YouTuber and bodybuilder Will Tennyson has taken on the diet and exercise plans of everybody from Olympic athletes to champion strongmen, but his most recent fitness challenge might be his toughest yet: working out like some of the henchest characters in all of anime.

Anime-inspired workouts have become increasingly popular online, especially the One Punch Man routine, and for good reason: their two-dimensional physiques and feats of strength might defy all laws of science, but characters like Goku and Zoro are still #fitspo for a lot of young men. As Tennyson puts it: “Every single one of those guys can give Chris Bumstead a run for his money and makes the fitness industry in real life look like a middle school dance.

Tennyson fuels up on ramen like all good anime heroes, and then hits the gym for his challenge, where he begins by attempting to bench like Baki, loading 320 pounds onto the bar to see how many reps he can manage before maxing out. The answer: four.

One Piece character Zoro’s squat overhead press. “The amount of mobility and flexibility you need for this is absolutely insane,” says Tennyson, and so in order to execute this move safely, he performs it with no weight on the bar, focusing instead on simply completing the movements with proper form.

He also challenges his core strength and stability by trying to mimic Goku’s famous handstand pushup. “I am so uncoordinated,” he says, before performing an assisted version of the exercise. Then next up is the one-armed pullup from Uncle Iroh’s prison workout in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but unlike that tea-sipping, wisdom-sharing old guy, Tennyson can’t quite do it.

“I think I’m going to stick to the anime food and I’m going to ditch the anime workouts,” he says.

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Philip Ellis

Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.


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