Menu Search

in: Bodyweight Exercises, Fitness, Health & Sports, Podcast

April 13, 2020 Last updated: April 15, 2020

Podcast #601: How to Get Jailhouse Strong

When you’re in prison, you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, and a lot of inmates spend this time exercising. With little or no equipment and sometimes just the space available in their cells, prisoners are able to get incredibly big and strong. Learning how prisoners do these bodyweight workouts can be useful for those who aren’t in jail, but want to get fit and don’t have access to exercise equipment. 

My guest today got the lowdown on the methods prisoners use to get strong by interviewing bodybuilders who also spent time in the slammer. His name is Josh Bryant, and he’s a powerlifter and powerlifting coach and the co-author of the book Jailhouse Strong. We begin our conversation discussing the mindset with which Josh approaches fitness training, including what he means by being “gas station ready.” We then discuss why being big and strong is oftentimes a matter of survival for prisoners and some of the famously fit former inmates Josh highlights in his book. We then dig into the specific bodyweight movements prisoners typically use, how they can be incorporated in your own workout routine, and the various ways you can modify and make the exercises harder. We discuss programs prisoners often use and how Josh has enhanced them with his powerlifting background. Josh then lays out a beginner’s three-day-a-week bodyweight program, explains the way prisoners incorporate “deloading” or taking a break from their workouts, and talks about his all-time favorite conditioning exercise.

If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.

Show Highlights

  • What is “gas station ready”?
  • The practicality of being strong in prison
  • How prisoners get strong with no access to weights 
  • The primary bodyweight exercises you can do to get a great workout
  • How to scale exercises up or down with bodyweight
  • Push-up variations that work different muscle groups
  • Increasing intensity on pull-ups
  • Mistakes people make in programming bodyweight workouts
  • Juarez Valley, Deck of Pain, and the Mountain Method workout methods 
  • How do you know when to change things up with your programming?
  • Why burpees are awesome 
  • What is nutrition like in prison?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Josh

Josh’s website

Josh on Twitter

John on YouTube

Jailhouse Strong on Instagram

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

Listen to the episode on a separate page.

Download this episode.

Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.

Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.

Podcast Sponsors

Click here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.

Read the Transcript

Coming soon!

Related Articles