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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. Iโ€™m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything weโ€™ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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July 23 2008

The Prison Workout

By Aaron
197 Comments

PrisonerThe Prison Workout. New idea? Nah. It’s been around as long as there has been anyone locked up that is looking to stay in shape. Still compelling? Absolutely. Here is MDA’s take on why we think it is worth another look, along with our own variations on this classic routine.

Why We Can Appreciate the Prison Workout:

1. Unlimited time

You have no excuses. You can’t fall back on the most often used excuse to not get in shape.

2. Limited space

You don’t get to decide whether you should go to the basketball court, to the gym, to the tennis court, to the park, ride your bike, play ultimate Frisbee with friends etc. etc. because you don’t have a choice. Your options are limited. But this is a good thing. You don’t get bogged down with endless decision-making. You’ll be working out while Joe Schmo is still deciding what to do.

No specialized equipment, no gimmicks, no late-night infomercial tchotchkes, no gym membership. You don’t even have dumbbells. It’s just you. In a room. With endless potential. The only thing stopping you from getting fit is your resolve to do so.

4. Lone soldier mentality

There is something about being on your own. There are no support groups or personal trainers. No buddy system, and no lazy spouse to drag you down. The results you achieve are all a result of your hard work. It is you against everyone else in prison, so you better get in shape.

How is this Primal, you ask?

It’s intense, it builds muscle, it requires that you use your local environment and resources to get fit, and there is a survival-of-the-fittest aspect here. Prison isn’t a fun place to be (so we’ve heard…). You have to constantly be on guard, watching your back and ready to protect yourself at any moment. If you aren’t prepared you’re going to pay the price. With this in mind you need to build functional strength. The kind that allows you to sprint and move quickly, and fight when it is called for. On the outside it isn’t everyday that we are put into survival-of-the-fittest or literal fight-or-flight situations, but it is always better to be prepared than to be a victim.

Prison Workout? Really? This isn’t for me…

We hear you, but you don’t have to get yourself locked up to take part in the Prison Workout. There are plenty of real-world applications. Do it in your apartment when winter snow or spring rain keeps you indoors. Do it when you are away on business and you only have a few minutes to spare in your dinky hotel room. Do it at home so you don’t have to pay for a gym membership.

Enough talking. Let’s get to the Prison Workout:

PrisonAt the core of any self-respecting prisoner’s workout regimen is THE BURPEE. If you have never done one you are in for a world of hurt – especially if you are to attempt the holy grail of 20 descending sets. Here’s how:

The Burpee

From a standing position squat down, drop your hands to the ground and jump your feet back to assume a push-up position. Do a push-up. Jump your legs forward to between your hands then jump up into the air bringing your knees to your chest and your hands into the air over your head. Repeat 20 times. Doing this at any speed 20 times is enough to get anyone’s heart rate up. Now comes the really tough part. Catch your breath before going into another set. This time completing 19 burpees. Catch your breath. Now do 18 burpees. Repeat until you have done all descending sets.

Variations include not starting with 20. Do a descending set starting from 10 or some other number. Or don’t do descending sets at all. Instead do as many burpees as you can before you get to the pass-out/throw-up stage. Also, you don’t have to bring your knees to your chest. This lowers the intensity considerably. (Check out this video for a visualization of the possibilities, and this video that ups the ante by combining burpees with pull-ups.)

This is a full body workout and covers your bases for most muscle groups. In fact, you could almost whip your body into shape by mastering this workout alone. But if you want to take it to the next level here are some additional options when all you have is a 10×10 cell and an iron will.

Upper Body Muscle

Upper Body

Play Cards

We don’t mean solitaire. Get a deck of cards and some sort of receptacle – trash bin, cup, shoe, doesn’t matter. Sitting some distance from the target toss a card attempting to land it in the hole. If the card doesn’t make it and lands face up this is how many push-ups you will be doing. (Face cards equal 10.) Do the whole deck. Repeat if you’re a tough guy or gal (or if you are aces at tossing cards).

