Training Variables

Exercise selection, exercise order, split, frequency, volume, intensity, intensiveness, density, tempo, periodization,

Putting it all together.

Whole-body routine, lower-upper split routine, push-pull routine, body part split routine.

Training for fat loss - 3 different programs.

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Written on June 30, 2021
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