7 Action Movie Star Workouts

Build a blockbuster-worthy body with workouts straight from the trainers of Hollywood’s biggest action stars

July 9, 2013
summer movies: channing tatum picture
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Reiner Bajo / Columbia Pictures / Courtesy of Everett Collection
Celebrity Workouts

If there's one thing summer movies promise, it's excess. You're almost guaranteed to see lots of action, lots of explosions, lots of skin, and lots of muscle. But the latter doesn't develop overnight. In fact, what you don't see are the hours of prep work these actors put into getting their bodies box-office ready. Want to know what it really takes to develop an action-ready physique? Here's how to get fit like seven of this summer's hottest stars.

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summer movies: hugh jackman wolverine picture
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Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
If You Want: A Wolverine-Worthy Core

Try: Eating Like an Animal

In The Wolverine, Hugh Jackman sports razor-sharp claws and diamond-sharp abs. But he didn't starve himself to get there. To bulk up for the role, Jackman tried intermittent fasting, a fat-burning eating pattern that alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting. According to a SiriusXM radio interview, Jackman ate as many as 6,000 calories of chicken breast, steamed spinach, and other clean foods--but only between 10 AM and 6 PM.

Fast away your fat without suffering by following this guide to intermittent fasting.

summer movies: chris pine star trek into darkness picture
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Zade Rosenthal / Paramount Pictures / Courtesy of Everett Collection
If You Want: An Out-of-this-World Body

Try: Circuit Training

The captain's chair of the Enterprise isn't fit for a flabby captain, and actor Chris Pine, who plays the modern-day Kirk in Star Trek: Into Darkness, takes that responsibility seriously. To build his Starfleet-fit body, Pine's trainer, Paul Vincent, put the actor through strength circuits of 500-plus reps of mountain climbers, box jumps, and other moves. He also has the actor cross-train with yoga and boxing workouts to stay close to his captaining weight.

Video: At-Home Fat Blaster

To achieve that shoulders-back swagger, do a two-exercise mini-circuit daily. Start with a stability ball extension: Sitting with your back on the ball, lean back, stretching your hands over your head until they reach the floor. Pair 30 to 60 seconds of this exercise with the "arch rock." To do this move, lie facedown on the floor with arms in front of you. Raise your arms and legs off the floor, and then rock back and forth on your pelvis 30 times.

Discover more circuit routines with Fitbie's Exercise & Workout Finder.

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Giles Keyte / Universal Pictures / Courtesy of Everett Collection
If You Want: To Build a Fabulous Booty Fast

Try: Going Short

To build the enviable butt she sports as police officer Elena Neves in Fast & Furious 6, Elsa Pataky says you don't have to train long, just hard. "You need only 30 minutes," the Spanish actress told Women's Health. "But you have to be focused. When you're working your bum, think about your bum and how it's moving."

Improve your rear view by doing this Elsa Pataky Workout.

summer movies: channing tatum picture
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Reiner Bajo / Columbia Pictures / Courtesy of Everett Collection
If You Want: Secret Service Muscle

Try: A WOD

If you're going to play a Secret Service agent guarding the Commander-in-Chief, you'd better be fit. To get lean and build explosive strength for roles such as this one in White House Down, Channing Tatum chooses CrossFit, according to an interview with People magazine.

If you want to try Tatum's preferred workout but balk at the cost of joining a gym, try this CrossFit-style Workout-of-the-Day routine at home. To do it, complete all the reps of one exercise before moving to the next.

The workout :
21 Burpees
21 Bodyweight squats
15 Burpees
15 Bodyweight squats
9 Burpees
9 Bodyweight squats

Does CrossFit Live Up to the Hype?

summer movies: henry cavill man of steel superman picture
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Courtesy of Warner Bros
If You Want: Superman-sized Confidence

Try: Taxing Your Heart and Lungs First

To turn Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel, Mark Twight, the coach behind the bodies in 300 and owner of Gym Jones in Salt Lake City, UT, had to build more than just the actor's body--he had to develop his confidence and strength of character, too.

To do this, Twight assigned workouts that focused on oxygen failure, meaning Cavill would be out of breath, rather than muscular failure. "I don't like to see circuits that decline in performance," Twight says. "If we're doing a block of intervals, it's going to increase in levels so that on the last one, you're [still able to go] all out."

One routine Twight used was the "Javorek Complex Number 1," named for Hungarian-born strength and conditioning legend Istvan Javorek. To do this sequence, use one pair of dumbbells* (or a barbell) and perform six reps of each exercise before moving onto the next. Do not change weights or rest. The exercises are as follows:

Upright Row
High Pull Snatch
Squat Push Press
Bent-over Row
High Pull Snatch

*Choose a weight that allows you to complete six reps of the upright row, and use that for all exercises; the row should be the most difficult exercise to do with heavy weights in this group.

summer movies: russell crowe superman picture
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Courtesy of Warner Bros
If You Want: To Keep up with Your Super-fit Kid

Try: Starting with Low-Impact Workouts

Because of injuries, his age (49), and his physical condition, Russell Crowe couldn't work out at as intensely as some of his costars when preparing to play Superman's dad, so Twight made adjustments. "He loves riding his bike, so we spent a lot of time on gravel and dirt paths in Chicago and in Sydney," says Twight. "That's what he could handle."

In the gym, Twight also customized Crowe's workouts, swapping out ballistic exercises that require jumping, exploding, and pounding for gentler moves. For instance, instead of kettlebell swings, Crowe did the Turkish getup, and instead of box jumps, he did deadlifts. Twight says Crowe eventually got fit enough to do the more dynamic moves, but it took time--it's been two years since they began training for Man of Steel.

Injured? Here's How to Exercise When You're Hurting.

summer movies: jordana brewster fast and furious picture
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Giles Keyte / Universal Pictures
If You Want: To Make Hearts Race

Try: Eating More of Less

Thirty-three-year-old Jordana Brewster achieves her Fast and the Furious-worthy body by counting to five. "I've been on my trainer Harley Pasternak's 5-Factor Diet for six years," she told Health magazine in June. The diet features five meals a day, each including five elements--protein, carbs, fat, fiber, and fluids--that can be prepared in five minutes of cooking time with five or fewer ingredients. For more information, visit harleypasternak.com

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