Charles Bronson’s Prison Bodyweight Workout Routine and Diet Plan

Charles Bronson is one of the most notorious prisoners of all time. He was first sentenced to 7 years in jail in 1974. He was briefly released after a few years but that didn’t really last long.

He was again convicted and this time he was given a life sentence. He stayed in the prison for 42 long years. But in those years, he went on to become so iconic that even a movie was made about his life.

Training happened to be a prominent part of Charles’ daily routine in prison. His workouts were simple but brutally effective. And if you want to know about them in detail, then we must say that you are at the right place.

So let’s find out more about the secrets that transformed Charles into a strength monster.

Charles Bronson's Prison Bodyweight Workout Routine and Diet Plan

Charles Bronson’s Workout Principles

Even though Charles was in prison with limited to no training equipment, he trained in a manner that transformed him into a beast. He gained great strength and his overall musculature also improved drastically.

There is a book written by Tom Furman named Hard Times: How to become Charles Bronson. In that book, Tom has highlighted what all kinds of workouts Charles performed in prison to attain a strong and muscular body.

Let’s get to know more about Charles’ prison exercise routine in the next section.

Charles Bronson’s Workout Routine

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Charles is often regarded as someone who popularized the concept of prison workouts. Being in a prison, he wasn’t having the liberty to train with modern gym equipment. But that wasn’t the excuse for Charles to not exercise.

Charles simply relied on bodyweight exercises. But the way he performed them was brutal. Pushups and situps happened to be his favorite exercises that fetched him decent strength gains. He even wrote in his autobiography,

“I’m the king of the press-ups and the sit-ups. I’ve already said I once did 25 press-ups with two men on my back, and I’ve squatted with three men on my shoulders.”

Such an intense exercise routine made Charles strong enough to pick up a full-size snooker table. He even went on to create numerous fitness records in the prison as well. Some of them included bending a steel prison cell door with bare hands and performing 172 pushups in 60 seconds. Once, Charles even performed 1727 pushups in one hour.

A major part of Charles Bronson’s workout routine was just using his own body weight as resistance and performing thousands of repetitions on exercises like pushups, situps, and free squats.

Charles says that there was a time when he solely relied on bodyweight training for 8 years. The kind of strength gains that he derived from it was nothing less than exemplary.

He was able to bench press 300 lbs for 10 strict reps at a bodyweight of 220 lbs. Well, that’s a feat of strength that even some regular gym goers find quite challenging. And that’s what makes Charles a solitary fitness survivor.

Owing to his superhuman strength levels, Charles gained popularity and his workout routine gave birth to a new style of training called ‘prison workouts’.

  • Prison workouts basically revolve around the concept of training with just one’s bodyweight. Push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, parallel bar dips, squats and burpees performed for an exorbitantly high number of repetitions happen to be the prime element of it.

Doing so not only gets you jacked but also fetches your body with some decent strength gains.

So here we present before you a prison bodyweight workout routine that will require you no other modern training equipment and will get you a great physique:-

Charles Bronson's Workout Routine

  • Shadow boxing- 3-4 rounds
  • Push ups variations- 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Parallel bar dips- 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Wide-grip pull ups or Chin ups- 5 sets of AMRAP
  • Sit ups- 5 sets of 15-20 reps
  • Free squats or Jumps squats – 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Step ups- 5 sets of 12-15 (reps on each leg)
  • Burpees- 3 sets of AMRAP
  • Plank – 3 sets till failure

While performing the above mentioned exercise routine, take a rest period of 30-60 seconds in between your working sets.

The Element of Nuclei Overload

Even though the concept of nuclei overload wasn’t there in the 1900s and the early 2000s, Charles’ training program certainly used that concept.

By performing the same exercises for an extremely high number of repetitions and that too on a regular basis, he subjected the targeted muscle groups to a kind of stress which left them with no option but to facilitate strength and size gains.

