Herschel Walker workout blog post image

Herschel Walker was a highly celebrated and highly regarded college footballer in the united states.

He turned pro, having a career in the NFL playing for the Dallas Cowboys amongst a host of other teams before returning to the Dallas Cowboys where he retired.

The most amazing thing about Herschel Walker from a fitness standpoint was the way he trained. Going against all conventional wisdom, the Herschel Walker workout is the most intense bodyweight workout I have ever heard of.

herschel walker workoutLegend has it that Herschel Walker didn’t touch weights at all until he arrived in the NFL – Instead he performed an intense bodyweight workout EVERY DAY since high school (as well as sprinting)! In College and the NFL, he was known by most players as being the best conditioned athlete.

After I let you in on what Herschel Walker did in his workouts, I will let you know a much better way to build muscle fast if that is your goalUnfortunately, we weren’t all born with genetics like Herschel Walker, therefore the Herschel Walker workout will be fairly useless for muscle building for 99% of the population.

Your best option is to check out a complete online muscle building training package that gives you workouts, diet plans, exercise databases etc. Check out my favourite here

This video interview reveals more :-

Apparently, Walker didn’t always show signs of being genetically gifted. Actually, in his book ‘Hershel Walker’s Basic Training’, he mentions being a tubby kid who, more often than not, was picked last for teams. He even tells how his sister constantly beat him in races!

The workout mentioned in this video is :-

Herschel Walker Workout

Push Ups
2000 reps
Sit Ups
3000 reps
Pull Ups
1500 reps
1000 reps

It is not completely clear how Herschel Walker structured this workout throughout his day. In his video, he makes mention of performing them during commercials. Other literature suggests he started in the morning and finished at night.
Regardless, there is probably no human on this earth who could perform all of those repetitions in one set.

IF (and that’s a massive IF) you decide to give the Herschel Walker workout a go, I’d start off with 25 reps per set and progressively increasing the amount of repetitions per set as your body gets more conditioned. (Pull-ups may be the only exception to this rule as they will depend on your strength pound for pound)

In his book ‘Herschel Walker’s Basic Training’, he mentions a more realistic workout to begin with (still intense though!) :-

Herschel Walker Workout – Basic Training
Push Ups
1000 reps
Sit Ups
1000 reps
Pull Ups
1000 reps
1000 reps
herschel walker workoutAltug Says : One very important thing to remember about Herschel Walker – He was an extremely genetically gifted athlete.


That isn’t to take away from his immense dedication because anyone who can do this workout DAILY is dedicated but please do not delude yourself into thinking that the Herschel Walker workout will turn you into a bodybuilder if you do not have similar genes.

This workout is really unconventional and way too intense for most people – However, if you enjoy challenges I’d start with a smaller number and try to build my way up towards the figures Herschel achieved.

As always making sure you are progressively following the routine for at least 4 weeks so you can measure your results and any changes.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Jeff C

    Great comment on genetics. What many persons either forget or never learn is that one’s genes play a major role in one’s physique. No matter how hard one work’s out, he will never be Herschel Walker. This isn’t to suggest one shouldn’t work hard at fitness, but each person must determine what is best for her or him. Herschel is an inspiration, but don’t become discouraged if you cannot perform 2,000 pushups. (By the way, Jack la Lanne, at age 42 performed 44 pushups per minute for 23 minutes straight on television. Imagine having to perform more than 1,000 pushups while thousands watch!

  2. Erik

    I spent 24 years in The U.S. Navy as a Seal. I firmly believe we had the most physically demanding training programs in the world. There is no way that Walker can do 1500 reps on the chin up bar. You can to push ups and sit ups all day, but he’s full of shit if he said he can do that many chin ups!

  3. Corky

    if you have the time and nothing else to do, then go ahead and workout all day. Remember one thing, working out and staying in great shape is an on going life long endeavor. Chances are you will not be able to keep up with the demands of this type of routine. If you want to increase in muscle and strenth all you need to do is, workout three times a week doing bodyweight exercises like the ones talked about here. I gaurantee results. Do squats, calf raises, push-ups and pull-ups for five sets each, three times a week. Make sure that you do them with proper form. Do them strict and deliberate, and take no more than between a minute or two between sets. This is what has worked for me. I am 51 now and in great shape. Good luck…

    1. Altug

      Agreed Corky,

      Like I mentioned this is just what Herschel does and more for a bit of fun.

