How to exercise without equipment?

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How to exercise without equipment?

Postby Konstantin » Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:00 pm

I'm working on a project with Vegan Prisoners Support Group. VPSG help ensure vegan prisoners get a good diet, toiletries, outside contact etc. while they are in prison. A lot of prisoners want to spend their time getting fit and strong, and some have come out in great shape. But lots of them are locked up for most of the day and have to do their exercise in the cell.

The idea is to provide a guide to exercise without equipment. Already there's loads of ideas, but there may be more ideas or approaches you have. So, if you have any suggestions, please post them here or PM me. I've seen the similar thread about the Finnish prisoners, but the more the better.

Remember, prisoners may be any age, any level of fitness, and can be male or female, so we're looking for variety. All ideas appreciated.
Last edited by Konstantin on Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Man On Bike. » Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:39 pm

push ups
sit ups
running on the spot
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Postby Fallen_Horse » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:20 pm

And remember that as guys progress past standard pushups (I can do 100 pushups no sweat, or whatev) then you can always change pushups, do one-handed, head stand pushups, traingle placement pushups, etc.

Same for crunches to a certain extent...
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Postby ChrisJ » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:43 pm

Sounds to me like Pilates-type moves would be ideal. They all come at different levels form beginner to "I can't believe that's so f***ing painful and exhausting", they all work with body-weight only so no equipment reqd and they can all be done in a small space.
Try Googling side leg series, pilates 100, pilates bridge, pilates swan, dart, squat etc, for general ideas. Come to think of it the folks on the Holistic forum will get you more ideas. Everyone at swimming club takes the piss out of me for doing a 'girls sport', but everyone who goes to my class suffers!
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Postby Klepoth » Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:49 pm

Here is a collection of various bodyweight exercises that should work the body without the need to do hundreds of reps per exercise. I've tried to give most a short explanation but if something is not understood, please post and I'll try to give a better explanation :)

Light Exercises:
Upper-body Push:
Inclined Pushups
Triceps Pushups (hands close, underneath face)

Upper-body Pull:
Hanging Rows (lie on your back, grab a hold of a table or something of similar height and do pullups while keeping your heels on the ground)

Lunges (both taking the step forwards or backwards)
Split Squat


Medium Exercises:
Upper-body Push:
One Arm Pushups
Handstand Pushups
Bar/Table Dips (like normal dips but you need to lean forward more)

Upper-body Pull:
Pullups (if there is something to hang from, personally I do them hanging from a door)

One Legged Deadlifts
Wall Squat (with your back against the wall, keep the lowest part of a squat for as long as you can)

Hanging Leg Raises

Hard Exercises:
Upper-body Push:
Tuck Pushups

Upper-body Pull:
Uneven Pullups (like normal pullups but instead of pulling straight up
One Arm Pullups (if your a freak ;) )

Pistol Squats
One Legged Wall Squats

Prone Pike (like that abdominal wheel they have on tv-shop, but instead of a wheel in your hand keep a folded up towel underneath your feet and pull your feet towards your hands)

Total Body:
MuscleUps (kind of like a pullup continued over the bar to a dip)
Reverse Plank (lie down on your back with your head towards a table or high stool. Put your palms on top of the table/stool. Push down with your hands and heels so that you lift your body from the ground, like doing the reverse of the abdominal wheel)

Some links:
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Postby Konstantin » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:58 am

Thanks everyone, all helpful responses. I have a bit of a job now, a lot of exercises are available to people, and this guide is turning into a thumping great book. I'll get back to you if I want you to elaborate, but this is great. Thanks.
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Postby ninearms » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:02 am

Nip into Borders and steal a load of ideas from Charles Bronson's "Solitary Fitness".
“Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end. Then stop.”
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Postby Konstantin » Tue Sep 18, 2007 2:50 pm

[quote="ninearms"]Nip into Borders and steal a load of ideas from Charles Bronson's "Solitary Fitness".
I just got that book (bought it) and have started reading it. It is good, although to follow in the man's footsteps you would need to be training full time. And mad.
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Postby sonnyd7 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:46 am

pushups, situps, pull-ups, air squats are some really good ones

also yoga/pilates exercises
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Postby Oak » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:18 am

One thing that seems to be missed is jumping. Jumping is an amazing body weight exercise.
Infact if you incorpate jumping into the other bodyweight exercises it can make them alot more useful.
Plyometrics as it is called. Jumping push ups, Squat jumps etc.

How much space does a prisoner have? Any space for sprinting?
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Postby day » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:51 pm

i like the idea of bodyweight vs reps. wondering about the leg excersises though.. is that really doing much?
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Postby dublin dave » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:24 pm

A classic is the prison yard workout. Stand on one side of yard and do 20 burpees. Walk to other side of yard and do 19 burpees. Walk to other side of yard and do 18 burpees... This could also be done in a cell...
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Postby Solardrive » Sat Nov 22, 2008 1:39 am

Another important aspect to consider is the timing of the exercises. To support muscular hypertrophy. You should aim to do your sets within the 40-70 second boundary. Nice and slow. It is all about the time that muscle is under tension. With a lot of free weight (and body weight) exercises aim to slow down on the eccentric phase of the lift, this will bring the biggest gains. It's pretty easy to do 20 standards sit ups for example, now do them slowly with your arms outstretched behind your head holding a ball adhering to the above principles. Brutal !!
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Postby Clem Snide » Sun Nov 30, 2008 5:21 pm

There's the 'royal court' of bodyweight exercises, as Matt Furey termed them:

Hindu pressups
Hindu squats

Youtube vid of some guy doing them

Demanding though, so maybe of limited use.
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Postby WhoCaresWins » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:07 pm

I vote for burpee intervals and hand-stands / hand-stand press-ups.
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