There are a LOT of workout routines out there. Despite the plethora of options, unfortunately, most of these workouts can be pretty tough to follow.
Enter: the Saitama Workout.
The Saitama or “One Punch Man” Workout came onto the fitness scene a few years back and has quickly impressed. As with many successful workout routines, the biggest perk is due to the potential to turn seemingly anyone into a muscular powerhouse in a short period.
But what is the Saitama Training Routine, and does it even work?
Up next, we’ll introduce you to the basics of the One Punch Man Workout and clue you into how effective it is in the real world.
Who Is Saitama?
Fun fact: Saitama is not a real person.
Plus, unless you’re a fan of anime, it’s relatively likely that you’ve never even heard of him before.
It turns out that Saitama (サイタマ) is the main protagonist of the anime series “One-Punch Man.”
As the show starts, Saitama was going about his regular life in Japan, when he realized that he wanted to be a superhero. He knew that superheroes were strong, so he dedicated himself to a rigorous training routine to become as strong as possible.
Eventually, the story goes, Saitama got so strong that his hair fell out from all the intense exercise. Throughout the series, he displayed what seems like an unlimited amount of physical strength, which allows him to easily defeat powerful villains and monsters with a single punch.
This ability earned him the nickname “One Punch Man” and brought him a lot of fame.
As the show became more and more popular, the series’ creators eventually explained Saitama’s training routine during an episode. Fans of the show soon started to wonder what would happen if they, too, tried Saitama’s workout and, thus, the One Punch Man Challenge was born.
What Is The Saitama Workout?
According to Saitama, his workout includes:
- 100 push-ups
- 100 sit-ups
- 100 squats
- 6.2 mile (10km) run
He claimed that he did this routine once a day, every day, for a year and a half to gain his superhuman strength. Additionally, he completed each of the 4 components of his training routine one after another, without breaks.
The workout itself is pretty simple, and it requires zero equipment, other than a pair of running shoes. That said, even getting to a level where you can complete 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 6.2 mile (10km) run would require a lot of training for a substantial number of people.
Does The One Punch Man Workout Work?
As you can imagine, something that’s as simple as the Saitama workout garnered a lot of excitement when people first heard about it. But does the one punch man workout work?
Thankfully, anime fans around the world (and the power of the internet) have given us a lot of evidence to work with as we analyze this training program.
A large number of bloggers and fitness gurus have tried the Saitama Workout, most notably Tyler Oliveira. In 2019, Oliveira decided to go full steam ahead with the One Punch Man workout by committing to 100 days of training like Saitama.
Oliveira started his first 30 days by training just like Saitama, with 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a 6.2 mile (10km) run every single day. However, at the end of this first 30 day period, Oliveira didn’t see much in terms of results (well, except for his very defined calves).
While he did feel stronger, the fact that he didn’t take any rest days meant that his muscles never had time to recover. So, for the next 30 days, Oliveira decided to modify his workout to include 2 rest days a week and a decreased running program of about 4 miles (6.4km) a day.
The internet was not happy with this change in the plan because they saw it as a way to get out of completing the whole challenge.
In response, Oliveira decided to finish off his final 40 days by increasing his daily rep count by 10 on his push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. He also decided to start his final 40 days with a 3.1mi (5km) run, increasing his distance by 0.10 miles (0.16km) each day.
Saitama Workout: The Results
At the end of his 100 days, Oliveira stated that he likely lost about 5-6lbs (2.3-2.7kg). But, he believed that he might have actually lost muscle mass because of the large amount of cardio involved with the routine.
Ultimately, Olivera said:
“If anything, this was an impressive exercise in mental and physical discipline. And, for that, I do respect myself, but I think I could’ve progressed far more given different workout alternatives.”
Is The One Punch Man Workout Effective?
Although it’s just one example, and certainly not enough data to make a clear judgment on the Saitama Workout from a scientific point of view, Oliveira’s experience does demonstrate some of the advantages and limitations of this training plan.
Benefits Of The Saitama Workout
One of the most advantageous parts of the One Punch Man Workout routine is that it involves most of the major muscle groups. This includes:
- Push-Ups – Abdominals, deltoids, pectorals, triceps, biceps, and various stabilizer muscles.
- Sit-Ups – Abdominals.
- Squats – Quads, glutes, adductors, soleus, hamstrings, other lower body stabilizer muscles.
The running portion of the Saitama Workout also adds a cardiovascular component. As a result, the workout involves 3 of the 5 components of physical fitness, including muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.
Disadvantages Of The Saitama Workout
Even without the interesting, though anecdotal evidence that we get from Oliveira’s attempt at the One Punch Man Workout, we can see that it has its limitations.
First and foremost, the routine doesn’t include any pull-ups. This movement is incredibly helpful for developing back and biceps strength.
Additionally, the workout’s emphasis on high reps, rather than low-reps does have its disadvantages. Since the Saitama Routine focuses solely on high reps bodyweight exercises, it’s inherently limited in its ability to help you gain overall muscle mass.
Plus, as Oliveira noticed, the workout routine doesn’t allow for any rest days. While Saitama was somehow able to get by without rest days, us mere mortals will soon find that rest days are essential if you want to actually gain strength.
Without rest days, your body doesn’t have enough time to repair your damaged muscle tissue. This will limit your overall gains and can lead to overuse injuries.
Saitama Workout: Yay or Nay?
The Saitama workout certainly has its benefits. It allows for great muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance. It’s also easy to follow and requires no fancy equipment.
However, it can take a long time to build-up to the point where you’re even able to do the One Punch Man Workout. Plus, the routine isn’t very efficient for building overall muscle strength or bulk.
If you do want to try the Saitama Workout, keep in mind that you’ll likely want to build rest days into your routine. Doing so will make your body much happier and much less susceptible to injury in the long term.