Everyone knows what a push-up is so I won’t explain the basics. The important thing is to remember to keep your body level (no sticking your butt up in the air… especially if you are actually in prison) and to do the many variations on this old favorite – incline, decline, military, staggered hands etc. Mix it up and watch your chest and triceps get shredded. Watch this 19 Push-Up Variations video plus Jack Lalanne’s crazy fingertip push-ups for ideas.

Tricep Dips

Put your hands on your prison chair or bed and dip your body toward the ground. Variations (from easiest to hardest) include: feet on the ground with bent knees, feet on the ground with straight legs, feet up off of the ground on another piece of furniture (toilet? sink?), and one foot on another piece of furniture while the other leg is raised in the air, alternating legs.

Pull-Ups

All you need is something overhead to grab onto. Variations include overhand grip, underhand grip, wide grip, and narrow all with varying speeds. Watch this CrossFit video for inspiration.

Lower Body

Lower Body Muscle

Squat Jump

This is basically the burpee without the push-up part. Squat from a standing position until your fingertips touch the floor and then explode upwards, leaving the floor and raising your arms into the air. Repeat. Your quads will start burning quicker than you probably expect.

Jump Lunge

From a lunge position jump upward bringing both feet off the ground at the same time and switch your stance ending in a lunge position with your other foot now in the front. The speed and number of reps are up to you. We recommend fast and max. (Video example.)

Core

Core Muscle

Planks

Try holding a plank for 3 minutes straight. Sounds easy, right? Think again. But, if you were a hardcore caged animal you could do it. Do standard and side planks holding the position as long as you can. Read this for more on planks.

Isometrics

Mark told us all about isometrics for abs in his post Washboard Abs on a High-Fat Diet, No Ab Workouts and No Cardio? So check it out for more info.

 

Hardcore Additions

Muscle Arm

Handstand Push-Ups

Do a handstand with your back facing and feet against a wall. Once in the position lower your head towards the ground and then explode upward. (Handstand Push-Up video example) If you don’t have the strength to do a Handstand Push-Up work your way up by doing the Pike Press (video – FYI: You don’t need a fancy swiss ball) to build shoulder and tricep strength. If you are really hardcore don’t use the wall (video).

Wall Squats

All you need is a wall for this simple move. Put your back up against the wall and lower it until there is a 90 degree angle between your upper and lower legs. Hold this position as long as you can. Doesn’t sound hardcore, you say? Try holding the position for 1, 2, 3 or even 5 minutes and then tell us it isn’t hardcore. Just like with planks after a minute or two you’ll be begging for mercy. Check out this CrossFit tutorial for video instruction.

That’s two Hardcore Additions added to our Prison Workout routine. We’ll leave the rest up to you, fellow Apples.

CrossFitters, too! We know you’re out there and have something to add. So hit us up with a comment and tell us what your favorite tight-quarters exercise regimen includes and how ours could be even more extreme.

Note: This routine may not be for everyone, but there is plenty to be learned here by anyone that wants to stay in shape and has limited space and resources.

Abdallah Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Primal Plyos for the Upper Body

Primal Plyos for the Lower Body

Markโ€™s Beach Sprints

Video Proof You Can Exercise Outdoors

Mike Rowe From “Dirty Jobs” Does Burpees

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197 thoughts on “The Prison Workout”

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  1. Great post for prisoners and civilians alike. I’ve seen variations on “The Prison Workout” before but this one takes the cake. High intensity, body weight only, no special equipment… i luv the simplicity. I’ll be adding the burpees into my routine. I’ve done them before. As you imply, they are killer!

    How about that video you included of the guy doing 100 burpees PLUS pull-ups. That’s pretty insane.

    Thanks for the great post and keep up the inspiring work!

  2. I find that my core is ostensibly the toughest part of my body to firm and shape up!!! It has been a frustrating venture for me as I have had 3 children and it unfortunately shows in the areas of my person that I do not want this to show. I don’t know if I can do it, by I will try to “hold the plank”. Thanks for the advice MDA!

