Sunday, May 13, 2007
The Prison Workout: A Total Body Exercise Routine
The Prison Workout consists of one classic exercise, the "burpee." This exercise works your chest, arms, front deltoids, thighs and abs. The burpee is a six-count exercise:
1) Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands raised over your head. Then squat down and place your palms on the floor by your feet.
2) Kick both of your legs back so that you're in push-up position.
3) Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest touches the floor.
4) Push yourself back up.
5) At the end of the push-up, quickly pull both knees into your chest while keeping your hands on the floor. You're jumping back into the squat position of step one.
6) Stand straight up by straightening your legs and throwing your hands in the air over your head. You're now in the position that you started in. You can make the burpee more advanced and increase the explosive power in your legs by jumping into the air as you stand up.
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The Prison Workout is done in descending sets. For example, begin by doing 20 burpees without stopping. Rest 30 seconds, and then do 19 burpees without stopping. Rest 30 seconds and do 18 burpees. Continue doing descending sets until you get down to a final set of 1 burpee. That makes a total of 210 burpees.
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. In prison, doing 20 descending sets without stopping is the minimum to be considered a "man." If you can do 25 sets, you're considered to be pretty tough, and, if you can do 30 sets, you're considered a "stud." If you're doing other exercises in addition to this workout, do your burpee workout 3 times per week on cardio days.
If some of you who've read this far are thinking to yourselves, "This Prison Workout is too easy. I'm looking for a man's workout," try one of these advanced variations of the basic burpee.
1) If you have access to pull-up bars, at step 6, jump up and do a pull-up. That will add 210 or more pull-ups to the workout.
2) Place dumbbells on the floor. Use the dumbbells as push-up bars for steps 1-5. At step 6, clean the dumbbells to your shoulders, press them overhead, and then set them back down for the next repetition. In other words, add an overhead press to each burpee. Be sure to use the solid, hexagonal dumbbells rather than the adjustable kind.
By itself, the Prison Workout will strip fat from your body, add muscle, and build stamina. Alternate it with a weight training routine, and you may be mistaken for a Greek god, or, at least, for an ex-convict.
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