Calisthenics For Nerds

Despite wanting to show off big muscles and insane exercises that defy gravity, some of us are true nerds at heart and prefer to learn calisthenics by sticking our nose in a book.  If that sounds like your style, look no further than my TOP 3 recommended calisthenics books below.  These are all books I recommend in the highest regard because I've personally used them with great success.  

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach To Gymnastics And Bodyweight Strength (Second Edition) By Steven Low

If you're looking to gain serious strength and achieve skills, this is the book for you.  Steven Low does an excellent job taking you through progressions for all the popular calisthenics skills using a logical and systematic approach that truly delivers.  His method is also specifically designed to avoid plateaus, so results are consistent if you stick to the program as described.

Steven Low is not only an accomplished college-level gymnast, but he also went on to get a degree in Physical Therapy.  He is clearly very knowledgeable and passionate about bodyweight exercise and it shows in his book.  To top it off, he created a subreddit after the book launched and answered tons of questions there from readers, so that's another great reference for those who invest in this book to guide them on their calisthenics journey.  Highly recommended!

Complete Calisthenics: The Ultimate Guide To Bodyweight Training By Ashley Kalym

Another great comprehensive calisthenics book with programs for learning all the popular skills.  Complete Calisthenics provides tons of detailed photos of all the exercises and shows step-by-step how to achieve them with proper form.  It includes detailed programming for achieving all the skills in a progressive manner where each new skill builds upon the previous. 

Complete Calisthenics also includes a section on nutrition, in case you're looking for more information on that to boost your recovery.  This is a very well-made and serious book about calisthenics.  Highly recommended for anyone looking to master calisthenics but is turned off by the heftier price tag on Overcoming Gravity.

You Are Your Own Gym: The Bible Of Bodyweight Exercises By Mark Lauren 

This is the best beginner calisthenics book out there.  YAYOG is the perfect option if you're just starting out with calisthenics and are looking to master the basics, but not yet thinking about planches and levers.  The book focuses on the basics and then introduces progressions that take you to new levels of difficulty, specifically with unilateral exercises. 

Overall, this is a great book if you're looking to build a solid foundation.  It will take you from absolute beginner to repping pull-ups like a pro, and then some.  You'll even learn advanced unilateral exercises like the one-armed push-up and pistol squat. 

This was my first calisthenics book and I still recommend it in my top 3.