Lee Haney : Body Building Without Weights

Lee Haney Eight Time Mr. Olympia

National Correctional Recreation Association
29th Annual Conference Myrtle Beach S.C.
Thursday March 7th, 1996

Lee Haney has been in bodybuilding 25 years and has been Mr. Olympia 8 times.

When he learned that alcohol, nicotine, marijuana destroyed muscle tissue or reduced anabolic output he decided to stay away from them. It helped his spiritual side as well.

Speaking of those in prison and of us, he said, "We have to continue to have a dream."

Lee Haney showed a variety of bodybuilding and fitness exercises that could be done with a partner. Many involved the use of a towel. Your partner is also often working the same muscles in the other direction. You trade back and forth for a full workout. Lee Haney and a volunteer demonstrated one or more exercises for most of the larger muscle groups.

At the close of the session there was talk of perhaps trying to get him to do a video of this material that could be shown to inmates without access to weight lifting equipment. Several photos below show the various movements demonstrated plus some general shots of the presentation.


These photos, images, and files are copyrighted material. Copyright by Strength Tech, Inc. 1996. They are not to be copied or reproduced without the approval of Strength Tech, Inc.


Our volunteer appeared a little nervous but he did a good job.

  • A Volunteer Is Drafted
    They began by illustrating how two people could do many bodybuilding exercises without equipment. Just by resisting each other the basic muscles could be worked. They would exchange places to get the full benefit of the exercise. The Bicep Curl is shown below.

  • Lee Haney Bicep Curl
    The triceps can also be worked with a towel. Press down with your triceps and pull the towel down as your partner resists. Most of the other exercises are shown using a towel as the link between the two exercisers.

  • Triceps with Towel
    Pushups are good chest and bicep building exercises. Lee suggested doing them explosively and coming up off of your hands. First our volunteer showed his form. Then Lee explained how they could be done while our legs were being supported by our training partner. Our volunteer demonstrated this and the third photo is Lee demonstrating his form in explosive pushups while his legs are supported by our volunteer.

  • Explosive Pushups by Volunteer and Lee Haney

  • Explosive Pushups by Volunteer (Supported) and Lee Haney

  • Explosive Pushups by Lee Haney (Supported)
    Lee then demonstrated how you can do what he term "sissy squats" using your training partner for support.

  • Lee Haney Sissy Squats
    One of the conference participants (lady from next year's conference site in Fort Collins CO), said she new of an exercise that worked you somewhat similar to the sissy squat (above photo) and she came forward to demonstrate it to the group. It can be done on one leg and then on the other. The free leg is kept in the air and you balance off of your training partner

  • One Leg Squat with Support from Lee Haney
    Next, he discussed plyometric training and box jumps. He did some skips and hops and then vertical jumps. This photo is of him getting ready for a vertical jump.

  • Lee Haney Vertical Jump
    This is a nice photo of Lee Haney making a point during his presentation.

  • Lee Haney Makes a Point
    Leg curls are another exercise that can easily be down with a partner and a towel. The towel can also be put on the other side of your ankles in order to provide resistance against the other directions of the curl.

  • Leg Curls assisted by Lee Haney
    Seated Presses also lend themselves to the manual resistance approach.

  • Seated Press assisted by Lee Haney
    Here is Lee in a thinking pose as he tries to make sure he has came up with exercises to work all the major body groups. I thought it was a nice shot.

  • Thinking Pose by Lee Haney
    Pulling strongly with your arms and legs using a towel in a tug of war is also a good exercise. If both individuals keep their feet fixed, they can alternate allowing the towel to flow to the other person and then come back to them. This makes for a very good bicep and chest workout.

  • Lee Haney Tug of War
    Lee asked how many of the group had been bothered by some kind of lower back pain at one time or another. He told those who had not, that their time was coming. He demonstrated an exercise he uses to relieve stress in his lower back. He lays out flat with arms and legs out to form and "X". He then raises an arm and the diagonal leg for a count of 10 or more (work up to longer counts) then lowers it and raises the other arm or leg.

  • Lee Haney Back Stress Reliever
    In addition to these "partner type exercises" he also recommended some traditional body weight exercises such as:
  • situps / crunches for the abdominals
  • dips for the triceps
  • pull ups / chin ups with various grip widths and palm directions for the traps and back

    We have another page that may be of interest to those training without weights:

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