As a man who personally does not enjoy working out in a room full of dudes who consistently forget to wipe their ass sweat off the machines, I do not often seek out gyms for a place to exercise. That said, I do not own a lot of exercise equipment either, as any workout machine that enters my house will almost certainly transform into a very expensive towel rack.
So whats a guy to do?
Well, actually there are quite a lot of ways you can stay fit without hitting the gym or spending hundreds on free weights and ellipticals. The aptly titled “Prison Workout” is a fantastic way to stay in shape from the (dis)comfort of your own living room.
Prison Workout: Upper Body
So, just like with any workout, don’t try to do everything all at once. Start with your chest, back and arms. To accomplish this in an environment with limited space and no free weights, your best friends are also two of the most basic exercises around – the push up and the pull up.
NOTE: If you don’t have a pull up bar, you can stuff a towel under a door to stabilize it and then do pull ups on the door itself. However, the top of a door is not made to be gripped and it can be uncomfortable. Do yourself a favor and get an easy-to-install pull up bar like the Iron Gym, and save yourself the blisters, and quite possibly the cost of a new door.
Since you are just going to be doing a shit-ton of push ups and pull ups with the prisoner workout, the best thing you can do is try to make it a game. The people at Bodybuilding.com suggest getting a deck of cards, flipping the cards over, and doing as many sets as the number on the card (face cards=10, ace=11). Try to get to 100 sets this way.
Also try switching up the style of push up or pull up. Go from a wide grip to narrow, and switch from palms out to palms back when doing pullups to target the widest array of muscles. Same goes for pushups. Adjust your stance after every set to achieve maximum results.
Prison Workout: Lower Body
Even in a gym it is easy to ignore your legs and core, but that doesn’t stop them from being vital to achieving peak physical fitness. So, for those exercising at home, the name of the game here is repetition.
And that means squats and lunges, baby. Squats and lunges all day.
If you happen to have a few free weights lying around, now would be a good time to add a little resistance. If not, no worries. Just know you are going to be doing hundreds of reps and the results will be more about tone than actual strength building. That said, just pop on the TV and start squatting until you feel the burn. Should take about 15 minutes or so. Then do some lunges. Rinse and repeat.
And for your core, just get on your back and do crunches. Do thousands of crunches. I know it isn’t glamorous, but frankly it is still one of the best ways to work your core. You can also alternate in some leg lifts, keeping them roughly six inches off the ground. There is also room to mix it up here as well, so check out this list of rocking ab exercises and find a routine that works for you.
Prison Workout: Burpees
A perfect exercise for those working out in confined spaces, this wild variation on the pushup is a total body workout in one simple to learn movement. That said, form is always important, so here is a video that will teach you how to master this explosive exercise.
Try to do a set of 10 burpees right now. Then do 9. Work yourself all the way down to 1 and you just got a pretty decent full body workout.
Prison Workout: Partner and a Towel
As our boy Kali Muscle will show you, sometimes all you need to get a great workout is a training partner and a towel. Unless you’re locked down in solitary confinement, this one is well within everybody’s reach. It’s a great way to kill your biceps, triceps and forearms. Just make sure you grab a solid towel and for God’s sake, wash that damned thing once you’re done.
Prison Workout: Cardio
Time for everyone’s favorite – cardio. The bane of many gym rat’s existence, cardio can be a real bummer at the end of a long workout – especially when you don’t have a treadmill or elliptical that is facing a wall full of SportsCenter.
However, you do have one luxury over people doing the actual prisoner workout. Actually, you have tons of luxuries over prisoners, but let’s not focus on that right now.
You can go outside and run! How exciting!
I get it, the weather isn’t great. It’s either too cold, too wet, too dry, or too hot to go for a run today. But guess what? It totally isn’t! So go outside, bang out a small three mile run around the neighborhood, and hit the showers because you just completed the prison workout!
Also, you probably smell like wet sock.