Prison Training

I've always been curious about how inmates/convicts train. And I've also been amazed at the gains these guys are able to make. Do you have any insight on how they go about their training? I would assume big, heavy, compound lifts. Probably lots of volume?

What never made sense to me though, is how do they get jacked when you factor in diet, stress, and sleep? You'd think that they don't get enough quality calories or protein. That they are in a constant state of stress. And while they may have hours on end to sleep, the quality of their sleep has to be hindered: noise, counts, "sleeping with one eye open."

Do you have any theories on how these guys can get and stay jacked with what so many people on the 'outside' would tell you are conditions destructive to your training?

Thanks for your time.


My Answer: Larry Scott once used the bull as an example as to why some people gain muscle easily. A bull is large and muscular, and yet all he does is eat grass all day. So what does that tell you?

Muscular size has a lot to do with biochemistry. If you have optimal anabolic biochemistry, then you'll gain muscle, despite harsh conditions. Charles Poliquin theorized that convicts (particularly violent ones) have more testosterone coursing through their veins. Of course to some degree this same level of testosterone is what got them in trouble in the first place.

But I think there are other factors involved as well. Some convicts were drug users. Meth, crack and heroin leave you pretty emaciated. Then they get to prison. They're off the drugs and get 3 meals a day. They weight train, because they have nothing else to do and want to survive.

So what happens? They gain a lot of muscle.

Some prisoners do a lot of calisthenics (pull-ups, pushups, dips, abs), and they train multiple times throughout the day. So they train with a lot of volume, but that volume is broken up and spread throughout their day. Similar to Peary Rader's arm specialization routine but with pushups, dips and pull-ups.

Q: "I just read your article at regarding lat shock principles and was very inspired by it.

"Sir my name is Malik Amin, and I am from Pakistan. My age is 18. I have been working out since a year and a half. I have been able to develop a pretty decent physique, but the only problem I face is with my forearms. They are just too stubborn. I have tried heavy weight, extremely low reps, even with an olympic thick bar. I am currently trying a low weight high rep technique. During forearms exercises I do feel a lot of pump, but it's just temporary.

"I use protein shakes as a supplement. Can you please advise me and help me and guide me to a regimen I can follow. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you."

My Answer: I would suggest that you invest in a pair of Heavy Handles and a moderately heavy kettlebell or two. If you do some one arm kettlebell swings and clean and presses, then that will thicken your forearms quite a bit.

You haven't mentioned at all what type of exercises you do for the forearms. You should include some Zottman curls:

As well as reverse grip barbell curls:

As well as hub pinches:

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