CT Fletcher Workout: How to Train Penitentiary Style

CT Fletcher, dubbed “the strongest man you never heard of” started lifting weights at the age of 22. He’s originally from Little Rock, Arkansas but has been in Southern California for 50 years.

Powerlifter turned bodybuilder, CT is a 6 time world champion; 3 time drug tested world bench champion and 3 time world strict curl champion. He’s a top over-50 competitor in bodybuilding and strives to be the undisputed number one champion.

CT feels his greatest accomplishment is his 705lb shirtless bench press attempt at the baddest bench press in America contest because he did it drug free against the best powerlifters in the world. His motivation comes from his mother for all of her support and his cousin for being such a badass. Fletcher touts a 705lb bench press in the gym, 650lb bench press at competition, a 725 pound squat, and more muscle than you can shake a stick at.

CT describes the Penitentiary Style Workout as not worrying about set and rep numbers, but putting the most focus and energy into every last rep. Give it all you have and act like it’s the last rep you will ever complete. Penitentiary Style form is admittedly not going to satisfy the form sticklers and some may wave a bullcrap flag, but they are some of the biggest guys you will ever see.

Half of CT’s workout still consists of a powerlifter training model to increase strength. Couple that with bodybuilding parameters and you have an amazing physique that is extremely strong. He said he has no intentions to compete again; he has accomplished everything he has set out to do.

Supplements that Fletcher suggests:

Ripped Abs
Related: How to get ripped abs

A sample arm workout would include:

5 to 6 sets of a minimum of 10 reps

  • Single Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls
  • EZ Bar Preacher Curls
  • Incline Bench Hammer Curls
  • Concentration or Cable Curls

Other exercises that CT Fletcher uses:


  • Seated Dumbbell Overhead Press
  • Standing Barbell Lateral Raise
  • Seated Smith Overhead Press


  • Flat Barbell Bench
  • Flat Dumbbell Bench
  • Flat Barbell Pyramid Bench
  • Smith Bench
  • Incline Barbell Bench
  • Pushups


  • Incline Bench Hammer Curls
  • Dumbbell Preacher Curls
  • EZ Curl Bar Preacher Curls
  • Barbell Preacher Curls
  • Straight Bar Cable Curls
  • Concentration Curls


  • W Bar Tricep Extensions
  • Straight Bar Tricep Extensions


  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Lying Machine Rows
  • Deadlifts
  • Lat Pulldowns
  • T-Bar Rows
  • Pullups


  • Squats
  • Hack Squats
  • Box Squat
  • Leg Press

Check out this article for a workout routine.

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83 thoughts on “CT Fletcher Workout: How to Train Penitentiary Style”

  1. ct, you know you have some of the bad ass work-outs. you know i got your back partner. avery since we introduce our selfs. in long beach. we lost contact.god put us together back in the80 and the spirit led me to on your sites. contact me at my e-mail godman1995@att.net love you brother. big john(smith)

  2. Hey cutty, I’ve been working out since I was 17. I was pretty scrawny but at the age of 30 now I’m a bit larger, 6 foot, 200 LBS and have been obsessed with my bench since. I’m pushing up around 405lb on bench on a good day for 1 but that’s it. I’ve been at tbis plato for years. I can’t get bigger or stronger. I eat like crap but not over weight whatever. I’m in the coast guard and scared to take supliments due to so many of them are band from us and hard to say which I can or can’t take. I’m convinced what I have is genetics and my work outs are crap. Any advice?
    I don’t have set work out, I just go in there and lose my mind for a couple hours.

    1. Try to program a workout plan that you have a heavy bench day, like you normally have, then have a day where it’s lighter work like 60% of your max weight you did on the heavy day and do those for a few sets of higher reps. I think you’re just getting to the point of needing to do more specialized training, without logging and keeping track exactly what you’ve done it will be hard to really progress. Getting a stronger back always helps with bench. My goal for clients is that they can bent over barbell row as much as they can bench, or as close as possible.

      Any more questions, let me know!


  3. I have been a complainer my entire life even when I was in the military. I blamed others for my weigh gain and failure due to lack of confidence. I really want to start thinking about my health. The other main reason my mother passed away from a massive cardiac arrest while I was in combat zone. I have since loath her death for nearly 7 years. I needed this push no limits no excuse. I currently reside in Savannah Georgia

  4. Hey there,
    Just wanted to share that weightlifting has been a life long passion of mine as I’ve had my shares of up’s and down’s ! as right now at this point of my life I’m still lifting while enjoying being a grandfather to some God’s given precious grandchildren they are my motivation and my inspiration !!let me share my routine today or rather these days, I do every Monday’s Wednesday’s and Fridays on my Wednesday’s I go full body only once out of a week! I’m 5’11” tall and I am at about 235lbs and I can handle 225’s for reps some times I go at 325’s I use a supplement of protein power to get my machine in motion…..well that’s all I have for now and by the way I’ll be 61 years old this upcoming June 7th !!!

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