A typical strategy of the gym teacher, sports coach, martial arts instructor, and the Drill Sergeant Nasty, this is when failure at some task is commonly punished by performing some sort of physical exercise, with pushups or running both being common examples. This serves two purposes: It gives the wrongdoer incentive not to mess up again, but it also helps them become stronger, which is particularly handy if they are training to be in the military or a sports team.
A common variation is for everybody in the group to get the same punishment for one person's misdeed, to motivate them to keep him in line. Such punishment can, of course, be typical in Training from Hell. Another common variation is for this punishment to be issued for someone failing to properly perform a physical exercise, making this punishment recursive in nature.
- A Bubble Tape commercial from 1991 has this to say from the gym teacher.
Gym Teacher: Anyone chewing Bubble Tape owes me fifty pushups!
- In Medabots, Coach Mountain loved forcing any kids he caught misbehaving by making them run laps to the point of exhaustion.
- Gunslinger Girl Triela opens her hand-to-hand training by dumping a GIS commando on his head in about 3 seconds (Cyborg or no, she's half his size, if not height). The Major isn't impressed with either of them. The soldier is told to go get his gear and not to come back til he's done ten klicks. Then he kicks Triela's butt.
- Sasha from Attack on Titan gets introduced to the main characters (and the audience) when she starts munching on a stolen steamed potato while standing about five meters from the Drill Sergeant Nasty in mid-rant against another cadet. Cut to hours later and 'Potato Girl' is panting and stumbling around the field while the other characters watch in amusement. Connie even notes that she was less bothered by the running than she was about being told to skip meals.
- A self-inflicted version of this is how Rock Lee and Might Guy from Naruto train. "If I can't do 30 laps while running, I'll do 40 laps while doing handstands. If I can't do that I'll do 300 jumps with the rope. If I can't do that, I'll kick the training dummy 1000 times." And so on. This is the source of their extreme physical prowess which easily puts them among the most dangerous taijutsu users in the world, putting them on par with many ninja who rely on ninjutsu to get the job done.
- In a The Simpsons comic book story Ralph Wiggum gets $20 conned out of him by the bullies. They then overhear Chief Wiggum tell Ralph that he'll give him 18 tomorrow. They "convince" Ralph to let them have it instead of him - so the Chief makes them run 18 laps. It's Ralph's standard punishment for being stupid. (Actually, the standard is 20 but the Chief was feeling generous towards Ralph and reduced it.)
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: In Staff Difficulties, Ami punishes her warlocks with physical training when they went along with Torian's plans for the Calarine Staff. Although, they were supposed to have that training anyway:
all of you will attend Cathys training sessions from now on until further notice. Unauthorised absences will have to be explained to me personally. I will not be pleased about having to take time out of my busy schedule to deal with something like that.
- In The Return-Remixed, when Kelly Kelly ended her 10-Minute Retirement and returned to the Diva Army, Jazz wasn't quick to welcome her back. Not only did she make Kelly Run the Gauntlet, having to face all the other members of the Diva Army (each one playing the role of a member of DEAR), but also made her do ONE HUNDRED push-ups - with AJ Lee on her back!
- In Meet the Robinsons, the gym teacher appoints himself judge of the science fair because it's in his gym. When he's disappointed by one of the projects, he has the kid who made it run laps.
- Animal House: The ROTC commander Douglas Neidermeyer once gives the cadets the command "Now drop and give me twenty!" because they're "worthless and weak".
- Taken Up to Eleven in the movie Biloxi Blues; a soldier says something vaguely impertinent in ranks, so the Drill Sergeant Nasty played by Christopher Walken has the entire platoon do two hundred pushups. To make matters worse, the offending cadet has to pee the entire time.
- In The Army Now: The first time one of the buddies is ordered to give 20, he thinks "twenty" means dollars, not push-ups. By the time they get through basic training after doing so many pushups Pauly Shore's character can do hundreds of them without feeling tired at all.
- In The Pacifier, Zoey's boyfriend tries to sneak in through a window, setting off the alarm. Lt. Shane, who's guarding/babysitting the kids while their mom's away, catches the teen and tells him to give him twenty. He takes out his wallet before Shane clarifies that he meant pushups, not dollars.
- Remember the Titans: During his summer football training camp, Coach Boone only had one punishment for any kind of failure: Running a mile.
Coach Boone: We will be perfect in every aspect of the game. You drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. You fumble the football, and I will break my foot off in your John Brown hind parts... and then you will run a mile. Perfection. Let's go to work.
- Happens in Starship Troopers.
Career Sergeant Zim: Do you think I'm funny? Do I make you laugh? Do you think I'm a comedian?"Kitten" Smith: [Shaking his head "no"] Sorry...!Zim: The first and last words out of your stinking holes will be "sir". Do you get me?Smith: Sir, sorry...sir.Zim: See that armory? Run around it![Zim smacks him on the leg with his baton.]Smith: YEOW!Zim: RUN, I SAID! Bronski, keep pace![Corporal Bronski takes out after him, laying a baton across his backside every time he slows.]
- In the Direct-to-Video sequel, Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, Captain Dax deflects a female trooper's sexual advances (her excuse being that she had "excess energy" she needed to burn off) by having her do a hundred pushups. He tells her to make it two hundred when he walks away.
