Tarzan 77: Become Lord Of Your Jungle With 11 Weeks Of Calisthenics!


  Tarzan 77: Become Lord Of Your Jungle With 11 Weeks Of Calisthenics!


Tarzan, the fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is an archetype of manhood. Rugged, strong, fast, and agile, he looks good in a loincloth and always beats the bad guys and gets the girl! The following calisthenics program is designed to make you into Tarzan!

  • You will exercise 4-5 days a week with no workout lasting more than 1 hour.
  • You will perform basic calisthenic exercises with minimal equipment.
  • Conditioning will be provided by a Power Run.
  • In 11 weeks you will be slimmer, stronger, and more rugged!

Let’s grab a vine and swing into action!



The Program

The #1 priority for a virile 21st century Ape-man is to be able to move his own body through space and time. Thus, the Tarzan 77 focuses on bodyweight exercises, or calisthenics.

Simplicity is another distinctive characteristic of the Tarzan 77 Program. This is something you can do even if you are stranded on a primeval continent and your parents have been killed by gorillas!

Follow the program exactly as noted below. It intentionally introduces incremental increases in difficulty and variability which will stimulate progress.

Week 1

Your goal will be to perform 200 squats, 100 pushups, and 50 pullups each day as prescribed. Perform the exercises in the order listed. You will need a floor, a pullup bar (or tree branch or gymnastics rings…), a stopwatch, and a notebook.

Monday On Monday, your goal will be to just complete the given number of repetitions for each exercise without rushing. Rest as much as needed between sets. Do not push yourself to failure.  Time your workout so that you know how long it took to complete all repetitions. You will now have a baseline against which to compare yourself.

Sample workout: 9 am start: 50 squats, 30 squats, 30 squats, 25 squats, 20 squats, 20 squats, 15 squats, 10 squats…25 pushups, 20 pushups, 18 pushups, 15 pushups, 12 pushups, 10 pushups…10 pullups, 8 pullups, 8 pullups, 6 pullups, 6 pullups, 5 pullups, 4 pullups, 3 pullups….9:45 am finish

Tuesday-Do the same thing as on Monday, except that you will time exactly how long your rests are between each set. Again, do not hurry; rest as much as you feel you need to between sets, but time and make note of the duration of each rest period.

Wednesday– Rest

Thursday– Do the same thing as on Tuesday except that you will shorten each rest period by 10 seconds.


SaturdayPower Run! This will deliver the lung-busting, mobility-enhancing impetus that will complement the capillary density you are gaining from the high repetition squat, push, and pull workouts of the previous days.

Go here for Power Run instructions.

Power Runs can be hellaciously taxing, thus you have a day off before and after this vital part of the Tarzan 77 Program.

Sunday– Rest


Week 2

Repeat week 1 except that on Thursday you will decrease your rest periods by 20 seconds compared to what you wrote down on Tuesday.


Week 3

Repeat week 2 except that on Thursday you will rest for exactly 1 minute between all sets of all exercises. Rest for exactly 2 minutes between each transition to a different exercise. By now, your Monday workout, the one where you don’t rush and never push yourself too hard, should take a bit less time than it did on week 1.  Progress!

Week 4

This week is a “back off”, or recovery week. You will diminish your repetitions to 100 squats, 75 pushups, and 35 pullups. Otherwise, repeat week 1 exactly.

Week 5

Now has come the time to increase the difficulty of the exercises and decrease the repetitions of each exercise.  The exercises are modified as follows:

Instead of squats, perform Assisted Pistol Squats. Stand on one leg with the opposite foot elevated in front of you. (Tarzan would stand on an elephant’s back!) Keep the heel of the foot you are standing on flat against the ground throughout the duration of the movement. Reach forward and grab a rope, bar, door handle or suspension trainer. Squat down on one leg and return to the standing position assisting yourself with your arm only as needed.


Assisted Pistol

Instead of standard pushups on the floor, do Decline Pushups with your feet up on a bench  or table about 2 feet high. (Tarzan would make 2 gorillas hold his legs up!)


Decline pushup

Instead of regular pullups, do Towel Pullups. Drape a standard bath towel (Tarzan would use a vine!) over whatever you are doing pullups on; grab one end of the towel with each hand and pull until your fists are below your chin.


