Daily Dozen Exercises
Daily Dozen Exercises is a phrase that has long since become a part of everyday language. Often shortened to just ‘Daily Dozen‘ it caught on because it was such a SIMPLE concept. Just TWELVE exercises to make/keep you strong and supple and to give you a ‘running jump-start to the serious work of the day!’ It didn’t matter if you were overweight, underweight, heavy or light, the daily dozen exercises were going to improve your life!
It Anticipates Your Excuses!
One-hundred-odd years ago a man named Walter Camp anticipated ALL the excuses we make for not performing simple, daily exercises to keep ourselves fit and healthy. He came up with twelve exercises we would LOOK-FORWARD to doing. It’s not an exercise routine for bodybuilders, or athletes, or people who are already stupidly fit – it’s for NORMAL people like you and me.
The ORIGINAL Daily Workout for Busy People.
The ORIGINAL daily workout for busy people! Join a new generation discovering this series of standing body-weight only exercises devised nearly 100 YEARS AGO to give you a ‘running jump-start to the serious work of the day!’
What IS Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen?
Quite simply, 12 standing bodyweight-only exercises that meet the following criteria:
- QUICK: Last no longer than eight to ten minutes once or twice per day.
- SIMPLE: Be simple to learn.
- EFFICIENT: Eliminate exercises or movements that we perform daily anyway,
- REFRESHING: Not leave you so tired after doing them that you’re too tired to do anything else!
- UNIVERSAL: Make the exercises of equal use to EVERYBODY regardless of size, shape or level of fitness,
- NO EXCUSES: Be so simple to remember and complete that there becomes no excuse NOT to do them!
Are These Exercises Still Relevant?
Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen exercise program is a series of bodyweight-only exercises designed for the busy man or woman, in fact, I call it the ORIGINAL daily workout for busy people. Although its origins are a century old, Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen exercises could not be more relevant for the busy man and woman today. Just read these two paragraphs:
Its greatest value is for those men and women who are hemmed in between four walls most of the time and are beginning to realize that their bodies aren’t as fit as their minds…
People think that they can take an orgy of exercise and make up for a long period of neglect when they do not take any exercise at all. You cannot do that. Do not go to a gymnasium. That tires you to death. That is old-fashioned. We do not have to do that anymore. A man or woman can keep himself or herself fit with six or seven minutes a day. There is no reason why a man at 50 or 60 or 70 should not be supple; and if he is supple, then he grows old very slowly—but the place where he must look after himself is in his body muscles.Walter Camp
That isn’t me writing. That is 90-odd-year-old copy from just some of the literature surrounding Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen. Now that doesn’t mean we should just take it at face value. The advertisers were trying to sell a product, just like those peppy hosts you see in infomercials today. We need to look a little closer to see whether the product matched the hype.
Exercises for the Tired Business Person*
(* just because the original text focused on men, doesn’t mean I can’t change it!)
It is not easy for the busy person to detect that they are going downhill physically until they find that the downward momentum has reached the stage of a nervous shock. Then they are apt to flounder around in the hope of saving themselves by methods that hurt more than help.Walter Camp
We’ve all been there, right? I know I have. That day when you feel especially larger than normal and decide there and then that something MUST be done. So you throw on that pair of trainers and go for a five-mile jog. I’m not going to deny that for some people that
These were the people Camp sought to help. The hard-working people whose work was grinding them down, and whose body’s, nerves, and minds were now shot. Camp devised twelve simple exercises that would meet the following criteria:
- Last no longer than eight or ten minutes once or twice per day,
- Be simple to learn,
- Eliminate exercises or movements that we perform daily anyway,
- Be so simple to remember and complete that there becomes no excuse NOT to do them!
- Make the exercises of equal use to EVERYBODY regardless of size, shape or level of fitness,
- Not leave you so tired after doing them that you are too tired to do anything else!
Regardless of anything else, if you could find an exercise routine that ticked ALL those boxes, then it would be worth doing, right?? So already, as a concept, you’re on board!
What do the Daily Dozen Exercises look like?
Time for a little visual aid:
Those are the original twelve exercises and the ones I perform most often. You will find those SAME exercises (or slight variations) in every single NEW routine put out. Notice how you don’t need to get down on the ground, or contort yourself into any weird shapes. That has always been a BIG plus for me.
What ARE Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen Exercises?
Camp, not unlike a certain Mr Charles Atlas (you know, the 97lb weakling guy!), sought to remedy the problem of humans being caged in by imitating the “exercises” of REAL caged animals. The focus, therefore, was placed on constantly stretching and turning and twisting the trunk / body muscles!
It was claimed to be the ONLY exercise people really need to keep in proper condition. Before we get any further I should tell you there are actually FIFTEEN exercises in the Daily Dozen! As it developed from a best-selling pamphlet/book to a best selling record set, Walter Camp made some changes to one of the sets. I include the extra set of exercises (because they are worth doing!) but also keep the other set (because they are worth doing too!). I also detail some variations, extra exercises, and other little tips and tricks to make the Daily Dozen the COMPLETE exercise program it was always meant to be.
Is there a modern alternative to the Daily Dozen?
Modern versions of this type of routine come out of China, Japan, and Korea. You may want to check out the Radio Taiso program, or the other routines on this website. Basically though, you don’t NEED a modern alternative, because you don’t need an alternative!
Check out the Daily Dozen Shop Category:
- Victor Records Health Exercises: a Vintage Daily Dozen$3.95
- Original Daily Dozen Exercises Book$5.95
- Fitness to Go – Get Your Daily Dose of Exercise$4.95
- Vintage Daily Dozen for Boys and Men – 1937 Edition$4.95
- Vintage Daily Dozen for Boys and Men – 1938 Edition$4.95
- The Daily Dozen by Walter Camp Pamphlet$3.95
As well as Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen in the shop we have reproductions of the 1937 and 1938 “Daily Dozen for Boys & Men” (and women!). The pamphlet is a reproduction of the wonderful original booklet while Fitness to Go is a completely updated rewrite of the 1937 Daily Dozen for Boys & Men. The ‘Original Daily Dozen Exercises’ book expands on the original booklet and (in my opinion) knocks spots off modern self-help books with its basic live advice and guidance.