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Physical Fitness Punishment

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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.

Frequently backed up with even worse punishments if the offender hesitates or even outright defies the punishment.


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  • A Bubble Tape commercial from 1991 has this to say from the gym teacher.
    Gym Teacher: Anyone chewing Bubble Tape owes me fifty pushups!

    Anime and Manga 
  • 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 Azumanga Daioh, Nyamo punishes Tomo, Chiyo, and Osaka for being late to gym class by making them run laps (though it's unclear if everyone else was also running that day).

    Comic Books 
  • 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.)

  • In A Brand New Day, Xander and Larry are made to run laps for an entire gym class for fighting earlier that day. At Xander's advice, the gym teacher has them start running a few minutes before class so everyone assumes they're stuck running much longer.
  • A Darker Path: After Atropos has brought local crime down to almost nothing, Piggot is more willing to punish her underlings since it's unlikely they'll be desperately needed immediately at any given time. Clockblocker does something to anger her, which causes her to suggest the fire chief training him get him up to department fitness standards. As a result, he has to do a series of physical exercises while wearing fifty pounds of safety equipment, starting with carrying sixty pounds of fire hose up to the fifth floor of a building within a set time limit.
  • 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 Cathy’s 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."
  • After Team 7 seriously messes up their meeting with Gai's team (hospitalizing them) in People Lie, Gai as their temporary sensei simply tells them to "Run." They end up having to run laps around Konoha for three days. By the time Gai lets them stop, because his students agree they've been punished enough, Naruto is barely limping while carrying Hinata and Sasuke is crawling on the ground.
  • 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 A.J. Lee on her back!

    Films — Animated 
  • In Hercules, when Phil finally finds Hercules after the latter "plays hooky" from his heroic duties for a date with Meg, he tells him that as punishment he'll be put through "the workout of your life" back at the stadium. Then when the lovesick Hercules unwittingly lets Phil fall off Pegasus and rides away without him, Phil mutters that Hercules will "be doing laps for a month."
  • 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.
  • Cars: In the epilogue to the first movie, pimped out Hummers attend Sarge's SUV Boot Camp.
    Sarge: A-TEN HUT! Kiss the pavement GOODBYE, gentlemen! When I'm finished with you, you'll have mud in places you didn't know you HAD.
    Hummer: Yo! I've never been off road!
    Sarge: Well, THAT'S gonna change RIGHT now! ABOUT FACE! Drop and give me twenty miles! Go, Go, GO!
    Hummer: Aw, man! Now I've got DIRT in my rims!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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".
  • 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. Splinter gives the same punishment to all the turtles at the very end after they prove to be more highly visible than usual.
  • 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. This gets them pissed enough to throw Pyle a "blanket party".
  • The Karate Kid (1984)
    John Kreese: "Give me 50 push-ups on your knuckles"!
    • This would get a Call-Back in Cobra Kai when Johnny makes Miguel do knuckle push-ups during their first training session.
  • 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.
  • In Top Gun: Maverick, when Maverick engages the younger class of pilots, they confidently suggest upping the stakes with the wager that anyone who gets "shot down" has to do 200 push-ups, to which Maverick agrees. Rooster fails and the class gets a good laugh at him doing it...and cue the montage of every other pilot having to do the push-ups after Maverick nails them in training. And then Rooster has to do it again.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot: Coach Patel makes the kids run wind sprints whenever he sees them making mistakes.
  • 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.
  • In The Rise of Kyoshi and The Shadow of Kyoshi, Rangi, Kyoshi's firebending teacher (and later girlfriend) often punishes her by making her hold Horse Stance for several minutes.
  • Boot Camp: Exercise is commonly used as a punishment at Lake Harmony. After Garrett is brought back after his escape attempt, he's forced to run barefoot, carrying a tire with each arm. If he drops a tire or falls, the staff hit him. When he's finally too exhausted to stand, they make him crawl to the isolation room.

    Live-Action TV 

    Video Games 
  • Failing to deal with Coach Beltz properly in The Adventures of Willy Beamish has him force Willy to do twenty push-ups. To wit, he catches Willy sneaking out of detention, and the only excuse he'll accept is that Willy's going to the bathroom with an appropriate hall pass.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: Zero: In the first episode, One is made to do fifty pushups as punishment for reckless, destructive racing.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Dave the Barbarian: When Dave is in boot camp, his drill instructor tells him to give him 5000 pushups. Since Dave has superhuman strength, he does them effortlessly.
  • In Doug, the band teacher has his students drop and give him twenty push-ups whenever they played a wrong note on their instruments. Another episode had the sports coach force Roger to start doing push-ups after he made fun of Patti and her team losing their game with the school's team.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown, Raimundo gets everyone else subjected to these by Master Monk Guan when he talks out of turn. After he points out how unfair it is to punish them for his actions, they get even more pushups. This later turns out to be part of the plan to get Raimundo into Hannibal Roy Bean's sights.
  • 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 of 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.