If you've ever wondered how prisoners get lean and muscular without proper equipment, without quality food and without access to common supplements, this article is for you.
Warning: This article contains interviews from current and former convicts and prison staff members. Reader discretion is advised.
Secret #1: Lot's of reps with short range of motion
A current inmate at the San Quentin state prison in California was recently interviewed about how convicts manage to gain muscle in prison.
"Every yard I've been on has workout bars where men can do a variety of exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, dips, and leg-lifts. To add weight to their routines, I've seen guys use each other's body weight to add resistance to their workouts.
Push-ups are done with someone leaning against your back and squats can be done with somebody sitting on your shoulders. I've also seen guys fill pillowcases with sand to use as dumb bells. In the cell, trash bags are filled with water and placed inside a bucket with a handle for shoulder shrugs and lateral raises. My favorite method is stacking forty to fifty National Geographic magazines and tying them up in a laundry bag for bicep curls and tricep extensions.
This question actually gave me the courage to ask one of the more muscular guys on the yard, 'Curly Joe', how he still managed to stay so buff. Here's the inside scoop. Curly told me the secret is lots of reps with shorter a smaller range of motion. He explained, "You got to pump those muscles up like a balloon until they feel like their going to explode." I told him it sounded somewhat painful. He just laughed and went to do another set. Source: Quora, Last Mile Program. Interview with inmate # T31014.
Secret #2: 600 Push-Ups a Day?
Another inmate reveals...
"I was afraid of all the prison stories being true, I didn't want to go to prison looking weak (as a bulky 150lbs) and as an easy target to prey on. So I started with the goal of 600 push-ups a day. Once I began noticing results(and others noticing the results as well), my self-esteem was boosted and I began to incorporate dips, pull-ups, lunges,and squats."
Source: Last Mile Program, Quora. Interview with inmate #K96627
Anyone who thinks 600 pushups a day sounds too simple should see the photo on the left of the 60-year old man who does 600-700 push-ups per day.
Secret #3: Get Your Protein Without Tipping Off The Guards
Prison food is notoriously cheap and devoid of nutrients. And you need nutrients (especially protein) to build muscle. So crafty convicts find ways to get the nutrients they need.
Extra cans of "Jack Mack" (tuna fish for those of us on the outside) can be stolen/smuggled out of the kitchen. And considering each can contains a whopping 72.5 grams of protein, adding one can on top of your daily prison diet will help get you jacked quickly.
In some prisons, convicts with A.I.D.s and other muscle-wasting diseases are given Ensure protein shakes to make sure they are getting enough calories and protein.
Naturally, those protein shakes are sold to the bodybuilders in exchange for cash or cigarettes.
Source: An Ex-cons guide to prison weightlifting. Article, Deadspin.
These cheap shakes aren't the best source of protein, but if you're stuck in prison they are better than nothing.
Former Prison Guard Turned Champion Bodybuilder Reveals
15 Minute "Prison Cell Workout"
This is really cool. I recently interviewed a former prison guard turned champion bodybuilder. He told me about a 15 minute -- all bodyweight workout -- that some prisoners used to get in "bodybuilder" shape without any equipment, without any special food or any special supplements.
The entire workout takes just 15 minutes a day and it can be done inside your home, your office, or your prison cell.
It's FREE for you today.
Thanks for reading this article. My name is Matt Marshall. I'm a Certified Personal Trainer and founder of Fitness Under Oath. I help regular people get ridiculously fit. Be sure to grab your FREE copy of The Prison Workout Plan above. It's my gift to you.