  3. Your site has quickly become my favorite site on the internet. Thank you for all you do and the effort you put into providing so much great information, along with the super-helpful links to videos and more info. THANK YOU!

  4. I’ve been working on “the plank” recently. It took me almost a week to reach the 1-minute mark! (3? Fuhgettaboutit).

    One really simple piece of equipment you could add to boost up the routine is a jump rope. Fits in a handbag and really whips up a good sweat. Though, if you’re an actual prisoner, I guess a jump rope would be forbidden, to easy to hang yourself or your un-submissive cell mate.

    So Prisoners pump it with Primal power. Now, if we could just get prisons to implement some of the stuff you talk about in your preceding post, we might have some truly healthy prisoners!

    1. Yes, gotta watch out for all those suisidal prisoners! What an awful comment. Geez.

  5. Crossfit = dumbbell thrusters. You need something with weight, doesn’t have to be dumbbells. Squat with the DB’s at your shoulders and explode up – as you do, “thrust” the DB’s into the air, overhead pressing. You will get tired – fast.

    And box jumps. Ouch.

  6. I use a lot of these in my bodyweight workouts, and of course whenever I’m incarcerated. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Burpees are serious business!

    I used to hold planks for as long as possible and worked my way up to over 2 minutes, but then I read it’s better to do more reps for shorter duration.

    For example, I usually do 3 sets of 30-45 second holds now.

    Admittedly, I haven’t done much more research on the topic, but I’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts.

  7. Ooh, burpees with a chin-up at the top of the leap? That’s hardcore! I’m going to start doing those tonight, they look like a seriously challenging workout.

  8. Great post and exceptional site. Burpees are the love to hate excersize with me. A good full body blast. Add some pull ups and your done.

  9. 20 descending sets of burpees are hell… I call it ‘Alcatraz workout’ ๐Ÿ™‚
    What is everybodys time on this one ? It took a looong time – 21:18.

  10. Prison? Being a fulltime SAHM to a toddler while writing fulltime?
    methinks it’s the same.

    I LOVE THIS.

    M.

  11. Burpees with pull-ups (pull-a-burps) are da bomb. I did 20 this morning. No descending sets, though! Besides the physical benefits, they’re also wonderful for the ego; people tend to come from all over the gym to ooh-and-ahh at you.

    I’m always fairly astounded when someone blows off a workout because he/she couldn’t get to the gym. I go to the gym because I like being with people and having access to equipment, but it’s definitely not necessary for a good workout. I can totally exhaust myself on my 4 x 6 foot living room rug with no equipment.

  12. Like you said, this can be applied outside the prison cell. These workouts should be the building block for anyone that wants to get in shape and have functional strength.

    I know someone that went to prison flabby and out of shape. He used to smoke and eat horribly. A couple of years in the joint and he came out looking like a body building. He had the body to compete in competitions. It was an amazing turnaround. All that time in there, and he used it to his advantage.

  13. Great post Mark. Bodyweight training is tough and your workout is one of the toughest I’ve seen. When I was younger I used to do handstand pushups and that alone was enough to tire me out.

    My problem is that if I do not make myself go to the gym to work out I more often than not end up skipping the exercise. Therefore, if I stopped my gym membership and did the ‘Prison Workout’ instead, I doubt I would be able to make myself do it. I’m quite easily destracted so working out at home is not really an option for me. I find I can only really focus at the gym.

  14. hi, andar here, i just read your post. i like very much. agree to you, sir.

  15. great list for a great workout. for the true prison crowd, butt clenches are probably a good idea…

  16. hey, not a prisoner here, but just wanted to say that i think a lot of these basic moves are the best You don’t need much. When I get bored I’ve been checking out Fitness magazine. September issue has a get lean workout that’s pretty decent.

