So, You Want to Get Stronger? A Shounen Guide to Working Out

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Sean Aitchisonhttp://seanaitchison.com
Sean is a writer/researcher with a big love of anime and dumb shounen protagonists and a lot of opinions about both. You can find his writing and research work on his website and catch him streaming on Twitch twice a week.

By Sean Aitchison

Have you ever watched Dragon Ball Z and thought, “Wow, I sure wish I could punch a dude through a mountain!”

Well, you’re not alone—heck, there’s probably not an anime fan out there who doesn’t wish they could be as strong as Goku, as fast as Rock Lee or as flexible as Monkey D. Luffy. We’re here to tell you that those wishes can finally be granted, but they do come at a price: training.

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It takes a lot of hard work to get into tip-top anime shape, which means a lot of working out—but where to start? How can you become as powerful as the strongest shounen heroes? Get your weighted clothing and senzu beans ready, because we’re taking a deep dive into how the galaxy’s most powerful beings handle the challenge.

NOTE: This guide is full of humorous suggestions. Please consult a health professional before going too hard on any of these things. After all, form is most important and you don’t want to overdo it!


Step 1: Strength training

Anime Workout Goku

The words “strength training” can only mean one thing in the context of anime heroes: weighted clothing! If there’s one tried-and-true method to getting super strong in a short amount of time, it’s this!

There is no better proof of this than Goku—from Master Roshi’s method of doing chores wearing turtle shells to intense gravity training in space on the long trek to Namek, Goku has gained some of his biggest power jumps through weighted clothing training!

All you need to do to increase your strength is to wear body weights of any kind—be it a weighted shirt or increased gravity if the technology is available—and do…well, just about anything within reason!

You can spar, swim, run—whatever you feel like! The weights will work their magic, and pretty soon you’ll be able to pull off a Rock Lee-esque weight drop and shock everyone with your undamped strength! If weighted clothing is unavailable, training with normal weights at home can work just as well, even if the reveal won’t be as cool.


Step 2: Sparring!

FMA Brotherhood Sparring

Weight training while doing field work is fine and dandy if you’re just looking for strength, but if you want to add skill and power to your body’s armory, then sparring is essential. Just ask the Elric brothers!

Be it fighting with a partner or just punching some logs and trees in the woods somewhere, sparring is an excellent source of cardio and just as much an excellent method of building up stamina, honing your fighting skills, and upping your body’s durability.

It also helps you work out your reflex muscles, turning you into a totally shredded, mega-powerful fighting machine! You can even do this at home with a punching bag, or by hopping into an online cardio class! Not everyone has a training forest nearby…

Combined with strength training, sparring is an excellent way of working out—just make sure you’re not actually fighting with someone, because that’s not working out; that’s just being in a battle. And unless you’re a Pro Hero, we can’t condone this.


Step 3: Go through hell

Every shounen hero gets here. This is the real stuff.

There are a number of ways to do this. You could take on an endless barrage of enemies for days on end, practice intense meditation or stop by King Kai’s place! Well, in context, maybe this is just setting the difficulty harder in Ring Fit Adventure.

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The point is, you’ll feel exhausted and pushed to the limit by the end of this, but you’ll come out of it feeling like you can go beyond your normal limits and join this list of heroes that have gone past the point of breakdown!

  • Izuku Midoriya — Strength training to maximize One For All
  • Ichigo Kurosaki — Bankai Training
  • Goku & Vegeta — Gravity training and hopping from mountain to mountain
  • You — Doing a ton of push-ups and drinking lots of water

No matter how you approach this part of the shounen workout regimen, it is crucial that you actually go through some form of hell, because hell is crucial to this next step.


Step 4: Going beyond!

All Might My Hero

No path to becoming more powerful is complete without taking on your limits. For shounen heroes, this usually means almost dying or actually dying and then coming back to life.

From Naruto to Fairy Tail and every shounen series in between, we’ve seen heroes burst from the brink with a whole new level of power! For you, think of this like a second wind. Get hydrated and bounce back!

Remember: That which doesn’t kill Saiyans literally makes them stronger, and various anime follow suit, so if they think it’s a good idea to push your body, then we highly recommend taking their opinions at face value, adjusting for your capabilities, and establishing a comfortable yet iterative workout routine. *smiley face*


Step 5: Recovery and diet

You’ve trained. You’ve sparred. You’ve gone through hell and you’ve pushed beyond. Now, it’s time to eat.

Remember, the above steps are nothing if you can’t maintain a healthy diet and practice self-care! All of this training uses up a lot of power, so this step is all about restoring that power.

If anime has taught us anything, it’s that food equals power. And OK, so we can’t all just down bowls and bowls of ramen like Luffy or Naruto, but we can eat well-portioned meals like madmen!

After that, it’s time for a rest. You’ve completed the steps and are ready for the next challenge. Can you punch through mountains? Maybe not. But one day, maybe you can.


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