Workout Without Weights

by Dr. Wendy Schauer, D.C., R.K.C. on May 20, 2012

A couple of years ago I read an article called, “The Folsom 21″ that really captured my attention.  The “Folsom 21″ is a prison workout that can help get you in the best shape of your life and it requires no weights, no machines, and very little room.  The name of this workout comes from The Folsom State Prison in Folsom, California.  

You do a descending set of burpees - you start with doing 21 burpees as fast as you can, while maintaining the best form possible.  After you complete 21 you rest for 60 seconds and then you perform 20 reps.  You keep descending all the way down to 1. 

This workout is POWERFUL.  What I really like about it is that it is all based on bodyweight exercises.  Bodyweight exercises are starting to become more and more popular.  It’s interesting how the fitness community is starting to move back to “original” and “functional” movements and move away from machine based exercises.  The Folsom 21  is also very popular.  Mike Rowe, the host of, “Dirty Jobs” on The Discovery Channel is a big fan of this workout.  Here is a video of Mike performing a quick demonstration of the workout.

Coach Eddie Lomax also mentions “The Folsom 21″ in his book, “Unchained Bodyweight Workout” and highly recommends this exercise.  I’m sure that 90% of us just starting out will not be able to complete this exercise our first time starting out.  Take your time, build up your endurance level, set small and achievable goals for being able to accomplish this workout, and as always…check with your docotor or health care professional before starting this or any other form of exercise. 

Yours In Health!

Dr. Wendy

Scott Sylvan Bell May 21, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Dr Wendy, Have you seen the similar Hindu squats or push ups they are not only tough but they give a great work out.
Scott Sylvan Bell
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Covert Hypnosis: 3 Confidence Building Techniques May 21, 2012 at 12:39 PM

it is very challanging. I saw this morning a commercial on TV (while on the treadmill) about the Push Up Pump. Do you think it is a good alternative or just cheating?

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Sonya Lenzo May 21, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Wow…I was breathing hard just watching him do these!!!
Sonya Lenzo

Suzanne Laramore May 21, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Ouch, ouch, ouch! I can’t do that.

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Lisa Wilcox May 21, 2012 at 4:25 PM

This makes working out so easy. No excuses! Thanks for your wonderful ideas.

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Lisa Wilcox

Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor May 21, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Great new look for your site.

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Covert Hypnosis Online May 21, 2012 at 7:40 PM

Very interesting, enjoyed it. I’m going to try this!
Be Well.

Michael D Walker May 22, 2012 at 12:36 PM

We did those in boot camp in the military. VERY effective!

Florine McKinney

Lyle R. Johnson: The Sales Wizard & Mentor May 22, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Well, first I thought of Johnny Cash … then, pondered what the goal of the prisoners was for doing the exercise – Escape of to kill the Warden.

Lyle R. Johnson – aka The Sales Wizard

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College Reunion Dating Tips May 22, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Hi Dr. Wendy,

The Folsom Prison thing is ever so slightly amusing to me. However, it is still a really great workout. Just the context is somehow drole. I really appreciate how you are always helping people to build their total health. As we age, it matters more and more, doesn’t it?

Happy Dating and Relationships,

April Braswell, CHt, RH
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Clare Delaney May 23, 2012 at 12:46 AM

So that’s what a burpee is! I enjoyed the video, thanks for sharing. I agree, everyone I know in the fitness world is moving away from machines. Certainly most exercises using bodyweight tend to engage the core more, which can only be good.

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Dan May 23, 2012 at 11:21 AM

Mike Rowe is awsome, and so are burpees!

Jennifer May 23, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Thanks for the fun exercise. My wrist hurts. Power through and wait till I get stronger or …?

bryan May 23, 2012 at 6:47 PM

The idea of working out without weights is appealing.

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Kevin Hogan May 24, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Bodyweight exercises are what we have been doing for a few years back in our evolution now, and they seem to work pretty well indeed!

Mark Hogan

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