One Punch Man Workout – The GOOD, The BAD And The UGLY
One Punch Man Workout is a bodyweight training workout that got the unlikely superhero – Saitama his superpowers. This should tell you a lot about the power of calisthenics.
In fact you could become your own superhero using just bodyweight exercises.
But will 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats and a 10 km run give you superhuman strength?
Let’s discuss the good, bad and ugly of Saitama’s workout and how you can enhance his bodyweight program to become your own superhero.
The Good Of The One Punch Man Workout
Saitama’s workout is minimalist
Too many different exercises in your workout program can be detrimental to your gains.
Because if you want to get stronger, you must specialize in movements that have maximum carryover to your physical endeavors.
And this is what Saitama does very well.
For example, if you want to increase your punching power, doing a bunch of bicep curls will not help.
You have to specialize!
Therefore, constantly changing your exercises won’t make you strong in any particular movement. You will squander your strength gains by chasing different exercises.
Instead it is better to build strength in one primary movement that has maximum carryover to other movements.
Take the push up for example, it strengthens the triceps, the chest and the shoulders to a large extent. This one movement will improve the strength of multiple muscle groups.
Thus, specializing in one movement, will build maximal strength in that movement, while providing carryover to other movements as well.
Bruce Lee that said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times”.
Just interchange the word kick for the word punch in Bruce Lee’s quote, and you have The One Punch Man!
Saitama’s Workout Requires No Equipment
Saitama’s workout requires no fancy equipment and no gym membership. This is in fact one of the biggest benefits of bodyweight training (read more benefits on my article here).
Once you learn the art of bodyweight training, it is with you for life. Calisthenic exercises can be performed anywhere and at anytime.
This is the same mentality that Saitama used with his workout plan. No equipment means no excuses. You can perform his workout in the gym, at your home or outside.
All you need is the ground beneath your feet.
If you can’t find the space to run, you can incorporate some jump rope into your routine.
In fact, jump rope training is something a lot of boxers use when preparing for a fight.
Saitama’s Leg Training Involves The Utilization of Ground Reaction Force
Leg training is an important facet of strength training. Especially considering the amount of energy that must be generated from the ground through the legs.
Just look at Saitama’s punches, they all generate power from the ground, through his legs and into one hard punch!
Ground Reaction Force can be translated directly into jumping higher, running faster and punching harder (one of Saitama’s specialities).
In fact, leg training is an essential part of bodyweight training.
This is because calisthenics leg training involves the movement of the entire body through space. This encourages balance and stability while building a lot of size and strength.
Saitama’s choice of leg training – the squat has unparalleled carryover to size, strength and Ground Reaction Force generation.
Therefore squats are one of the best methods to learn to generate reaction force.
Saitama Encourages Cardiovascular Training
Cardiovascular training is another often neglected facet of bodyweight training. Whether you want to be a fighter or climb a flight of stairs, you cannot neglect the benefits of cardiovascular health.
Humans were meant to be long distance runners.
Cardiovascular training strengthens our heart, enabling us to perform better by increasing our work capacity.
This means the ability to perform more repetitions of an exercise without losing steam.
Consider Saitama’s “Consecutive Normal Punches”.
Saitama lets out a flurry of consecutive sub-maximal punches that barely take any effort for him to produce.
This is a result of his impeccable cardiovascular training. And calisthenics is one of the best cardiovascular endurance training tools out there.
Running is also an excellent weight loss and conditioning tool.
Especially when performing LISS carido, something that can be done for long distances at a time with ease.
Getting strong takes time
If you’re a fan of the anime, then you know how long it took Saitama to become this strong.
It took him 3 years of non stop training to gain his superhuman strength.
This is something a lot of us forget when working out.
While it shouldn’t take you that long to see visible changes in your body – it is important to know that anything worth accomplishing takes hard work. And Saitama is a prime example of that!
A well planned workout program should have you seeing strength gains within the first week of training. And you will start to notice size gains within a month.
By the end of one year of training, you should see 80-90% of your size gains.
The Bad and The Ugly Of Saitama's Workout
This is where I stop praising the One Punch Man Workout. Because this is where things get real.
Unfortunately for us, we live in the real world and the real world brings real problems.
Saitama’s workout is NOT well balanced! It won’t get you the results that you would like to achieve.
In fact, it’s is so badly programmed, that you won’t get past the first few days of the workout.
The One Punch Man Workout will lead to major muscular imbalances
Saitama’s workout has a heavy emphasis on the muscles on the front of the body; the abs, the quads and the chest.
