10 Myths About Prison Workouts

Everywhere you see, the internet and on TV show these massive monsters in prisons that look like they could be bodybuilders. How can someone in such a terrible setting be able to get so big and jacked?

Myth 1: Prison workouts involve some crazy rep and set scheme.

I wrote about prison workouts here so be sure to check that out for information on how most prisoners really train. The myth that these guys use super-huge sets with drop sets and super-sets is just silly. There comes a point of needing to stimulate the muscle and nervous system, so if you do not have enough weights so properly progress, doing huge volumes of whatever weight you can get is going to be your best bet.

Forced reps are popular in prison because it helps stimulate the nervous system and can create growth. I do not recommend forced reps on routines on purpose, but if you have one last rep of a PR attempt, a little help is not bad.

Myth 2: There is no over-training.

Although I agree that technically there is no over-training, I think some people take this out of context and run with it. The definition I follow of over-training is to train at such high volume and intensity that your body cannot recover quick enough. This results in strength loss and a myriad of other things.

This myth in particular is making people believe that if they do 500 reps a day on each body part they will grow more than if they did 3 or 4 sets of 15. There is a point of diminishing returns and unless you are using PEDs, your body will not fully recover from these super intense extreme volume workouts.

Myth 3: Everyone in prison is jacked.

False. Not everyone in prison is jacked simply because of the hostile environment. Not everyone busts their ass and works hard in the gym.

Myth 4: Prison guards are jacked.

A lot of prison guards train and get big and fit, but there are fewer guards who are jacked than you would imagine. They are trained tactically and work in a team environment so if things go sour in the prison, it is not necessary to completely overpower them.

Myth 5: Prisoners are so huge from training all day.

Training all day makes it impossible to fully recover from your sessions. Recovery takes place when you eat and sleep, how are you going to grow muscles without proper nutrition and rest? Training all day does more harm than good.

Myth 6: Prisoners are huge because they can eat a lot of food.

Most prisons only serve enough food to sustain life, anything extra must be bought from commissary. Unless you have a job or have people sending you money, you have to deal with the food you get.

With that being said, not all prisoners have the luxury of eating extra calories to help them build muscle.

Myth 7: Prisoners get huge because they can train every day.

Training every day does not get you jacked. Like I said, recovery is where you grow your muscles. If you train every day and tear your body up, you won’t have the ability to fully recover. Training daily is possible with correct programming and nutrition but to say you have to train every day to get as big as possible is false.

Myth 8: Prisoners get abs and cut up from sit ups and running.

Abs aren’t made from doing endless sit ups and you don’t get cut up from running. Getting lean and having abs are from low body fat which is something you control with diet. If you eat too many calories you’ll never get lean and doing sit ups won’t give you the deep cut abs you want.

A strong core with very strong abs and low body fat is how you get the deep muscular abs everyone desires. If you think I’m lying, look at your skinny friends with no muscle, they don’t have abs.

Myth 9: Prisoners are huge from genetics and their environment.

If you think genetics is the only reason prisoners get massive, you are selling yourself short. Some people have better genetics to build muscle and get stronger, but that doesn’t mean that’s why they are huge. Hard work goes a long way.

Myth 10: Prisoners are all natural.

There’s a difference between someone who is 170 and shredded and the guys that are 250 and bodybuilder status and that is steroids. I don’t care how many top Ramen noodle packs and cans of tuna you eat, the body can only synthesize so much protein and make you only so large naturally.


There is some truth to some of these myths. First, prisoners have a very set schedule which means they are consistent. With this consistency, they are highly motivated to go train to release rage and get stronger and be intimidating. Regardless of meals, they eat regularly and any extra money they get can be used to purchase better muscle building foods.

Like pro athletes, the only thing they have to worry about is training. There are a lot of other stressors and situations that I don’t even want to think about having to deal with, but you aren’t bothered with the daily grind, having to cut grass, fight with your wife, etc. They get to focus strictly on their goals and get to spend the time to make them come true.

The guys that are many reasons why guys in prison are large and each person has a different story.


Be sure to check out the rest of the site for workouts, or information on building muscle and strength. Leave any comments or questions below.

3 thoughts on “10 Myths About Prison Workouts”

  1. Prisoners get big for two main reasons: more time and more motivation than most people. While there are other valid points you made here, those are the two big differences between inmates everybody else.

    If being bigger made you safer when your safety was in actual, daily jeopardy and you had all day to work towards that goal…you’d probably be bigger too.

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