Eric Brown delivers a workout with a wallop. The Punisher is deceptively simple, comprised of 5 movements: walking lunges, bent-over rows, push ups, burpees and a sprint.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
    Full Body
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration6 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout30-45 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Other
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps

Workout Description

The Punisher is a famous character in the Marvel Universe known for being unforgiving, intimidating and relentless. He battles against criminals and scumbags that terrorize innocent folks.

This program is named after the Punisher, due to the nature of the workout and the similarities it has to him. In short, this is a very relentless workout.

This workout is known as the Punisher Workout. The unlucky enemies of this punishing program are body fat, self-doubt, and a lack of mental toughness. They will be afterthoughts after implementing the Punisher Workout consistently.

This workout will punish you. This workout will inflict maximum mental and physical stress upon you. This workout will also put fear into you. But most importantly, this workout will force to you to make progress because there are many different training schemes that can be applied to this workout.

If you can overcome, make progress, and finish this workout consistently then you will be rewarded with a better body and a much stronger mind. I personally believe (and know for a solid fact) that training is so much more than just developing a flat stomach, rounder glutes or building bigger arms. Having cosmetic goals like these are great and are likely the reason you started training.

But when you routinely train in a fashion that is focused on beating goals and accepting challenges, you are forced to build mental toughness, character and moxy. 

Be aware that regardless of what you may see on social media about people supposedly training hard and going “beast mode”, or any other bombastic claim regarding the intensity of their training, the truth is that the vast majority of these trainees have no idea what hard training truly is. When you are uninitiated into the gains game you may think because you are sweating, you are going hard. You can sweat while driving in an old car with no air conditioning in the summer. Does this mean you are going hard and building a better body? NO.

Eric Brown sprinting

The pain you will feel from the Punisher workout will be written all over your face. Be warned...this workout is truly relentless.

When you are uninitiated into the gains game you may think that because you see someone who appears very muscular and fit that they earned it through hard work. But have you ever seen them train?

If you've seen these lifters train, have you noticed a lack of big moves and intensity during their sessions? What about the lack of progression with the measurables (sets/reps/load/rest)? How about the total absence of tough conditioning moves like sprints and weighted burpees?

When you see someone who has the look of Adonis but who has lame or inconsistent work habits, you can be assured that this person has had help from certain tonics, questionable supplements, or surgical procedures to attain a certain look. Terry Tonics may look like Tarzan but I assure you he plays like Jane. Typically a trainee's physique should be comparable to his/her work input (training/nutrition/rest).

Hard work develops a hard body. Sloth work develops a sloth body.

The wise rapper Jadakiss recently said that social media has given cowards and charlatans an outlet for their deceptions.  Despite this, the rules of the game remain unchanged. You must work hard to earn not only your physique, but also your character.

In today’s world you can buy a body. However, you can't buy character. It is not for sale. Character cannot be gained by taking shortcuts.

The Punisher Workout fits the mold of programs that cannot be faked. It is hard but rewarding. You will build toughness.  This is a programmable workout that can used with multiple set/rep/rest schemes to make it a supremely challenging and rewarding scheme.

What is The Punisher Workout?

I first introduced the Punisher at my audition for the Men’s Health Next Top Trainer competition, held on March, 2014. At that time I called it the Full Body Blast. The lunges, rows, and push-ups were all a part of the series but the burpees and sprint were not.

Men’s Health gave us a list of moves that we had to use to show them our training acumen. Burpees and sprints were not on the list. The great judging trio of B.J. Gaddour, David Jack, and Adam Campbell wanted to see what we could do with a limited selection of exercises.

My presentation of the Full Body Blast allowed me to qualify for the finals. I was one of 8 finalists out of over 200 trainers who entered this competition. I was very pleased with this result, but as a coach who loves to program I knew I could make the Full Body Blast a few notches more dastardly.

The Punisher is comprised of 5 movements. You will perform walking dumbbell lunges, dumbbell bent-over rows, push-ups, weighted burpees and a sprint (standard, hill, or resisted). None of these movements are new or special, but they are extremely effective for building full body strength, muscle and conditioning.

