The Punisher is a prominent character in the Marvel Universe known for being callous, intimidating, and unrelenting against menacing criminals.
Last year I developed The Punisher Workout. There were only 5 basic exercises including dumbbell walking lunges, dumbbell bent-over rows, push-ups, weighted burpees, and a hill sprint.
On paper it does not seem like a lot, but the absolutely unrelenting nature of the workout will destroy you.
This year I have created another challenge just for you, the great readers of Muscle & Strength.
This new workout is The Punisher Workout Vol. II. What is different you ask? We are removing the dumbbells and replacing them with a kettlebell. Both Punisher Workouts are relentless and incredibly difficult.
Make no mistake, the Punisher will gas your lungs. Your heart will be beating out of your chest. Your legs will be burning like the Human Torch. This workout will create doubt in your mind at times.
Most importantly, it will force you to make progress should you decide to make it a regular part of your training.
When you train in a fashion that constantly puts you in uncomfortable situations, you will build the mental moxy and physical toughness required to be great.
The Punisher Mindset
Greatness is not easy to attain. In today’s world it is very popular on social media for trainees to boast about how fit they are. They filter pictures and videos to make them seem like some kind of superhero. The fact is that anyone can look epic in a 15 second clip.
What determines your character is not what you do when the camera is rolling. Likes and followers do not define you.
You are defined by the hard work you do when no one is watching. You are defined by what you do when no one is there to keep you accountable. When you do not feel like training that day. When you are deep into a horrific workout and you want to quit. That is when you find out what you have to offer the game.
The Punisher Workout Vol. II can feel intolerable at times. It is a workout that has claimed many trainees pride, heart, and spirit. There is no possible way to fake your way through this workout like a meathead will fake his way through a lame chest and arms session!
What is The Punisher Workout Vol. II?
The Punisher Workout Vol. II is composed of 5 movements. You will perform kettlebell deadlift jumps, kettlebell swings, kettlebell high pulls, regular burpees, and a sprint (standard, hill, or resisted).
One the truest principles in training and in life is to keep it simple. I have not presented one move here that is revolutionary or new age. There is no need to present you with a BOSU ball one-legged squat while balancing an apple on your head and simultaneously doing dumbbell curls then call it functional training. That has no value.
I am presenting time-tested moves that will wear you out but also build up your mind and body.
If you are performing this routine in the gym and you do not have access to a hill, you can perform a range of bodyweight conditioning moves that do not require much space. A burpee variation, high knee sprints, or mountain climbers will work.
You could also choose to perform The Punisher Workout Vol. II without the final sprint. In this case you would make up for the lack of the sprint or other movement by performing another round or 2 of The Punisher Vol. II. That is much easier said than done!
The training session will still be very tough and challenging without the hill sprint, but the sprint is the cherry on top. The sprint is the coup de grace. It completes the workout. It separates the contenders from the pretenders. Strive to end with the sprint.
The standard rep scheme is the exact same as the original Punisher Workout. You are performing 10 reps of each kettlebell movement and 5 reps for the burpees.
Using the 10/5 standard rep and rest scheme, I would say that the standard male trainee with average conditioning should be able to use a 35-45lb kettlebell on a series like this. The standard female trainee should be able to use 25-35lbs.
Athletes or advanced trainees should use more weight to make the workout an even bigger challenge. But the key is to find the right weight.
Going super heavy will not allow you to finish the workout. Going super light will do nothing but inflate your ego. For me, there is no value in using a 20lb kettlebell and calling myself fit. I am cheating the game in that scenario.
In the tutorial video below I am using a 60lb kettlebell. The 60lb kettlebell was not heavy at all, but the ridiculously relentless nature of The Punisher evens everything out.
When you run the series at the max level, the rest is non-existent. I can finish the workout, but it's obvious in the video that I am being thoroughly punished throughout the series!
How to Perform the Punisher Workout
When performing The Punisher, your goal is to try to run it straight through with minimal rest until you complete one round.
This sounds easy on paper, but you will be beyond gassed early on in the series if you are giving the expected maximal effort.
