One hundred pumps, one hundred abs, one hundred squats and 10 km of running. To do every day, without vacation, for three years, to become the strongest human in the world. This is the training followed by Saitama, the hero of the successful manga One-Punch Man, which allowed him to become a superman capable of knocking out any opponent with a single punch, hence his nickname.
Metaphor spun from the gentleman who becomes a hero by the sole force of his will and perseverance, Saitama has become in a few years a leading character, in Japan but also in France. His disillusioned attitude – he is regularly robbed of the limelight by other superheroes much weaker than him – has become his trademark, and a common reference in memes broadcast on French-speaking discussion platforms, social networks or forums from jeuxvideo.com.
Loser brilliant, underestimated but heroic, funny and strong, Saitama “Takes the classic manga codes but diverts them. What could only be a big joke is in fact an excellent abyss “, explains Grégoire Hellot, collection director at Kurokawa, which has been publishing the manga in France since 2016.
And in the online bodybuilding communities, One-Punch Man has become a common reference. Dozens of videos on YouTube are devoted to “One-Punch Man training”: unknown or famous, youtubers film themselves, for a few days or a few months, while they are following Saitama's training. Tibo Inshape, the most followed fitness youtubeur in France, bent to exercise for thirty days two months ago, four years after SaitamaV2, the first Frenchman to have tried to follow this program.
Training … which is not really one
But is the “One-Punch Man challenge”, which gives videos that are often funny, sometimes impressive, effective? ” It's no use “laughs Frédéric Mompo, former world champion in bodybuilding and coach of the France team. In any case, not to become the strongest man in the world:
“To progress in bodybuilding, you have to work with loads. At first, you can work on bodyweight, but that’s not enough. Doing 100 squats is hard when you've never done sports, but then, when you've progressed, you can easily do 200! “
Rather than take up the challenge of Saitama, Idriss, a sports youtubeur who approaches bodybuilding from the angle of Japanese popculture in his chain Manga Workout, preferred to warn its 207,000 subscribers.
If he recognizes that “The example of Saitama helps motivate all those who feel guilty for never getting into sport”, his recipe is part “The ones that people give up the fastest”. He regrets that “Saitama’s training and overtaking didn’t appear[ssent] that at the very beginning of the manga “ ; thereafter, it is acquired that the character is strong without efforts. Idriss prefers to dedicate himself to other saints for his training. “Zoro's One Piece, Rock Lee's Naruto or Son Goku or Vegeta from Dragon ball are motivating characters over time, with a beautiful mythology. Otherwise there are more athletic anime like boxing manga Hajime no Ippo “, suggests the youtubeur.
Not demanding enough, too repetitive, the “One-Punch Man challenge” can also cause injuries. In the absence of rest days, and for people who do not have significant physical activity, it can also cause tendonitis or inflammation. Several youtubers have paid the price: SaitamaV2 had to stop training after six months due to an injury. Nevertheless, “It's great challenges, funny stories that can make people want to get into sport”, says Mompo.
Besides, few fans take the “One-Punch Man challenge” in the first degree. The popularity of Saitama does not come from the fact that he would offer a kind of miracle recipe to become stronger, but rather from his ironic shift, which resonates with the culture of self-deprecation, older, which permeates part of the environment. bodybuilding. “The guys who make the most fun of people who do bodybuilding are the people who do bodybuilding! “, laughs the editor Grégoire Hellot, himself practicing in his spare time.
It is this double aspect that pleases bodybuilders in One-Punch Man, he believes. “There is a side” this goal to be achieved but that we will never reach “”, but also a gym humor: “A decade ago, I used to go a lot in the gyms and fitness rooms, and at the time what made us laugh was the“ Chuck Norris facts ”, just as stupid as One-Punch Man . There is a hyperviril aspect to mocking overkill! “
A second degree perfectly assumed in One-Punch Man, even in the drawing of the hero, whose body appears drawn in a hyper-realistic way, but with an egg-shaped face. It’s even a travesty of Anpanman, the cartoon hero for kids in Japan, made of bean buns.
For the jaded character, the story does not say if it comes from its creator, ONE, mangaka under pseudonym who became famous with his work on the Internet before it became a publishing success. Nor even if the latter also had to do 100 push-ups, 100 abs, 100 squats, and 10 kilometers of running each day.