The Angry Birds Workout Plan

Please tell me you’ve played Angry Birds.

Hopefully you’ve at least HEARD of Angry Birds, the game that pretty much took over every app store on every phone in every country in 2010.  Next time you see somebody holding an iPhone sideways, just asked them “Angry Birds?” and there’s a good chance you’ll get a head nod.  If you’ve never played Angry Birds, here’s the lowdown: it’s a 99-cent game that’s deceptively simple: launch your “angry birds” via sling shot at towers and buildings housing green pigs and try to destroy them with as few birds as possible.

Depending on how many birds it takes you to kill these things, you’re awarded a score for the level – 1, 2, or 3 stars. Each level gets more and more complicated as there are more obstacles to work around, more green pigs to kill, and birds with different abilities to launch.

Sounds simple enough, right?

…so what makes this game so great that everybody has it on their iPhone? It’s because Angry Birds is a lot of fun to play, whether you have three hours  or three minutes – you ALWAYS have enough time to beat a level or two and accomplish something.

WTF does this have to do with working out?”

Simple!

Anybody that says they “don’t have time to work out” is either:

  • Lazy
  • Lying
  • Uninformed

Because you’re reading Nerd Fitness, if you tell me “I don’t have time to work out” I’m going to pray that it’s because you’re uninformed – the Rebellion doesn’t do well with liars or lazy people.

Today, we’re going to see how Angry Birds can teach us to make a workout fit into any schedule imaginable. If you can find find 5 minutes here, ten minutes there, and you actually care about bettering yourself (much offense intended to those that don’t care…you’re reading the wrong site), you can get in a full workout.

Now unfortunately, this pretty much renders the “I don’t have enough time to workout” excuse obsolete, which means that the lazy folks and liars will actually have to start working out instead of complaining how busy their lives are!

Introducing…

The Angry Birds Workout Plan!

If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know that your diet will be 80% of your success or failure when it comes to getting in shape: if you can eat right, then your workout will merely supplement your awesomeness.

I’ve found that in the past whenever I get lazy and convince myself that I don’t have enough time to work out, I tend to skip out on eating well that day too. With today’s workout, you’ll be able to get your workout done throughout the day, which will keep your mind focused on “I am full of win and I am getting in shape” and will also help you make good decisions when eating well throughout the day.

I’ve been doing only body weight workouts while traveling, so I figured today would be a good day to give away a free body weight workout plan that makes it impossible for you to say “I don’t have time.”  I’ve had to chop up my workouts to work around bus schedules, last minute activities and more.  These things happen; luckily you can still get an awesome workout in by dividing it into smaller pieces.

Here’s how The Angry Bird Workout Plan works: it’s deceptively simple – only four major movements.

  • Body weight squats
  • Push ups
  • Pull ups (or bent over rows or inverted rows)
  • Planks

Each exercise will have MANY different levels based on your ability and level of fitness.

Depending on how much time you have during the day, you can do your whole workout at once, or break up your workout into four different sessions throughout the day (with each session being ONE of the exercises).  You can even split the workout across two days if you have to: squats and push ups on Monday, and then pull ups and planks on Tuesday.

Here’s a sample day:

  • Wake up, do 40 jumping jacks to warm up, and then do body weight squats.
  • At lunch, you grab your suitcase and do bent over rows.
  • After work, you do another 50 jumping jacks and then do your push ups.
  • After dinner, you do your planks while watching TV.

How it works

Your goal is to do the required number of reps for your level in two sets or less. Just like in Angry Birds, you can award yourself a star rating based on how you did:

  • 2 total sets to reach the required number of reps3 STARS: advance to the next level
  • 3 total sets to reach the required number of reps2 STARS: work towards two sets
  • 4 total sets to reach the required number of reps1 STAR: not bad, but you can do better
  • 5 or more sets to reach the required number of repsZERO STARS: you have work to do!

This means the best score you could get for a day’s workout would be 12 stars: 4 exercises and 3 stars per exercise, and you then move up to the next level for all four exercises for the next workout.

