So, you want to become a pro hero, huh?
If you’re anything like the rest of us, then you’re not in the peak physical condition required to become a hero. Even Izuku Midoriya’s body wasn’t prepared when All-Might decided to pass down the power of One For All.
Luckily, All-Might developed a physical training program for our hero: The Aim to Pass the American Dream. The program was created to enhance Deku’s General Physical Preparedness so that his body could handle the power of One For All. ATPAD is designed to build a baseline of strength, endurance, and mobility to allow Deku to simply hold the power without bursting at the seams!
The program itself is well-rounded on a surface level, but when you take a look at the specifics, it’s deeply flawed. We’re here to break down the Aim to Pass the American Dream, examine its strengths, weaknesses, and ultimately create a more realistic and practical version of it.
Let’s begin by looking at the layout of the program itself.
The Aim to Pass the American Dream
All-Might’s training program is broken down into three major components:
- Aerobic Exercise: 5 AM-7:30 AM
Goal: Increase aerobic capacity, endurance, and stamina. This component is broken down into three parts:
- Running to increase aerobic endurance
- Jumping Rope to improve stamina, hand-eye coordination, and timing. Skipping rope is also a great exercise for combat, and is often utilized by professional fighters.
- Tai Chi. Though it falls into the aerobic exercise portion of the program, I wouldn’t really consider Tai Chi to be aerobic exercise. Rather than increasing endurance and stamina, Tai Chi will primarily aid in increasing Deku’s mobility and range of motion.
- Trash Cleaning: 4:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Goal: Improve conditioning and work capacity, with a little bit of strength training thrown in the mix. This portion of the program is very similar to strongman work and object carrying. These exercises get your body used to moving in non-linear patterns, a component severely lacking for many fitness programs.
The “Trash Cleaning” phase can be broken down into a few major movement patterns: weighted pushing, pulling, and carrying. The main benefit comes from the addition of weight to these basic movement patterns – weighted pushing, pulling, and carrying will yield incredible results in work capacity and overall strength.
- Basic Physical Fitness: 8:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Goal: Strengthen the actual physical structure of the body – muscles, connective tissue, and bones. All-Might’s version is broken up into seemingly just three exercises:
- Ab work
- Back Work
…That’s it! As you can see The “Basic Physical Fitness” portion is just that: basic.
Now that we have ATPAD laid out, let’s weigh the pros and cons of the programs. In true Shonen Spirit we’ll begin with relentless optimism and begin with the positive:
Variety: The program is comprehensive and covers several important factors of physical fitness – strength, endurance, balance/hand-eye coordination, even some “odd-object”/strongman/MovNat style training that’s often ignored. The sheer variety of movements and modalities covered will serve to build a well-rounded hero who’s physically well-balanced.
Simplicity: This might seem counter to the point about variety, but one of the other major pros of ATPAD is its pure simplicity. Too many programs are far too complex, especially for beginners. The Aim to Pass the American Dream is based around three modalities with three types of movement per session. That’s it! Though a beginner might be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work called for in the program, each component of it is simple and straightforward.
All-Might, Symbol of Peace, you know I love you, but ATPAD is severely flawed. Let’s take a look at the many drawbacks of All-Might’s program.
Recovery: All-Might’s plan calls for 7 hours of training per day yet only 4 hours of sleep per night. You might think, “sleeping less = more waking time = more time to train = more gains,” but that’s not how the human body works. We don’t grow and adapt while we train, we grow and adapt when we recover. Gains = training x recovery.
Basically, if your recovery is shit, your gains will be shit!
Sleep is the ultimate recovery time, and it’s something that a large portion of the population likes to overlook. You’d get better results training intelligently for an hour per day and sleeping for 8 than you would training for six hours and sleeping for 4, counterintuitive as that may sound.
Volume: This is a high-volume program. Let’s be clear: there’s nothing inherently wrong with high-volume training. Many programs are centered around increasing volume steadily before even thinking about modifying intensity.
