Oh, so your love for anime has brought you to this article? Rest assured, you are not alone. A quick ‘One Punch Man‘ search on Instagram will tell you that many fitness influencers are taking up the One Punch Man challenge.
But why this fascination with a cartoon character, you ask?
One Punch Man is the story of Saitama, a 22-year-old boy who always dreams of becoming a superhero, and one day an opportunity presents itself.
On a bright and beautiful day, our hero is returning from yet another unsuccessful job interview when he encounters a villain, Crablante.
We know what you are thinking – “What kind of a name is Crablante?”
The villain got his name after he turns into a monster from eating too many crabs. True story.
Saitama saves a boy from Crablante’s claws (literally) and knocks the shit out of him. This moment flips a switch inside Saitama and sets him on the path to pursue his dream of becoming a superhero.
But if becoming a superhero was so easy, for all you know, I would be beating the life out of an Octopuslante right now.
One Punch Man Transformation Story
Saitama is a frail fellow and knows that if it weren’t for the goddess of luck, Crabby would have handed him his ass. The wannabe hero decides to change things up and starts working on his strength and endurance.
Saitama resolves to turn around his life and starts a three-year intense workout routine. His training regimen is so extreme that he loses all his hair by the end of his transformation.
But on the bright side, the three-year-long penance makes Saitama so strong that he can defeat all his opponents with just one punch and hence the name – One Punch Man.
Why do I have a feeling this could be Floyd Mayweather’s story? But I digress.
Related Read: How Your Body Adapts To Endurance Training
One Punch Man Workout Routine
The One Punch Man workout routine is popular among anime fans, in part due to online influencers attempting to follow the routine for 30 days to several years.
The star of the Japanese superhero franchise develops superhuman strength by performing a workout regimen that consists of – wait for it – 100 situps, 100 pushups, 100 squats, and a 6.2-mile (10-km) run.
Here is the technique breakdown for each bodyweight exercise:
Saitama starts his training routine with classic core exercises that primarily target abdominal muscles and hip flexors.
How to perform sit-up:
- Lie with your back on an exercise mat and feet placed flat on the floor.
- Cross your arms over your chest or place your hands behind your head. If you choose the second option, make sure you are not pulling your head from the back and excessively pressing your chin toward your chest.
- Use your abdomen to lift yourself until your chest nearly touches your thighs.
- Exhale sharply and contract your abs at the top of the movement.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 100 repetitions.
Read more on Sit-ups here.
Push-up is a great bodyweight exercise for building your chest, shoulders, and core. It is also the exercise that will help in building explosive punching power.
How to perform push-up:
- Get into a straight-arm plank position and make sure your body is in a straight line. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your head and neck in a neutral position throughout the exercise.
- Slowly lower your body towards the floor by bending at your elbows until your chest is a few inches off the ground.
- Explode back up to the starting position.
- Pause and squeeze the life out of your pecs at the top of the movement.
- Repeat for 100 repetitions.
- Tip: Keep your core engaged throughout the movement and prevent your hips from sagging towards the floor.
Squats train your lower body and primarily target your glutes and hams. This exercise is a must-have for every bodyweight training program.
How to perform squats:
- Stand upright with a shoulder-width stance and toes pointing out slightly.
- Push back your hips to initiate the lowering phase of the movement.
- Lower your body by bending at your knees.
- While maintaining a neutral head and neck, lower yourself as much as you can without your back rounding or knees caving in.
- At the bottom of the movement, your thighs should at least be parallel to the floor.
- Push through your heels to explode back to the starting position.
- Pause and contract your quads, hams, and glutes at the top of the movement.
- Repeat for the target 100 reps.
The 10 kilometers run on the One Punch Man workout program will help you get lean and stay that way. It will also aid in improving your cardiovascular health, endurance, and conditioning.
As simple as running may be, it certainly isn’t easy. Not learning how to run correctly can lead to an overuse injury and that negates the whole reason you started the One Punch Man training program.
Tips to run better:
- Increase the number of steps you take per minute as taking short strides reduces the stress on your legs.
- Lean from your ankles, and keep a straight line from your ankle, through your butt, and up to your head.
- When your foot comes down and makes contact with the ground, it should be underneath your body, not in front of it.
- Always land on your midfoot as it can help avoid a lot of injuries by absorbing impact shock and preventing a severe heel striking running stride.
- Bend your arms at about 90 degrees and swing them front-to-back and not side-to-side.
Also, worn-out or ill-fitting shoes are a recipe for injury. Investing in a pair with the right fit and support you need will pay dividends in the long run.
Related: Running Calorie Calculator
Muscles Worked in the One Punch Man Workout Regimen
If you are wondering what all muscles you will be training on the manga training program, check out this list:
- Pectoralis Major and Minor: Push-up
- Triceps: Push-up
- Anterior Deltoid: Push-up
- Rectus Abdominis: Sit-up
- Rectus Femoris: Sit-up
- Psoas: Sit-up
- Gluteus Maximus: Squat
- Quadriceps: Squat
- Hamstrings: Running
- Calves: Running
One Punch Man Workout Routine Pros and Cons
A 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 squats, and a 6.2-mile (10-km) run training program is nothing normal. Let’s go over the benefits and drawbacks of the regimen:
One Punch Man Workout Benefits
The superhero workout program is ideal for almost everyone because of the following benefits:
1. Can Be Done Anywhere
You will only be doing bodyweight exercises on the One Punch Man workout regimen. You do not need to hit a gym or buy fancy equipment. No matter how busy your schedule, you can always fit this workout routine into your day.
2. For People of All Fitness Levels
Unlike some advanced training principles (FST7, DTP, etc.), the One Punch Man training routine (the one we recommend below) could be done by people of any experience level. Since the regimen consists of basic movements, your learning curve will be steep, and it will also help build a foundation for more advanced lifts in the future – if you wish to go that way.