Towel pullup

You will repeat the exact format of the week 1 workout. The more difficult exercises will be coupled with fewer repetitions. Instead of the 200/100/50 template, you will strive for the following rep schemes:

Assisted Pistol Squats- Alternate legs for a total of 30 reps.

Decline Pushups- Total of 60 reps.

Towel pullups-Total of 30 reps

Remember, follow the exact format of the week 1 workout.


Week 6

Repeat week 5 except that on Thursday you will decrease your rest periods by 20 seconds compared to what you wrote down on Tuesday.

Week 7

Repeat week 6 except that on Thursday you will rest for exactly 1 minute between all sets of all exercises. Rest for exactly 2 minutes between each transition to a different exercise. Not only are you working your skeletal muscle, but your heart will also be hammering away trying to drive freshly oxygenated blood into all those straining sinews!


Week 8

Another recovery week. You will diminish your repetitions to 20/40/15 and otherwise follow the template of week 5.

Week 9

This is where we start to separate the Tarzan Ape Men from the civilized Monkey Boys!

Monday200 Assisted Pistol Squats (100 on each leg.) Rest as needed between sets, but be sure to finish within 45 minutes.

Tuesday150 Decline Pushups.  Rest as needed between sets, but be sure to finish within 45 minutes.

Wednesday75 Towel Pullups. Rest as needed between sets, but be sure to finish within 45 minutes.

ThursdayPower Run for a full 45 minutes. No stopping is allowed!

Friday– Rest

Saturday – 30 reps/60 reps/30 reps of Assisted Pistol Squats/Decline Pushups/Towel Pullups

Sunday – Rest


Week 10

Repeat week 9 except that you will rest exactly 1 minute between each set of exercises on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The Power Run will be repeated exactly as on Thursday of week 9. Run fast like Tarzan chasing a lion!


Week 11

This is it! The final week of your jungle odyssey! You will be going back to visit week 1. The only difference will be that instead of Squats, Pushups, and Pullups, you will repeat the same pattern of week 1 with the 3 more difficult exercises.


That’s it, you’ve completed the Tarzan 77!

Take a week off, while eating in accord with the principles discussed here; then go back to week 1, day 1 and do the workout as quickly as you can. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you can finish than you did only a short 11 weeks earlier! You are now stronger, leaner, and tougher, like Tarzan!… but please, how you look in a loincloth is between you and Jane!


You are Tarzan!


Leave a Comment!








  1. Brian G

    Hey Tree, just wanted to let you know that Wes and I have begun the Tarzan 77. He really was looking forward to starting it. I quickly determined that I will have to workup to Day 1 more than I first thought. After doing Day 1 I was quite a sight as I was having trouble applying my Burt’s Bees which was very disconcerting. We look ahead to finishing this beast workout. Perhaps you can comment on you warm-up for a workout session. I am also curious about how you nourish yourself before and after a workout especially timing. Keep up the good work and see you amongst the vines.

    1. Patrick (Post author)


      I’m glad to hear that the Tarzan 77 can make a rugged farmer like you feel…loved! Wes will undoubtedly thrive. How is the Power Run working for you both?

      1. Brian G.

        Well, I was a bit sore the first couple days and than choose to play flag football on Thursday morning so that left me feeling like I had just done a power run. So long story short I have not fully done the power run as you prescribed. I will let you know of future results however.

    2. Patrick (Post author)

      Regarding warmups: I have personally never experienced tremendous value from them. I wouldn’t just jump out of bed and start working out without scraping the crust out of my eyes, but the normal activities of the day seem to be sufficient warm up for me. I agree with Mark Sisson’s view (especially the 4 bullet points) expressed here:http://www.marksdailyapple.com/are-stretching-and-warmups-overrated/#axzz3tAr2sPfN

      Regarding nutrition, same deal: Don’t overcomplicate it! I like to eat primarily veggies, nuts, meat, and eggs as fuel. I’ve found that my body composition and general energy levels are better when I eschew grain based carbohydrates almost entirely. Research William Banting for some interesting reading. Listen to your body and feed it food, not products.


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