- Main GoalBuild Muscle
- Workout TypeFull Body
- Training LevelIntermediate
- Program Duration6 weeks
- Days Per Week3
- Time Per Workout30-45 minutes
- Equipment RequiredBodyweight, Dumbbells, Other
- Target Gender Male & Female
- Recommended Supps
The Punisher is a famous character in the Marvel Universe known for being unforgiving, intimidating and relentless. He battles against criminals and scumbags that terrorize innocent folks.
This program is named after the Punisher, due to the nature of the workout and the similarities it has to him. In short, this is a very relentless workout.
This workout is known as the Punisher Workout. The unlucky enemies of this punishing program are body fat, self-doubt, and a lack of mental toughness. They will be afterthoughts after implementing the Punisher Workout consistently.
This workout will punish you. This workout will inflict maximum mental and physical stress upon you. This workout will also put fear into you. But most importantly, this workout will force to you to make progress because there are many different training schemes that can be applied to this workout.
If you can overcome, make progress, and finish this workout consistently then you will be rewarded with a better body and a much stronger mind. I personally believe (and know for a solid fact) that training is so much more than just developing a flat stomach, rounder glutes or building bigger arms. Having cosmetic goals like these are great and are likely the reason you started training.
But when you routinely train in a fashion that is focused on beating goals and accepting challenges, you are forced to build mental toughness, character and moxy.
Be aware that regardless of what you may see on social media about people supposedly training hard and going “beast mode”, or any other bombastic claim regarding the intensity of their training, the truth is that the vast majority of these trainees have no idea what hard training truly is. When you are uninitiated into the gains game you may think because you are sweating, you are going hard. You can sweat while driving in an old car with no air conditioning in the summer. Does this mean you are going hard and building a better body? NO.
The pain you will feel from the Punisher workout will be written all over your face. Be warned...this workout is truly relentless.
When you are uninitiated into the gains game you may think that because you see someone who appears very muscular and fit that they earned it through hard work. But have you ever seen them train?
If you've seen these lifters train, have you noticed a lack of big moves and intensity during their sessions? What about the lack of progression with the measurables (sets/reps/load/rest)? How about the total absence of tough conditioning moves like sprints and weighted burpees?
When you see someone who has the look of Adonis but who has lame or inconsistent work habits, you can be assured that this person has had help from certain tonics, questionable supplements, or surgical procedures to attain a certain look. Terry Tonics may look like Tarzan but I assure you he plays like Jane. Typically a trainee's physique should be comparable to his/her work input (training/nutrition/rest).
Hard work develops a hard body. Sloth work develops a sloth body.
The wise rapper Jadakiss recently said that social media has given cowards and charlatans an outlet for their deceptions. Despite this, the rules of the game remain unchanged. You must work hard to earn not only your physique, but also your character.
In today’s world you can buy a body. However, you can't buy character. It is not for sale. Character cannot be gained by taking shortcuts.
The Punisher Workout fits the mold of programs that cannot be faked. It is hard but rewarding. You will build toughness. This is a programmable workout that can used with multiple set/rep/rest schemes to make it a supremely challenging and rewarding scheme.
What is The Punisher Workout?
I first introduced the Punisher at my audition for the Men’s Health Next Top Trainer competition, held on March, 2014. At that time I called it the Full Body Blast. The lunges, rows, and push-ups were all a part of the series but the burpees and sprint were not.
Men’s Health gave us a list of moves that we had to use to show them our training acumen. Burpees and sprints were not on the list. The great judging trio of B.J. Gaddour, David Jack, and Adam Campbell wanted to see what we could do with a limited selection of exercises.
My presentation of the Full Body Blast allowed me to qualify for the finals. I was one of 8 finalists out of over 200 trainers who entered this competition. I was very pleased with this result, but as a coach who loves to program I knew I could make the Full Body Blast a few notches more dastardly.
The Punisher is comprised of 5 movements. You will perform walking dumbbell lunges, dumbbell bent-over rows, push-ups, weighted burpees and a sprint (standard, hill, or resisted). None of these movements are new or special, but they are extremely effective for building full body strength, muscle and conditioning.
If you are performing this routine in the gym and you do not have access to a hill you can perform suicides, high knees in place at maximum effort, regular burpees, a burpee variation, or do standing long jumps for a distance. You could also choose to perform the Punisher sans the final sprint or movement. In this case you would make up for the lack of the sprint or movement by performing another round or two of the Punisher.
It would still be a fantastic workout without the sprint. I have used this in my own training. But the final sprint is what makes this workout the Punisher. Ideally, I want you to finish with a full sprint, a hill sprint, or a resisted sprint.
The Punisher is comprised of 5 movements. You will perform walking dumbbell lunges, dumbbell bent-over rows, push-ups, weighted burpees and a sprint.
If you can't perform these where you train then you can use the suicides, high knees, burpees, or standing long jumps as a more than serviceable backup. And if you choose to not do any of the final options then you must add another round or two to the workout series.
