When it came out back in 2015, One Punch Man (the anime, not the manga) took the world by storm.
Who is this One Punch Man, you may wonder?
He’s a badass who can knock out enemies with one punch. And no, he’s name isn’t Archie Moore. It’s Saitama.
What’s his secret, you ask?
Saitama claims that he got to that level of strength thanks to a simple routine which got coined "The One Punch Man Workout":
- 100 pushups
- 100 sit-ups
- 100 squats
- and a 10-kilometer run (that’s 6.2 miles) every single day.
The question is; how effective is this workout?
Well, to answer that question, I decided to put the workout routine to test. Well, I’m actually editing it a bit, as I’m excluding the 10-kilometer run and only following the routine for 30 days to see how it goes.
I just recently did the 500 push ups a day challenge so 30 days will be plenty for me to find out how effective this workout really is.
So, I did 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups, and 100 squats for 30 days. Here’s how it went!
Disclaimer: I’m not the first to try out this particular workout. Many people have done it for 100 days or even 300 days, but I just wanted to conduct my own experiment and see how it goes.
Who Is the Saitama Workout For?
If you plan to follow this routine so that you can make things explode and go bald, this is probably not the workout for you.
That said, the One Punch Man challenge does have plenty of health benefits to offer.
For starters, this exercise combo targets all the major muscle groups in your body. You have a pushing-motion through pushups, leg training through the squats, and core training through the sit-ups.
Furthermore, these bodyweight exercises hit those muscle groups in a more natural manner, thus reducing the risk of injury.
If You’re a Fighter
If you’re a fighter, say a boxer or a martial artist, looking for explosiveness as well as muscular endurance and stamina, this workout can work wonders for you.
After all, it’s a known fact that high-rep exercises, which is the case here, are great when it comes to muscular endurance, which will allow you to throw plenty of good punches rather than one.
There’s also the fact that this routine can help you regulate your bodyweight. If you start to gain fat, performing such a high number of pushups, squats and sit-ups each day, becomes hard. In other words, you’ll always be focusing on your weight so that you can nail this workout routine.
If You’re Looking for Gains
On the other hand, this workout routine wouldn’t do you any good if you’re looking to increase your muscle size and strength because of two things:
- First, this is a repetitive daily workout that doesn’t allow for sufficient recovery, which, as you know, is crucial for muscle growth.
- And second, there’s no progressive overload in this workout routine, which means that you’ll eventually reach a plateau and stop seeing significant gains.
There’s also the fact that there’s no pulling movement pattern, which is essential for your upper back and bicep development. This is easy to fix, though, as all you have to do is throw some pull-ups in the mix, and you’ll turn this routine into a bulletproof workout plan!
Do not expect to hit 100 reps of pull-ups, though, or you’ll be disappointed.
Saitama Workout – Pros and Cons
- Great for building muscle endurance
- Fun and challenging workout routine
- No need for any piece of equipment
- Low risk of injury
- Not optimized for muscle growth
- No pulling movement pattern
- Doesn’t build raw strength
- Gets boring after a while
How I Went About the Workout
I bet you’re now a bit excited to go ahead start working out following the One Punch Man workout challenge routine.
Well, so was I when I discovered all the benefits mentioned above, which is why I decided to put this routine to test!
Now, as you’d expect, this workout isn’t as simple as hammering out 100 reps of pushups, sit-ups, and squats. You actually have to work your way up to that number, especially if you’re a beginner. Even when I tried doing 100 crunches a day I couldn't and crunches are far easier than sit ups when you get in the higher rep counts.
If you’re just starting out, you can break up the 100 reps into several sets and rest for two to three minutes in-between. So, instead of performing 100 pushups at once, start with five sets of 20 reps or even ten sets of 10 reps. Then four sets of 25, and so on.
Why should you decrease the number of sets, you might ask?
Because the fewer sets you need to reach 100 reps, the better your muscular endurance and raw strength potential becomes.
Alternatively, you can spread the workout throughout the day, doing small sets of 10 reps of each exercise every hour or so.
Personally, I went with the following combo of sets and reps:
- Week 1: 4 x 25 Push-ups, 5 x 20 Sit-ups, 5 x 20 Squats
- Week 2: 4 x 30 Push-ups, 4 x 30 Sit-ups, 4 x 25 Squats
- Week 3: 3 x 35 Push-ups, 3 x 35 Sit-ups, 4 x 30 Squats
- Week 4: 3 x 40 Push-ups, 3 x 40 Sit-ups, 3 x 40 Squats
I know that I exceeded the 100-rep bar for one exercise or the other during certain weeks, but that’s only because I wanted to add some progressive overload into the mix.
I Did 100 Pushups, 100 Sit-Ups, and 100 Squats for 30 Days – My Results
Let me tell you; following through with the workout was hard. I wanted to quit many times throughout the past month.
Not only was the routine tiring, but it also started getting quite repetitive and boring after two weeks. That’s why I began mixing in different variations of the exercises, such as clap pushups and diamond cutters, throughout the second half of the 30 days.
Now, as for the actual results.
By the end of the challenge, I’ve added decent muscle mass to both my chest and triceps and even my biceps had some nice tone to them. My abs also got considerably more defined, which is what my friends noticed the most.
Not gonna lie, I would’ve probably made more progress if I went to the gym instead of following this routine, but for a simple workout that’s easy to perform anywhere and the fact that it does not take much time out of my day makes the One Punch Man challenge is impressive!
The One Punch Man challenge was fun, but there are some things on which you need to focus if you really want this routine to be effective and fruitful, which are:
Following the routine as is (100 pushups + 100 sit-ups + 100 squats) will eventually lead to a plateau because there’s no progressive overload, which is essential for building muscle and strength.
If you want to avoid that, try to increase the number of reps as you go.
As you know, you can achieve progressive overload through different methods, the main being adding weight.
Since you can’t add weight when performing bodyweight exercises without increasing the risk of injury, you ought to achieve progressive overload by increasing the number of reps every training session.
Or by getting yourself some kettle bells or even just a pair of cheap dumbbells to give you a bit more variety and allow you to add some size to your muscle rather than just tone.
Of course, if you want to increase the reps without destroying your progress, you need to focus on another aspect as well, which is recovery.
If you’re going to stick to this workout, I recommend that you don’t do it every day. Your body needs rest days to recover. I mean quite honestly even doing a full body workout like this every other day is still quite a lot to recover from if you are not used to it.
It’s during those breaks that you develop strength, endurance, and health.
Tearing down your body constantly without proper rest will simply stall your progress. That’s why I mentioned that this workout routine is tiring, and it’s the reason why many people who try this challenge get disappointed with the results at the end.
I recommend going for three days of training per week, or four if you’re really ambitious. I definitely do not recommend working out 7 days a week with this hard of a routine though.
Should you feel the need to go for more days per week, you can try it out and see how it goes, but I believe that you’d hit a plateau quickly.
Just remember; exercise, but don’t burn yourself out following this workout routine!
Pulling Movement Pattern
As I mentioned above, this workout routine lacks the pulling movement pattern.
So, in the long run, you’re most likely to experience some imbalance between your pushing muscles (chest, triceps, shoulders) and pulling muscles (back and biceps).
There’s a simple solution to this, though, which is performing pull-ups along with the pushups, sit-ups, and squats.
If you’re working out at home, you can get a door pull-up bar, which can be easily mounted on any door frame.
Keep in mind that pull-ups are harder than the other exercises, though, so don’t expect to perform 100 pull-ups at once from the beginning. Instead, start with a low number of reps and sets, say three sets of 5 to 10 reps, and work your way up from there.
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