With all non-essential services on lockdown globally for an indefinite amount of time and citizens caged in their homes under new quarantine and social distancing policies, fitness enthusiasts may have to consider getting creative at home with the limited equipment available to them. Like the many prisoners who view fitness as a physical and mental escape from their confined spaces, much of Hollywood’s over glorified concept of the ‘prison-bod’ was built in a 8×6 foot cell.
Conceptualizing ‘Cell Workout’, a book and a program designed out of the restrictive necessity to become a burgeoning men’s fitness trend, ex-Pentonville prison inmate, LJ Flanders shares his experience and 23 hour routine in a cell with minimal space and zero kit. The book which has since become a fitness bible for those too short on time to commit to a well-intentioned gym plan, is armed with the most effective and efficient tips and tricks to building muscle and burning unwanted fat from the comfort of home.
Focused predominantly on compound movement that target multiple muscle groups at once, Flander’s innovative regime maximizes gain through explosive plyometric movements which are sure to spike heart rate and disintegrate more calories than pedestrian exercises.
Of all the variations and unique workout combinations present in the book, LJ Flanders suggests mastering at least a handful of five exercises in order to get the most out of every session and customize the regime to your liking. These exercises thus include…
The Plyo Star Jump, which incorporates every major muscle group imaginable and engages them in a high intensity course of action, to not only activate muscle fiber but prepare your body for what’s to come. Starting off in a narrow squat with thighs parallel to the floor and hands positioned by your feet, engage your lower body and shoulders before explosively jumping upwards with arms and legs outstretched diagonally to form a star shape. The movement should be continuous until the desired number of reps have been completed.
With arms straight and positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, assume the standard press-up stance, placing each foot hip-width apart and tucking your toes. The Pike Shoulder Press requires hips to be raised up high with toes piked – working your shoulders and triceps to create a broader silhouette with minimal effort, lower your head to the floor by bending each elbow outward, without breaking form.
Bulk up your upper body in fewer reps using the Plyo Staggered Hand Press Up, which incorporates more muscle fiber to develop enhanced power. With hands facing forward, assume the standard press-up position, with one arm slightly in front and the other slightly behind the shoulders, slowly bend each elbow outward and lower your body to the floor in a controlled movement. The key to this exercise is to explosively press up with enough force for your hands to switch positions mid-air – allowing you to continually repeat each alternative hand position as you land.
An exercise that most fitness enthusiasts and beginners, alike, would be familiar with is the Prisoner Squat – a high intensity lower body movement with guaranteed six-pack benefits, provided you’re careful with the stance. Requiring one to stand with feet wider than their shoulders and toes pointed slightly outward, the Prisoner Squat form is incomplete without placing both hands behind your head, allowing you to not only pull your elbows and shoulders back but engage your core. In a simple yet controlled movement, maintain a straight back as you sit your hips backward until your thighs are level with your knees and parallel to the floor. Reverse the movement to complete the rep by slowly rising back up to the starting position.
While there are a multitude of exercises shared by LJ Flanders that spike heart rates and burn an innumerable amount of calories, it is important in every workout to balance each exercise and catch your breath. As a result, the static isometric hold of the Wall Sit With Bent Knee Lift is an ideal alternative, ensuring an excellent change of stimulus to building leg strength. With your back flush to the wall and your thighs parallel to the floor, this movement directly engages your abs, working your legs and your stability twice as hard, as one foot is raised six inches from the floor. The movement should always be slow and controlled, as one leg is swapped for another during each rep.
Despite appearing more straightforward than most commercialized routines, the Prison Workout is still a regime that requires active commitment in order to reap the best results. Adaptable anywhere, the intensity of each exercise may still prove intimidating to many, including beginners. As a result, similar regimes are offered in niche gyms such as CONBODY, New York, which offers the ultimate bootcamp style, no-equipment, hardcore workout program for individuals looking to lose fat, pack on muscle, and build strength, plus a little help and motivation from expert trainers. CONBODY also offers both online and offline training at an affordable price to those who may need a little extra push.