Charles Bronson Workout – The Basics

The Charles Bronson Workout

Michael Gordon Peterson, aka, Charles “Charlie” Bronson has something of a cult following among fitness buffs. Ever since he published his exercise book in 2007, people have been interested in learning what the Bronson Workout is. Some of this curiosity is probably due the reports of almost superhuman strength this guy has. This includes things like doing 118 push ups in 60 seconds, 1727 push ups in an hour. Or, the recorded 1,790 sit-ups in an hour’s time. Or, it may just be the fact that he has been reported to have bent his metal prison cell door with his bare hands.

Tom Hardy, the british Actor has brought Peterson to life, so to speak, for the rest of us in the movie, Bronson. But, in order to play Charlie Bronson, Hardy had to actually train like an animal and gain 40 lbs. or so of pure muscle just to make himself believable in the role.

So what is the Bronson Workout?

The Bronson Workout cannot easily be outlined. In fact, if you have read or heard anything about his book, “Solitary Fitness”, you know how convoluted the exercise regimen is. While Bronson does an okay job at describing the basic exercises of his routine, he does a terrible job at outlining his exercise protocol. He mentions that this is a deliberate action on his part. He doesn’t seem to want others to be able to go and copy his work out right.

However, the gist is this: It’s basically divided into 3 parts.

  • Stretching or Warm-up
  • The Basics – compound movements
  • The Dynamics – Isolated isometric exercises for each body part.

While describing his particular approaches to specific exercises, he refers to them as “solitary number…whatever”. From “solitary 1- solitary 37”. Where “solitary 10” is an isometric tricep extension and “solitary 26” is a lunge. Later in the book he goes into his suggested combination of exercise sets and reps in order to get your desired results. However, he only refers to the reference number and not the specific exercise. It gets kind of confusing. But, while it is confusing at first, it can be deciphered with patience.

Most people reading this will probably find what he calls “Solitary Basics” the most familiar part of the Bronson Workout. While Bronson will say that his strength and power come from the isometrics that he performs, the basics are an integral part of his workout routine.

They provide him with speed and agility because they are more dynamic rather than static. The following are all part of the Solitary Basic exercise routine of the Bronson Workout:

  • Hand Stand Push Ups
  • Regular Push Ups
  • Sit Ups
  • Squats
  • Squat Thrusts
  • Burpees
  • Star jumps
  • Step Ups

He suggests starting out with 10 of each except for the hand stand push ups.

Bronson Workout – Just Do The Basics

If all you did was the “Solitary Basics” as a routine 2-3 times a week, that would probably be enough for most people. This part of the Bronson Workout has an exercise for everybody part and every phase of fitness training.

While you could get into the isometrics part of the program, it may be kind of boring to someone who has access to more equipment than Bronson has. It takes a lot of discipline to consistently do isometrics and similar exercises especially if you have access to a gym or weight set. Bronson doesn’t have either and has to make the best of his situation.

Read this post to see the Tom Hardy Bronson Workout

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12 thoughts on “Charles Bronson Workout – The Basics

  1. I couldn’t figure out what you meant when you talked about a cult following by some fitness buffs. I thought you were referring to the actor Charles Bronson, of the Death Wish movies. Wrong side of the law ; )

  2. Great topic I haven’t heard of this guy before but obviously he is very popular.
    I like the sound of his bodyweight workouts they are really challenging. I will definitely investigate this more.
    And just to test where I am I just hit the deck to see how long it took me to get to 100 pushups…nearly 3 minutes so to get them in 1 minute is awesome.

  3. Bronson certainly had some incredible strength. Prison was probably a good opportunity for him to continue to develop further strength with bodyweight training. I’m not really sure I’d buy this guy’s book though…even if it had a ton of value, it’s tough to support someone who’s considered one of the most violent prisoners in British history.

    • True Dave, Prison gives people ample time to workout if they are motivated to do so.
      I totally understand where you are coming from in regards to buying his book. From what I understand all monies are donated to charity. I don’t really think he has access to anything on the outside. But, the issue remains.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Nowadays with all the shiny gym equipment, fancy routines and supplements its almost easy to forget just how challenging a routine founded on the basics can be. I thought about taking up the 100 press ups gauntlet Raymond has thrown down, but still recovering from a shoulder workout so wimped out.

    I’ll be back tho!

  5. Interesting post.

    I’m using running to get really lean and focusing on bodyweight exercises rather than the gym. By periodizing my time to lean out first and then use VI to shape at the end I only need push-up, crunches and pull-ups right now – I’ll seee how fast I can do 100.


  6. I am building up my pushups doing the 100 push up challenge myself. I agree with what you said about his basic routine if most people did those body weight exercises 2 to 3 time a week they would get good results.

  7. I saw the movie Bronson mainly to see what Tom Hardy might look like in the next Batman movie, but then I immediately was fascinated by Charles Bronson and his story. He’s never killed a single person, and yet has spent most of his life in prison for his violent outbursts (among other things). I found out that as of now, he is committed to non-violence and has been for 10 years. Incredible in my opinion. In his own words, “I am a prisoner of my own past…” I love his style of fitness and I really hope he can get out soon. This stuff works!!!!

  8. I’ve spent many years lifting weights here and there, have 12 years doing karate and I like to work out in my free time, but Bronson´s Workout seems to be my calling for getting a harder, tougher body.

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