I’m a huge fan of anime, one of my favorite animes I’ve watched in recent years is One Punch Man. If you’re not familiar, One Punch Man is the story of a man named Saitama who becomes so powerful he destroys every monster he fights in one punch. Hence the name, One Punch Man.
What Is The One Punch Man Workout?
There’s a moment in season 1, episode 3; where he talks about his training to become as powerful as he is. This moment is considered to be a joke to the audience and everybody that hears it because of how simple it is.
The One Punch Man workout or Saitama workout as some people call it, is incredibly simple:
- 100 Pushups
- 100 Situps
- 100 Squats
- 10-km run (6.21371-mile run)
- Every day, for 3 years straight
- Oh and don’t forget; don’t use your air conditioner in summer or your heater in winter to strengthen your mind.
- Make sure you eat 3 meals daily.
- Keep doing it even if your arms make weird clicking noises.
- If you start spitting blood you’re probably doing it right.
- After a year and a half, you’ll notice a difference, you’ll be bald! Keep going!
- Basically, you have to train like hell until your hair falls out. This is the only way to become truly strong!
You get the picture…as you can tell, this is a gag anime. This training isn’t going to accomplish half the things it says it will of course. You won’t lose your hair (hopefully?) and if you’re spitting up blood don’t do that and go to the hospital.
Also, I know from experience that training at a high level EVERY SINGLE DAY will lead to over-training quickly, especially running over 6 miles every day like that.
If your arms start making clicking noises that is most likely okay unless it causes pain. And this is definitely not the only way to truly become strong.
As great as he makes this training sound, there are a lot of issues with it. So I thought it would be fun to set up a solid training program using these basic principles and standard barbell training to have a more complete program. The base of the training is there, it’s just incomplete for real-world applications.
Let’s get into why this works first and get to the training later on! Here we go!
Why Does It Work?
The One Punch Man workout has a lot of things going for it. It allows you to build muscle, strength, and improve your cardiovascular health/endurance.
Because of this, it’s a great way for beginners to start training. Obviously, we’re going to have to scale this back at the start for most people.
The One Punch Man workout works because of these 3 factors:
- Progressive Overload. Without progressive overload, you cannot improve your overall strength or fitness levels. If you do the same amount of work every time you’re in the gym, you will plateau. The One Punch Man workout is great if you want a basic program that will take some time to build-up to the full thing. Doing this many full-body movements and then running 6 miles afterward is going to be incredibly difficult for a beginner. This gives us progressive overload for a solid period of time.
- Consistency. The main thing Saitama stresses, is to be consistent. He forces himself to workout every single day without fail, he made it a habit he couldn’t break. This is where the majority of his results come from and something all real-world training programs need to work properly. Being consistent is the most important factor for building muscle, getting stronger, and losing body fat.
- Builds work capacity. Performing full body movements and then going for a run afterward builds your cardiovascular system. This is the main way I set up my training for myself and my clients. Over time, you’re going to be completing the workouts faster and faster. This workout density will improve your work capacity and get you in better shape quickly.
- Improves cardiovascular health. The One Punch Man workout routine has one major thing going for it that a lot of other programs forget. Which is the fact that it works a ton of endurance training into it which will help improve your cardiovascular health like crazy. If there’s one thing that Saitama isn’t lacking in, it’s endurance. Plus, you know his heart health has to be insane based on all the 10 km runs he’s done!
While it seems like this basic workout routine would work great for beginners, there are actually quite a few problems with it as well.
Problems With The One Punch Man Workout Routine
As I explained above, training like Saitama works fine in the beginning stages of training. You’ll build muscle mass, get stronger, and get in much better shape as well. The problems, however, start to show themselves almost immediately.
These problems are as follows:
- You need more rest days. Training every single day like this will lead to overtraining. Some people think it’s a myth but it really isn’t. Your body will start to breakdown and accumulate injuries over time without a break to recover from fatigue. Also, running every single day will absolutely mess with your ankles, knees, shins and pretty much everything else in your lower body.
