Jason Statham’s Evolving Workout

Hollywood superstar Jason has built a body as hard and mean as the action heroes he portrays.  An ex-Olympic diver with a background in martial arts and kickboxing, he has what it takes to perform his own stunts.  His workout is a muscle smashing mix of pyramid training, 1 rep max training, isometric exercises, circuit training and interval training – all crammed into 40 minutes.  He also uses kettlebells to hone his functional strength for fight scenes

Jason Statham Buff

Jason Statham Buff

Jason Statham defines high metabolism. In fact, I’d bet he burned 500 calories in the time I spent talking to him. From his knuckle-popping handshake (25 calories right there) to throwing shadow punches at my face (another 38) to never quite sitting still as we spoke (a constant 7-calorie-per-minute simmer), he turns conversation into an anaerobic workout.

Projecting physical strength is Statham’s real magic — emphasis on real. He was hustling black-market goods in London when he was typecast as a street thug in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Now, the 38-year-old actor is known for the strong, silent skull-crackers he played in The Italian Job and the Transporter films. He just finished shooting Crank — due out later this year — in which he plays a crook who will die if he doesn’t keep his adrenaline inferno blazing. Which isn’t much of a stretch for Statham. He’s in incredible physical condition — everything he does is forceful — and his opinions are about as strong as his handshake.

For one, he’ll never hire a trainer. (“If you can’t motivate yourself, you’re never going to get results.”) He’s built his physique through brutal intensity and ever-changing workouts designed to improve a skill — whether it be platform diving for the British National Diving Team back in the ’90s or wushu staff fighting for last year’s Transporter 2.

But weight lifting just for the sake of heaving iron? Pointless, says Statham. “Muscle-men grow on trees. They can tense their muscles and look good in a mirror. So what? I’m more interested in practical strength that’s going to help me run, jump, twist, punch.”

Here’s how Statham builds a body that works.

Fix Your Attitude First
Statham’s workout begins before he walks through a gym’s front door. “I’m a firm believer in attitude,” he says. “Some people just don’t have that desire, and they need a good kick in the ass. Look, you’ve come to train here, let’s f—king train! Your body’s like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you’ll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer, bang! Get serious, do 40 hard minutes, not an hour and a half of nonsense. It’s so much more rewarding.”

Pound Your Core
Statham’s buddy once dared him to do a marathon. He completed it in 3:51 (with virtually no distance training beforehand), and as a return dare, he challenged his pal to do the same abs workout Statham did back in his diving days. “We used to do 500 situp variations every day. Pike up with straight leg lifts and you’ll strengthen your hip flexors, as well as your upper and lower abs.” He notes with a grin that this workout made his friend “spew up.”

Hone a Skill As You Sweat
Statham is a monster fan of mixed martial arts — the grappling and striking you see in an Ultimate Fighting tournament. This training defines his “learn a skill” workout philosophy. A typical workout: “Shadow-boxing to warm up the back and shoulders,” he says. Lunging and stretching for the legs. Next, five 3-minute rounds punching and kicking pads, then hitting the heavy bag for three rounds, and doing a session on the speed bag. He finishes with a circuit like the one described below.

Use Your Own Body Weight
For explosiveness and reflexes, Statham has always used plyometrics. A fast, hard circuit requires no equipment. “I’ll jump rope, then do squat thrusts, burpees [squat thrusts in which you leap instead of standing up], star jumps [from a crouch, jump up and spread your arms and legs into a star, and come back down into a crouch], pushups, tuck jumps [jump, lift legs, tuck], stepups.” The key is explosive execution: “If I’m doing a pushup, I go down slowly and, bang, push up.”

[source: By Mike Zimmerman, Men’s Health, www.everythingzing.com]