However, we have to remember that this is intended as a beginner program. Following ATPAD as All-Might has it laid out, we’re looking at 7 hours of training per day. That’s a literal full-time job, the same volume seen by elite athletes who spent years working up to it.
That’s fine for pro heroes, but Deku is not a professional! At least, not yet. Deku is a mere student, nowhere near pro status. Though he has the power of youth on his side, this program is still just far too much for a beginner.
Incomplete: I complimented the program for being simple, but there’s such a thing as too simple! The overall program lacks balance: balancing pushing with pulling, upper body with lower body work, etc. Following ATPAD could lead to severe imbalance, meaning an increased potential for injury in the long run.
Of course, young Midoriya is pretty injury-prone anyway, but that’s a different story.
The “Basic Physical Fitness” portion is particularly suspect. The section only covers one movement type (pushing) – it’s missing out on the other fundamental human movement patterns: pulling, squatting, lunging, and hinging. This portion of the program also completely neglects leg strength.
Though the Trash Cleanup portion of the program does emphasize some of those missing motor patterns, the additional work prescribed in the Basic Physical Fitness still over-emphasizes pushing and could lead to muscular imbalance.
No Mobility: The Aim to Pass the American Dream has a distinct lack of dedicated stretching and mobility work. It’s great to get strong, but if you get too strong you’ll become tight and immobile. Lack of mobility can lead to an injury in the same way that a lack of strength can. You need both to be a well-rounded athlete.
Consolidation and Improvement: Aim to Pass the American Dream 2.0
With all of the pros and cons in mind, let’s do the Shonen Spirit thing and make this monster into something practical.
We’re going to use the skeleton of the original program and mix in some intelligent changes to make ATPAD a realistic program. The goal of the program will be the same: to build a well-rounded physical specimen, a jack of all trades and master of none, who can throw themselves into any sport or activity and do just fine. I’m also going to recommend proven programs that you can use to begin working on any one of these components. Because remember, mentorship matters!
Goal: Develop aerobic capacity, endurance, and stamina
- Jump Rope
Goal: Build capacity to jump rope for 5 minutes straight, then 10 minutes. Make this skipping your warm-up.
Progression: Start skipping with legs together, work up to the “running man,” then work to double-unders for added conditioning work.
Goal: Build capacity to run for 30 minutes straight. The ability to run for 5-10k will give you a great base of aerobic endurance. You’ll see diminishing returns beyond that point unless running is your sport of choice.
Variety: After you’ve mastered moderately paced aerobic level running, start adding in sprint training 1-2x/week for explosive power.
We’re eliminating Tai Chi from this portion because it simply doesn’t fit. You could replace Tai Chi with skill work like handstand training, or dedicated mental work like meditation.
Real Life Resources
- Jump Rope: Buddy Lee, The Phoenix Movement
- Running: Couch to 5k, Phil Maffetone, 8 Weeks Out
- Handstand Training: GymnasticBodies Handstand 1
- Meditation: ZenHabits’ Guide to Meditation for Beginners
Trash Cleaning, AKA Conditioning
Goal: Develop basic strength, conditioning, and work capacity.
This is the best part of the original Aim to Pass the American Dream, and this portion will be largely the same as the Symbol of Peace originally planned! Your exercise selection will be as follows:
- Prowler Work for pushing/pulling
- Farmer/Waiter Carries for weighted carrying
If you don’t have access to weights, you do have a few other options:
- Animal Movements. These will also build total-body conditioning with the added benefit of improving hand-eye coordination and general mobility
- Sandbags/Kettlebells/Bulgarian Bags/Indian Clubs: These are relatively inexpensive and will give you a ton of bang for your buck. The odd weight distribution of these tools will force your body to work hard!
Real Life Resources
- Kettlebells: Pavel’s Kettlebell Program
- Loaded Carries: Dan John: The Secret of Loaded Carries
- Animal Movements: Gymnastic Bodies Movement/Tumbling 1
Basic Physical Fitness
Goal: Strengthen overall physical structure (muscles, connective tissue, bones)
The basic physical fitness portion of the program basically boils down to resistance training. As mentioned before, All-Might’s version of this portion benefited from its simplicity, but it was incomplete overall due to its neglect of several types of movement. Our version will tackle these problems by strengthening the other movement planes and including leg training.
