Posts Tagged ‘Workout’

Get In Superhero Shape With Daredevil’s Workout!

Actor Charlie Cox went from not owning a gym membership to becoming a chiseled crime fighter in the hit show “Daredevil.” Get his story and training plan here!

Before “Daredevil,” actor Charlie Cox didn’t fit the traditional superhero mold. He had the acting skills to star in the critically acclaimed “Boardwalk Empire,” but Cox didn’t have the chiseled body he’d need to successfully take on the lead role of Matt Murdock in Marvel’s hit Netflix series.

That is, until he went on a tough muscle-building regimen, a long schedule of fight training, and a burly muscle-building diet. Now, the 33-year-old has a sculpted and ripped physique that would make any ass-kicking superhero proud.

After a thrilling response to the first season, Cox and the gang have taken the new series to another level, both visually and physically. We caught up with Cox to unearth the details of his Daredevil training and discuss Season 2, which will be available on Netflix on March 18, 2016.

Becoming Daredevil

When cast as Daredevil, the London native’s first course of action was to hit the gym to improve his athleticism and build lean mass. Becoming the Hell’s Kitchen vigilante wasn’t enough; Cox wanted to be involved in every aspect of filming, including the stunts.

“It’s funny,” explains Cox, “but when I first got the Matt Murdock/Daredevil role, I wasn’t built like your textbook superhero. For the first season, I was trying to put on weight instead of losing it, so that was pretty interesting.

“When it came to the fighting scenes, I worked very closely with the stunt coordinator and my stunt double,” says Cox. “I learned everything and tried to do as much of it as I could. My trainer, Naqam Washington, is awesome. When I first started with him, I just did what I was told, but then I gradually developed an interest in it. Now I really enjoy it, and I get a lot out of it. I kept up with training after Season 1, and I got better and better throughout the shoot.”

One More Round

Picture this: As blackness washes over a once bright blue sky, a canopy of stars assembles overhead. All the lights in the little matchbox trailers dotted around the “Daredevil” set flick off—except for one.

Get a little closer and peek through the window, and you’ll see Charlie Cox pummeling a punching bag. Very much like his character, Cox loves training in the dead of night, running through fight sequences for filming the next day. Fight scenes are the part of training he enjoys most.

“I’m not a trained fighter, so my technique isn’t brilliant, but we really tried to use as much of me as possible,” [Cox] adds. “[For the] second season, I’ve definitely stepped it up.”

“I love that stuff! We do a lot of Thai boxing and jiujitsu, hand work, and bag work. There’s a lot of shadow boxing and hitting the bag,” he says with a grin.

“I love the training, especially the fight training. I got to do as much as I was able when it came to the actual fights, and because of that generosity, I made sure I could do the moves. I do as much training as I can to get comfortable with the sequences.

“The great thing about this second season is that my character has now really honed his skills, and my stunt double, Chris, pulls off some moves that will blow your mind. I tried to do as much as possible, but Chris is insane,” Cox says.

“I’m not a trained fighter, so my technique isn’t brilliant, but we really tried to use as much of me as possible,” he adds. “[For the] second season, I’ve definitely stepped it up.”

Even if you aren’t training for a role on the big screen, it’s not a bad idea to follow in Cox’s footsteps. Research in the Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal found that people who trained in kickboxing one hour a day for five weeks showed significant improvement in upper-body muscle power, anaerobic fitness, flexibility, speed, and agility.1

The writing is on the wall: If you want to improve your all-around physical prowess, take up a martial art to get in ass-kicking shape.

Super Strength

Daredevil is more acrobatic, agile, and athletic than your usual muscle-bound comic-book character. To hone his physique to perfection, Cox trained using a lot of multidimensional movements and didn’t stick to a traditionally rigid training structure.

“[To train for] ‘Daredevil,’ it’s not really your one day, one body-part thing,” Cox says of his training split. “It’s not the Monday is chest day, Tuesday is shoulder day type of thing. My trainer wanted me to train like an athlete because the character needs the movement—movement is a big thing, considering the physical aspects.

“There are a lot of multidimensional movements, jumps, and compound movement, so if I do something like a lunge, that will be mixed with an overhead press, and then there might be a rotation with that,” says Cox. “It’s sort of a full-body workout, and it’s very flexible, to fit the role. There are weights, but then they’re mixed in with plyometrics and fight training, so all of this is very adaptable. We spend about two hours [per workout] in the gym, jumping into different things, and I love it.”

Cox’s undoubtedly successful transformation is evidence that, with a little hard work and the right training, anyone can build slabs of muscle and get ripped without having to rely exclusively on moving around huge mounds of iron.

Some guys are naturally drawn to lifting and being in the gym, but that hasn’t always been the case for Cox. “It was interesting because I’ve never really been a gym head before. I’d never even had a gym membership!” he laughs.