This will give you a pulled in look (aka khyphosis).
A rounded upper back, rounded shoulders and poor posture.
In fact if you look at Saitama in his several of his non-combative stances, or when hes just taking a stroll about town you’ll see that he doesn’t have great posture.
He’s often depicted with shoulders stooped forward almost as though the burden of his boredom is weighing down upon him.
This khyphotic posture is something you will notice in a lot of calisthenics athletes.
This is because calisthenics athletes perform a lot of pushing and pulling movements.
The pull up works the lats which is responsible for the coveted V-Taper, but is also an internal rotator of the shoulder.
The push up works the chest, which when tight or overdeveloped, also internally rotates the shoulder joint.
A lack of shoulder external rotation produces excessive internal rotation of the shoulder.
This internal rotation becomes worse in Saitama’s workout because the muscles in the posterior chain of the body barely get worked at all.
In fact, the ratio of pulling to pushing exercises is non existent. Add to this a huge emphasis on ab work (with 100 crunches everyday) and the body starts to pull itself in.
This poses a big risk to your posture as well as the development of huge muscular imbalances that will inevitably lead to injury!
No Emphasis On Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is the key to building muscle.
It is by far the easiest way to increase the load on your muscles in order for them to recover and adapt.
A 100 push ups might be challenging for a while, but even at the intermediate level, you should be able to rep out a set of 100 push ups in one go!
This lack of sustained progression with the One Punch Man workout will lead to stagnation.
In fact, a set of 100 sit ups can be performed quite easily at the advanced beginner level and a 100 squats start to feel like a joke after the first week!
This means you’ll eventually end up spinning your wheels for months on end without actually progressing with your calisthenics practice.
If you do end up using Saitama’s workout, make sure you are at least increasing volume, weight, and time under tension if not making the exercises harder by changing leverages.
Too much running volume too fast
I’m a huge proponent of adding endurance training to your calisthenics/bodyweight journey.
Increasing cardiovascular activity comes with a huge range of benefits but can also be detrimental to your muscle and strength gains if done in excess.
Too much cardio is catabolic.
It can eat into your recovery, thus reducing your size and strength gains. It can also lead to several injuries especially when not taking days of in order to aid recovery.
The other problem with Saitama’s running routine is that it is brutally difficult for the average person to get off the couch and run for 10 km at a stretch right off the bat.
Running volume needs to be built up, just like everything else. Instead it is wiser to start small.
Then build up the cardiovascular and muscular endurance to be able to achieve the set distance in a safe manner.
Also, running form is a largely overlooked factor in the running world today.
I will get more into this in a future article on how to run with proper form.
But for now, know that bad running form and not building up the strength to run a particular distance can lead to myriad of injuries.
Also, I am not a big proponent of running everyday.
The hardest part of Saitama’s workout regimen is running for 10 km everyday.
You will lose a lot of weight doing this.
But, this weight loss will end up being both fat and large amounts of muscle loss as well.
So why beat yourself up to achieve something that can be done in a healthier, more fun and practical way.
In fact I think it’s the running portion of the workout that made Saitama’s hair fall off his head!
Running this way is simply not sustainable, not healthy and certainly unnecessary for a healthy body and mind.
No rest and recovery advice
The biggest flaw in the One Punch Man Workout is the lack of planned rest and recovery.
In fact, there’s none at all!
Any good fitness program will account for a rest day or multiple rest days in between hard training.
These rest days allow the body to recover from the previous days workout and super-compensate for any damage done to the muscles, tissues and bones.
Some of the best workout programs will always factor in a deload week.
These deload weeks allow the body to take a break from repeated overuse of movement patterns.
This reduces the risk of overuse injury. Following a program like this is a sure shot way to get injured, burned out, lose focus, muscle, strength and motivation along the way!
Muscles need time to rest and recover, if you’re always punching them down into the ground, they’re not going to get back up!
So make sure to add rest days into your program, and it will help you become bigger and stronger over time!
Saitama’s Program Is Not For The Beginner, Intermediate OR Advanced Trainee
It is not a matter of if but a matter of when the program will eventually break you.
Especially if you’re a beginner, with no prior training experience, just getting off the couch and performing 100 reps on push ups, sit ups and squats will have you in a world of pain.
Add to that the muscular imbalances, repetitive movement without rest periods and the one punch man workout is a recipe for disaster.
Saitama’s workout has several fundamental training protocols that give him his knock out power.
But, there is a huge difference between building knockout strength and being knocked out by your own workout. A well balanced program will yield far better results, in far less time, while being far more fun and providing you with real world strength.