Of course, not everybody out there has access to a gym and weights, so we’ll break this down into two parts: weighted movements for those with access to weights and calisthenics for those without. We’ll break this down into the five fundamental movement patterns in order to create a balanced structure.
- Weighted: Bench Press, Overhead Press, Weighted Dip
- Calisthenic: Push-Up progression, Dip progression, Handstand Push-Up Progression
- Weighted: Row, Clean, Weighted Pull-Up
- Calisthenic: Row Progression, Pull-Up Progression
- Weighted: Back Squat, Front Squat, Overhead Squat
- Calisthenic: Single-Leg squat progression
- Weighted: DEADLIFT. Olympic Lifts.
- Calisthenic: L-Sit, Single Leg Deadlift, Back Bridge Progression
- Weighted: Lunge (duh), Bulgarian Split Squat
- Calisthenic: Lunge, Step Up
All of these movements are compound movements, meaning they utilize several muscle groups as well as your smaller stabilizer muscles. These are different than isolation exercises which focus on a single muscle or muscle group – think of something like a bicep curl.
More muscles utilized = more heroic GAINS!
One component I really like about All-Might’s original ATPAD is that he has a portion specifically dedicated to core work. All the compound movements listed above will strengthen the core indirectly, but adding extra dedicated core work is only going to benefit you in the long run. Even Olympic Weightlifters, some of the strongest pound-for-pound athletes in the world, use dedicated core work to strengthen their trunks and improve their lifts.
6. Dedicated Core Work
- Anterior Chain: V-Up Progression -> Hanging Leg Raises
- Posterior Chain: Start work Oblique work, move up to back raises and Superman holds
Real Life Resources
- Barbell Work: Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5×5
- Bodyweight Training: Gymnastic Bodies Foundation 1 and /r/bodyweightfitness’ Recommended Routine
Goal: Increase range of motion
One of the most glaring errors in All-Might’s original program was its complete lack of training for flexibility and mobility. The Aim to Pass the American Dream would certainly serve to make the body stronger, but too much strength without mobility leads to tightness and an increased potential for injury. The goal of this section is to develop strength through an increased range of motion.
Take the squat as an example. Let’s say you can only get your hips to a parallel position with both feet flat on the ground. Beyond that, your heels might start to lift off the ground. That means you lack mobility in the hips. A good mobility goal from there would be to get your hips past parallel, with flat feet, ideally sitting your butt all the way to your heels.
As far as goal-setting, that will vary from person to person. Your needs will depend on where your mobility deficits lie. I have a lot of tension in my hamstrings and thoracic spine. Others will lack flexibility in the shoulders or hip flexors, some have tight wrists…the list goes on and on.
The important thing is to assess where your deficits lie and address them on an individual basis. Here are some programs to get you started on the right foot.
Real Life Resources
- Phraktured’s Starting Stretching
- Gymnastic Bodies Stretch Series
- GMB Fitness’ Focused Flexibility
- Kit Laughlin’s Stretch Therapy
You now have the hows, whats, and whys of the program – now let’s discuss how to put it all together! This is a lot of fucking work. This program is totally acceptable in Anime World where characters have all the time in the world to train and recovery, but it’s way too much for a real-world beginner!
The solution: start small! And start small in more ways than one. Start with what feels like too little rather than jumping into too much too soon. Here are a few ways to go about this:
Cycle through exercises. Pick just 2-3 exercises on which to focus for each modality and rotate your selection every session. For example, if you do a Basic Physical Fitness workout consisting of squatting, pushing, and hinging one day, consider focusing your next workout around lunging, pulling, and a different pushing exercise than last time.
Cycle through workouts. Let’s face it: none of us have all the time in the world. We have jobs, families, social lives, and other obligations to which we must attend. With that in mind, focus on doing just one or two modalities each day. Focus on hitting each modality just twice per week and you’ll be making All-Mighty gains!
