Prison Workouts – The Low Down

Ever since prisoners have been locked up in a small holding pen – they have come up with some pretty ingenious ways to keep active and workout.  For most of them it has been more of a need to get big and survive to live another day in the hellish lifestyle of prison.

If you click on any link we may get a commission from which helps keep gas in the truck and the lights turned on. So if you want to help a disabled veteran – click the link and buy toilet paper.

prison workouts

Inspired by the prison style workouts, I had a similar experience while I spent a year on board a Navy ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

My workout room was a 10 x 12 ft metal bulkhead with a few rusty weights.  Problem is – its hard to bench press when your out at sea in 30 foot waves.

“The Box” as we called it – smelled like fuel and had a grimy coat of oil and grime from many years of neglect.  It had no fans or padding – just metal walls and floors and no windows.  In the summer it was sickening hot and in the winter you about froze to death.

Without any real weights – I did tons of bodyweight exercises to build myself up so that I could make my way to start Navy SEAL training.  I worked out like a mad man and more than once puked up breakfast from the diesel fumes and tossing of the ship in high seas.

So if you can do these workouts in a confined space like a prison cell or the bowels of a Navy ship – you can certainly do them in your garage, basement or spare bedroom.  You will not even have to smell diesel fumes – so get to it.

Some of the exercises I did were dips, pull ups, burpees, squats, box jumps and sit ups. These are functional movements that build muscles so take notes on how to do them.

Dips – you can do these by putting your hands on a bench (or your bunk bed in prison) or by putting two chairs together.  Put your feet on the floor or if you want to add resistance put them up higher.  Move you body down with your butt closer to the floor and then move back up.  You will work the triceps, chest and shoulders.

Burpees – Squat down, throw your legs out behind you. Do a pushup and then spring back up and give a jump and clap over head.

Pushups – On your hands and feet get your back straight like a plank of wood.  Move your body down to the floor touching your chest and legs.  Then push your body up.  That is one pushup.

Situps – Lay down on a mat and move your body up towards your feet.  You can do a half situp as a crunch.

Squats – also called air squats.  Using no weight.  Lower your butt down towards the floor getting your legs parallel to the floor and then come back up.

Kicks – really simple.  You just kick like your trying to break down a door.  Kick to mid waist high.  Throw in a punch if you can.

Box jumps – I did not really have a box so I would jump up on the bench press.

A typical prison style workout in “The Box” would be:

Prison Workout #1

5 rounds for time
15 pull ups
15 burpees
15 situps
15 push ups

I really like the burpees as you get a full body workout all in one exercise.

Another killer prison style workout I would do in “The Box” was:

100 crunches
100 kicks (50 each leg)
100 pushups
100 situps
100 pull ups

This was one of my favorite workouts.  What is so great about these workouts as you only need a small amount of space.

Another bomber prison style workout that I used to get me ready for Navy SEAL training was this:

15 minute – As many rounds as possible
25 air squats
20 situps
15 dips
10 pushups

This is a great quick workout and will definetly get your triceps on fire.

If you want to check out a real prison workout – then read Convict Conditioning” by Coach Paul Wade.  He spent many years in the penitentiary and put his time to use by learning new bodyweight exercises and putting it all in a book.

For an exclusive in-depth interview with Coach Paul Wade check out the SEALgrinderPT membership area.  This is the most detailed interview that you will find on Coach Paul and his book and workouts.

Questions from athletes in our gym and readers online.

Question: what is a good prison pull up routine? Check out this Prison Pull Up workout routine here.

Prison Workout Routines
Small Space Workouts
Check out this article on Green Beret workout tips
Check out this article on SAS Special Forces workout
Check out this article on Navy SEAL workout
Check out this article Special Forces workout
Navy SEAL Beach Workout

Seal Fit Stack

SGPT Upcoming Events

Personal Online Coaching

Work 1-on-1
with SEAL Grinder's Brad McLeod
To Achieve Your Goals

pic of brad

Personal fitness training from Brad McLeod, Navy Seal and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. Delivered online, directly to you.

"I recommend Brad to anyone that seriously wants to go to BUDs or anything else in life... try these workouts. Hooyah!" - Chris H.

learn more button