  17. Some pretty good workouts here i never realised how effective planks were. I’ve always thought that machines and weights are a waste of time and money when there’s so much you can do with just your own body weight and a bit of floor. Another exercise not mentioned here is a kind of reverse plank, lie on your back and keeping your legs straight lift your feet slightly off the ground, and hold. The closer your feet are to the ground (without touching of course) the harder it is. I found this harder than planks but i did the exercise after the planks so that may be why ๐Ÿ˜›

  18. This is an awsome article. Very basic but extermely effective movements to build a great body.

  19. Sounds interesting.But you forgot one important bit of info;how many times a week do you do for optimal results?

  20. I think it’s so important to master basic movements like these before moving on to more advanced ones. Most people don’t really need a gym membership or any equipment at all to get into great shape!

  21. this is great….. im sitting in prison with my laptop reading this wonderful workout.

  22. Just got back from the Crossfit Gymnastics cert and I have to say that the basic elements of gymnastics can be performed with little to no equipment and they are hands down the best core exercises. Handstands, L’sits, planks, skin the cat, kips, planches, pull-overs to name a few. You can make a cheap set of parallettes out of PVC and spend hours on them.

  23. It depends on the diet, in prison the diet isnt too good so people just get barrel chested and generally fill out.

  24. Want a absolutely killer body weight workout? Try mine, start with a burpee then do a situp followed by a kip. all that is one rep start with as many as you think you can do. I’m doing 100 in 20:14

  25. Wait, I though this was a satire, is this shit real? You better not stick your ass up when doin pushups, I’m Dr McNinja the SHIT out of it, get it!

  26. That card method is pretty bad a$$, I’ll have to try that the next time I do a full out body weighted workout.

    And handstand pushups? Once you think you’re really good, do it without the wall.

  27. please can u get “prison cell workout” in a book. sorry whos the writer, where can i buy it.

  28. I have been doing a similar workout for a few days and it is intense. I had been weight lifting for a while and thought i was strong. i wasnt. i can barely manage 3 wide grip pullups. However i am working on it. Me loves the burpees!!

  29. how often r u suposed 2 do his workout? how many reps and sets,, do u split upper body and lower body?

    has any1 done it and seen results?

  30. i do martial arts too im a black belt in tae – kwon – do
    i boxs too

  31. I did all of these workouts in jail. Went in for about 11 months… started out at a flabby 250 lbs. Came out at 185 and in ass-kicking condition. Amazing what you can do with unlimites time and determination. I did burpees ascending 13 and then descending 13. Jumping Jacks, push-ups, calf raises on the edge of the bed, sit ups, lunges, cards, dips (very convienient half wall to our bathroom), planks, and running in place. About 2 hours a day every day. Diet was taken care of hehehehe.

  32. This is great! I travel a LOT for work and can’t always get to a gym, but I can do the prison workout in any hotel room. Thank you!

  33. This reminds me of when I was in a toning class at my college. We had to be able to hold a wall squat for 6 min by the end of the quarter (~ 12 weeks long). Needless to say I lost an inch off my thighs (and could hold it for 6.5 min). Those squats are tough…but worth it :).

  34. Thanks for giving me a great way to get in shape that requires no equipment and is economical both in terms of time and money!

  35. Love it! We did as many rounds as possible today of 3 pullups, 7 pushups, and 10 air squats for 16 minutes. Doesn’t sound rough, but by the 12th round, it starts to hurt! So I guess you could add air squats, but those lunges work just as well, I’m sure.

    P.S. Mark, thanks for coming out to AZ recently for the opening of Crossfit Prescott. You re-inspired me!

  36. Thanks for the great ideas. I am just starting out, and I think it’s going to be a while… I couldn’t even do ONE burpee! I found a modified version for wimps/future athletes on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIQx1FiQt50 that should help get a newbie like me on her way!

  37. “no sticking your butt up in the airโ€ฆ especially if you are actually in prison”

    LMBO!!!

