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Prison Push-Up Workouts

by
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Prison Push-Up Workouts
If you're creative, you can get a full workout in even without equipment. Photo Credit Zoran Zeremski/iStock/Getty Images

If you are cooped up like a prisoner, working out is important for your wellbeing. The challenge of a prison-style workout is that you have no equipment and limited space to do your exercises. If you live in a small apartment you might find yourself in a similar situation. You still need to figure out a way to exercise.

A 2009 study in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing found that prisoners who exercised regularly felt less hopeless. With some hard work and imagination, you can still make progress, even with limited space and equipment.

The Workout

The standard push-up is a strengthening exercise for your triceps, deltoids and chest muscles. It's a very simple move but can be grueling if you don't have the requisite upper body strength to push yourself up. The more advanced you get, the less effective a standard push-up will be because you will need to do an extremely high amount of repetitions for it to be effective.

According to the London publication, the Telegraph, Charles Bronson, one of the most famous prisoners in the world, does around 2,000 push-ups per day. Unless you have time for all of those push-ups, you'll need some more advanced variations.

With multiple variations you can target different muscles.
With multiple variations you can target different muscles. Photo Credit Zoran Zeremski/iStock/Getty Images

For this prison workout, you'll do five exercises. They should be done in a circuit, so you'll perform all of the reps for one exercise and then move on to the next. Perform the circuit in the order that the exercises are presented in this article.

For each exercise, perform as many repetitions as you can in thirty seconds. Rest for thirty seconds between every exercise. Go through the entire circuit three times. At the end of each round of the circuit, take a 1-minute break before starting the next round. This high-intensity circuit style of exercise has the potential to get you better results than a normal workout in a shorter amount of time, according to a 2013 paper published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal.

The first push-up variation is a standard push-up, followed by a push-up designed to work your core, a plyometric push-up, a push-up for your shoulders and a push-up for your triceps.

Read More: What Are the Benefits of Push-Ups?

Standard Push-Up

This is the classic push-up. If you can't perform at least five repetitions, perform the push-ups from your knees instead of your feet.

Step 1

Start in a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart and feet together. Form a straight line from your head to your ankles.

Step 2

Lower yourself until your chest is three inches from the ground. You can also put a tennis ball under your chest and touch that. Make sure you maintain a straight line from your head to your feet.

Step 3

Press yourself back up until your elbows are straight. Make sure that your hips don't sag down as your press up.

Plyometric Push-Up

If you can't clap your hands together, try doing the movement from your knees instead of your feet.

Step 1

Start at the top of a push-up position.

Step 2

Lower yourself down until your chest is a few inches off the ground.

Step 3

Press yourself back up as hard as you can so that you go above your original starting position and your hands leave the ground. Quickly clap your hands together and then plant them back on the ground where they started.

Read More: How to Get Bigger Arms With Push-Ups

Plank Walk-Down

This is more of a core challenge than upper body, although your shoulders and triceps will be burning from the previous exercises.

Step 1

Start in a push-up position. You might want to have your hands on a soft surface like a blanket or exercise mat.

Step 2

Bend your right arm and put your forearm on the ground.

Step 3

Bend your left forearm and put it on the ground. You're now in a low plank position.

Step 4

Pick your right hand up and plant it on the ground where your elbow was and press yourself up slightly.

Step 5

Put your left hand on the ground and push yourself back up to the top of the push-up position.

Pike Push-Up

This push-up variation is designed to target your shoulders.

Step 1

From a push-up position, raise your hips up and press your upper body back into a Downward Dog position.

Step 2

Keep your hips high and bend your elbows so you're lowering your head down towards the ground. Get as low as you can without hitting the ground.

Step 3

Press yourself back up and back to the original Downward Dog position.

Plank Push-Up

This is one of the most challenging and effective body-weight triceps exercises you can do.

Step 1

Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Your body should be in a straight line from your ankles to your head.

Step 2

Plant your hands, palms down on the ground. Extend your elbows and press yourself up by pressing down with your palms.

Step 3

Lower yourself back down to plank position.

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