Here’s an example schedule: Monday/Thursday = Basic Physical Fitness, Tuesday/Friday = Aerobic Exercise, Wednesday/Saturday = Conditioning
Keep your sessions to an hour or less including warm up, in the interest of keeping time investment low and intensity HIGH!
Prioritize Recovery. Don’t think you can get away with 4 hours of sleep each night. Only villains do that. Make sure you’re getting a solid 7-9 hours every single night in order to maximize recovery. Remember, you make gains when you recover, and sleep is the ultimate recovery time.
One last note: remember that any good program is centered around linear progression. Don’t be like Saitama and do the same shit over and over again – make sure your goal is to actually progress in these exercises whether it’s through adding weight, increasing repetitions, or putting up better times on the track!
So, do you feel inspired to condition yourself to pro hero status? Do you Aim to Pass the American Dream? Let me know in the comments if you plan to utilize this template to GO BEYOND! And let me know if you’d like me to turn this into a more comprehensive program with specific prescriptions for sets, reps, and programming!
50 thoughts on “Would Deku’s Training Work? Deconstructing the Aim to Pass the American Dream!”
Been waiting for someone to do something like this for so long, thanks man. Quick question though, is the mobility work mentioned intended to be used as a warmup before each modalitie, and should skipping be done before each modality as a warmup as well? I’m new to fitness and am not sure how to correctly warmup.
Hey MightyAllMan! Glad you liked the article 🙂
To answer your question I do indeed like skipping rope as a warm-up. My warm-up is 3-5 minutes of skipping rope, with some *very light* strength and mobility work added in afterwards. The dedicated mobility work as outlined in the article (Starting Stretching, etc.) should either be performed *after* other workouts or as its own session on a separate day. You don’t want to do too much mobility/flexibility work before other types of training because mobility work tends to relax the body and sap power/speed/strength.
Let’s say I was going to do strength and mobility on the same day. My workout would look something like this:
1. Warm-Up: 3-5 minutes of jump rope, light pre-strength work (push-ups, bodyweight squats, etc.)
2. Strength: Barbell Back Squat (Squat), Weighted Dip (Push), Chin-Ups (Pull)
3. Mobility: Starting Stretching
That allows me to maintain power and good form during strength training, and means I’ll be super warm and able to stretch deeper during mobility work.
Does that answer your question?
Thanks for taking the time to reply man. You’ve been incredibly helpful 😁
🙂 Happy training!
how long does the progress take.
Good question! And the answer is…there is no answer! Training will affect different people in different ways. All you can do is get started and take it at your own pace!
Overcoming isometrics would also be a good addition to this since it is excellent for building and learning how to control your muscles.
Thank you and now i have achieved my goal
What is the menu for dinner time???
Hi Lilly! There isn’t a set menu for dinner as far as I’m aware, but I’ll postulate. Midoriya lives in Japan, so his dinners probably commonly consist of the following:
1. Rice, Rice Noodles, or Buckwheat Noodles
2. Non-Starchy Vegetables
3. Something fermented: either pickled vegetables, natto, or broth
4. Small portions of meat (most likely pork or chicken) or fish
5. Lots of herbs and spices
His meals might consist of all of these things in isolation (like fish with a side of rice and vegetables), or in combination in something like curry, stew, or Udon.
Again, pure speculation on my part – I’m just going off of what I perceive to be a common meal in Japan based on my experiences.
Hope this helps!
And also what is the Holiday Schedule?
If I remember correctly, Midoriya simply spent more time training over the holiday because he didn’t have to pour as much focus into academics.
And Stanima Training
The “Aerobic Exercise” section of the article should cover the bases for stamina training 🙂
So glad you made this!
Thanks Jaidon! Go Beyond!
I think it’s really cool that you were able to put this together, and if you ever have the time, I’d love to see a more comprehensive version of it.
On a side note, do you have any advice for any diet changes we should make?
