Your Body Is Your Barbell — by BJ Gaddour

Title: Your Body Is Your Barbell
Author: BJ Gaddour
Year: 2014
Publisher: Rodale books


“Your Body Is Your Barbell”, a book about bodyweight training, has been on my book wishlist for a while, but I’d never got round to buying it. Early this year, suddenly trapped in a lockdown and instantly without access to a commercial gym, the perfect opportunity arose to explore some home bodyweight training. I parted with my hard-earned money and invested in a copy of fitness expert BJ Gaddour’s book.

Calisthenics: Why it Should be Your First Choice in Training

First impressions count, and my first look at the book formed a positive opinion in my mind. The book’s cover is presented in a similar style to Men’s Health magazine with its distinct logo and a toned up model (BJ Gaddour) whose solid six pack captures your attention. A good intro leads us in, describing the writer’s background and giving you a plethora of reasons why calisthenics should be your first choice in training.

8 Key Exercises to Transform Your Physique

The main section of the book teaches you 8 key exercises to transform your physique and optimise your performance. These include standard exercises like pushups and pullups to the harder-to-master exercises like handstand pushups and single-leg squats. If you think these sound too difficult for you, don’t worry, BJ shows you lots of regressions to make exercises easier. Conversely, he shows you progressions to make things harder. Your eyes will be opened as you see how even the most subtle of changes can make dramatic differences in an exercise’s difficulty level.

8-Minute Routine that Even The Busiest of People Can Do!Buy Your Body is Your Barbell on Amazon!

Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge to build an athletic body it’s time to put it into practice. BJ presents some routines and keeps you pointed in the right direction. They can all be modified according to whether you’re seeking changes in strength, muscle, endurance, or fat loss. Catering to everyone, he even presents a short 8-minute routine for people whose lives are so hectic they barely have time to breathe.

“A Workout of Burpees is like going Several Rounds with Mike Tyson in His Prime.”

Following this, BJ devotes an entire 18 pages to one of the most feared and torturous of bodyweight exercises – the burpee. He hits the nail on the head when he says, “A workout of Burpees is like going several rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime.” Love them or hate them, there’s no denying they can definitely make you a fitter and leaner athlete. You’ll see some creative variations in this section, including the rather challenging backward burpee. If you’re a brave warrior, you might even try the “Workout from Hell”, a sixty-minute workout of nothing but Burpees.

An Easy-Read Book that Cuts the Jargon!

After completing the book, some features within it really stood out to me. First, it’s quite easy to read and doesn’t contain too much scientific jargon which can confuse readers. Secondly, BJ uses male and female pronouns throughout the chapters, showing that this Men’s Health publication isn’t just targeted at males. Best of all, after each read I felt psyched up and ready to train!


BJ Gaddour is a success story in the fitness industry and the excellent content in this book gives you an indication of why. In writing this, he’s considered all levels of athletes, from newbies to veterans, and it’s packed with lots of variations to keep even the most easily-distracted athletes fulfilled.

If you haven’t already got it, “Your Body Is Your Barbell” is one book well worth adding to your training library.

Favourite Chapter:

Chapter 15 – The Burpees

Favourite Quote:

Make no mistake: It is entirely possible to get into peak condition-the best shape of your life-with nothing but your bodyweight.

Book Rating: 9/10

We hope you found this review interesting. What are your views on BJ Gaddour and his calisthenic or bodyweight workouts? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram! Want more muscle? Then check out Keep Fit Kingdom’s resident muscle-specialist Alan Riseborough’s posts on weight training, vegan & conventional bodybuilding, films and much more!

Alan Riseborough

Alan is a strength and physique enthusiast and has 28 years' of training experience behind him. He has competed in powerlifting, arm wrestling, bodybuilding and grip strength competitions. He also includes rigorous bodyweight, sprinting and kettlebell training regularly in his routines. He believes in the transformative power of the squat which is (believe it or not) his favourite exercise!

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