Prison Push-Up Workouts

Sporty young woman doing a pushups at gym.
If you're creative, you can get a full workout in even without equipment. (Image: 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.

Muscular man performing plank position in gym.
With multiple variations you can target different muscles. (Image: 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.


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