I’m constantly searching and experimenting with new and unusual bodyweight exercises.
I often comb through used book stores searching for out-of-print fitness books. (Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “If you want a new idea, check inside an old book.”)
Recently, I stumbled upon a fitness guide written by a man locked up in solitary confinement. This convict has achieved a high level of fitness even though he has no equipment, no weights, no machines and very little space to with.
Charles Bronson is a British convict. He was initially put in prison in the ’70’s and has been in prison ever since except for three months on the outside.
He is know for being incredibly strong and has many prison records including most push-ups done in one minute (118), most sit-ups done in one hour (1790) and most push-ups done in one hour (1727).
When I saw that he had written a book about his prison fitness plan, I was intrigued.
The book is called, “Solitary Fitness.” But before you rush out and buy it, there are a few things you should know.
There are many bad features about the book. And there a few good ones. I will try to sum up the pros and cons of the book so you can make an educated decision.
Negative Point #1: Conflicting advice regarding steroids.
Bronson tells his readers to stay away from steroids. This is good advice and I agree. But here’s a funny quirk about the book. Bronson himself could obviously not pose for pictures to demonstrate the exercises.
So they used a female bodybuilder. And the female bodybuilder they used for all the pictures is OBVIOUSLY on steroids. She’s bigger than most NFL linebackers and her face is incredibly masculine. Telltales signs of steroid abuse.
Negative Point #2: Lot’s of Hype And In-effective Exercises
Many of the exercises are boring and completely in-effective. One of the exercises he recommend is simply holding something in your hands and keeping your arms extended in front of you. (Think about how you’d hold a baby with a poopy diaper.)
Obviously, this exercise isn’t going to do too much for you other than give your front shoulders a bit of a workout. But Bronson claims this will pack 2 inches onto your chest in one month. I wish it were that easy.
The other exercises he recommends are pretty basic. Push-ups, sit-ups, step-ups, etc. He also seems to be hung-up on the concept of isometric tension.
For those of you who don’t know, isometric tension is flexing your muscles against an immovable object, such as pushing against a wall. This type of exercise has already been dismissed as completely in-effective but Bronson still seems to think it works.
Negative Point #3: Some downright W-E-I-R-D stuff.
Bronson devotes a whole chapter to the idea of punching a cow in the face. Mind you, not a cow that’s attacking you or anything. Just a normal cow that’s standing there minding it’s own business. Apparently knocking out an unsuspecting cow is considered a feat of strength.
He also talks about how he gives himself enema’s. I’ll spare you the details. And as if that weren’t enough there’s even a section on workouts for — how should I put this — workouts for your “love muscle.”
Were There Any Good Points About The Book?
Although I wouldn’t recommend that anyone actually waste money on this book, there were a couple good points.
Interesting Point #1: Bronson does not eat anything at all on Sundays and explains many of the healthy benefits of this practice.
I talk about this in my book, Maximum Muscle Minimum Time but I haven’t seen too many other people talking about it.
Interesting Point #2: Despite the shortcomings of the book, it is inspirational. Bronson accepts no excuses and knocks out 2500 push-ups per day. He really believes in respecting your own body and taking care of yourself.
Overall, the book wasn’t great. But you might want to check it out if you are curious. I believe it’s only available in the U.K. so check it out and read the reviews online.