For this reason the rest period will need to be adjusted to your current fitness level. If you try to go at the max level the first time you try the Punisher, you will certainly get knocked out early as if you were fighting the great Iron Mike Tyson.
You can use the rest suggestions below:
Beginner: Rest 75-90 seconds between moves and 3-3:15 minutes between sets
Intermediate: Rest 30-45 seconds between moves and 2:30-2:45 minutes between sets
Advanced: Rest 15-30 seconds between moves and 2:15-2:30 minutes between sets
Superior: Rest 0-5 seconds between moves and 1:30-2 minutes between sets
Note: If you are Superior trainee, expect to become an Advanced or possibly an Intermediate trainee as the workout progresses. It is very hard to sustain the max pace for multiple rounds.
As you inevitably begin to fatigue you will start to doubt if you can complete the workout. This is where I need you to reach for that inner greatness that lies inside of you. This is where I need you to push through the pain.
What separates The Punisher Workout Vol. II from other workouts is that you are using full body movements with a non-existent rest during the transitions. This is what makes it so punishing!
The pain will make anybody want to quit. Will you fight through the fatigue? Or will you kneel and succumb like many trainees before you?
I suggest you get warm before performing The Punisher Workout Vol. II. A short general warm up followed by a specific movement warm up will work fine. 6-12 minutes will suffice.
You could hit the heavy bag, jump rope, work through full body mobility moves (walk outs, spider lunges, etc.) or even run through athletic drills (skips, speed ladder, etc.). After that you can begin to work through your movements.
After you are warm, you need to select the kettlebell you are going to use. If this is your first time performing the Punisher Workout Vol. II, be conservative with the weight you choose. You will have many weeks, months, and years to make progress.
If you start too heavy you will get absolutely folded, squashed, and eviscerated very early in the series. You will have zero chance to finish it. You do not want to be down 28-0 in the first quarter of action!
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.
- 10 Kettlebell Deadlift Jumps
- 5 Burpees
- 10 Kettlebell Swings
- 5 Burpees
- 10 Kettlebell High Pulls
- 5 Burpees
- Sprint, Hill Sprint, Resisted Sprint. If the sprints are not accessible, perform Suicides, High Knees, Burpees Variations, or Standing Long Jumps.
- Collapse into a heap of flesh and bone!
Note: For the Suicides and High Knees you can perform them for 10-20 seconds at maximum effort. For the Burpee Variations you can perform them for 15-30 seconds. For the Standing Long Jumps you can choose a distance of 10 to 20 yards to jump.
Watch the Workout Video (7:58)
The main progression for the kettlebell movements would be to use a heavier kettlebell. However there are other ways to progress the movements outside of just using more weight.
You could jump twice at the top of the deadlift jump. You could perform your swings with one hand. You could perform a long jump to complete a burpee.
The fact of the matter is that once you make enough progress with this workout, you must try to make it tougher. If you stay in neutral, you will stop seeing results. You do not want to reside in Frustration City.
Completing the workout and adhering to the rep/rest times with a 45lb kettlebell the first week is great. Completing the workout and adhering to the rep/rest times with a 45lb kettlebell in week 4 is not so great. Don't settle for being a Stagnant Stacy.
By focusing on increasing the weight, decreasing the rest time, or pumping up the training volume, you will ensure that you are making progress.
The Punisher Workout Vol. II is great as a stand alone workout, but I actually prefer to use it as a finisher.
When your body is spent from lifting heavy weights, the Punisher is the perfect way for you to end your day. Your mind and body will both be tested tremendously at this point. Body fat will be incinerated, muscle will be built, and character will be revealed.
Another option would to use the Punisher on a few of the days that you do not lift. If you lift on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, using the Punisher on Tuesday and Saturday will work great for building your body.
By completing The Punisher Vol. II with consistency as a workout on its on own or as a finisher, you begin to separate yourself from the Average Allen. In life you have to do the things that the average person will not do in order to become exceptional. Embrace the process on your way to unleashing your inner greatness!