A few bits of important info:

  • You can be at different levels for each exercise: you can be at level 5 on squats and only level 2 on push ups. That’s okay!
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets. use a stop watch or your phone to keep track of time between sets. Be consistent!
  • On the set that you cross the goal number for total repsdon’t stop at that number if you can do more – keep going, and keep track of your total.
  • Don’t do this workout two days in a row – give your muscles time to recover: every other day should be fine.
  • Record each of your workouts: write down your total number of reps, sets, and how long you waited between each so you can compare from workout to workout.  I’ve included an Angry Birds Workout sheet at the end.
  • As soon as you can do the total number of reps within two sets, you level up and work towards the next goal set of reps.
  • Warm up before each session – something to get the blood flowing to your muscles so you don’t pull anything! I recommend 40-50 jumping jacks (or as many as you can do).

The Exercise Levels

Squats

  • Level 1 – 30 Body weight squats (do it without the chair)
  • Level 2 – 50 Body weight squats
  • Level 3 – 70 Body weight squats
  • Level 4 – 100+ Body weight squats
  • Level 5 – start back at level 1 with overhead squats
  • Level 6 – start back at level 1 with jump squats

Push Ups

  • Level 1 – 40 incline push ups or knee push ups
  • Level 2 – 20 push ups / incline push ups
  • Level 3 – 50 push ups / incline push ups
  • Level 4 – 80 push ups / incline push ups
  • Level 5 – 100+ push ups / incline push ups
  • Level 6 – (start back at level 2 with decline push ups)

Back Exercises

  • Level 1 – 30 one arm rows (with backpack, luggage, laptop bag)
  • Level 2 – 20 inverted rows (or bent over rows)
  • Level 3 – 10 pull ups
  • Level 4 – 16 pull ups
  • Level 5 – 22 pull ups
  • Level 6 – 30+ pull ups

Planks

  • Level 1 – 60 seconds of planks
  • Level 2 – 2 minutes of planks
  • Level 3 – 3 minutes of planks
  • Level 4 – 4 minutes of planks
  • Level 5 – 5 minutes of planks
  • Level 6 – 6 minutes of planks

Get Angry!

Want an even BIGGER challenge? Do the four exercises as a circuit, which will exhaust you even more and give your heart a great workout:

  • Do as many push ups as you can do, write down the number
  • Immediately do as many squats as you can do, write down the number
  • Immediately do as many back exercises as you can do (depending on your level), write down your reps.
  • Immediately hold a plank for as long as you can, write down the time.
  • Rest for as long as you need to (though generally no more than 2 minutes is recommended).
  • Start back at push ups, and continue the cycle until you complete each rep requirement.
  • If you finish the total reps for one exercise before another, you can rest or go right to the next exercise.

This will require you to do the whole workout at once, but it shouldn’t take you more than 20-25 minutes.  Keep track of your total time and work on besting that number each time.

Give em the bird

This type of workout is set up similarly to how the Body Weight Brigade workouts are set up in the Rebel Strength Guide, so make sure you check it out!

The Rebel Strength Guide has more exercises, variations, and varieties along with a greater focus on strength and muscle building, but is set up similarly with ranks and levels so that you can advance at your own pace (and more importantly, see progress from workout to workout!).

Because I’m a nice guy, I’ve included an Angry Birds Workout sheet that you can download if you want to keep track of your progress. I’ve filled in the first day as an example if you’re curious how to fill it out.  It’s an Excel document, but you can download and then open in Google Docs if you don’t have Excel.  Page 1 has space for five workouts, page two is a reprint of the exercises and levels so you know what you need to do.

DOWNLOAD THE ANGRY BIRDS WORKOUT SHEET HERE

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the Angry Birds Workout after you’ve tried it once or twice. How are the levels – is level 1 way too easy or way too tough? Gap between levels too big or two small? Let me know!

-Steve

###

Check out the Rebel Strength Guide if you want more bodyweight only workouts!

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  • Bilgen

    I’m indeed a lazy person, but i am trying to win over my laziness, and be a more active person. I found this article helpful, and going to try this from now on. 