If you are performing this routine in the gym and you do not have access to a hill you can perform suicides, high knees in place at maximum effort, regular burpees, a burpee variation, or do standing long jumps for a distance. You could also choose to perform the Punisher sans the final sprint or movement. In this case you would make up for the lack of the sprint or movement by performing another round or two of the Punisher.

It would still be a fantastic workout without the sprint. I have used this in my own training. But the final sprint is what makes this workout the Punisher. Ideally, I want you to finish with a full sprint, a hill sprint, or a resisted sprint.

Eric Brown sprinting

The Punisher is comprised of 5 movements. You will perform walking dumbbell lunges, dumbbell bent-over rows, push-ups, weighted burpees and a sprint.

If you can't perform these where you train then you can use the suicides, high knees, burpees, or standing long jumps as a more than serviceable backup. And if you choose to not do any of the final options then you must add another round or two to the workout series.

As far sets/reps/weight/rest are concerned, the standard rule is that each move uses 10 reps except for weighted burpee which uses 5 reps. Also, you must determine if you are going to do weighted burpees with a jump or weighted burpees without a jump. If you will be using the version with the jump then your weight will be lighter. This will compensate for the fact that you will not be getting any air time.

Using the 10/5 standard rep scheme, I would say with all things considered the average male trainee should be able to use 25-35lbs on a series like this. The average female trainee should be able to use 15-25lbs.

I demonstrate the series in my video using 30lb dumbbells. To me they felt light, but the persistent nature of the Punisher evens everything out, as you are still performing tough moves in succession. The weighted burpees will definitely be the toughest move outside of the sprint.

Athletes or advanced trainees could (and will) obviously use more weight. The series becomes increasingly more difficult as you add weight. When I use 50lb dumbbells and my weighted burpee involves a jump, then I begin to feel like I am in big trouble!

I can still finish the workout but I am being thoroughly punished during it. The weighted burpee is the key move in the series and will dictate the weight that you use and whether you jump or just stand.

If you are out of shape, this series will be hard regardless of weight because of the relentless nature of the workout. If you are in good shape this series will be hard if you progressively increase your weight. If I am doing this series at game speed then I will not cheat myself by using 10lb dumbbells. That is the coward’s way out. Look for the challenge and accept it.

How do I do the Punisher Workout?

When performing the Punisher your goal is to try to run it straight through with zero to minimal rest until you complete one round. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.

As you fatigue your moves may get slower and your rest between moves will increase, but your goal is to continue to work through the fatigue.

This means that you will have the unenviable task of trying to complete the series without taking an extended rest between movements. Yes, there will be a 3 to possibly 15 second transition between the movements at times, especially when you are spent, but you should not be doing a move and then resting for the length of your favorite TV show.

Aim to rest as little as possible during the transitions, but it you get folded and need to rest a few seconds longer then do it!

This limited rest period is what makes the Punisher so punishing. Anyone with any training experience knows that the toughest schemes involve minimal rest periods whether it is Tabata, Gironda’s 8×8, or even RP-21 muscle building training. Add in the fact that the weight being used will be a challenge and you have a recipe for a hard session. You will find out how exactly how tough you are when using schemes like this.

To run the Punisher you will start by warming up for 6-12 minutes to get your joints prepared for training. I would suggest a short general warm up followed by a specific movement warm up. You could hit the heavy bag or jump rope for 5 minutes and then begin to work through your movements.

After the warm up you will grab your dumbbells using the weight you have chosen. I would personally start conservatively just so you can gauge what your correct starting weight should be.

If you start too high you will get absolutely folded very early and will be unable to finish the series. Trust me, you do not want to be down by 20 in the first quarter!

You will perform 10 walking dumbbell lunges followed by 5 weighted burpees. You will go from the weighted burpees right into 10 dumbbell bent over rows. After you complete the dumbbell bent over rows you will complete 5 more weighted burpees. After these weighted burpees you will perform 10 push-ups.  After these push-ups you will complete 5 more weighted burpees. After performing these weighted burpees you will then perform a sprint or one of the movements I listed above.

I would generally recommend between 1-5 sets based on your fitness level. The rest between sets will typically be anywhere between 1-3 minutes based on the amount of weight used, your current fitness level, and the goal of the workout.