Hi Jack! Definitely planning on a more comprehensive version of this.
As far as dietary changes, I can’t make any specific recommendations without knowing what you eat already 😉 I really like the Whole30 as a method to learn the fundamentals of healthy eating including cooking, reading labels, consuming adequate essential macro and micro nutrients, proper portion sizes, and determining which foods make you feel good and which don’t.
If you have any specific diet questions, please let me know!
Thanks for replying, man! I’ll definitely take Whole30 into consideration. Just one more quick Q. Would riding a bicycle work as part of the aerobic training? Could it serve as a substitute for jump roping?
You could absolutely ride a bicycle for aerobic training! Whatever gets you moving and gets your heart rate up 🙂
So would this actually work to get like deku? And would you recommend what to do with it. Im currently really trying to get like deku and id really appreciate all the help i can get. Thank you.
Hi Adrian! The short answer is if you do some progressive strength training and some cardio/stamina work, then yes, you’ll improve your fitness just like Deku!
As far as recommendations for how to employ this, there are tips at the bottom of the article. Please let me know if you need any help putting it all together!
Hey there Shonen! I’m so glad that you were able to make this. I have been wanting to train over and over again but just too scared on what others would think. But I have a question for like how long should each exercise be? For example
If it was Basic Physical Fitness Day(Monday/Thursday)
1.With the warm up being jump rope for like 1-2 minutes depending on how long I could go for and some light push techniques (Push-ups)
2. Then starting the actual workout with Pushing, Squatting and Lunging how long would you want for someone to do the exercises in their specific categories. (Like how long should we do Pushing till going on to Squatting, then Lunging?)
That’s a great question, Samuel. A good rule of thumb is to try to get a total of 24-30 reps per movement per session, and you could break that up in several ways:
8-10 sets of 3 reps
5 sets of 5-6 reps
4 sets of 6-8 reps
3 sets of 8-10 reps
And so on.
All of those rep ranges have their merit. Typically, lower volume/higher intensity training (10 sets of 3 reps, for example) is better for developing strength and power while higher volume/lower intensity training is better for developing muscle mass.
Try different rep ranges to see what works for you!
One HOPES the American Dream plan was originally created as a parody of Anime’s typical “Training from Hell” trope.
That’s how I feel about Saitama’s training!
Is the food menu translated anywhere that came with this plan? At least most of it is shown on the fridge in the post credits scene of Ep 4 season 1. Would love to see that.
Also he could sneak some more sleep time in. Weekends it kinda sounded like were off/rest days, at least via what was said in the series. There is also an hour between training and going to bed/waking up that is not accounted for. I assume it’s for showering/dressing/maybe homework time which granted would maybe give him 5 hours of sleep which isn’t much better. Perhaps it lightened as time went on too? Deku had 10 months, Phase 1 (the only one we see) is for just under two months. As there was a “Holiday” and a “Food Menu” each and five pages total, we could assume there were three exercise phases in total. While many programs ramp up as they go, some ease up, and others yoyo from one to the other then back. Though it’s only speculation as we never see anything beyond the Food Menu and Phase 1.
I haven’t seen a translation of the food menu, but I would certainly be curious to find out what it entails!
Very interesting observations! I agree that Deku could get some more sleep time in, as could we all. 😉
Shame, was curious about that as well and hoping you’d have it. Maybe if I get bored I’ll try it…
Thx for making this, but I have a few very dumb questions maybe you can answer for me lol.
1. What did you mean when you put the word progression after like for example push up progression?
2. If a 15 year old were to actually do all 3 workouts every day and get enough rest and nutrition would that actually be possible or would your body collapse? If it was possible, how many months do you think it would take to transform a skinny person into a Deku lmao?
3. Could I do swimming laps for aerobic exercise?
Sorry about all the questions😅
(also could you do me a favour and ether update this page or edit it/put a comment whenever you make your more comprehensive version on this page? thx)
1. A “progression” is either a more or less difficult variation of a given exercise. Using the push-up as an example, an easier progression would be to do a push-up with your hands against the wall instead of the ground, and a harder progression would be to elevate your feet so you place more weight in your hands.