    Because I want to level up.

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  • You’re a legend at making things fun!

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  • Steve. I just heard about your website from Brett over at AoM and this stuff is awesome! As soon as I saw this Angry Birds workout I thought I was either going to be throwing things at things to break them or throwing myself at things. Well I’d be throwing myself at my work out. Regardless to quote Archie Hicoxs from Inglourious Bastards, “I must say, damn good stuff, sir!”

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  • Natalie Rogers

    I did my first Angry Birds Workout this morning. I am looking forward to this process. I modified my levels a bit. Tutorial level for squats with chair to get the form right. Tutorial level for push ups starting with wall push ups (following the order given in your article “How to do a proper push up”). And sub levels for level 1 of back exercises to build up my arm muscles. I’m pretty excited about this and will be tracking my progress on my blog: http://rosecoloredglasshalffull.blogspot.com/2013/03/making-fitness-fun-angry-birds-workout.html

  • Kyran

    My boyfriend and I have updated the spreadsheet and shared it on Google docs. It now calculates your total and stars for you (you have to enter the level and goal info) and it lets you know if you did better than your previous workout. We find it really helpful and hope others do too!
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsusVWD_tj9edEFmcDNwbmFzc2FNWDBZVEg3d0FzUmc&usp=sharing

  • Kyran

    Updated the spreadsheet so now it will fill in your level and goal based on levelling up or not. Just fill out the Levels tab how for what you need.

  • Awesome! Thanks for this!

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  • IMHO, 10 pull-ups is too much for the first level of pull-ups.

    Without any training, I can do 50 proper push-ups in 2 sets — so I’m already at 3 stars. But I can’t even do 1 pull-up.

  • Markos Giannopoulos

    This is very nice indeed! Thank you!

  • Mayfly

    I guess there is a mistake at the push up part. I’m supposed to do 40 incline push ups at lvl 1 and go back to 20 at lvl 2? Lvl 1 sould be 10, right?

  • Thanks,brother!

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  • Vincentas

    As funny as this may sound,this article gave me a craving for Angry Birds.I went to google,found it and downloaded the game for my PC.But don’t worry,I’ve read the article too.I’m trying out this workout plan.

  • Vincentas

    Hi Steve,I have started this Angry Birds workout a few days ago ago and already attempted it twice.I say attempted because even though I gave it a try,a good try I’d say,I didn’t do what I wanted to.Here’s what my first workout looked like:
    Level 2-50 bodyweight squats.Set 1-30 squats.Set 2-20squats.Level 2 completed with 3 starts.
    Level 1-40 knee pushups(I know,pathetic,but that’s all I can do).Set 1-20 pushups.Set 2-15 pushups.Set 3-10 pushups.(45,but that was to at least kind of make up for not doing 40 in 2 set). 2stars.
    Level 3 -10 pullups.I can usually do 8 pullups at max on my Iron Gym,but I was training outside in a stadium and a weird thing happened-I only managed to do 5.2set I did 1.3set I did nothing.FAIL.
    Level 4-4 minutes of planks.1 set-2 minutes.2set-2 minutes.3 stars.
    And second workout:
    Level 3-70 bw squats.1 set-40 squats.2 set-30 squats.My legs were quite pumped,but I finished it.3 stars
    Level 1-40 knee pushups.1 set-20.2 set-10.I know,weird,right?But that’s all I could do.3set-5.4set-5.VERY BAD,worse than the last time.1star
    Level 3-10 pull-ups.1set-ONLY 3 PULLUPS!2SET-2 PULLUPS!I didn’t even try the 3rd set,l knew there was something wrong here.
    Level 6-6 minutes of planks.1set-I don’t even know HOW I made through holding on for 3minutes,but I did.2set-I fell to the ground on 75seconds.