3. Build Strength, Muscle Mass, and Conditioning
If you are a fitness rookie, the bodyweight exercises will help you put on some muscle mass. Also, the 10km runs will aid in shedding excess body fat and improve your muscle conditioning. Not to mention, performing 100 reps each of the three exercises will make you strong as a bull.
The One Punch Man workout program promotes overall muscle development. Push-ups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. Squats help build lower body strength and sit-ups aid in developing the abdominals.
One Punch Man Workout Drawbacks
No, going bald is not among the risks of following the One Punch Man workout program, but these are:
1. No Recovery Time
Performing 100 situps, 100 pushups, 100 squats, and a 6.2-mile (10-km) run every day for three years straight is easier said than done. The exorbitant training frequency will sooner or later catch up to you and leave you exhausted.
Your muscles need downtime for recuperating from your workouts and to get bigger and stronger. On top of that, performing the One Punch Man training program with insufficient recovery time puts you at serious risk of an injury.
Next Read: 8 Ways to Speed Up Recovery After Training
2. Excessive Exercise Volume
If you are a fitness rookie, or aren’t already in shape, performing 100 sit-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 squats, and a 6.2-mile (10-km) run right out of the gate will be next to impossible.
Pushing yourself too hard in the beginning or using a poor technique on movements like push-ups and squats places undue stress on your joints and may cause both acute and overuse injuries.
The One Punch Man workout routine lacks an element of progression. Instead of conditioning you for insanely high reps down the line, it wants you to start the regimen like a seasoned pro.
And on the other hand, if you do the same workout every day, it will get to a point where you will feel like the program is not challenging enough, and you might hit a plateau.
3. Neglects Movement Pattern
The One Punch Man training regimen includes only a few key movement patterns needed for comprehensive physique development. It includes the following patterns:
- horizontal pushing: from the pushups
- squat: from the bodyweight squats
- lunge/gait/running: from running
The following movement patterns are neglected on the One Punch Man workout routine:
- hip hinge: as in a deadlift
- overhead pressing: as in a barbell or dumbbell overhead press
- horizontal pulling: as in dumbbell or seated cable row
- vertical pulling: as in chin-ups or pull-ups
- loaded carrying: as in a farmer’s carry
Let’s not forget, the One Punch Man workout program is written by a cartoonist. We are pretty sure the writer would have hired a fitness professional to design the training plan if he knew thousands of people would one day be following it. And this is a nice segue into…
The Ideal One Punch Man Training Split
Since performing 100 reps of push-ups, squats, and sit-ups is not easy even for a seasoned pro, we are taking this opportunity to modify the One Punch Man workout program a little so that even a novice can follow along.
We are dividing the original One Punch Man training regimen into ten levels. The number of reps you will be performing for every exercise will increase as you move up the progression ladder.
The progressive nature of this training split will allow your muscles time to get ready for mayhem at the final level. It also helps avoid plateaus as you will routinely be performing different numbers of reps.
Here are the One Punch Man workout levels:
1. Level One
In the first level, you will be doing 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 squats, and running for 1-kilometer every day. Follow every routine for at least two weeks or until you get comfortable with the level, and then move on to the next level.
2. Level Two
For the second level, you will progress to 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, 20 squats, and a 2 kilometers run. Switch to the next level once you get used to this routine.
3. Level Three
30 push-ups, 30 sit-ups, 30 squats, and run for 3 kilometers.
4. Level Four
40 push-ups, 40 sit-ups, 40 squats, and run for 4 kilometers.
5. Level Five
50 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 squats, and run for 5 kilometers.
6. Level Six
60 push-ups, 60 sit-ups, 60 squats, and run for 6 kilometers.
7. Level Seven
70 push-ups, 70 sit-ups, 70 squats, and run for 7 kilometers.
8. Level Eight
80 push-ups, 80 sit-ups, 80 squats, and run for 8 kilometers.
9. Level Nine
90 push-ups, 90 sit-ups, 90 squats, and run for 9 kilometers.
10. Level Ten
100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and run for 10 kilometers.
Will You Gain The Same Punching Power as Saitama After a 3 Year Training Period?
The One Punch Man workout gained traction because the anime claims it gave Saitama the power to defeat any opponent with a single punch. People trying the training regimen for themselves are rarely looking to build ripped pecs or shredded obliques. Most of them want the knock-out power that would make Saitama proud.
Now, if you are wondering if the 109,500 push-ups (that is the number of squats you will be doing over three years), 109,500 sit-ups, and 109,500 squats will give you the power to knock out Tyson Fury in the first round, we have a reminder for you – this is not anime.
Punching is a specific athletic skill, and your punching power depends on variables like – rotation and explosion from your feet, hips, and shoulders transferred into a punch.
To throw a knockout punch, coordination among all the muscles involved is more important than the strength of any single muscle group. So, to answer the question above – If you already have an excellent punching technique, strengthening your muscles might improve the maximum power of your punch.
Without proper punching technique, building strength will not drastically improve your punching power. If your goal is to develop a powerful punch, along with bodyweight exercises, you should incorporate boxing training into your regimen.
- Tyson Fury Diet and Workout Program
- Deontay Wilder Workout and Diet Program
- Conor McGregor UFC Diet and Workout Program
- Mike Tyson’s Insane Workout and Diet Program
The One Punch Man workout routine is not for the faint of heart. If you are a beginner, you would be better off starting with the ten-level training split.
Most newbies forget that they will never be able to transform their physique by having a fling with the fit lifestyle. Marry fitness, and like Saitama, put in the work without expecting any good news for the next three years.
If you are a fan of the series or just looking for a physical challenge, you are going to have a blast following the manga-inspired training regimen. Good luck!