How to Get Ripped (or Die Tryin') Like 50 Cent

If you had a pulse in 2003, you heard 50 Cent’s breakout single “In Da Club” and immediately took notice. Then, you saw the music video for the song, which begins with a sequence showcasing the jacked rapper’s physique as he runs through a series of tests for scientists (Dr. Dre and Eminem, his music industry mentors), running on a treadmill, pumping through machine chest presses, and most memorably, hanging from the ceiling and crunching up. 50 took over hip-hop, and his muscles set the tone.

Nearly 16 years later, the rapper still has a reputation for having a bulked-up, shredded physique, even as he’s transitioned into acting and other pursuits to go along with his music. Obviously, 50 has put in the work—but he also has his longtime strength and conditioning specialist, Joe Cardiello, to thank. The trainer has worked with the rapper for the past 15 years, four of which he spent living and traveling along for international tours.

That type of framework led Cardiello to develop some unconventional methods for the workouts. Most of the moves he uses are bodyweight exercises, since they never knew when gym access would be available. “Getting in a workout was very hard,” Cardiello told Men’s Health when we met up at ToneHouse in New York City to run through the regimen. “Sometimes we just had to sit in the hotel room, throw a mattress on the floor, and get going.”

That type of limitation isn’t all that rare for touring musicians—but Cardiello had another challenge when designing 50’s workout. The rapper survived a brutal shooting in 2000— he took 9 bullets to his hands, legs, and face—and the aftermath left him with some lasting physical limitations. “He lacked mobility in his shoulders, and his core strength was not were it needed to be for getting under a bar or running or jumping,” Cardiello says. To address these issues, the bodyweight exercises helped to develop the rapper’s muscles without putting too much strain on him.

Ready to take on the workout yourself? Just make sure to take care of the other aspects of your health, too. “We have to remember it’s not all about fitness,” says Cardiello. “If you want to look like 50, you’re going to spend more time sleeping, not pounding at the gym. You’re going to spend more time on your nutrition. And if you want to train with me, you’re going to focus on your mind.”

50 Cent Bodyweight Workout

Bodyweight Press-Off

1 set per side for 30 seconds, work up to 3 sets

Karate Kid Wall Sliders

1 set per side of each variation for 30 seconds

Canoe Row

1 set per side for 30 seconds, work up to 3 sets

Trifecta Hip Series

1 set per side (when appropriate) for 30 seconds, work up to 3 sets

Shoulder Stability Complex

1 set per side for 30 seconds of each movement, work up to 3 sets

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