Please check out my video of The Punisher Workout being performed below:

Scheme Order

The Punisher
Exercise Reps
Walking Dumbbell Lunges 10
Weighted Burpees 5
Dumbbell Bent Over Rows 10
Weighted Burpees 5
Push Ups 10
Weighted Burpees 5
Sprint, Hill Sprint, Resisted Sprint (preferred if accessible) or Suicides, High Knees, Burpees, or Standing Long Jumps (if the sprints are inaccessible) followed by...collapse!

Note: For the suicides and high knees you can perform them for anywhere from 10-20 seconds at maximum effort. For the burpees and burpee variations you can perform them for 20-30 seconds. For the standing long jumps you can choose a distance of 10 to 20 yards to jump.

Punisher Progressions

While the main progression on lunges, rows, and burpees will be adding weight, there are multiple ways to make each move tougher.  You could pause in the bottom of your lunges. You could pause at the top of your rows. You could jump twice at the top of the burpee. You can even perform one of many push-up variations.

The bottom line is that once you make enough progress with this workout you must try to make it tougher. Performing and completing 10 regular push ups each set the first week is great. Performing and completing the same 10 push ups every week with no new challenge will not lead to long-term changes and results.

By focusing on increasing the weight, decreasing the rest time, or pumping up the training volume, you will ensure that you making progress.


I could write endless schemes to go with this protocol but right I want you to focus on and progress through the original 10/5 scheme.  This base scheme will offer a great challenge.

By consistently completing the Punisher on it’s on own, or as a finisher, you will reap the rewards of a stronger body and a stronger mind. Success requires struggle. Never be afraid of struggle during your path to success. Embrace it and move forward toward victory.

Posted on: Tue, 12/05/2023 - 17:05

Hey fitman, if I wanted wanted better results in my biceps should I do underhand grip on the rows or mix it up?

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Posted on: Wed, 12/27/2023 - 20:22

Hey Ryan, go underhand. It should help.

Posted on: Fri, 09/22/2023 - 13:03

I have no meniscus in my right knee and very little in the left. I am dropping weight for rt knee replacement. Burpees I can modify, but not sprinting or lunges. I also have a spinal fusion from 1982. age is catching up on that. What alternative do you suggets

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 14:10

I actually suggest talking to your doctor, Damon. In the meantime, I would do any form of a box squat or partial squat as I can and power walk instead of sprinting. Hope the replacement goes well.

cole russell
Posted on: Fri, 01/14/2022 - 01:24

I don't have a weight vest for to the burpess can I just do reg burpees

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Posted on: Sat, 01/15/2022 - 11:58

Hey Cole! Yes, you can do regular burpees. I do suggest getting your hands on a vest in the future, though. Many sporting goods and major stores have them for affordable prices. I got one myself, and they are worth it!

Jacob Carlin
Posted on: Sun, 04/11/2021 - 22:01

How many times per week should I do the punisher workout

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Posted on: Mon, 04/12/2021 - 10:19

Hey Jacob - this can be done 3 days per week.

bruce lee
Posted on: Sun, 01/10/2021 - 08:46

can i change the type of push every week and can i use barbell insted of dumbell for lunges

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Posted on: Mon, 01/11/2021 - 10:47

Hey bruce - do you mean the type of pushup each week? And yes, you can use a barbell instead of dumbbells.

bruce lee
Posted on: Fri, 11/13/2020 - 22:38

can this be done by a teenager(16) yo
and can the weight be less than 25lbs for boys as i am not strong enough for 25lbs

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Posted on: Mon, 11/16/2020 - 12:38

Hey bruce - yes you can use less than 25 pounds. Choose a weight that works best for you!

Lamont moon
Posted on: Fri, 01/10/2020 - 09:36

This routine has gotten me out of so.e dark places... I like to use this first thing in the morning to crack open my anxiety and it helps... EVERY TIME... Suggested it to a few friends but im just curious whats the caloric burn looking like?

Posted on: Thu, 11/28/2019 - 12:43

Eric you are so full of motivation and positivism! I’m gonna go knock this out tomorrow. Thanks I appreciate you!

