Prison Workout Secrets

(Image credit: Unknown)

Jail’s not an ideal training environment. Your activities are restricted, access to kit is limited, and they don’t exactly hand out protein shakes in the canteen. But some men defy their circumstances to improve their fitness hugely while inside. 

Clint Warren was convicted of trafficking marijuana in 2010 and sentenced to ten months in Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution, Connecticut. While there, he devised a muscle-building bodyweight plan that also works in the real world.

He emerged a reformed man. ‘I’ve made mistakes and am doing everything to move on from them,’ says Warren. ‘I’m now a certified personal trainer, run a web development agency, and mentor people with drug and alcohol issues.’

Punishing regime

Warren pledged that he wouldn’t simply serve his time. ‘I made a commitment to continue improving myself,’ he says.

Before prison, he was squatting 215kg, deadlifting 240kg, benching 145kg, overhead pressing 90kg, and doing yoga, jiu jitsu and CrossFit. But his confinement meant a radical rethink. ‘I didn’t have any weights, so I couldn’t keep doing those big moves. I had to rely on bodyweight – luckily I had a pull-up bar, back extension machine, dip station and abs wheel.’

This ability to adapt meant he wasn’t hampered by the lack of weights. ‘Once I got out, I discovered my “big four” maxes had fallen only slightly,’ he says, ‘and I’d lost 20lb [ 9kg]. Pound for pound I was stronger than when I went in.’

After his release, Warren shared his experience of training in the clink on Reddit – his goal was to help other offenders to turn their lives around. But his tips will work for anyone who wants to pack on muscle but doesn’t have space or access to much kit.

Ask the expert

‘If you have limited equipment, this plan is brutal but effective,’ says Richard Tidmarsh, owner and lead trainer at Reach Fitness ( ‘I’m a fan of bodyweight exercises as you can do them anywhere and get great results.

‘Clint’s plan includes four days of two workouts – one early-morning HIIT session for fat-burning plus conditioning and a later one focused on single muscle group growth,’ says Tidmarsh. ‘The superset combinations and high reps
will build strength and pack on size.’

Clint Warren before and after prison: 

Clint Warren before and after photos

(Image credit: Courtesy Clint Warren)

Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.