2. This really comes down to a case by case basis. You’ll have to do some trial-and-error to find out how much training is right for you and how much you can appropriately recover from. My suggestion would be to start with just one workout per day for a while and see how you recover from that. If you think you can add more training and recover from it, then add it in slowly. It’s always better to start small and add more later rather than burn yourself out by doing too much too soon!
3. Swimming is a GREAT aerobic exercise. Fantastic idea!
I’ll be happy to post an update when I make a more comprehensive version of this program. Thank you for your comment! 🙂
JaxBlade on YT does fitness vids – often based around anime. He has a good one on Deku’s transformation that you may want to check out.
Big fan of JaxBlade!
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Thanks for making this!! Plus ultra my dude.
Thanks man! This really helped me out. Can you recommend any other great workouts that are helpful, too? Thanks man, and UNITED STATES OF SMAAAASHHHHHHH!!!!
Sure Liam! What kind of workouts are you looking for? Strength training? Aerobic exercise?
I’ve tried it all, and I’m happy to make suggestions based on your needs.
Thanks, A lot, I am thinking of improving my body and searching for a healthier life, I have never been so disciplined, but I am also a great fan of My Hero Academia, and the teachings of Nana Shimura and All Might inspire me in my real life. Thank you, I will write my progress in 10 months, I will begin on 26 of February.
That’s fantastic, Juan. I can’t wait to hear about your progress. Go Beyond!
This is awesome! I was super excited to find this. Plus Ultra!
So happy you’re happy, Nicole! I hope this is a helpful resource for you.
Hey just wondering if I do weight training instead of garbage clean up will it help build lean muscle quicker and what is a great exercise to lose weight quickly either than just diet.
I definitely recommend doing weight training to build muscle.
As far as weight loss goes, diet is the number one factor when it comes to losing fat and gaining muscle. That said, if you want a great exercise for burning fat, then I recommend the kettlebell swing. Check out the book Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline for a great intro to the swing and how to incorporate it into your routine.
Hi! I’m trying to lose belly fat and I’m wondering if this workout is good for that??? Thank you for making this!!
Una de las comidas del menú de Deku son estas:
Tostadas con jamón y queso
Jugo de zanahoria 2 veces al día
Arroz al curry de pollo y algas
Ensalada de hojas
Pechuga de pollo
En salas de brócoli
Sopa de miso con almejas y cebollines
Hamburguesa de Tofu
Espero les sirva eso es lo que decía en la nevera bueno lo que pude traducir 😅💥💥💥 !Ve más allá! PLUS ULTRA
This is amazing! I am a little MHA obsessed, and I am looking to find a home workout that I can work with, so this is absolutely perfect!
The only thing is ….. I have only a jump rope at home for equipment. No weights or anything else, and I have a rather screwed up right shoulder…
What would a good regimen look like for a beginner under these conditions??
How long should I train per day?
Hello, actual 15 year old here. Would a few months of the deku workout actual align your physical appearance in muscle to look like him?
Thanks for this man! I was asking myself if I had to learn a bit of japanese to understand that schedule, but now I think that in this week I will work on your 2.0 version! (because it looks very cool)
But as a fan of BNHA myself, I can’t not give All Might the benefit of the doubt on this: Maybe his training program was right but for THEIR time. I’m not sure on this, but I think they live 300 years on the future, where also, all humans had shown a special mutation (even Midoriya, that has green hair as his mother), so maybe in that future that training isn’t that crazy as now.
Or maybe it’s still a very bad training system and that’s why Midoriya makes an iconic duo with the hospital beds.
Nothing more to say, thanks again!
This really helps just the sleep part is annoying but this is great help!!!
All I can say is YES! I myself have wanted to be as strong as my beloved broccoli boi and this really helps. Also, with covid I haven’t been exercising as much with everything. Maybe I’ll try to carve out some time to get some of this done. TYSM again and let’s hope I can GO BEYOND!