Mike Tyson Squat Workout Routine

Hey there fitness enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into a super effective and unique lower body workout routine that’ll get your legs burning and your heart pumping. Believe it or not, this workout was invented by none other than the legendary boxer Mike Tyson while he was in prison!

Despite not having access to any fancy gym equipment, Iron Mike came up with an ingenious bodyweight-only training regimen that helped him maintain his incredible strength and physique. The star of this routine? You guessed it – squats, and lots of ’em!

But here’s the kicker – instead of just doing boring old regular squats, Tyson added a fun and challenging twist involving a deck of playing cards.

Mike Tyson Squat Workout Routine

Mike Tyson Squat Workout

Trust me, once you try this workout, you’ll never look at a deck of cards the same way again!

The Benefits of Bodyweight Squats

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of Tyson’s routine, let’s quickly recap why bodyweight squats are such an awesome exercise:

  • You can do them anytime, anywhere – no gym membership or equipment is required!
  • They’re a compound exercise, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once (quads, hamstrings, glutes, core).
  • Squats are easy to learn and can be done by beginners without supervision.
  • They help build lower body strength and endurance.
  • Bodyweight squats are infinitely scalable – you can always make them harder by adding weight, changing tempo, or increasing reps.

Pretty amazing, right?

Okay, now that we’re all on the same page about why squats rock, let’s take a closer look at Iron Mike’s special routine.

A Closer Look at the Mike Tyson Squat Workout

What makes Tyson’s squat routine so unique and effective is the use of playing cards to add variety, measure reps, and progressively increase difficulty. Here’s what you need to know:

Equipment Needed:

  • 1-2 decks of standard playing cards (52 cards each)
  • Enough floor space to place cards in a straight line about 4 inches to 1.5 feet apart

The Basic Routine:

  1. Start by placing 10 cards in a straight line on the floor, evenly spaced
  2. Stand over the first card with it between your feet – this is the starting position
  3. Squat down and pick up the first card
  4. Holding the card, step forward to stand over the second card
  5. Squat down and place the card on top of the second card
  6. Stand back up, then squat down twice more, picking up one card each time (3 squats total at second position)
  7. Holding 2 cards now, step forward to the third card
  8. Perform 2 squats to place each card down individually, followed by 3 squats to pick the cards back up one at a time (5 squats total at third position)
  9. Repeat this pattern of squatting down to place each card, then squatting to pick them back up as you advance to the fourth, fifth, sixth card, etc.
  10. Once you reach the tenth card, you will have performed a total of 100 squats! (1+3+5+7+9+11+13+15+17+19)

Rep Scheme:

Card Position Squats to Place Cards Down Squats to Pick Up Cards Total Squats
1 0 1 1
2 1 2 3
3 2 3 5
4 3 4 7
5 4 5 9
6 5 6 11
7 6 7 13
8 7 8 15
9 8 9 17
10 9 10 19
Total: 45 55 100

Wild, huh? 100 squats, just like that! By the end, your legs will be feeling it. The best part is, that the cards act as a built-in rep counter, so you don’t have to worry about losing count.

Now, I know what some of you more advanced trainees might be thinking – “100 squats? That’s it? Too easy!” Well, don’t worry, ol’ Mike’s got you covered too with a super-charged variation…

The Progressive Version

For those of you who want to crank up the intensity, give this advanced version of the routine a shot. Instead of using single cards, you’ll use stacks of cards that get progressively taller. Here’s how it works:

  1. Make 10 stacks of cards, with the first stack having 1 card, the second stack 2 cards, the third stack 3 cards, etc.
  2. Follow the same pattern as the basic routine (squatting to place then picking up each stack as you move down the line)
  3. Once you reach the tenth stack, you will have performed a whopping 385 total squats!

