What Are the Best Exercises to Keep Yourself Fit Behind Bars?

Prisoner lifting weights with dumbbells while in prison

Inmate with dumbbells in prison cell.

Being confined behind bars is not an excuse for one to be unfit. There are so many ways to keep yourself fit and healthy by doing every day workouts despite being inside a prison cell. Exercising is also a great way of passing the time and surviving prison. Here, we present to you the best bodyweight exercise routines that work the entire body. By modifying the exercises, you can actually come up with around 50 different exercises from only six basic movements. You can follow these even with limited space, to keep your body healthy and strong.


One of the best upper-body exercises around is the good old push-up. Even with tiny open floor space, you can do so much more with it. Start doing 10 push-ups daily to be followed up with five more every day. Try doing different variations of push-ups such as the Hindu push-up, the one-armed push-up, and the hand-stand pushup.

The Hindu push-up is an active full-body movement that will build flexibility and strength in your shoulders, triceps, chest, back, and hips. To do this, set your position by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend down and have your hands reach the floor while keeping your arms and legs straight. Imagine yourself like an upside down human V, with your butt up in the air and your head pointing to the ground. Move your torso forward by arching your back and by lowering your hips. Your hips will be near to your hands. Make sure that your back is safe. Repeat it from the start.

When regular push-ups get too easy for you, you can try out the one-arm push-up. There are two variations to this kind of push-up. One is the arm-out style. Here, you are going to have your legs spread a bit wider than shoulder-width apart to balance the body. As you balance in the position, you will feel tension through your body—from the pressing arm, across the midsection, and into the opposite leg. Visualize this tension to help you realize where to apply the most pressure. With that tension, you have to keep the other foot on the ground. Turn your torso and legs away from your pressing arm. Remember to keep your body tight and not let your hips stick up high or sag down. Also to keep your balance, keep your non-pressing arm tucked behind you.

Another technique to the one-arm push-up is the arm in. This is more difficult to do than the arm out style. To do this, put your hands down by the side of the body, with your upper arm about a 45 degree angle with the body. Have your legs shoulder-width apart. Keep your arm tight enough so you wouldn’t lose the tension and balance you need. With your hand and arm in place, also keep the tension in your back. Create the tension in your upper body and have your legs and shoulder square to the ground.


This exercise works greatly on a whole host of muscle groups, including your forearms, biceps, traps, pecs, and your latissimus dorsi (or the “wing” muscles in your back). Find a bar somewhere inside the prison that you can use to do this exercise. There are so many variations to the pull-up workout, including a one-handed pull up, the typewriter pull-up, the towel pull-up, the narrow/wide grip, the commando pull-up, the mixed grip pull-up, and the chin up. Two of the easiest pull-ups to do is the mixed grip pull-up and the towel pull-up. In the mixed grip pull-up, one of your hand grips the bar overhand, while the other one is underhand. With the towel pull-up, hang two towels in a bar. Pull yourself up while each of your hand grips one of each two towels.


Squats is of the most basic athletic movement yet it is also an effective workout for your hamstrings, quads, hips, glutes, and inner thighs. There are also variations to squats. Some of them are the pistol squats, squat jumps, and prisoner squats.
There are so many workouts that prisoners can actually try behind bars. Be in peak shape and feel good about yourself and your body by doing any of these workouts regularly.

Click Here To Lean How To Stay Fit While Incarcerated