David Longmore
Posted on: Thu, 08/29/2019 - 14:18

Hi Eric out of interest after completing the programme for 6 weeks how long would you give before recommencing?
Many Thanks

Posted on: Wed, 07/10/2019 - 19:17

Thank you. I have been sidelined for a couple of weeks with an injury, and it is slowly healing back. With the cast off, I have been desperately searching for a workout that is manageable, yet intense, and ideal for getting back into the game.

I will start trying this out on Monday.

Posted on: Thu, 10/27/2016 - 13:39

You don't need to respond to my previous question, I just saw a response to someone else's, 30-50 meters for the sprint will be perfect. Thanks!

bruce lee
Posted on: Sun, 01/10/2021 - 08:48

thanks for saying the lenght of sprint even i had doubt but can i go for 100m sprint

Posted on: Thu, 10/27/2016 - 12:31

If I'm doing the workout on a track instead of by a hill how long should the sprint be?
Thanks for the amazing workout, I love this one as well as the punisher 2!

Posted on: Tue, 10/25/2016 - 12:20

is this more of a conditioning or more of a strength training exercise?

Jon R
Posted on: Sun, 10/09/2016 - 21:52

Is this workout only supposed to be done once or several times? And how much rest in between each set?

Posted on: Thu, 10/27/2016 - 12:29

Above the video it says 1-5 sets depending on fitness level and 1-3 minutes rest. If you read through you will get a better idea of how many sets you should do and the amount of rest.

Lamont moon
Posted on: Sun, 03/20/2016 - 15:35

I want to build size... But i also want to maintain my mobility and athleticism. Can tbis workout be done along with heavy weifht2 training... Either before. Or after?

Eric "Fitman" Brown
Posted on: Tue, 07/19/2016 - 13:19

Hey Lamont,

If size is your number 1 goal then the Punisher Workout can still be performed without question. Conditioning is always important but to maximize your size gains limit the Punisher Workout to about 2 or maybe 3 days per week.

I would definitely perform the Punisher after you lift to ensure that you are strong for your lifting session.

Posted on: Mon, 06/08/2015 - 10:16

Love this. I just bought a house and have a home gym. This is a perfect Wednesday for a 3 day split and I do kettlebell swings as the finishing move because a sprint isn't easily done here. I've done it two weeks now. First week was 2 sets, now I'm at 3 and have some work to do to hit 4.

Eric "Fitman" Brown
Posted on: Tue, 07/19/2016 - 13:16

Hey David,

As long as you continue to make progress you are heading in the right direction! Good substitution with the swings.

Posted on: Tue, 05/12/2015 - 21:15

You have to want it to get it. Of course the right program works best, that is one that fits well into your daily routine. Diet, Exercise, and Sleep you need all 3 to see the best results.

Posted on: Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:53

Hey Eric I just wanted to say I love this workout. It leaves room for improvement but also can be adjusted based on your fitness level. I'm in JROTC with military plans and this is a great workout to keep me in shape and to add to other various workouts I do!

Eric "Fitman" Brown
Posted on: Tue, 07/19/2016 - 13:15

Hey Olivia,

I am glad you are loving The Punisher Workout as it will definitely keep you in great condition!

Posted on: Mon, 02/02/2015 - 19:32

That is awesome. I have been looking for a routine that doesn't involve staring at one of four walls in a gym. It gets me outside, it's a full body workout and can be done rather quickly and there's room to advance the workout. Perfect. I got a new routine.

Eric Brown
Posted on: Mon, 03/02/2015 - 14:23

Hey David,

I am glad that you enjoyed the Punisher Workout. The only things you need to perform it are two dumbbells, a strong body, and mental toughness to deal with the fatigue.

Another thing about the Punisher Workout is that you can definitely perform it inside if the weather is not permitting. Good luck with your progress!

Eric "Fitman" Brown
Posted on: Tue, 07/19/2016 - 13:13

Hey David,

I am glad you enjoyed The Punisher!

Posted on: Mon, 01/26/2015 - 17:20

Question how many sets should I do pertaining to the workouts listed above? I like to train hard to get the results I want.

Eric Brown
Posted on: Thu, 01/29/2015 - 14:32

Hey Matt,

The Punisher Workout should be done anywhere between 1-5 sets based on your fitness level and based on the amount of weight that you use. Thanks for watching!