    So I improved a little,but I also made regress(progress,but backwards lol).Steve,what am I doing wrong?Why did my pullups and pushups count reduce?I gave my self 2 days of rest between the workouts!Did I aim to high and should I just do inverted rows instead of pullups?And I should just keep trying with pushups?Would very much appreciate your feedback.Till then,peace 🙂

  • Vincentas

    Yeah I go to high school and there’s a gym teacher who is absolutely ripped and he advised me to stretch the muscle worked AFTER the exercise too.I respect him and I trust that he tried it itself,so this comment is just another reason to stretch AFTER.He said that stretching makes recovery faster.

  • Vincentas

    I’m getting real furious about myself!Lol jk,no I’m just a bit upset,I’ve still got a smile on my face though.Here’s the thing Steve,I attempted the Angry Birds Workout the third time(did it this morning) and I’m noticing that things just keep getting harder for me.Like I can do less pull-ups than usual,I can hold the plank for a shorter time than normally.I think I overestimated my abilities and gone if not to failure then at least very near it at my two previous workouts.I’m thinking of quitting exercising FOR A WEEK,and then returning to this plan and doing all things at Level 1.And if,lets say,squats are too easy for me,I’m doing level 2.If I feel like squats level 2 are hard,but manageable,then I’m sticking with them until I can nail them too.How does that sound,Steve?Any advice?Btw,my warmup is 110 jumps with a jump rope.I know,a small number,but I do them non-stop at a moderate pace and it gets my blood going and I’m breathing pretty heavily afterwards.I add 5 jumps every time.Any advice on all of this would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!

  • Myriam Bruneau

    Haha that’s amazing! I love the idea of the levels and stars… check out my Killer Abs Workout here : http://www.mydreamshape.com/top-5-killer-exercises-for-dream-shape-abs/

  • malthusX

    Just tried this. It kicked my ass most unexpectedly. I’m looking to get back into shape, and this just made me realize how far I had fallen.

    “‘Ow’, he added, ‘ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.'”

  • Ryan

    Started today, underestimated myself apparently! 1 set for level 1 across board, except 40 incline pushups, that took 5 but it was a really low inverted about 2 feet off ground) Going to level 2 across the board(including push-ups) next session

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  • shadowguy14

    ugh so much work

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  • nice

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  • Nyomyo

    you really should make this into an app!!

  • This is great! I can get my oldest son in on this too because he loves some Angry Birds! Amazing!

  • Ben Mills

    So, just some jumping jacks is all that is needed to warm up for (a set of) this?

  • Elle

    I just started with NF a week ago, and this has been the first “real” workout I’ve done with y’all. I have a gym membership and went out there to do it. First I started with 15 minutes of quick cardio (running – and I’m a fat girl, I HATE running) to help get my heart rate up, and then I started shadow boxing for a few minutes with some kicks and punches. Then I got into the workout. I did two sets of fifteen squats; three sets of fifteen, ten, and five incline push-ups; then did 30 rows with a 15 pound dumbbell. Between sets I kept boxing, doing that stupid hop motion and jabbing at the guy on the treadmill across the room. (Poor dude, probably was a little confused.) I was only able to do 15 seconds of plank, because I just wasn’t able to get it done on my elbows – for whatever reason, I couldn’t feel stable in my shoulders, so I went up into “up” position from push-up. Anyway, the whole thing took less than 45 minutes and I felt EXHAUSTED. It’s now a couple hours later and I can still feel my thighs all warm from the squats. It’s a nice feeling.

    I was pumping myself up all the way out there, too – it’s like, 38′ F here, my car was frosted and cold, and I walked out of the house in my gym clothes because I didn’t want to procrastinate in the locker room. All I could think of was something stupid: “Some men are born great; others achieve greatness; and some men have greatness thrust upon them. And just SOMETIMES a woman has to work for it. Fuck yeah!” I was channeling my inner Marshall Pentecost (of Pacific Rim fame) at that one, which led to me thinking of training to be a Jaeger pilot while I was working out. Whatever works, right?

    It was dumb, and it’s dumb writing it out, but it worked. It got me psyched up to get in, work, and get out. It was the fastest workout I’ve done in a long time, but it feels the most effective at the moment. I like it.

    I am canceling my fatpocalypse!

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  • Amichai Atedgi

    genius

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