- Reps over 30 aren’t great for building muscle. To build the most muscle possible, sets of 6-30 are where you want to be. After you pass 30 reps, there’s a point of diminishing returns. Once you’re able to do over 30 reps per set, you completely lose the adaptations to build muscle. It simply isn’t intense enough to signal to the body to build more muscle mass. You’ll build great muscular endurance and continue burning calories, but that’s about it.
- There is no variety. When performing certain movements for long periods of time, you’re going to plateau. You need some variety in exercises to continue progressing and prevent staleness. Also, doing the same basic movement patterns over and over again will create overuse injuries. Only doing pushups, squats, situps, and running will cause many injuries over time.
- There is no work for the hamstrings, or back in general. Based on Saitama’s exercise choices, you have an upper-body push (pushups), ab work (situps), and quads/glutes (squats). There’s nothing working your hamstrings, plus, overall back musculature has no work whatsoever. This will lead to severe imbalances in the body. All of the running with tons of squats and no hamstring work puts a ton of pressure on the knees. All of the work for the abs, chest, anterior deltoids, and triceps without any work for the low back, lats, rhomboids, posterior delts, and biceps gives you a ton of imbalances through your trunk and upper body. This needs to be tweaked to fix these major muscle group imbalances.
So with all of these problems, is the One Punch Man even worth doing? I definitely think it is with a couple of little changes I’ve used with some clients.
How Can We Make It Better?
This program I’ve developed is predominantly done for building muscle, gaining strength, and losing body fat in beginner trainees. The difference is, based on your goals, you’ll be switching up your diet.
- Building Muscle=Calorie Surplus
- Gaining Strength=Calorie Maintenance
- Lose Body Fat=Calorie Deficit
No matter what your goal is, this program will work to accomplish it. Saitama had a lot of things right in his original version of the One Punch Man workout routine. Here are my tweaks to turn this into a badass training program to turn you into the #1 Hero!
Add Barbell Movements
The main issue the original program has is the lack of progressive overload past 30 rep sets. Adding Barbell Movements will alleviate this issue and allow us to build muscle and strength over the long haul.
The 4 barbell movements we will add are:
- Bench Press Or Variation (Close-Grip Bench, Incline Bench, Wide-Grip Bench)
- Overhead Press Or Variation (Seated Overhead Press, Push Press)
- Deadlift Or Variation (Sumo Deadlift, Romanian Deadlift, Trap Bar Deadlift)
- Squat Or Variation (
SSBSquat, Front Squat, Pause Squat)
These are the main movements I always recommend for healthy individuals. Pick one movement for at least 8 weeks before making a change. For this program, we will be using PR sets with my standard strength progression.
- Upper Body: 1 Rep in the tank, cap PR sets at 20 reps
- Lower Body: 1 Rep in the tank, cap PR sets at 10 reps
- Add NO MORE than 5 pounds every week
Now that we have the major barbell movements, we can move onto the main part of the original One Punch Man workout.
One Punch Man Strength Circuit
As I stated above, because the One Punch Man workout has no back and hamstring work, we’ll be adding in Inverted Rows to the rotation to build strength/muscle mass and fix imbalances in the back, posterior delts, and biceps. We already have Deadlifts above to handle the hamstring work.
The way we set up the bodyweight exercises is by incorporating them into every workout we do in a circuit fashion. This allows us to push hard, get a huge stimulus for muscle gain, and also increase our work capacity using the strength circuits.
Our whole goal with these circuits isn’t to push so hard our form starts breaking down. We want to stay away from failure and give ourselves time to keep our training intensity up.
Here’s what it will look like:
|Week 1-3 Rounds||Week 2-4 Rounds||Week 3-5 Rounds|
|Pushups 9,8,7||Pushups 10,9,9,8||Pushups 12,10,10,9,8|
|Inverted Rows 15,14,13||Inverted Rows 16,15,14,14||Inverted Rows 17,16,16,15,14|
|Bodyweight Squats |
|Bodyweight Squats |
|Bodyweight Squats |
|Situps 19,18,17||Situps 20,20,19,19||Situps 22,20,20,19,17|
As you can see, we start with 3 rounds in week 1, 4 rounds in week 2, and 5 rounds in week 3. Our goal with these is to push 1 rep away from failure, move onto the next exercise, and rest as much as necessary. If you notice your reps start dropping off, increase your rest period so you maintain great form and performance.
