MANY years ago (2005 or 2006) I took a trip to the prison where the movie Lock Up was filmed with Sly Stallone. I wanted to learn how the inmates trained. In a nut shell, I was hungry to learn from anyone who was strong, fast and powerful. I had seen a documentary on how inmates are training every day and I found out a friend of mine had a family member who was a LT working with "The Lifers". This friend of mine introduced me to her Dad who was open to bringing me in to chat with these guys about their training regimen.
I wound up taking a 1/2 day trip behind those walls and spent hours talking training with some of the guys. I look back and can't believe I did such a thing. I took a "sick day" from work to learn and improve my training and today, Coaches won't learn beyond Instagram or YouTube, they won't leave their house for a local seminar. here I am going to prison to learn! My passion for training has always been through the roof, I see no reason to assume I am "Good Enough" as a Coach, I am always striving to learn more.
I'd say your current day "Fitness Guru" isn't go inside a prison to learn training methods to share with you.
I'll go more in depth with what I learned with a video inside The Underground Strength Academy. For now, I will break down some of my thoughts and how you can learn from the guys who are in prison, strength training on a serious level.
It's VERY interesting to see how inmates can look the way they do and, as seen in the video below, how they can demonstrate the strength they do... Deadlifting 500 lbs and well over. These guys are strong and jacked with NO fancy equipment, shitty food at best and high volume of work.
When people say prison is the perfect place to get BIG and Strong, no job, no this, no that, etc. come on, do you really think it's stress free for those guys? Every day they are training for life. Do we need excuses here and a green light to complain how our life is too hard to eat well, train hard and get big and strong? Excuse makers NEVER kick ass and get results.
If you're not strong, point the finger at yourself. Do the work. Eat and sleep as you NEED to, not just how you WANT to. Getting strong begins in the mind. Never forget that. If deep down you don't like doing the work, forget it, you'll never get strong.
The inmates I met with focus on a select few things you can learn from:
- Free Weights and the Basic Powerlifting and Bodybuilding movements.
The guys who were athletes on the early days boxing team were sprinting on the track that Sly built them as well as playing basketball. Basketball is a blend of sprints and jump training, both are excellent for sports and strength.
Just like the days of the Golden Era, free weights WIN every time. The basics pack on the most size and strength while delivering results the fastest. Pretty boy bodybuilding is OUT. Squats, Deads, Benching and heavy curls, plenty of calisthenics and basic nutrition.
- Bodyweight Training on a regular basis. High reps for muscular endurance as well as muscular hypertrophy. Bodyweight training performed through the day in a 'Grease the Groove' fashion ala Pavel, always performing the exercise when fresh, with solid technique, never training to failure to maximize gains in size and strength while ensuring full recovery.
The guys I interviewed in prison, one group of guys did calisthenics every morning before breakfast. Another guy, the biggest guy in the gym, he would do free weights all week Monday - Friday, then Saturdays were ALL bodyweight, 100 reps of every bodyweight exercise he could think of. And this guy was HUGE. He looked to be 275-285. Most big guys can't do pull ups. Heck, most high school kids can't do pull ups.
The strongest guys understand that "Strong is STRONG". Which means, you should be strong with the weights and calisthenics.
- Using ALL training methods to keep the mind strong and to develop confidence & mental toughness. Never discriminate against the many ways you can get stronger.
These guys understand that training is a ritual, a place where they can clear the mind of all problems and focus on something good, take care of their own health, both physical AND mental. It's about taking ownership which translates to a stronger Life.
At The Underground Strength Gym, we train for Mind AND Body. To become a Great athlete, the mind must be strong, not just the body. If you only train for appearance, well, that motivation is fleeting. It is superficial. You must train for something deeper and more meaningful than big biceps.
- Use of Odd Objects - Inmates are not cry babies like many of the "Fitness Gurus" telling you that their way is the only way and the best way. These guys train with anything they can lift.
These men are using water filled bags and jugs, lifting their bunk beds, etc. I remember watching a video ages ago with inmates training using the picnic tables that were out in the yard after their weights were removed from the yard.
That Video inspired me to use the picnic table when training athletes outdoors, using an endless array of exercises. We would perform picnic table circuits with my wrestlers at a school yard; table press, split squats, floor press, jumps on the table, etc
I wonder if the book Dinosaur Training is floating through some prison libraries?
Now, before you begin complaining about the fact that inmates are being given credit, let all that go for 5 seconds.... I am looking at their training, NOT what they did in life. I'm not judging people. I am learning from those who are STRONG. Period. End of Story.
The complaining and excuse making needs to end. It's plain and simple, don't use my website as a ground for complaining, instead, it's a place to learn, share and become inspired. DO. THE. WORK.
Let's get STRONG. Period.
Live The Code 365,
PS: This is THE place where strength training, muscle building and sports performance are taken to a whole new level, I'm there for you, 24-7-365.
I'll get an in depth video reviewing my time visiting the prison and everything I learned.