      This routine isn’t the most efficient or effective way to build muscle or get in shape for the average Joe.

      Thanks for reading the blog!


  4. jim

    Isn’t it documented that Jack Lalanne once did 1000 pushups and 1000 pullups in about an hour and a half?

  5. JWS

    Erik, Jack Lalanne was asked what the toughest thing he ever did. As you may know he did many feats of strength. At age 70 he pulled boats with people in them while swimming. His answer: he once did 1000 pushups and 1000 chinups in 1 hour and 22 minutes.

  6. Don

    @ EriK…being a SEAL doesnt make you an a pro athlete. Im 46 and do 250 pull ups, 600 pushups, 400 dips, etc, and I am no where near the physical condition of HW. If you read his routine you would know it took him most of the day to do it.

  7. Andrew Sharp

    If you do 1000 pushups 1000 dips 1000 situps and say 500 chinups every single day 7 days a week for a year you will get huge, I dont care who you are, calisthenics unlike weight lifting which gives you big slow acting muscles . Calisthenic give you that super strong fast twitching grab him and shred him apart muscle unlike weights. If you get your muscle from the pushups the dips the chinups and situps you will be far stronger and superior as opposed to the guy who lifted weights. Unless he does 1000 reps on the benchpress of his own weight everysingle day for a year which you cant do it I am strong as hell and with calisthenics you dont loose the muscle cause in order to get it you have to work 10 times harder which can make you 10 times stronger weight you loose it because you didnt earn it.

    1. Altug

      Hey Andrew,

      Thanks for commenting! I don’t agree with everything you say about weights. Weights can be used as a fantastic speed-building component of any exercise program. Weights can hit your slow-twitch fibers but also hit your fast twitch fibers also for more speed/explosive power.
      However, it is all dependant on your exercise selection and the techniques you are using to perform those exercises.
      But yes, bodyweight exercises are awesome – It all boils down to what your goals are in the end!

  8. Tyler

    Hey guys, I like and respect all of your opinions on HW’s routine…I am willing to give this a challenge. To start off, how many pushups, sit-ups and dips should I be doing per day? I thought it would be good to see what you all may say, rather than going overboard and unrealistic. Thanks!

  9. George Sharples

    I used to do 1,000 pressups and 50-100 chins a day. Did it aged 27 to 30. Last time i did 1,000 press was my 30th birthday. Am 42 now and started pressups again 3 weekd again. Managing sets of 15 now.. Pathetic and shoulders are sore, but im on 100 a day now. Will crank it up as i need to lose the moobs!

    This site is great motivation 🙂

  10. Steve

    Erik, you have NO idea what you’re talking about. I love whem these jealous bitch boys open their punk ass mouths and doubt others, just because they’re wimps. Nave Seal or no Nave Seal, obviously you didn’t start training you muscles at the age of 10, as did Herschal. It is absolutely possible to do 1500 reps during thr course of one day. He didn’t say he did them all at one time, you moron. So next time you decide you open your mouth, moron, know what the hell you are talking about!! Maybe you should get Herschal to help train the Navy Seals, you punk!!

    1. Altug

      Now, now boys – Let’s all chill out and keep it clean..


  11. Bob

    I’m an ordinary 54 year old guy, committed to doing 55,000 pushups in 2012 to raise $1M to fight cancer. Check out my blog at http://55kpushups.blogspot.com. Join my team for a $25 donation (or more) to the American Cancer Society. Together we can whip this dreaded disease!

  12. Bob

    Altug – could you fix my spelling mistake? It should be “dreaded” disease. Thx – Bob

    ***Sure, consider it fixed – Altug***

  13. john

    where did his traps come from, the push ups or the sit ups?

  14. P90X Coach

    I’m with Erik. Even doing sets of, say, 100, there is NO WAY he’s doing 1,500 pull-ups a day. No way.

    Unless he posts a video or has some media come in to film one of these sessions, I call BS.

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