Posted on: Wed, 12/24/2014 - 20:41

ERIC.. I am always looking up new routines for my clients and before I ever try something new on my clients I try it first to make sure it's a good quality workout. I MUST say dang... After 2 rounds with 2: 25lbs plates, I layed on the floor fish breathing! I loved it!! I don't know why people have to be negative all the time. Keep up the good work! I'm looking forward to seeing some more videos from you. Thanks for the new tips!

Eric Brown
Posted on: Thu, 01/29/2015 - 14:29

Hey Bfore,

Thanks for trying out the Punisher Workout. The first time is definitely the worst time as you usually end of up folded like laundry on Sunday afternoon. Trust me I've been there!

One thing that you wrote that I loved was that you always try workouts before presenting them to clients. This a rule that I unfortunatelysee broken much too often!

The negativity that people will give me, you, or anyone on the planet is a part of the game and life. It does not bother me though. I use it as fuel and keep moving forward.

Thanks for checking out my videos. I appreciate the support!

Gayan Abeykoon
Posted on: Mon, 12/15/2014 - 04:59

Hi Eric

I am currently thinking of doing 4 day workout. Im really interested in this workout? Just want to know how I will be able to fit this workout.

Eric Brown
Posted on: Thu, 01/29/2015 - 14:23

Hey Gayan,

You could use the Punisher Workout as a standalone workout during the week or you could use it as a finisher after your standard strength workout. For example after you do an Upper Body Strength day, you could perform the Punisher Workout. In either case you would using it 1 or 2x per week.

You could check out my 4 Day RP-21 Training System at this link

Posted on: Wed, 12/10/2014 - 13:02

Hey Eric, I'm 18, I just graduated this year. All my high school life I've been overweight, and not really physically fit. I weigh 270 pounds. Since I graduated I've been bodybuilding, but this month I started lifting heavy to get stronger. I'm doing a1 day on, 1 day off schedule. I also want to lose fat, can I do this workout on my off days and still receive the same benefits when it comes to burning fat? Or will it interfere with my strength gains?

Eric Brown
Posted on: Thu, 01/29/2015 - 14:18

Hey Tyler,

What I would do to speed up your fat loss without impeding your recovery would be to do the Punisher Workout as a finisher after your standard strength workout. Performing conditioning after strength training is a great strategy to burn body fat. I have been training in this fashion for years and it will allow you to get stronger and leaner.

Combine this with a proper nutrition protocol and you will be golden.

Udaibeer Sangha
Posted on: Sat, 11/08/2014 - 23:01

Right now I am quite thin and I want to build visible muscle, especially in the upper body area (arms, chest and shoulders) so that I can look good wearing a tank top or short sleeves t-shirt. I also want to gain strength for the rugby season this coming spring. Would this program be suitable for my goals? Should I do the program alone or combine or modify it? Could you also please tell me what a good diet plan might be. Thanks.

Udaibeer Sangha
Posted on: Sat, 11/08/2014 - 23:00

Right now I am quite thin and I want to build visible muscle, especially in the upper body area (arms, chest and shoulders) so that I can look good wearing a tank top or short sleeves t-shirt. I also want to gain strength for the rugby season this coming spring. Would this program be suitable for my goals? Should I do the program alone or combine or modify it? Could you also please tell me what a good diet plan might be. Thanks.

Udaibeer Sangha
Posted on: Sat, 11/08/2014 - 21:40

I'm quite thin and I want to build visible muscle especially in the upper body area (arms, chest and shoulders) so that I look good if I were wearing a tank top or short sleeves t-shirt. I also want to gain strength for rugby season in the coming spring and summer. Do you think this program would be right for me? Should I just use the program on it's own, and should I modify it in any way? How often should I do this?

Udaibeer Sangha
Posted on: Sat, 11/08/2014 - 12:57

I am quite thin and I want to build visible muscle (so that I can look fit if I'm wearing a short sleeves t-shirt), as well as get stronger and faster for rugby in the spring and summer. I realize that I will have to work on my diet as well. Is this workout suitable for my goals? What should I eat, and how often should I train? How should I modify the workout to suit me?

Eric Brown
Posted on: Sun, 11/16/2014 - 22:18

Hey Udaibeer,

The Punisher Workout is designed as workout that will develop superior conditioning levels, build muscle, and incinerate body fat.

