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How To Workout Like a Hollywood Stuntman Without Getting Yourself Killed

If you're interested in becoming a stunt double in Hollywood, you're going to need to do more than push your boundaries at the gym.

Ever dream of becoming a daredevil on the set of Hollywood’s next action-packed thriller? Your fantasy of performing ultra-dangerous stunts and becoming an essential unnamed movie star may be farfetched, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t train like Hollywood’s best. Warning: some of the exercises that follow should not be performed without the guidance of a fitness professional, and potentially lots of pillows. It should be further noted that stuntmen workouts do not automatically enable you to perform potentially life-threatening maneuvers on the big screen.

Captain America

Damien Walters might not be a household name among moviegoers, but as the stuntman for famed superhero Captain America, Walters is a certified workout extraordinaire. Walters’ workout routine is comprised of several mind-bending exercises that are unbelievable, like the backflip burpee. Yes, that exists. He also does the bodyweight snatch, among other insanely dangerous exercises that he executes to perfection. The most unfathomable exercise that Walters performs is perhaps somersaulting headfirst onto a moving treadmill before propelling himself upward into a normal jogging position. Without perfect form, that’s good enough to make most of us Internet famous for the wrong reasons.

Thor 2

Bobby Holland Hanton is a recognizable name in the realm of Hollywood stuntmen. He recently served as Chris Hemsworth’s stuntman for Thor: The Dark World, a role that forced him to transform his overall body composition, which included eating a strict diet comprised of foods high in protein while also limiting carbohydrate and fat intake. He was also required to perform his stunts in two-inch lifted shoes in order to match Hemsworth’s height, adding another layer of difficulty to an already extremely dangerous profession. Hanton was initially required to pass the ‘stunt register’ in the UK in order to become a professional stuntman. He is certified elite in six disciplines: gymnastics, kickboxing, trampoline, high diving, scuba diving and swimming. Check out his Youtube page for more examples of his workouts.

Lone Survivor

Sean Graham served as the stunt double in the military biopic Lone Survivor, which featured Mark Wahlberg as the lead character. Graham admits that becoming a stuntman takes more than mere talent, in part because of the competitive nature of the business. His workout routines are extensive, and often involve a complete transformation of his body. But working out doesn’t bring about the true dangers of performing stunts. Graham has executed stunts with broken bones and torn ligaments, in addition to concussions. The courage and dedication involved in becoming a stuntman goes well beyond increasing the intensity level of each exercise at the gym.

The Workouts

Backflip burpees and treadmill somersaults aren’t integral components of all stuntman workouts. In fact, the aura of stuntmen workouts is about as fabricated as your dream to become a Hollywood superhero overnight. Hanton’s typical workout routine consists of a healthy jog on a treadmill for warm-up purposes. The former stunt doubles for hit movies like "The Dark Knight" and the James Bond films then executes four sessions of circuit training with minimal rest in between sets. Hanton’s circuit consists of a 90-second steep incline treadmill sprint immediately followed by 12 underarm chin ups, 12 triceps dips, 12 raised push ups, 30 body squats, and 25 individual calf raises. The seeming impossibility of perfectly executing a stuntman workout simply requires discipline, in this case. Jumping out of exploding airplanes and scaling skyscrapers is something entirely different.

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