    Great article ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Mark,
    Great post. Bodyweight exercises are a great addition to any workout…you can do them anytime, anywhere. Have you read Convict Conditioning by any chance? It’s a pretty good book and walks through methods to do cool bodyweight exercises like one arm pushups, one arm pullups and even one arm handstand pushups.
    Dave

  39. Might be because… I’ve never been in jail before lol.. But I love the angle of the Prison workout.

    It’s not really for me, but love it!

  40. So excited about finding this post! (the benefits of keep clicking on the “Related Posts…”) I’m going to have to start travelling for work fairly regularly and being relatively new at CrossFit, I’m not really comfortable with visiting other boxes yet. This is PERFECT. Thanks!

  41. Another way to get fit like prisoners is to find yourself a close male friend and have sex with them continously for 6 days. Then you can go for a shower in a gym and continuously drop soap in hope of a male penetrating you. This will work your core trying to stay standing while being sodomised. Happy Bum Fun everyone!

  42. I know this is an older post but I know you aim for quality throughout – the intro points are numbered 1, 2, 4. Love the site.

  43. This is a great guide…if I ever find myself in prison. Do they get internet time so I can look this up?

  44. I was in a county jail for 7 months last year. Push-ups and pull-ups were favorites. But we also did ‘bars’. To do ‘bars’ you put both your feet on a low horizontal bar, grab two vertical bars with your hands, and pull your body-weight towards the bars and then down again.

  45. Hey man! These workouts are very insightful. I’m actually about to go in on march 9… I weigh 400 pounds and about 6’0… I was wondering about how many hours can I work out? Can you like burn out or something? I was thinking that deck of cards system sounds cool… And then like one day burpees, Tuesday crunches, and etc… Does that sound like it would work? Pls hit me back…. Thanks!

  46. Just did burpees for the first time in my life, only managed to do 8 in the first set though.

    1. thats ok if you do a light jog and then a few sets of short sprints you willl pe able to boost the amount of burpees you do
      and after your done your burpees add one set of regular press ups and squats after a minutes rest

  47. Dis werk out iz tight naw mean? Fo gud rezon protekt dat bum hole in prizin

  48. The Prison Workout is tough , I first seen Tony Horton doing it on the P90x.

    I had to buy health insurance cause this type of fitness is extreme but I am loving it.

  49. Great exercise tips my friend went to jail three months ago and still hasn’t had his trail qonder if he is doing his burpes

  50. these truly are good work outs wen u got the time to do. i did these traning regiments wen i was in. now im still doin them and i was just released. gettin BIGGER and STRONGER.

  51. Great article and this concept comes from across cultures. As a crossfitter, martial artist, etc. I would say that these exercises – Burpee Pull Ups are incredible – are all great. I would also add a couple ideas not as much from CF as from Pavel of RKC fame. Pistols, is there a better or more challenging leg exercise that can be done in a small space? One arm pushups – again this might fall under your pushup variations. In Kung Fu they teach that you can do your conditioning in the space that a tiger lies down in. The variations are endless – no excuses!

  52. Laddering burpees up to 10 then back to 0 gives one a great warm-up, workout, and cool-down all in one go.

    FWIW, thats 100 reps.

  53. question, is this all one workout or are these seperate workouts?

  54. obviously like your web-site but you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to inform the truth nevertheless I’ll definitely come again again.

    1. Wow, did you really write that, RGB!? Check your own comment for grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. It’s far easier to read past spelling errors than those three things you ignored.

      1. Seriously. There’s nothing worse than someone who points out another’s writing mistakes in a manner worthy of a stoned high school sophomore.

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  56. Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I’m impressed! Very helpful info particularly the final part ๐Ÿ™‚ I handle such information much. I used to be looking for this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and best of luck.

  57. Man I just love the thought of my own body as a gym. Like to keep it natural. Also I don’t like getting to stuck with sets and reps. Usually I’ll just “play it by ear”.

  58. Just found an envelope at the bottom of my mailbox with way overdue tax charges. I think this post is going to come in handy…:-0

  59. Just started the prison burpee workout, I am a 56 year old women, I also have added side squat jumps and leg lift over chair. I can not do a pull-up what else can I add to the workout to work up to being able to do a pull-up?