“With the first season, I had about a month to get into shape, so that was manic. With this second season, it’s a lot easier to maintain [that muscle], but the aim is to be more a lean athlete than a bulked-up superhero.”

And Cox’s undoubtedly successful transformation is evidence that, with a little hard work and the right training, anyone can build slabs of muscle and get ripped without having to rely exclusively on moving around huge mounds of iron.

Train Like Daredevil

Use this Matt Murdock-inspired workout twice a week to get a taste of superhero training. The session is built around compound and plyometric movements, as well as combat work.

What You’ll Gain

  1. Improved strength
  2. More agility
  3. Improved leanness
  4. Thicker muscle density
  5. Increased athleticism
Full-Body Workout />
1

Bench Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip

2

Chin-Up

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Chin-Up Chin-Up

3

Front Box Jump

3 sets of 10 reps (weighted)

Front Box Jump Front Box Jump

4

Barbell squat jump

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Weighted Jump Squat Weighted Jump Squat

5

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Dumbbell Shoulder Press Dumbbell Shoulder Press

6

Dumbbell reverse lunge with rotation

3 sets of15 reps per leg

Dumbbell Rear Lunge Dumbbell Rear Lunge

7

Medicine-ball power slam

3 sets of 20 reps

Overhead Slam Overhead Slam

8

Seated Cable Row

3 sets of 12-15 reps

Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows

9

Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 10 reps

One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Fight-Training Session />
1

Jump Rope

3 min.

Rope Jumping Rope Jumping

2

Shadow boxing

2 sets of 2-min. rounds

Punches Punches

3

Heavy bag punch combination

3 sets of 3-min. rounds

Heavy bag punch combination Heavy bag punch combination

3

Heavy bag power kick

20 reps per leg (full power)

Heavy bag power kick Heavy bag power kick

4

Thai pads

3 sets of 3-min. rounds

Thai pads Thai pads

5

Focus mitts

3 sets of 3-min. rounds

Focus mitts Focus mitts

5

Jiu-jitsu

1 hour

Jiujitsu Jiujitsu

Hell’s Kitchen

When it comes to eating like a superhero, Thor may crush Creamsicles and Deadpool seems to enjoy chimichangas, but Daredevil likes to eat clean. And that was good news for Cox, who needed to pack on lean muscle to complement his training and develop punch-proof abs.

“For the first season, I was quite skinny,” he says, “but I ate a ton of chicken, broccoli, sweet potato, rice, and pasta. I put carbs in all my protein shakes, so I’d have a protein shake with sweet potato in it.

“But for Season 2, it’s been all about maintaining a certain level [of fitness], so it’s been very much about eating balanced. Of course, I ate a good amount of protein, but it was really all about training and eating like an athlete.”

Listen to Cox’s wise words, because consistency and dedication to nutrition and are essential to unlocking your own superhero body.

Zero to Hero Diet

Try this superhero meal plan to put on weight the right way and forge the body you want!

Meal 1

Egg whites: 6


Whole eggs: 2


Banana: 1


Oats: 1/2 cup


Meal 2

Chicken breast: 8 oz.


Brown rice: 1 cup


Meal 3

Protein shake: 1


Oats: 1 cup


Meal 4

Chicken breast: 8 oz.


Brown rice: 1 cup


Broccoli: 1 cup


Meal 3

Avocado: 1 small


Protein shake: 1


Meal 6

Egg whites: 8


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References
  1. Ouergui, I., Hssin, N., Haddad, M., Padulo, J., Franchini, E., Gmada, N., & Bouhlel, E. (2014). The effects of five weeks of kickboxing training on physical fitness. Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal, 4(2), 106.


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5 Ways to Make Your Workout Harder And More Effective!

Your body changes according to the level at which it’s stressed. If you’re not seeing results, the solution is simple: Make things more difficult! Here are 5 ways to do it.

Some things you just don’t do. Like spitting into the wind. Or pulling on Superman’s cape. Or ending a workout without giving it everything you’ve got. After all, your body is an adaptation machine, and it will only change if you give it ample reason. In other words, you can’t just show up at the gym; you have to push yourself to grow!

If you’ve been stuck at the same level of strength and muscular development for way too long, you may just need to make your workouts more demanding. Here are five quick tips, techniques, and strategies to help you dial up the difficulty.

These techniques run the gamut from simple to borderline brutal, but I recommend you try them all to see what works best for you!


1

Attach bands or chains to a barbell movement

Sometimes you have to use unconventional methods to make your workouts more challenging, and chains are one such method. If you haven’t been using chains to jump-start your progress, you just might be letting one of the best tools in the gym pass you by.

When training with bands, the further the stretch, the greater a band’s resistance becomes.

