There’s a misconception that you need to train with heavy weights to look like a beast, but that’s not true. A brief look at prisoners who have no access to weights, but still look massive will dispel this myth. But how do they do it? The short answer is creativity and repetition. The long answer? You’re about to find out.
Get Jacked Without Any Weights
Gym gurus and bro scientists love saying that doing anything above 10 reps is basically just doing muscle endurance or fat burning and doesn’t add any strength at all. That’s not true, bodyweight athletes and prisoners do nothing but reps and they are strong and jacked.
Endless, monotonous, countless reps — that’s how Britain’s most famous prisoner, Charlie Bronson, got huge. He spent most of his life in solitary confinement, behind bars with nothing but time on his hands. He killed that time with endless push-ups, squats, crunches and other bodyweight-only exercises.
Did all those reps and lack of proper nutrition kill his gains and just make him good at doing push-ups? No, he gained such frightening strength that he’s been known to bend steel doors with nothing but his bare hands and do up to 2,000 push-ups a day.
Forget your run of the mill fitness magazine routine of the month, work with what you got and get creative with it. For instance, once you can do 100 push-ups in a single go, start doing them with a clap, then add a behind-the-back clap, then start doing them on your fingertips, etc.
You get the point, right? Start with the basics and gradually add more variations and other elements. Think of it as a modern day video game.
First, you buy the regular game, then you download the extension pack, then you get the download-only character, then you get the new skin for the downloaded character and you continue this cycle until you run out of money and self-esteem. Fortunately, this requires zero dollars and you’re not wasting time sitting on your ass.
Incline, decline, hanging, hand stand position, all different angles that work different muscle groups. Just like you would be doing it in a gym with fancy equipment, you can do it at home or at a park with common objects.
If you are doing dips at home on a chair, put your feet on something that’s slightly higher than your chair and you can do decline dips.
Put a broomstick between two stable chairs and you got yourself decline rows. Lean against a kitchen counter or work table and start pumping push-ups. You just got yourself an incline bench press.
4. Deck of Cards
It’s amazing how much work can be done with something as simple as a deck of cards. The two most famous methods are “the deck of pain” and “Tyson squat”. The first one is simple but effective as hell. A deck of cards has four suits; hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades.
Each suit represents one exercise and each card represents a number of reps with jack being 11, the queen being 12, the king 13, and the joker 14. Shuffle the deck, set a timer for 60 minutes, assign an exercise to each suit and let the fun begin.
Tyson squat is named after Mike Tyson and it is, as you can imagine, a squat exercise. Take 10 cards out of your deck and place them on the floor about three to four inches apart. Begin by squatting down and picking up a card and moving to the next card.
Now the fun part starts, you will now squat once to place the card you have in your hand on top of the other card and squat twice more to pick up each card separately. Rinse and repeat until you have all 10 cards in your hand and you have completed 100 squats total.
Let’s say you are awesome at doing pull ups, you can bang out 20 pull-ups without breaking a sweat. Next time, instead of reps, do them for time. Slow down your pull-up speed to the point that it takes you a minute to crank up a single pull-up.
Same thing goes for any other exercise. Let’s say squats, for example. If you can do 100 bodyweight squats without a problem, slow down your squat speed to a snail’s pace and then try repping them out.
The key is the constant tension because much like working out with weights, you tend to bang out the reps as fast as possible.
A set of 10 reps of bicep curls takes you about a minute or less to perform, that’s not a whole lot of time your muscle spends being stressed out.
If you’re bored at home or at work, then this is the thing for you. Pick any exercise you like, set a fairly high number of reps and stretch them out throughout the day. You can plan out your reps or just do them as you feel.
Let’s say you chose to do 100 burpees by the end of the day. On an eight-hour work day, doing 10 reps per hour equals 80 burpees. Throw in one set in the morning before work and one set before going to sleep and you’ll bang out 100 burpees in a single day without breaking much sweat.
7. Exercise A Day
Ryan Ferguson patented this training method when he served time for a crime he didn’t commit. Each day he picked an exercise he would perform with the goal of reaching 500 reps in an hour. The set breakdown didn’t matter, what mattered was hitting the number before the one hour mark.