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Charles Bronson’s Diet Plan

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Being in prison, Charles was fed exactly the same food items that were given to other prisoners. There wasn’t any magical diet plan(s) that he relied on to turn into a beast.

Charles Bronson’s diet plan in prison was pretty basic. It consisted of just 3 major meals. It looked something like the following:-

Meal 1- Breakfast

  • Eggs
  • Bread
  • Oatmeal

Meal 2- Lunch

  • Beans
  • Potatoes

Meal 3- Dinner

  • Bread
  • Fruit
  • Stew

At present, Charles also likes to add some natural sweets to his diet plan. Some of them include salads and dried fruits.

Salvador Diet

A few years back, Charles even revealed his food wishlist and called it the ‘Salvador Diet’. It included numerous food items that he wished to eat on different days. Let’s have a look at them:-


Meal 1- Breakfast

  • Toast
  • 6 fried eggs
  • 4 crumpets

Meal 2- Lunch

  • Whole roast chicken
  • Apple pie and cream

Meal 3- Dinner

  • Beans
  • Spanish omelet with chips
  • Cream cake

Meal 4- Snack

  • Fairy cakes
  • Fish
  • Chips


Meal 1- Breakfast

  • 2 pints of squash
  • 12 eggs omelet

Meal 2- Lunch

  • Sausages with mashed swede
  • 12 cheesecakes

Meal 3- Dinner

  • Liver and onion with mash
  • 3 trifles and ice cream

Meal 4- Snack

  • 14 pears
  • 20 bags of nuts

Wednesday- Liquid day

  • 2 pints of squash
  • 6 pints of water, tea, and coffee
  • 4 pints of milk
  • 3 pints of Guinness
  • 10 pot noodles


Meal 1- Breakfast

  • 9 sausages
  • 6 bacon rolls
  • 4 crumpets

Meal 2- Lunch

  • T-bone steak with chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 rolls
  • Beans
  • Mushrooms

Meal 3- Dinner

  • 12 bacon rolls
  • A pot of tea

Meal 4- Snack

  • 2 ham rolls
  • 4 cheese rolls
  • French mustard


Meal 1- Breakfast

  • 4 chicken legs
  • 9 poached eggs
  • 8 pieces of toast

Meal 2- Lunch

  • Jam roly-poly with custard
  • Shepherd’s pie with carrots

Meal 3- Dinner

  • Beef curry with 10 cans of beer
  • 1 tub of ice cream

Meal 4- Snack

  • 6 portions of beans on toast
  • 1 box of dates


Meal 1- Breakfast

  • 8 boiled eggs
  • 3 bowls of porridge
  • 3 grapefruits

Meal 2- Lunch

  • 4 pears
  • Rump steak mash and peas

Meal 3- Dinner

  • Lamb hot pot mash
  • 6 Manchester tarts

Meal 4- Snack

  • 3 sausages
  • Fish and chips
  • 1 tub of ice cream


Meal 1- Breakfast

  • 10 yogurts
  • 3 watermelons

Meal 2- Lunch

  • Whole turkey
  • Roast potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower

Meal 3- Dinner

  • Whole goose with mash and peas

Meal 4- Snack

  • Rump steak and chips

Charles Bronson’s Supplements

Charles has never relied on supplements to fuel his gains. He just eats whole food items to fulfill his nutritional requirements. And looking at his strength levels and massive size we must say that doing so serves his best interests.

Charles says that he stays away from consuming even vitamins and minerals supplements. Instead, he prefers taking fresh fruits and salads to fetch his body essential vitamins and minerals.

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Final Words

Charles never fell prey to his circumstances especially when it was about keeping his body in a top-notch condition. And that is something that we all must learn from him.

Instead of complaining and whining about your present circumstances, you must find out how you can use the resources that are currently available to you to serve your prime interest(s). And we are sure that you must have learned a lot about doing so from this post.

So what are you waiting for? Get started with your fitness journey with all your current resources and see how doing so works wonders for you.