  60. I got into a brawl in prison. It was quite the scene. Due to some things that my mom told the police (that I’m unstable, suicidal, etc. – not true) the judge told me I was going to have to spend three days in a psyche ward getting assessed. Later in the day on the way to prison in the transport van someone said that someone in a segregated compartment was probably going to the “nuthouse.”
    I said, “That’s where I have to go,” which elicited questions, so I explained the situation.
    A man told me that there would be someone visiting me in the psyche ward and bringing a package that I would have to “hoof/hoop” (conceal anally) and bring back into jail. I refused and was told I’d be beat up if I didn’t do it.
    When we got the jail I was held in a fairly large “multi-purpose” room while waiting for the guards to decide what unit I’d be in. Expecting trouble, I jogged around the room multiple times in my socks to get my blood flowing. A working prisoner who was amused by my jogging came up to the glass and asked if I could do a flip. I can’t so instead I stepped up on a chair and did a diving roll off it to his entertainment and then continued jogging shortly until the guards escorted me to a unit.
    Once there, I was asked to do a diving roll again – news travels fast – so I did one off a built-in bench against a wall. There was a small uproar and things seemed to be going well. After some introductions and questions I picked out a book and sat down at a built-in table read it. Maybe 15 minutes had passed since I got to the unit. A few guys crowded around the other side of the table and one sat down beside me. He threatened violence if I refused to bring in the package. I said, “I don’t do anything out of threats” and turned my face away.
    Well we were still sitting, he punched at my face as I was turning it back to him and at the impact I turned it the other way to flow with the momentum. I turned back again, smiling slightly, and stood up slowly and confidently, giving him the chance to make a move. He stood up and quickly punched me with a flurry in the face and then forced me onto my back on the table, where he kept punching me. I reached my left arm around the back of his neck and pulled his head down, then wrapped my legs around him and held him there. He was no longer a threat. Initially I considered holding him there until the guards came in but I changed my mind and decided to use my right fist to hit him quickly [I think] 15 times in the side of the head. He went fairly slack so I loosened my hold on him and looked over at the glass wall where the guards would come from.. At that point I’m not sure what happened. Either his friend pulled me off the table or he moved me off it. All of a sudden I landed on my back and there was someone standing by head trying to stomp it and the first guy was by my feet. I feigned some kicks to scare him back and then turned over onto my hands and knees. One of them slammed my head into the side of a built-in metal stool. I was momentarily dazed and then went forward into a spinning counterclockwise roll, kicked out my feet at both of them, and was on my head or the back of my neck. I saw them both backing off so I kicked up my feet straight to maintain my balance and then continued spinning counterclockwise and fluidly moving back to my feet while using my hand to steady myself with the table, slow enough to conserve energy and give them a chance to attack my back so I could counterattack. I turned around and backed up a step so the table was between me and the first guy so I was in a defensible position. The first guy was taking his shirt off and the second guy said “not now” and we stood for a couple seconds and then the guards ran in.

  61. This is brilliant. I love the “playing cards” tip. I just made a game of working out and it was so much fun! It’s unpredictable and a good way to push yourself toward getting that number of push-ups. So great! Loving your website.

  62. i just tried the burpee after reading it. and you are right. if your new it will burn fast. thanks. been looking to mix it up.

  63. I am getting ready to go to prison very soon, not sure how long I am looking at yet but the plea deal is 2 years currently. I am 26 years old, OUT OF SHAPE.. and was wanting someone to give me a very simple way of getting in shape while in prison. I would be lucky if I could do 5 burpees, let alone 20 assending.

  64. This workout seems pretty tough but I like it because it does not require equipment. Anything where it is just my body I am all for it.

  65. Thank you so much for this! My brother is in prison and I am training him from the outside so this was so nice! I sent it to him through the JPay prison inmate system. Ill let you know how it turns out!