If you are quite thin as you say this tells me that you are an ectomorph. You could use the Punisher Workout as one component of your regular training. In order to build solid muscle you need 3 things:

1) A proper training program. Following a basic 3 day lower body/push/pull routine that focuses on you getting stronger will be a step in the right direction.

2) A proper nutrition program. In order for you to build muscle your nutrition will need to support your muscle growth. You will need to ensure that you are consuming the correct amount of food so that you can grow.

3) Recovery. You will need to give your muscles time to recover so that you are getting stronger each week.

If you are doing these 3 things then you will be able to attain success in becoming a better athlete and adding muscle. If you have more specific questions on nutrition and training please feel free to contact me at

Posted on: Wed, 10/29/2014 - 20:42

This exercise looks awesome!! Im a beginner to working trying to lose about 80 pounds, besides the great workout you have here i was wondering if tou had any tips to help me out.

Eric Brown
Posted on: Wed, 11/05/2014 - 13:46

Hey Rigo,

Thanks for watching the Punisher Workout. As for the training, the basics are pretty simple:

1) Focus on the basic movements and train in a progressive fashion. For someone like yourself who is new to the game this should be your main focus. Work on getting very comfortable and getting stronger in the major movements like squats, deadlifts, dips, chin-ups etc. The major movements will be responsible for the majority of your results.

2) Focus on eating correctly. For someone like yourself who is new to the game watch out for information overload. Focus on consuming the basic foods to build a great body. Lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and consuming the majority of your days carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, etc) before/after your training session. Drink mainly water, coffee, and tea (coffee and tea sweetened with Stevia). This will cut down on drinking excess calories.

3) Accept that the journey is a lifelong one. Do not expect results super quick. Do not expect your training and progress to all work in a linear fashion. Success requires struggle and take time. Enjoy the process!

If you have more questions or you want to get into more detail about training and nutrition, please send me an email at Thanks Rigo!

Posted on: Mon, 10/20/2014 - 13:43


My knees have been banged up for almost 2 years now, mostly due to pushing it too hard in cross fit (which I no longer participate in). They used to only hurt after playing basketball, and would go away after 12-24 hrs, but now they hurt jumping, going up stairs, etc. And lunges are probably the most painful exercise outside of 5 on 5 full court basketball.

Any recommendations on what I could substitute for Lunges in this workout?

I am 28 y/o, 6'1'', and about 265lbs. I was down as low as 215 in 2009 using tabata 5 days/week, and eating zero carbs 6 days/week. But due to a "better" position at work, I now spend more time at the desk, eating worse, and exercising less. Looking for something to jump start my system knees have caused me to deter from many exercises, as well as really push myself for fear of injury (I've gained 30lbs in the last 2 years).

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


Eric Brown
Posted on: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 15:57

Hey Brian,

Sorry to hear about your knees. One thing I would recommend is to see a professional who specializes in the knee and seek treatment to alleviate your pain.

As far as substitutions there are some that you will need to make to make the Punisher a doable workout for yourself. These substitutions would change the exercises slightly but the nature of the workout would stay the same.

One thing that you could put in place of the dumbbell lunges would be RDL's. This will allow you use a hip-dominant move as the main movement vs. a knee-dominant one like dumbbell lunges. If you put RDL's in you should also replace the Dumbbell Rows with Chin-Ups to give the spinal erectors a break during the series.

From what I have seen getting caught up in the 9-5 jive for a "better" position seems to lead to one spending more time at the job and less time focusing on their health. I have seen it happen many times and it is unfortunate but it can also be resolved with a structured regimen.

Brian if you are looking for a jumpstart please contact me at We can talk about designing a program for you more in depth. Thanks for checking out the Punisher Workout!

Posted on: Thu, 10/16/2014 - 15:21

Your Punisher workout looks very intriguing! I have a couple of questions that I'm sure you can answer. First off I'm currently playing semi-pro football and I'm looking to cut a little weight before our season begins at the beginning of 2015. I'm at 225 at the moment, so to get to around 215 I'm wanting to know how many times a week I should incorporate this workout along with my 3 times a week weight training. Next, what is a recommended weight to begin with on the dumbbells, I have 25 lb weights, but I have access to heavier.