If you are looking for the best workout without weights or even a workout routine that does not use any kind of bought fitness equipment, we have exactly what you need.
It is called the prison workout and it is a series of one exercise targeting full body fitness. It is based on callisthenics and it is done by many convicts in prison. As you can imagine, prisoners generally do not have access to well equipped gyms but have to work out in a small space with no special equipment. So a workout without weights is exactly what they need.
The exercise that they do is called the burpee. Why is it called that? Well probably because it was invented by Lieutenant Thomas Burpee who served in the militia during the American Revolutionary War. It is very similar to many callisthenic exercises done by people serving in the armed forces, but it is extra simple and quick.
Here is how to do one burpee:
Start in a standing position with your arms stretched up overhead, palms of hands together.
Step 1: Drop down into a squat with hands flat on the floor in front of you.
Step 2: Kick your feet back and go down into a pushup.
Step 3: Come up from pushup and jump feet forward.
Step 4: Jump up high and straight, clapping hands above your head.
You will probably find that one burpee is pretty easy to do as long as you are in good health and have normal flexibility in the joints. If you don’t find it easy doing one burpee then you probably need some advice from a doctor on how to get fit.
If you need to make it a little easier, you can cut out the pushups (but do still jump feet back and forward), or in step 4 you can just stand up instead of jumping.
To turn these into a full workout without weights, you need to do them in descending sets. This is the secret of making the burpee into a workout that can get you as fit as somebody would want to be in prison or in the military.
Descending sets work like this:
Warm up with stretches, then do 5 burpees without stopping. Then take a half minute break.
Next do 4 burpees without stopping, then another half minute break. Then 3, break, 2, break, 1 and you are done.
If that is easy, then next time you can start with more – say 7 or 10. If you start with 10, you need to do 10 then break, 9, break, 8, break, etc.
This means that if you start with 10 you end up doing a total of 55 burpees. If you start with 5, your total is just 15. So although 10 does not sound like a lot more, it really is. Be aware of that and do not start too high.
Never sacrifice form. This means each burpee should be smooth and well balanced. If you are losing your balance you risk injury. Concentrate on doing them well before you think about doing more.
Start at a level that you are comfortable with and then add one more set every 1-2 weeks until you are up to around 20. That’s the minimum that guys in prison aim for in order to consider themselves strong. Some go for 25 sets … but that adds up to 325 burpees so that is a real serious workout without s!