  66. Love the work outs found mass gane and more cuts now I know y my gpa came out back in the 50’s so big

  67. While i was locked up. while in classifacation i spent most of my 23 hours of lock down doing dips on my bunk, 50 jumping jack sets, and elevated push ups both regular and dimond hand postion. when i went to my pod i spent most of my days in the “yard” 25 by 25 foot concrete area outside doing pushups and situps and at night before bed i did 75 to 100 jumping jacks. then when i became a trustie i did the same routine and started playing poker or chess for push ups. the winner could pick random times and say “give me 5 to 10” until the debt was paid. i must admit i was in the best shape of my life then.

  68. I don’t like convicted felons especially repeat offenders. The prison workouts mimic those of Marine Corps bootcamp. I am proud to have gone through Paris Island and much rather give drill instructors props than someone who was sentenced to prison. Otherwise, I love this site.

  69. Great post, I especially liked the idea of cards guiding your workout. The endlessly customizable possibilities and tactile feedback on how far you have gone will definitely by going into my future workouts. I use many of these in my dorm room, since it is so much easier to do these than trek to the campus recreation center with the proper clothing, clean shoes etc. Though not “prisoner” I substitute jumping jacks (some call them star jumps) timed to music playing from my laptop for the jump rope. Trust me, you would be surprised how tired you feel after doing jumping jacks to some uptempo rock for 3 minutes straight.

    Thanks MDA!

  70. You suggested as many burpees as you can until you reach the pass out/throw up stage. I once actually reached this stage and it scared me so bad I backed off exercising for a while. Is it really okay to reach this stage? I thought I was going to die.

  71. This is great for me. I was just contemplating routines since I shudder at the thought of paying monthly to use a gym’s equipment (pfft). Burpees and plank are total killers, that’s no lie. Thanks for this!

    By the way, I love spam.

    – Sebastian

  72. This is great! In the military you will often find yourself in places that don’t have a lot of space or unable to go to the gym. What you will almost always have is a weapon, body armor, and your self-motivation. These exercises are at the heart of functional military fitness. The only thing I would add to it (if you’re not locked up) is a foot march with a weighted pack.

  73. having worked in a prison, and been deployed to parts unknown with the military. a readily accessible weight to beef up the squat is the crappy government mattress. I ‘ve seen inmates roll theirs up and tie a strip of sheet around it to hold it together. I use a large belt that i aquired from supply.

  74. I guess I’m a bit late to this party! But – I do have a few things to add. Instead of trying to do things to make your mattress into a weight, try increasing intensity in other ways. For one – when your squats need intensifying, do one-legged squats! It will do great things for your balance (read core muscles, too) at the same time as it is doubling the intensity of your squats. To make planks more challenging (and less boring), do leg lifts at the same time. Pushups – if you are not ready for one-arm pushups (I sure am not!), you can still make them a touch harder by crossing your legs at the ankle, so that you have only one point of balance for your feet.
    I’ve been doing own-body-weight exercises for years, and I have to say that was one of the first things I saw on the Daily Apple that pulled me in! It’s a less injury-prone, more natural way to work out.

  75. Does anyone know how to market things to prisoners? Do they have access to the web? Can they buy things? Can their families bring them gifts? Is there a store at the prison?

  76. I personally love this type of body weight training workout. My whole personal workout is based around this after I switched a few years ago from doing weight training. All I can say it’s ten times as time consuming than going to the gym, you can do it almost anywhere and is as effective (if not more) than other types of exercises. So for those that are on the fence I dare you to give it a shot

  77. Hello, I am writing on behalf of someone who is actually in prison, and asked me if I could find “Core Exercise Books” without weights. The prison system has limited booksellers and I am not sure if someone could assist by letting me know if such books are available. I read the workout online, (very informative and well written) but there is no internet use at this prison, so a book of instructions will have to suffice. Thanks for any input via email.

  78. I’ve managed the 20-descending sets of burpees in 18min 37 seconds, as my all-time best.

    Took me a couple of months to work up to that. What I can say, is that its absolute misery, and definitely builds mental toughness