At 54 years old, heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson says he’s been getting into the best shape of his life since coming out of retirement and hitting the mitts once again. But back in his heyday, Tyson was known for staying shredded with a weight-free, calisthenics-centric fitness regimen. For a challenge (and a new Athlean-X video), Jesse Laico takes on the fighter’s intense bodyweight workout for himself.
The routine consists of 500 bench dips, 500 pushups, 500 weighted shrugs at 66 pounds, 1,000 situps, and 1,000 air squats, totaling 3,500 reps. Tyson would approach this using one of two methods: broken down into either five large or 10 smaller sets throughout the day. Laico opts for five sets of 100 dips, pushups and shrugs, and 200 situps and air squats each.
But that’s not the only part of the training. Laico also tried Tyson’s squat workout, which uses a deck of cards to build repetition. Here’s how it works: lay out 10 playing cards in a row on the ground. Squat down to pick up the first card, come back up, then move along to the next card. Squat down again, put the first card on top of the second, rise up, then down again, pick up that card, up again, then down again to pick up the second card too. Repeat this as you go along the line, doing a squat between each time you pick up or put down a card. By the time you reach the end of the line, you’ll be doing 19 squats, and the entire workout comes to 100 reps.
“Don’t ever underestimate the power of calisthenics or bodyweight training,” says Athlean-X founder Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. “When it comes to building a better physique and being explosive and being strong and athletic, you can do all of the above with bodyweight exercises… Don’t limit them to just conditioning or burnout exercises, you can build muscle if you program your calisthenics exercises properly.”
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As Tyson gears up for his big comeback fight against Roy Jones Jr., Cavaliere says the boxer has been doing two hours of cardio and conditioning work every day with helping him lose weight. Cavaliere asserts, however, that while looking after your cardiovascular health is important, two hours every day is unnecessary if you’re only training to achieve certain aesthetic goals.
“You don’t have to do that in order to be ripped and lose weight,” he says. “The more you’re willing to get your nutrition in check, the less of that you’re going to have to do.”
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