From here we’ll go over how we incorporate the cardio into the program.
In the anime, Saitama starts doing a 10-kilometer run right from the start. Which is pretty crazy to think about. If you did this in real life the pain in your shins, ankles, and knees would be tremendous.
How can you possibly go from not running to running 10 kilometers overnight? Not all at once that’s for sure.
The way we’ll approach this is by slowly incorporating whatever type of cardio you prefer to start. Slowly building it up to a basic level over time. It’s not the same way Saitama did it, but doing this in real life will create some problems pretty quickly.
Here’s how the cardio will be set up.
You have three choices; you can either do the cardio on the same days you work out, on your off days or do a combination of both. No matter how you set it up, we want to follow these basic guidelines.
- No more than 30 minutes of cardio at a time. Between the heavy lifting and the strength circuits, doing more than 30 minutes of cardio is unnecessary.
- Schedule at least 1-2 rest days per week. Regardless of how Saitama sets it up, you need to have at least 1 rest day per week. This means no cardio or training 1 day per week. This is necessary for reducing fatigue and preventing overuse injuries.
- Pick cardio that you can stick to. As great as running is for getting in shape, building endurance, and burning body fat, it doesn’t matter if you don’t do it consistently. You need to pick cardio that allows you to be consistent. If you aren’t going to do it, then it doesn’t matter how awesome it is.
- Increase your time or mileage every cardio session. For the cardio, we want to be consistent with it of course. But we also need to increase how much we’re doing. You can increase it by moving from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Or by slowly increasing how many miles you do.
Following these guidelines will easily allow you to get the most our of your cardio sessions without overdoing it. There is a thing as too much cardio after all. 70 kilometers a week is too much cardio Saitama!
Putting It All Together
Here’s how the training program will look all together.
|Bench Press |
PR Set, Cap At 20 Reps
PR Set, Cap At 10 Reps
PR Set, Cap At 20 Reps
PR Set, Cap At 10 Reps
|One Punch Man |
|One Punch Man |
|One Punch Man |
|One Punch Man |
|Cardio: 10-30 minutes||Cardio: 10-30 minutes||Cardio: 10-30 minutes||Cardio: 10-30 minutes|
This basic setup will do multiple things; build more muscle, prevent injuries, increase strength, and build your work capacity far greater than the original training program. Yes, it seems like a lot of work but it absolutely works.
I’ve been testing this with clients with great results so far. I’ll go over the full 8-week training plan in the future if anybody is interested in seeing those results.
Bottom line: all of the issues with the original One Punch Man workout routine are addressed in this training program. Try it out and let me know what you think!
Improving The Program Even More!
Once you get to the point where you can finish the strength circuits 100 total reps in 3 rounds. You can move onto harder variations for each of the bodyweight movements. Here are some basic choices you can make that will improve this program and give you some variation for future progression.
- Pushups (Weighted Pushups, Diamond Pushups, Decline Pushups, Dips, Weighted Dips)
- Inverted Rows (Pullups, Weighted Pullups)
- Bodyweight Squats (Lunges, Weighted Lunges, Goblet Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Weighted Bulgarian Split Squats)
- Situps (
Ab Wheel, Weighted Situps, Hanging Leg Raises)
As you can see, all of the movements are bodyweight in nature. However, they are all easily loadable movements. This means once you can knock out sets of 30 on Pushups, you can add weight OR move onto Dips. For the Inverted Rows, moving onto Pullups is a good choice.
No matter what you choose, you’ll always have something to move onto and get stronger at. I recommend switching movements once you’re unable to progress for more than 2 weeks.
No matter what style of training you enjoy, the One Punch Man workout routine is definitely a fun one, if you do it right. If you don’t, you’re going to be injured over time from the imbalances you create.
If this style of training interests you, definitely try it out for 8 weeks. I’d love to hear what kind of results you get!
Also for those that did the original One Punch Man challenge for 30 days, what kind of results did you get while doing it? Did you experience any of the issues I went over in this article?
I know anybody that loves One Punch Man will enjoy this training immensely. Thanks for reading and good luck on your training to be the #1 Hero!
Until next time,