Progressive Version Rep Scheme:

Stack Cards in Stack Squats to Place Squats to Pick Up Total Squats
1 1 0 1 1
2 2 2 3 5
3 3 6 6 12
4 4 12 10 22
5 5 20 15 35
6 6 30 21 51
7 7 42 28 70
8 8 56 36 92
9 9 72 45 117
10 10 90 55 145
Total 55 330 220 550

Yes, you read that right – 550 squats total! Brutal. This variation is not for the faint of heart (or weak of legs). But if you’re up for a real challenge, give it a go and see how you fare!

Tips for Success

Whichever version of the routine you choose, here are some key tips to keep in mind:

  • Focus on proper form – Keep your chest up, core braced, and weight in your heels as you squat. Don’t let your knees cave in.
  • Control the eccentric – Take your time lowering down into each squat, maintaining tension.
  • Breathe! – With so many reps, it can be easy to forget to breathe. Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way up.
  • Scale if needed – If the full routine is too challenging, start with fewer cards and work your way up over time.
  • Warm up first – Do some light cardio and dynamic stretches before jumping into the routine to avoid injury.
  • Cool down after – Finish with some static stretches for your quads, hamstrings, and glutes to aid recovery.

Sample Workout:

Here’s how you might structure a lower body workout incorporating the Mike Tyson Squat Routine:

Warm Up:

  • 5 min light jog or jump rope
  • 10 leg swings on each side
  • 10 bodyweight squats
  • 10 lunges on each leg


  • Mike Tyson Squat Routine (basic or progressive version)
  • 3 sets of glute bridges x 20 reps
  • 3 sets of single-leg calf raises x 15 reps per leg

Cool Down:

  • 30 sec quad stretch on each side
  • 30 sec standing hamstring stretch on each side
  • 30 sec figure four glute stretch each side
  • 5 min walk to gradually lower heart rate

Feel free to adjust the accessory exercises and rep schemes based on your current fitness level and goals. The main thing is to have fun and challenge yourself!

Frequently Asked Questions

Still, have burning questions about this unique workout? Here are some common ones that pop up:

1. Can beginners do this routine?

  • Absolutely! The basic version is very doable for most fitness levels. If you’re brand new to exercise, you might start with just 5 cards instead of 10 and slowly work up.

2. Can I make it harder without adding more cards?

  • Definitely! You can make the squat more challenging by slowing down the tempo, pausing at the bottom of each rep, or holding a weight (dumbbell, medicine ball, etc.)

3. How often should I do this routine?

  • 1-3 times per week is plenty, depending on your goals and recovery. Always allow at least 48 hours between leg workouts so your muscles can recover and rebuild.

4. Will this get me as jacked as Tyson in his prime?

  • Let’s be real – genetics and PEDs played a huge role in Tyson’s physique! This routine is a great leg workout, but don’t expect to look like a world champ boxer without a lot of other factors in place.

5. What if I don’t have a deck of cards?

  • No cards, no problem! You can use Post-it notes, pieces of paper, or just mark spots on the floor to squat to and from. The cards just make it more fun and add a tangible “weight” to pick up and put down.

The Bottom Line:

So there you have it – the ultimate guide to the Mike Tyson Squat Workout! Whether you do the basic 100 rep version or the killer 550 rep progressive variation, this unique bodyweight routine is a fun and effective way to smoke your legs and get a cardio workout at the same time.

Mixing things up with novel workouts like this is a great way to ward off boredom and introduce a new stimulus to your muscles. You might be sore in places you never have been before after a few rounds of this!

The best part is, that you can do it anywhere, anytime – no gym required. All you need is a deck of cards and a bit of space. Think of how cool you’ll look busting out hundreds of squats in the middle of your next picnic or camping trip!

Just remember to start slow, focus on form, and listen to your body. It’s always better to start too easy and work your way up than to overdo it and get too sore to walk for a week.

I hope this guide has inspired you to give the Mike Tyson Squat Workout a try. Channel your inner Iron Mike, shuffle up those cards, and get ready to deal your legs the workout of a lifetime! Your quads and glutes may hate you at first, but they’ll thank you later when you’re sporting legs like tree trunks.

Happy squatting!

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