As far sets/reps/weight/rest are concerned, the standard rule is that each move uses 10 reps except for weighted burpee which uses 5 reps. Also, you must determine if you are going to do weighted burpees with a jump or weighted burpees without a jump. If you will be using the version with the jump then your weight will be lighter. This will compensate for the fact that you will not be getting any air time.
Using the 10/5 standard rep scheme, I would say with all things considered the average male trainee should be able to use 25-35lbs on a series like this. The average female trainee should be able to use 15-25lbs.
I demonstrate the series in my video using 30lb dumbbells. To me they felt light, but the persistent nature of the Punisher evens everything out, as you are still performing tough moves in succession. The weighted burpees will definitely be the toughest move outside of the sprint.
Athletes or advanced trainees could (and will) obviously use more weight. The series becomes increasingly more difficult as you add weight. When I use 50lb dumbbells and my weighted burpee involves a jump, then I begin to feel like I am in big trouble!
I can still finish the workout but I am being thoroughly punished during it. The weighted burpee is the key move in the series and will dictate the weight that you use and whether you jump or just stand.
If you are out of shape, this series will be hard regardless of weight because of the relentless nature of the workout. If you are in good shape this series will be hard if you progressively increase your weight. If I am doing this series at game speed then I will not cheat myself by using 10lb dumbbells. That is the coward’s way out. Look for the challenge and accept it.
How do I do the Punisher Workout?
When performing the Punisher your goal is to try to run it straight through with zero to minimal rest until you complete one round. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.
As you fatigue your moves may get slower and your rest between moves will increase, but your goal is to continue to work through the fatigue.
This means that you will have the unenviable task of trying to complete the series without taking an extended rest between movements. Yes, there will be a 3 to possibly 15 second transition between the movements at times, especially when you are spent, but you should not be doing a move and then resting for the length of your favorite TV show.
Aim to rest as little as possible during the transitions, but it you get folded and need to rest a few seconds longer then do it!
This limited rest period is what makes the Punisher so punishing. Anyone with any training experience knows that the toughest schemes involve minimal rest periods whether it is Tabata, Gironda’s 8×8, or even RP-21 muscle building training. Add in the fact that the weight being used will be a challenge and you have a recipe for a hard session. You will find out how exactly how tough you are when using schemes like this.
To run the Punisher you will start by warming up for 6-12 minutes to get your joints prepared for training. I would suggest a short general warm up followed by a specific movement warm up. You could hit the heavy bag or jump rope for 5 minutes and then begin to work through your movements.
After the warm up you will grab your dumbbells using the weight you have chosen. I would personally start conservatively just so you can gauge what your correct starting weight should be.
If you start too high you will get absolutely folded very early and will be unable to finish the series. Trust me, you do not want to be down by 20 in the first quarter!
You will perform 10 walking dumbbell lunges followed by 5 weighted burpees. You will go from the weighted burpees right into 10 dumbbell bent over rows. After you complete the dumbbell bent over rows you will complete 5 more weighted burpees. After these weighted burpees you will perform 10 push-ups. After these push-ups you will complete 5 more weighted burpees. After performing these weighted burpees you will then perform a sprint or one of the movements I listed above.
I would generally recommend between 1-5 sets based on your fitness level. The rest between sets will typically be anywhere between 1-3 minutes based on the amount of weight used, your current fitness level, and the goal of the workout.
Please check out my video of The Punisher Workout being performed below:
|Walking Dumbbell Lunges||10|
|Dumbbell Bent Over Rows||10|
|Sprint, Hill Sprint, Resisted Sprint (preferred if accessible) or Suicides, High Knees, Burpees, or Standing Long Jumps (if the sprints are inaccessible) followed by...collapse!|
Note: For the suicides and high knees you can perform them for anywhere from 10-20 seconds at maximum effort. For the burpees and burpee variations you can perform them for 20-30 seconds. For the standing long jumps you can choose a distance of 10 to 20 yards to jump.
While the main progression on lunges, rows, and burpees will be adding weight, there are multiple ways to make each move tougher. You could pause in the bottom of your lunges. You could pause at the top of your rows. You could jump twice at the top of the burpee. You can even perform one of many push-up variations.
The bottom line is that once you make enough progress with this workout you must try to make it tougher. Performing and completing 10 regular push ups each set the first week is great. Performing and completing the same 10 push ups every week with no new challenge will not lead to long-term changes and results.
By focusing on increasing the weight, decreasing the rest time, or pumping up the training volume, you will ensure that you making progress.
I could write endless schemes to go with this protocol but right I want you to focus on and progress through the original 10/5 scheme. This base scheme will offer a great challenge.
By consistently completing the Punisher on it’s on own, or as a finisher, you will reap the rewards of a stronger body and a stronger mind. Success requires struggle. Never be afraid of struggle during your path to success. Embrace it and move forward toward victory.