- In Stripes: Sgt. Hulka does not appreciate Winger's sarcasm and talking back to him throughout the movie. During their introductory briefing, after Winger made a joke about something Hulka said:
Sergeant Hulka: Corporal Briggs, we have a comedian in our midsts. Would you take this comedian outside and watch him do fifty push-ups?
- When Hulka wakes the platoon after their first night, he tells them they're going on a five-mile hike. When Winger protests that they should be better rested first, Hulka ups it to 10 miles, with Winger incurring the ire of the rest of the platoon.
- There is also a montage of times Winger talked back to Hulka, intercut with him having to do push-ups in the rain while Hulka counts.
- Splinter has Michelangelo do backflips as a punishment in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze - and then he has to do even more of them when he's discovered to be faking them.
- There was a gym teacher like this in Weird Science. At the end of the movie, Lisa shows up in the role and tells all the boys to "drop and give me twenty." The all-male gym class facepalms collectively and falls over backwards.
- Gunnery Sergeant Hartman provides a rather twisted take on this in Full Metal Jacket. When Private Pyle is caught stealing a jelly doughnut, Hartman doesn't punish Pyle. Instead, Hartman punishes everyone except Pyle for failing to keep him in line by making them all do push-ups while Pyle eats the doughnut.
- The Karate Kid (1984)
Kreese (the bad karate teacher): "Give me 50 push-ups on your knuckles"!
- In Edge of Tomorrow, J Squad has to do extra push-ups for Cage's misconduct. This is a relatively common military occurrence in Real Life.
- Coach Carter: A variation on the group punishment theme; one of the players, after having quit the team, is given an impossible physical punishment as a condition to be reinstated (2,500 push-ups and 1000 suicide sprints to be completed by a certain time). After a valiant effort that comes up short, the rest of the team volunteers to complete it for him.
- Old Man's War: On the platoon's first day in training, the drill sergeant makes a point of finding a reason to give each and every person a twenty-kilometer run, with the threat of everyone having to do it again if one person takes longer than an hour. This is partly so everyone knows where they stand with him, and partly to make the point that, with their new technological enhancements, they all can run twenty kilometers in an hour, among other feats.
- CHERUB agents tend to get a lot of these.
- The original novel of Starship Troopers features the scene referenced above, with slightly different dialog.
- The girls who humiliate Carrie at the beginning of the novel are given detention with Miss Desjardin, the gym teacher, who promises to run them ragged.
- Space: Above and Beyond: Part of Sergeant Major Bougus's Establishing Character Moment in the pilot is to make several of the main characters drop and start giving him pushups. One for giving him lip, and another for smirking at the first one. He is kind enough to keep count for them.
Sergeant Major Bougus: ONE... TWO... THREE... FOUR... I... LOVE... THE MARINE... CORPS...
- Done on The Bill Cosby Show where Cosby played a physical education teacher. In one episode, he had the entire team running laps, with one student running them backwards.
- In Doug, the band teacher has his students drop and give him twenty push-ups whenever they played a wrong note on their instruments.
- In Xiaolin Showdown, Raimundo gets subject to these by Master Monk Guan when he talks out of turn. After he talks out of turn again, he gets even more pushups.
- In 101 Dalmatians: The Series, this is a frequent punishment given by Lt. Pug to the puppies.
- The previously mentioned pushups / dollars gag was also used in the Ren and Stimpy episode In the Army.
- In Bunsen Is a Beast episode Cookie Monster, Amanda orders Beverly to do 10 pushups as punishment for the stupid suggestion if caramel apples for lunch after Amanda had just said her braces prevent hard foods and sticky foods.
- Transformers Animated: Jerkass Sentinel Prime enforces these on his Elite Guard trainees in "Autoboot Camp" as penalty for unleashing a pink paint-bomb on him. It's actually pretty funny to see a pissed off drill sergeant covered in pink giving out punishment push-ups.
- This is common in American military training as corporal punishment has been banned in formal military training for some time. It also has a wide variety of nicknames amongst the services:
- For the Air Force, nicknames including "Motivational PT", "Pushing Texas" (given that the Air Force does all of its basic training at a base in Texas), and "Making the Dayroom Walls Sweat" (the Dayroom is a small briefing room in the dormitories, get sixty trainees in there doing pushups with the door closed, and the humidity level in the room will rise significantly...)
- The Navy refers it to getting beat, leads to such lovely sayings such as "the beatings will continue until morale improves".
- The Army nickname for this is "smoking" or "getting smoked", as in your muscles will be so hot and sore by the end they'll feel like they are smoldering and smoking.
- The Marine Corps refers to this as "Incentive Training" or "IT". It is usually done on the quarterdeck in the squad bay, or a sand pit (if it is an entire platoon of recruits).
- Also used in Russian military. The stock command is "Упал, отжался N раз!" (Fall, push N times).
- In the British army, this is known as beasting.
- A tragic example of this occurred in Alabama when a nine-year-old girl died from running three hours nonstop by her grandmother and stepmother for lying about eating a candy bar.
- In the American high school JROTC or other military-related youth programs, this is also used.