Inspired by the anime One Punch Man and the popular challenge of mimicking the hero Saitama’s grueling training, Youtuber Stan Browney took on the physically intense, month-long program for himself for 30 days. Doing 100 situps, 100 pushups, 100 squats, and a 10 km run is supposedly the key to unlocking your superhuman potential — but does it actually work?
Of course, in the show, Saitama has been following this exercise regime every single day for three whole years. As Browney points out, though, this isn’t the best way to get results, because you’re bound to plateau after a couple of months. The best way to continue building strength and muscle is to add progression to your workouts, not just churn out the same repetitions every single day.
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“It could be a workout program for somebody that’s just starting out, to see if they like working out and stuff like that,” he says. “But a real workout program, if you’ve been working out for a few months? Not really.”
With that in mind, Browney adapts Saitama’s workout slightly, breaking the pushups down into 3 sets of 15 normal pushups, 3 sets of diamond cutter pushups (placing the hands in a diamond shape at the front of the body, rather than the side) to work the triceps more, then a final set of 10 wide or clapping pushups, full of explosive movement.
When it comes to the squats, he also recommends challenging yourself to make them more difficult, as they can begin to feel fairly easy when you’re doing them every day. “Add weight, jump, make it explosive,” he says.
Browney also adds pullups to the One Punch Man workout, as he felt it was missing an exercise that suitably works the shoulders and back. However, as pullups are a tough move for beginners, he recommends starting with normal-grip and reverse-grip rows.
As for the 10 km run, Browney advises against it if your goal is to gain mass, or if your current training program already includes a lot of cardio, as the main benefit of running is weight loss. He also suggests starting with a smaller distance to begin with and working up to the 10 km, or getting your cardio in other ways, like playing basketball or jumping rope.
And finally, he hits upon perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that people make when they do this challenge: working out every day without allowing the body sufficient time to rest. If you’re breaking down your muscle fibers continually every day and not allowing them time to grow back stronger, then you’re not going to see much in the way of results — no matter what the anime says.
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