With most exercises, the weight of the object you’re lifting doesn’t change: what weighs 90 pounds at the bottom of the lift weighs 90 at the top. Chains, however, provide linear variable resistance training (LVRT)—as the range of motion increases, so does the load. And when you’re at your strongest biomechanically, toward the top of the movement, the “chains + bar” are requiring the most of you. When training with bands, the further the stretch, the greater a band’s resistance becomes.

In the bottom portion of the squat, bench press, or deadlift, most of the chains are resting on the floor (or the band is loose), but as you lift, more links come off the floor, and the weight increases as you go higher. So as the weight gets heavier, you obviously have to (and are best able to) recruit more muscle fibers—especially the fast-twitch variety that allow for greater gains in power, strength, and size—over and above what you might be able to recruit doing standard dumbbell and barbell movements.


2

Extend your sets

In extended-set training, you use multiple versions of the same movement in one set, but you quickly change your body position after hitting failure to make the movement slightly easier as the set progresses. Different versions of the same exercise are placed in order from hardest to easiest to allow you to get the most out of each extended set.

With this style of training, you’re able to continue doing reps at the same weight after failure because you adjust your body position to gain a mechanical advantage every time you hit failure, which lets you get more reps of the same movement. This is one reason this type of training is also called a mechanical dropset, or mechanical-advantage dropset.

For example, let’s say you’re doing lateral raises. To extend this set, you’d start with the most difficult version of the movement, which is a seated dumbbell lateral raise. Choosing a weight you can do for about 10 reps, you’d take that set to failure. But rather than dropping the dumbbells, you’d immediately stand up and complete the standing dumbbell lateral raises with the same weight.

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The exercise is now slightly easier because you’re able to generate a bit of body English through your knees and hips that you couldn’t when you were seated. With this mechanical advantage, you can continue doing reps until you reach failure one more time.

In this example, the extended-set technique has just enabled you to do a pair of sets of the same exercise with the same weight without rest! You can knock out even more variations of the same movement—like a cable fly from the low, middle, and high pulleys—in one extended set, too. This is brutal and effective stuff, and it’ll help you grow in no time!


3

Stop, drop, and grow

Dropsetting or “stripping” is an advanced training technique that’s both easy to learn and very effective at adding difficulty to your workout. Let’s say you’re using 225 pounds on the bench press for a maximum of 10 reps. You may not be able to complete an 11th rep with the 225 pounds, but you could probably perform a couple more reps with 165 or even 185 pounds.

In a dropset, as soon as you complete your last possible rep with 225 pounds, you quickly rack the weight and take off 25-35 pounds per side, then continue repping to a second point of muscle failure. Keep your rest period to an absolute minimum while reducing the weight, and have a training partner strip the plates to help speed things up even more.

In a dropset, as soon as you complete your last possible rep with 225 pounds, you quickly rack the weight and take off 25-35 pounds per side, then continue repping to a second point of muscle failure.

Voila! That’s a dropset.

Dropsets are not limited to barbells. You can do the same with dumbbells, but have all sets on hand before starting—you don’t want to waste time searching for one during the middle of a set. You can even have multiple drops, or perform a technique that’s commonly called “running the rack” with dumbbells. Just start heavy and work your way down the rack until you hit total failure.


4

Improve the density of your training

If you do abs or calves at the end of your workout, you’re probably guilty of skipping over them as you grow more fatigued over the course of your training session. Why not train these smaller muscle groups—which can even include middle delts or forearms on leg day—between sets of other muscle groups you’re already training? This approach is often called “density training” because you’re doing more work in the same amount of time.

This extra work isn’t meant to lengthen your workout, but it does allow you to address a lagging body part or one that you’re prone to skipping. For example, instead of taking your standard rest between bench-press sets, throw in sets of calf raises. Likewise, you could do a set of forearm curls between sets of leg presses. This lets the major body part recover while you hammer another.

When staggering your exercises, keep in mind there are combinations that don’t work well together. Doing forearms between sets of back or even chest movements will interfere with your gripping strength. Staggered sets for calves may throw your leg workouts off. Make sure the muscles for which you’re performing extra work don’t interfere with the primary muscles being trained.

You can even use this kind of density training for fat loss.


5

Get off the machines

Machine training has a number of benefits, but in general, it’s easier to do than its free-weight cousin. That’s because machines dictate the movement path for you, so you often just have to get set in position and lift the weight in the only direction it’ll go.

With free weights, more of your body’s musculature is involved in stabilizing and balancing the weight. These assisting muscles are required to complete the movement, making it more difficult and burning more calories.

Switching over from machine movements to free weights—whether it’s bench pressing, squatting, or doing rows and other big lifts—increases the level of challenge, which can pay big dividends in terms of increasing the circulation of muscle-building hormones, like testosterone. When you can, choose the free-weight version to spur new growth!

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