Now obviously this was not meant as inmate reading material, so let’s go ahead and cut to the chase about why I would be writing an article about exercises to do in your 8x6 prison cell.
You may not ever see the inside of a prison cell let alone the county lock-up however I am sure you have found yourself in a cramped hotel room away from the comforts of your typical gym set up.
No cardio machines, weights, or even the simplest of amenities such as a rubber mat.
So what do you do with that bed, chair and floor to get yourself a workout worthy of a jail house bragging? You do what actual inmates do.
While weight training is great for building and showing muscle, functional training is king in the yard.
Some inmates have nothing but a sink, toilet, their bed, and a few square feet of space at their disposal. So functional training is what they have mastered to develop strength, endurance, speed, agility, and balance. It also produces gains in muscle, losses in body fat, and plenty of stamina. A total body and cardio workout.
What some call the “Prison Workout” typically consists of one classic exercise, the burpee. It is a full body workout that can be done literally anywhere. It is done in descending sets. For example, you can start with 20 burpees without stopping, then take a 30 second rest, 19 burpees and rest 30 seconds, 18 burpees and rest and so on. Burpees are done by squatting down with your hands on the floor in front of you, throw your legs out behind you with your legs and back straight…a perfect plank position. Do a pushup and then spring back up and jump as high as you can. For most people, 20 sets will be too much to start with. In that case, pick a lower number of sets like 15 or 10 or even fewer for your first workout. Then add a set every 1-2 weeks until you reach your goal.
Now if you can complete this exercise as I outlined above without puking, I think we can take it a step further and do it like inmates do it.
A word of caution, you need to be in, at a minimum, moderate shape to handle even a short version of this workout. This is no ordinary burpee but rather a burpee on steroids! With this one, start the same way as you would for the standard burpee, BUT rather than extending your legs straight out behind you creating a plank position, you will instead kick your legs behind you and apart so that they are in the shape of a V. Do ten pushups with your core engaged. After your pushups jump back into the crouching position you started with and leap as high as you can with your arms overhead. Now from what I understand, some inmates actually punch themselves in their contracted abs as hard as they can as they come back down to the ground and give a count. 20 reps of this one in descending order and I guarantee a good puking but I can also guarantee a kick ass workout done right in your hotel room.
Next head over to the bed and pull up a chair for some triceps dips. To build some impressive guns, triceps dips are key. Place your hand behind you on the edge of the bed with your feet straight out in front of you resting on your heels. For the super studs reading this, place those feet on a chair in front of you. Lower your body down trying to get your butt as close to the floor as possible and then come back up. Repeat.
Need a little more cause this is just too sissy pants for you? OK, I got you. Add prison squats with calf raises. With your hands clasped behind your head and your feet hip width apart, you will squat down as deep as you can go (ass to grass). At the bottom you will immediately and powerfully drive up to a standing position. At the top thrust your pelvis forward and squeeze those cheeks like you trying to crack a walnut in there while you raise up to your toes to engage the calves. Again 20 reps is great but 50 is better…and 100 is awesome! You asked for it!
Oh one more thing: I can absolutely guarantee with this exercises, if you do them for 20 minutes or more a day for 30 days you are going to be an official BAD ASS! And if you can make it to 60 minutes consistently, congratulations, you will have achieved the Convict Stamp of Approval.
Oh, and just so we are clear, in prison they train 7 days a week, 365! You got this!