What is the 500 workout, why is it so good?

Well, to answer the question briefly – it’s a kick-ass workout, building up core strength along with being a very good cardio workout.

It consists of 12 exercises focusing on the major muscle groups in the body. The idea is to do them one after the other, which perfect technique and as briskly as possible (without letting down on technique, of course). You can’t go on to the next if you haven’t completed all the reps on the current exercise. But.. You are allowed to split each exercise in as many parts as you need to be able to complete the whole set.

The BodyWeight 500 Workout

  • 50 Prisoner Squats
  • 50 Pushups
  • 25 Jumps
  • 25 Stability Ball Leg Curls
  • 50 Stability Ball Jackknifes
  • 50 Step-ups (25 reps per side)
  • 25 Pull-ups (NO substitutions)
  • 50 Forward Lunges (25 reps per side)
  • 50 Close-grip Pushups
  • 50 Inverted Rows
  • 50 Squats
  • 25 Chin-ups (NO substitutions)

As time passes and you build up your core strength, you should be able to complete the workout in lesser and lesser time. A good idea is to time yourself and try to beat yourself 🙂

I like this workout since it always is a challenge. And it feels like a great asset in the running since it doesn’t build big muscles, only leading to a strong body all over. Another advantage is that the only equipment you need for it is a chinning bar (I have one that is mountable in a doorway) and a stability ball – and the weight of you own body, of course 😉

Here’s a video instruction of the workout made by Craig Ballantyne, who has created the workout:


Except for the 500 workout, which I did during the evening, I did my 30 minutes of easy running today at lunch. It felt good to take it easy, though I didn’t feel overly tired in the legs from the 1k intervals yesterday 🙂

Detailed Garmin data

Day 9, 1st sub 40 10k round
easy day of 30min running

Lap Distance Time AvgPace AvgHR MaxHR AvgCadence
1 6.41 35:55 5:35 133 143 90

2 thoughts on “What is the 500 workout, why is it so good?”

  1. Hi Christian. Thanks for writing yet another great blog!

    I was going to ask what this 500 workout was all about.

    I think it is an excellent idea. It seems possible to start, as it allows exercises to be spilt into sets. I guess you progress this by cutting down the sets and rest. Plenty of variety too. How long does it take to do aproximately?

    I do weight training with core training once or twice a week and have found this very helpful.

    Best wishes — Dave

    1. Thank you Dave!

      You are right – After a couple of workouts you get both much better technique in the exercises as well as stronger. What I’ve done then is to make the first split as long as I can. So for example – the chin-ups (25)- which is a very tough exercise since it’s in the end and you tend to get very tired in the arms by then.. First time I did it, I only did 8 in my first split. That made me have to split up it in 5-6 splits. Now I do 13-16 in my first split, which allows me to do it in only 3 splits..

      It gets very obvious that you get stronger as time goes by in this workout 😉

      One total workout usually takes me 25-30 minutes. The idea is to not get much rest in between the splits and different exercises, so that it becomes somewhat like a combined interval/fartlek session with respect to the heart..

      I hope you try it and come to enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

      Take care!

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