We might be confined in our homes yet again but that shouldn’t stop you from exercising. There are a bunch of ways to build muscle at home, one of them being the calisthenics way, a type of workout that uses bodyweight exercises only. If you think it’s not good to build muscle, think again: the Mike Tyson bodyweight workout evidently got him in shape back in the day and this bodyweight workout is as effective today as it was 30 years ago.
Regardless of what you might think of Iron Mike as a person, he was undeniably one of the best heavyweight boxers of his time. He was blisteringly fast and uncannily strong, capable of delivering heavy punches in quick succession in the ring.
So what if we told you that he achieved his frightening physique using nothing but the best bodyweight exercises? Unlike T3’s usual best full body workout this is not about leveraging the best barbells and best dumbbells; it’s all down to you.
That’s right, young Mike Tyson used bodyweight training to get ripped. Better still, he used probably the most accessible bodyweight exercises. So not only do you need minimal quantities of the best home gym equipment, you don’t have to learn any ridiculous, bicep push-up style moves. Leave them fancy pistol squats and scorpion push ups to Youtube influencers. You also won’t need to punch big sides of beef. Unless you particularly want to.
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Of course, one might wonder how Mike Tyson got ripped using simple bodyweight exercises only? Can you build muscle using bodyweight exercises? After all, you can only increase resistance so much with calisthenics exercises and after mastering push ups, the only thing you can do is churning out more resp.
The problem is, most bodybuilders claim that the ideal hypertrophy range is between 8-12 reps per set. But by doing only 8-12 reps per set, after a few months of bodyweight training, you will stop seeing improvements, we can guarantee that. Progressive overload is key to muscle building.
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So, what’s the secret sauce of the Mike Tyson bodyweight training? Surprisingly enough, it’s frequency. It might not be as surprising to some, especially for those who are in the know about bodyweight training. To build muscle with with calisthenics, you will need to up the rep range, and significantly so.
As mentioned in our press up workout tips article, overloading the muscles is important in bodyweight training. Some might say a higher rep range will ‘only’ build muscle endurance, but that’s only true if you work with lighter weights, and bodyweight exercises provide ample amount of resistance so they can be classified as moderate- to heavy-weight training.
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If you want to build muscle like Mike Tyson in his heydays, you should follow his bodyweight workout plan. It’s worth mentioning that Mike was doing this workout for a month leading up to his fights; the Mike Tyson bodyweight workout is intense and demanding, especially if you aren’t used to strenuous exercising.
Mike reportedly worked out 10 times a day, six times a week and followed this routine: 200 decline sit-ups, 50 bench dips, 50 push-ups and 50 shrugs. For the shrugs, he used the best dumbbells but you can use the best resistance bands or the best kettlebells instead. If you have the best barbells at home, you can use a trap bar as well for the shrugs.
Mike Tyson bodyweight workout
Decline sit ups
Decline sit ups allow a fuller range of motion than regular sit ups and therefore activate the rectus abdominis muscle (a.k.a. six pack muscle) more. When doing sit ups, make sure you don’t pull your head forwards with your hands: you can rest the hands in front of your chest instead.
Bench dips are the smaller sibling of parallel bar dips and require literally no equipment. Of course, feel free to use the best weight bench for support if you want to, that might come in handy for other exercises too.
We love push ups here at T3. Push ups are one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do and they will build monster pecs and impressive arms. They are great for improving core strength and should you elevate your legs, you can also work your delts (a.k.a. shoulder muscles) beautifully.
Nothing says ‘I work out’ more than having big traps (the muscles around the neck). As well as making you look incredibly buff, traps can help stabilise the neck and reduce pressure on the upper back muscles. Shrugs also improve grip strength and we all know that grip strength is the best way to assess one’s physical abilities.