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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.

Examples of Physical Fitness Punishment include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Medabots, Coach Mountain loved forcing any kids he caught misbehaving by making them run laps to the point of exhaustion.

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.)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 pretty much 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.

 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, 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.
  • In Stripes: Sergeant Hulka doesn't appreciate Winger talking back to him after ordering the trainees to go on a five mile run.

 John Winger: I know that I'm speaking for the entire platoon when I say this run should be postponed until this platoon is better rested.

Sergeant Hulka: Well, I'll tell you what, soldier. Let's make it ten miles.

  • Splinter has Michelangelo do backflips as a punishment in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: 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.
  • To quote R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket, "Who the fuck said that? Who the fuck said that?!... I will PT you until you fucking die!"


  • Old Mans 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.

Live Action TV

  • 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.

Western Animation

  • 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.

Real Life

  • This is particularly common in American military training, particularly 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 it's 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".
    • Not specifically an American thing, used in Soviet/Russian military as well.
  • A recent 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.
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