Karl Gotch Bodyweight Training

In Bodyweight Mastery by admin6 Comments

I just stumbled across this awesome video showing you some genuine Karl Gotch bodyweight training. It’s Gotch taking a wrestler through a couple different exercises, you probably haven’t see before.

It looks like this came from a video titled Conditioning for Combat Sports.

There’s some really cool exercises in here that are worth discussing.

Karl GotchThe first exercise is similar to a muscle up except Karl Gotch is holding onto the wrestler’s feet. This makes it less weight but take some more back flexibility in the bottom, and then more of a pushup at the top rather then a dip.

The second exercise is similar to the first, but likely even harder. Starting with a mixed grip on the pullup bar he does something like a twisting pull to push, again like a muscle up. From this position it must be tricky.

I tell you, the next time I’m with my training partner I’m going to try these out.

Finally we have an exercise you are likely familiar with the dip. But then a variation is shown with the hands pointing the opposite way. From my understand Karl Gotch was a big believer in working out of all sorts of hand positions, and legs too, because for wrestlers this is essential to be able to exert strength from any and all angles.

(On a sidenote it’s something I really like about kettlebell juggling too.)

This is also great to do for the average person. Too many people work in just straight lines and in well set grooved paths. I’m all for that, as that’s what it takes to go far with any one exercise, but it’s better for the health of your body, and your overall functional strength, to work in many different positions. If you take one thing away from this article, it’s to work outside the box.

Karl Gotch also had a lot more bodyweight exercises to teach. He was a huge proponent of these and didn’t really use weights (although he swung some clubs around). He taught Matt Furey many of the exercises that made him famous including the Royal Court including the Hindu Pushups and Hindu Squats.

For many more ideas on bodyweight training check out my Advanced Bodyweight Training Course.


  1. Gotch was the shit when it came to BW training, it really brought back what real conditioning is. I have the DVD series that Gotch put out and it should be watched by anyone whos into getting in awesome shape.

  2. Yup! I completely agree with Ben over here man! Spot on! Karl Gotch was one of the if not THE MOST Conditioned Oldetime Strongmen of his Era & Out of ALL the Strongmen of the Past! I say this because he is one of the ONLY that discusses conditioning in such major & huge details, compared, once again, to the other Oldetime Strongmen… NOT Saying that the other well-known & Super Strong Strongmen didn’t do any Conditioning, because they sure as hell did. Just not on the level of Karl Gotch, except for the ones that were HEAVILY Into Wrestling as well, just like Karl Gotch was!

    I even heard & read stories about Karl Gotch that we was FREAKISHLY Strong well into his older years… And also that he praised & attributed Conditioning as one of the major factors for that… and as a matter of FACT, I completely agree with him! Conditioning is of an ESSENCE & MAJOR importance! Especially well into super old age! Although I say that Conditioning is of an Essence & Major Importance, I ALSO Agree and am of an Strong opinion however, that PURE, RAW and BRUTAL Strength is the BASIS of ALL the attributes and qualities in a Well-rounded Strongman/Physical Culture Renaissance Man!

    But Pure and Raw Strength alone WON’T save you in the Most crucial & dangerous circumstances where you have to be able to run, swim or climb to save your own life… there’s WHERE Conditioning comes in and reign Supreme IMO!

  3. I am fascinated by Karl, I am thankful that he he studied the ways of the eastern wrestlers and incorporated their way of training with some of the western styles. I believe that he stayed strong longer because he maintained his mobility. He dreamed of wrestling year around in America but I believe that he was so feared and so “real” that he wasn’t given a chance in the fake wrestling of the time in the states. He didn’t complain too much he went to Japan and did some great things over there. Even though some accuse Matt Furey of taking his ideas and stealing them I am also thankful to Chris Logan and Matt for turning me on to these ideas which have changed my life and training.

  4. Enjoy your sites, emails and videos very much – they are very helpful.

    FYI – Vince Gironda (famous 60’s and 70’s muscle beach guy, had a gym in N. Hollywood) was an advocate of the reverse grip dips in his heyday.

    He trained the likes of Clint Walker, Steve McQueen and others and was considered a maverick trainer in his time.

    Keep up the good work and thanks for all the great info!

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